Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum changed my skin

Hiya bellas,

Today I wanted to chat to you about the Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum. I have been using it daily for two months now and my skin has not looked better in years. My marks are fading, my skin is glowing and radiant and I don’t look a day over 30 (and I just turned 32 earlier this month). If you want to read my thoughts on the Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum, then get comfy and let’s get into it.

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum

I always get excited when Dermalogