Best time to book a flight with Travelstart

Do you still remember the first flight you ever took? I remember all the preparations, nerves etc that were present when embarking on my first flight ever, at the ripe age of 25 nogal. If you’re anything like me, anxiety would have you book a flight, work out your “route” and set time aside for goodbyes way in advance. My first flight was when I uprooted my life and moved to Johannesburg almost six years ago. Fortunately the company I was scheduled to start working for, handled everything, all I had to do was show up.

My second flight was from Johannesburg to George at a time when there was only one airline in South Africa covering that route. I booked a few days before I was scheduled to leave and the ticket was almost R2000! I arrived on time but was directed to the wrong place and missed my flight. I ended up spending another R2000 because I had to get home for a wedding (the things you’d do for family). My relationship with flying was quite stormy and turbulent (pun intended) in the beginning with missed flights and general anxiety so I had to figure out a way to make it easier on myself as I had to fly at least twice a year to see my mom.  My most used route is definitely Johannesburg to Cape Town and according to Travelstart, it’s one of the busiest route in the world! How you like them apples?! I completely understand why it could be the busiest as Cape Town, as amazing as it is, doesn’t have a lot of opportunities for most people whereas Johannesburg isn’t known as the “city of gold’ for nothing.

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The question remains: When is the best time to book a flight in order to get more bang for your buck?

At first, I thought a month before would provide me with the best options in terms of saving money and general peace of mind. It worked for a while until I subscribed to all major airlines’ newsletters and followed them on social media and realized that there’s always sales happening on flights two weeks after I’ve already booked my ticket! I’m all for saving money and in my humble opinion, booking two weeks before your (local) trip will ensure you get the best price for your flight. Also, make sure you don’t book on a weekend and for months like January and December, ensure that you book months in advance as it’s the most expensive months. According to Travelstart, booking two months in advance will provide you with the best deals but as my plans change quite often, I can’t really commit to that. I recently booked for my cousin on his first trip to Johannesburg and couldn’t follow my two-week-before-the-time rule due to late notice on their side but I managed to get him a flight two days before he was set to arrive for R498, which in this economic climate is quite cheap.

Quick tip: If you see a flight that’s under R500 for your preferred (local) destination, book it! There is (almost) no way that you would find it cheaper anywhere else. There’s often specials where you can buy today but can only use it for a certain period of time, be sure to read the fine print (I know no one does but in this case, please do). Also, if you’re able to check in online to avoid queues, do that. It will save you time and if any unforeseen things pop up like a flat tyre en route, you won’t have the stress of  having to go wait in line and perhaps miss your flight.

Use comparison websites like Travelstart

It will save you a lot of time as you’d be able to see flights from all airlines for you preferred travel date in one place. It’s usually ranked from cheapest so you’d be able to find what suits your pocket easily. If you’re an MTN user, you can claim your discount by entering your cellphone number before you book. Sign up for their newsletter to be informed of specials and you can expect expert assistance from them for all your travels as they have offices across Africa and the Middle East. If a package deal is what you’re after, i.e. flight + hotel + car rental, they’d definitely be able to assist you for both your local and international holidays.

My next trip will definitely be to Mauritius, for leisure of course! I’ve read this piece  “The best time for you to visit Mauritius! and have a better idea as to when would be ideal to visit as I don’t want to go during tourist season.

 

Disclaimer: This post was done in collaboration with Travelstart and infographic and links were supplied by them. If you would like more tips on when to book your airline ticket, check out this article on the best time to buy airline tickets on their website.

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Clairol Nice n’ Easy

Hi, my name is Melanie and I’m an addict.

 

I’m absolutely addicted to changing my hair color. Don’t get me wrong, Mother Nature has blessed me with black hair and all my life I’ve been okay with it, kind of. I’ve always heard horror stories of how people lost their hair due to bleaching and it served as a cautionary tale for me. It wasn’t until two years ago that I’ve decided to really experiment with color and I haven’t looked back. You can check out my natural journey for all the colors I’ve sported and products used to achieve it. A while ago I opted in with Rubybox to do teal with Clairol Color Crave here and I loved my experience with the brand. When the opportunity arised for a different color with Clairol again, I opted in as the teal were fading a bit. It comes in 30 natural-looking shades and I selected the “Medium Cool Blonde” as my roots were growing out, in black, so I wanted to lighten it a bit.

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The kit contains the Colour Creme, Colour Activator, CC+ (Colorseal conditioner), gloves and instruction leaflet. You activate the colour by pouring the Colour Creme from the tube into the Colour Activator bottle, which you will use for easy application. It’s advised to part your hair in four sections and start applying from the roots. Cover all your hair and leave on for 25 minutes but as I have a lot of hair there weren’t much left after the roots were done, not that I’m complaining. I love the fact that it lighten the blue a bit to a sea foam green as my main concern were the roots. Speaking of which, my roots came out as a gorgeous bronze/dark blonde colour, which I love with the sea foam on top.

Product promise:

Other benefits include: Natural looking colour, 100% grey coverage, fresh,floral scent and non-drip colour creme.niceeasymag

I’ve decided to blow dry my hair for a change in order to show off both colours, here’s the results:

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As you can see, there’s no damage to my hair plus it looks healthy and vibrant considering how lazy I am to take care of it.

Available from Dischem at R99 each.

Kangol nail treatment

I’ve always loved long nails, my natural ones that is. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal for acrylic nails as I’ve done it once and loved it. It felt weird to me, initially and by the time I actually got used to it, it was time to either fill or remove it so I opted for the latter. I know acrylic nails are preferred by a lot of women (and men, let’s not exclude them) for various reasons and they do make life easier. One of the few talents I wish I had would be to do my own nails. I think it’s awesome when someone can create their own nail art or do something different than the norm…I can’t, not that I haven’t tried several times before.

The same way you need to take care of your own hair under a weave or wig, you need to take of your natural nails regardless of how you choose to wear it. I was horrified at the condition my nails were in after the removal of the acrylic nails and that’s one of the reasons I won’t do it again. We often see nail treatments being sold in stores but assume we don’t need it because we use a base and top coat but that’s not true. I know I haven’t used a base and top from the very beginning and if you can say you did, kudos to you. I’ve noticed that nails were stained, a yellowish tint, and realised it’s because of all the different brands of nail colours I’ve been using. I hardly allowed my nails to be free of any colour and don’t even get me started on my cuticles!

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The kind folks at Kangol must have heard my silent pleas as they’ve send me some of their treatment range to try out. It consisted of Quick Dry, Cuticle Oil and Nail Growth as well as a cute handbag-sized hand and nail cream plus a manicure kit that you receive for free with purchases of R300 or more. I’ve decided to only use these products, no colour on my nails for two weeks as I wanted to talk from experience and results won’t show overnight, obviously.

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My cuticles were a mess and applying the cuticle oil daily definitely made a big difference. It contains almond and avocado oil and helps soften and hydrate your cuticles. Apply overnight for best results. All these products are clear in colour and that makes it a lot easier to apply daily. The Nail Growth applies like a nail colour and leaves your nails looking shiny and healthy. It lasted for over a week before I had to reapply again and that’s a true testimony to the durability of this product. I’ve applied the Quick Dry to my toes after applying colour and it really works. It speeds up the drying process and I was good to go after about 60 seconds. Treatments retails for R89 each which is a total bargain.

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The hand and nail cream is perfect for me as I have handbags of various sizes, as does most women, and it fits into most. It’s easy to easy and has a very pleasant smell. It’s white in colour and absorbs quite easily while leaving your hands moisturised and with a gorgeous fragrance the entire day.

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I love the packaging of the manicure set as it’s compact enough to carry in all your bags and extremely cute as well. It has a clasp that allows you to open it easily and contains 8 tools needed to achieve the perfect manicure at home. I love DIY, from hair to nails as it saves you tons of money if you’re on a budget and also brings your hidden talents to the forefront. I mean, you won’t know if you’re good at something if you don’t try it, right?

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This is my nails after I’ve applied the Nail Growth and Cuticle Oil on day one:

before

This is my nails after 2+ weeks of solely using the treatment products i.e. Nail Growth and Cuticle Oil and I have to admit it made a big difference. My nails look and feel healthier and stronger and the Growth Oil definitely played a big part.

After

All these products are available exclusively from Truworths and prices were correct at the time of writing this post.

Bring on the Night with Kangol za

A few weeks ago I received some goodies from Kangol and I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to write a review. I did unpack on Facebook and done some swatches as well as posts on Instagram wearing the eye shadows, lip and nail colour but this serves as an individual review on each item.

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I fell in love with the eye shadows before even opening it. The packaging is very attractive and reminiscent of life in the big city. It is aptly named “City Lights”, consist of 12 stunning colours with an applicator brush and retails for R159.

 

Packaging:

It comes in a box with city motif and the actual product is in a metal-looking case, which I absolutely love.

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Consistency:

The colour payoff is quite good but you have to reapply the colour once or twice. I felt like it looked stunning on my arm as swatches but on my eyelids it worked because I applied concealer first or a lighter colour. There is a bit of fallout when applying the colour but overall it’s a great palette for the price.

 

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I’ve received the new gel nail colours in 5 shades named In Charge, Valet Service, Red Carpet, Exclusive and VIP Status and two of their original nail polish in Headrush and Spice Market. The gel nail colours apply like a dream! Only one layer is enough but I opted for two because I like the intensity. My favourite shades are Exclusive and VIP Status as they look amazing paired together and they last really long, even without a top coat. These gel nail colours retails for R79 and it definitely worth it.

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Last but not least, I received two lip colours; one matte in Wine Pout and a lipgloss in Rio Red. The matte lippie glided on and it’s very easy to wear as it feels like a lipstick on your lips and not as heavy as most matte lippies. The colour is gorgeous and doesn’t smudge, you get about a 12 hour wear out of it and it has to be removed with makeup remover. The lipgloss on the other hand is lightweight and provides just enough colour and gloss to not be overwhelming. I love both these products and at R79 for the lipgloss and R89 for the matte lippie, it’s definitely worth it.

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Some looks I’ve created with the palette and lippies. I’m still practising as far as makeup application is concerned but these products made it so easy.

 

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Kangol products are exclusively available from Truworths stores and prices were correct at the time of this post. When you spend R300 or more you get the cute cosmetics bag for free! It’s black, suede to the touch and have really cute flower detail on it.

Nivea Perfect & Radiant Micellar water (review)

Micellar (pronounced my-SELL-ar) has been beheld by the French as the secret to perfect skin. It’s basically water infused with micelles, tiny molecules of cleansing oil that cling to impurities like magnets. I’ve started using micellar water last year and absolutely loved it. I don’t wear makeup that often but I continually use it just to cleanse my face at the end of the day from any impurities and it works like a charm.

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I’ve received the new Nivea Perfect and Radiant Micellar 3 in 1 cleansing water for normal to combination skin (I know, it’s quite a mouthful) from Rubybox and I was really excited to try it. Firstly, my current skin care regime consist solely of the Nivea Perfect and Radiant range, from cleanser to toner to moisturizer and this was the perfect addition. This cleansing water promises to, “deeply cleans, removes make-up and refreshes and tones.” It contains Vitamin E and is dermatologically and ophthalmologically approved and works amazing on sensitive skin as well.

 

Application:

Apply daily with a cotton pad to cleansed face, while keeping your eyes close according to the bottle.

According to Mel:

For makeup removal, especially eye makeup, soak a cotton pad in the cleansing water and put on eyelid for a few seconds then wipe. Doing so, you won’t have to wipe incessantly, which might harm the sensitive area around your eyes. To remove pencil on your eyelid, which is a real pain to me, I use a cotton bud, pour some cleansing water on it and remove pencil residue that way. It’s more precise as you can move it along the bottom lid and remove all traces of eye pencil and mascara. When I’m not wearing makeup, I use it to cleanse my skin but apply it like I do with the toner .i.e. pour onto cotton pad and wipe across the face and neck area.  I’ve been using it for a while now and it makes me skin feel soft and smooth. It’s perfect for removal of long-lasting, waterproof makeup as well and won’t harm your skin.

Wipes

 

 

Where to purchase:

It retails for R99.95 from Clicks and they currently have a 3 for 2 on Nivea products until 08 April 2018.

PS: If you haven’t signed up for Rubybox what are you waiting for? An invite? Well here’s one: They send out 1000’s of products to ordinary people like you and me to test and review, free of charge, mahalla, nothing, nada, niks. You don’t have an excuse, no really, you don’t. See you there 😉

Natural hair care: Affordable favourites

I’m sure I’m not the only natural girl who this journey has been extremely costly for.  Costly in the sense of there were a lot of trial and error, expensive protective styling and of course, the purchasing of expensive products only to discover my hair actually hate some of the main ingredients. Many lessons were learned and I’ve reached a point where I (kinda) know what my hair prefers. No longer will I go out and purchase a tub of coconut oil because it was hyped up by others only to realize my hair hates it, go figure.

I’ve realised that even if something works for a friend with a similar texture to mine, it might not work for me. Factors such as diet actually plays a big role and mine is non-existent, it’s a case of eat whatever you feel like, no regard for ingredients or long-term effects. I’ve also realised that more often than not, water is sufficient for your hair’s maintenance (not mine though, not even close) and affordable (cheap) products shouldn’t be frowned upon or judged. I’ve noticed a lot of barely concealed “judgement” when you mention a cheap product you and your hair love when others rave about products that retails for R200+ PER ITEM. I’m definitely not about to act rich and pretend I can afford it when just one of said products will mess up my budget and take away my dog’s food (Fact: I do love my dog more than my hair). Today I’d like to share with you two products that I’ve been using for a while now and I can attest that it’s the bomb.com even though one of them contains the dreaded coconut oil. Both were recommendations by a dear friend and fellow unicorn lover, Caray.

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The first product I’m referring to is Revlon Realistic special feeling creme butter (I know, it’s a mouthful). When Caray first send me a picture of this product, I was horrified as I thought she fell of the wagon and went back to using relaxers. The terms “Realistic” was just so reminiscent of my relaxer days, my scalp burned until most of my hair were stuck to it in the quest for straight hair, it’s the stuff nightmares are made of. I have to admit, this product pleasantly surprised me. It contains shea butter, which my hair actually love and it leaves my hair soft and moisturized. It’s meant to revive and repair hair and became a staple in my wash n go and twists routine.

I got mine from Clicks at R29.99

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The second product is a much-raved about one in the natural community. It’s  Black Like Me curl hydrate pudding and this brand has been around for 30 years. I love the fact that even with everyone else jumping on the natural hair product wagon because, let’s face it, there’s a definite market for it, BLM has been there for natural girls. I remember when I returned to my roots 6 years ago there were hardly any products for natural hair and relaxers were shoved in our faces and down our throats. I’ve used the Oil sheen and Curl activating spray from this range and I loved it. I’ve seen results with this product on various types of hair and it’s always a winner. It does contain coconut oil but I feel that the glycerine and moringa oil outweighs that to provide me with healthy curls.

This is available from most retailers like Checkers, Pick n Pay, Clicks, Dischem etc. I got mine from Clicks for R39.95

Do you have an affordable staple product in your regime? Let me know, I’m always keen to try out new products when my budget allows.

Color Crave with Clairol SA x Rubybox

I’m a Punked girl through and through as you know but I’ve had some queries about other natural-friendly hair dyes. People specifically wanted ones that’s obtainable from your easily accessible stores so I tested the new Clairol Color Crave in teal with Rubybox.

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My hair was already bleached so there was no need to pre-lighten it. With natural hair, we have to be very careful as to what we use on our hair so we tend to look more closely at the ingredients and what possible side effects we can expect. These were my reasons for agreeing to test out this hair dye:

  • No Amonia. No Peroxide. No Parabens
  • True tone formula for even, color-accurate fading that lasts up to 15+ washes
  • Stylist brush for paint-on application
  • No mix, direct dye formula
  • No bleach required but the lighter your hair the longer your wear
  • It’s available in 6 gorgeous shades
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Colour chart

In the box you’ll find two sets of gloves in my favourite colour, black and what I love about them is that they’re fitted on your hands, unlike the clear ones your usually get with box dyes. You also get a stylist brush to apply the product with which comes in handy if you want to do highlights. Last but not least, you get your colour in a squeeze tube.

How to use it:

According to the instructions, you first need to wash your hair. Squeeze the colour into a container or on your hands and apply to your hair. You may also use the brush but for me it took too long and I didn’t want to do highlights so I used my hands. Ensure that you apply Vaseline along your hairline to avoid staining and wear an old towel or T-shirt when doing your hair. Leave in for 20-30 minutes, rinse until water runs clear and style as usual. In my case, I did twists which I used My Natural Hair strengthening oil and Curl Chemistry  curl activating cream for.

 

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What I loved about this product:

Application is a breeze, no need to mix so it saves you time. The colour doesn’t run and didn’t stain anything, not even my clothes. There was no burning or hair loss whatsoever, just beautiful vibrant colour as promised.

 

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What I disliked:

If I have to nitpick, it would definitely be the size of the product. Not having to mix it with an activator has its pros but a definite con was that the product wasn’t nearly enough. Once my hair is wet it multiplies, seriously and the dye wasn’t nearly enough to even saturate my hair. There’s a lot of parts that are still blonde but it adds character to the whole look. It would look patchy if I have to blow dry or straighten it hence I opted for the heatless curls.

Overall, I love this product and it’s a definite 8/10 (size really does matter).

Product is available exclusively from Dischem and retails for R124.90

All The Money In The World

I’ve always wondered what I would be like if I had to have a lot of money. After watching “All the money in the world” I’m afraid. As proven by Jean Paul Getty, even being the richest man around and having all the money, it’s not enough, it will never be enough and you will always want more.

The movie follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), which at first is deemed as a joke or a way to extort money from his rich but frugal grandfather Jean Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) but later turned out to be real. The desperate attempts by his devoted mother Gail stunningly portrayed by Michelle Williams, to convince him to pay the ransom tug on your heart strings and make you despise Jean. When we first meet the family, they seem so happy. As Gail points out to her husband John, played by Andrew Buchan, “we’re not poor, just broke”. They decide to reach out to his estranged father as John struggles to find employment. They’re summoned to come and meet him and John gets offered a high profile position in the company so all their problems are over, right? Wrong as John’s love for alcohol end up destroying their family and leads to a divorce, in which his father fights to keep his grandchildren in his custody but Gail wins in the end. Jean Paul Getty and John Paul Getty III had a very special relationship as he grew up until the divorce and his mom was awarded custody.

We also learn how Jean made his money and throughout the movie you find out why he worked so hard to acquire his wealth i.e. his father told him he won’t amount to anything and he proved him wrong by “making him look like a pauper”. Jean sees himself as the emperor of Rome reincarnated as he related to John III earlier on in the movie. One thing that got to me and shouldn’t be surprising as Jean Getty proved that he won’t spend money unless necessary and will negotiate a lower price even though he can afford anything even with a markup, is when he asked his grandson John to read letters to him that people had send. A lady asked for money for her husband’s operation and he instructs him to respond, “If I gave money to everyone that asked for it, I would be as destitute as you are.” I don’t totally disagree with that statement though, I have to admit as there’s a lot of truth to it.
When Getty Sr. refuses to pay the ransom, Gail attempts to sway him as her son’s captors become increasingly volatile and brutal. As Getty Sr. said, “I have 14 grandchildren, if I pay this ransom, I’ll have 14 kidnappers.” With her son’s life in the balance, Gail and  Fletcher Chase, a Getty Oil negotiator and former CIA operative (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money.

 

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Braids a la Alicia Keys

I’ve always loved Alicia Keys; from her voice to her mane. When she decided to go makeup-free, I applauded her as it suited her to a T. There’s a few styles of hers that I’ve always wanted to try including the intricate braids that made her a natural hair icon but I’ve always shied away from it. I attempted one of her doek looks on my lazy days as well as her recent braids from Grammy 2018.

The doek is a very effective yet easy-to-style look for days when you’re not in the mood to do your hair. I often do cornrows underneath as a protective style and rock the doek and it still looks sophisticated and very stylish. Pair it with hoop earrings and no makeup as Alicia did or minimal makeup as I did. There’s legions of videos online on how to do this style and it’s really easier than it looks.

60th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Press Room

The second look I fell in love with and felt I could attempt was her recent zip ties braids at the Grammy awards. I had no intention of actually using zip ties so I settled on elastic bands from my recent braids attempt (I’ll do a post about it soon). I loved the fact that it was so simple but elegant and tied her entire look together. I did this on a one week blowout so my hair was fairly straight and I prepped it by applying My Natural Hair strengthening oil from root to tip.

 

I divided my hair into two rows that consisted of three sections each, Alicia did more sections but I was in a hurry. I started off by taking the first section in front (you can’t really start anywhere else) and continued to tie the hair up. I took the hair of the first section, twisted it and added it to the already prepared second section. When I was younger, my mom used to plait my hair in this manner as did a lot of children in my school so it wasn’t difficult at all. The only thing I did different was with the last section where I twisted my hair and added four extra elastics to the end just to add some dimension to the style. I have to say, I’m quite happy with how this style turned out and it’s less painful to sleep with than bantu knots.

Word of advice though, don’t do the rubber bands too tight. If you want a sleeker look, apply gel or edge control to your edges but don’t pull the hair too tight as it will lead to tension headaches or worse, damaged edges.

I got the elastic bands from my local supply store and the strengthening oil is available from Clicks.

Love Love Lov…

In the spirit of  Valentine’s month, let’s review a few goodies I’ve received from Cosmetix recently. The brand is aptly named Lov Cosmetics and were introduced to the South African market in early 2017. It’s the high-end counterpart of brands like Essence and Catrice that we’re already familiar with and proved to be real value for money.

I’ve received the LOVlicious caring volume gloss in No 100-Mystic Sand, LIP affair Color and Care in No 530-Ayann’s Orchid,  LOVinity nail lacquer in 230- Red in a velvet pouch as well as the latest edition of “Liefste Bella”, an Afrikaans magazine with the gorgeous Cindy Nel on the cover. What’s a “LOV” drop without chocolates, right? Got some cute heart-shaped ones included as well.

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Let’s start:

LOVlicious caring volume gloss in No 100-Mystic Sand: RSP R125*

I’m not a fan of nude or pink lip glosses as I always end up looking like I haven’t eaten in years. I’ve been searching for the perfect nude/pink lip gloss and I think I’ve found it. Mystic Sand is the perfect blend between pink and nude, very moisturizing and not sticky at all. The color payoff is really great with just enough shimmer and sparkle to not be too overwhelming. I love the applicator as it allows for precision application even when in a hurry.

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LIP affair Color and Care in No 530-Ayann’s Orchid: RSP R209*

I honestly didn’t expect to like this colour, at all. I generally steer away from pinks as deliciously dark and sultry is my thing but Ayann’s Orchid converted me. It has a beautiful mauve undertone with just enough pink. It’s extremely moisturizing and no gloss is required. I do think this is one lipstick I will wear regularly, not on a daily basis but just enough for people to get tired of it.

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LOVinity nail lacquer in 230- Red: RSP R105*

I’m utterly obsessed with nail polish/lacquer and as with lipstick, the darker the better. I really love the formula of this lacquer as it only required two coats for perfection. The colour seems to get darker depending on the angle or the duration you wear it for. It started as a scarlet red and gradually turned into berry which I absolutely love. I’ve only applied a base coat, no top coat to showcase the shine this nail lacquer possess and also to check how long it will last.

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*RSP as per Takealot.com but LOV cosmetics are available from selected Dischem stores as well.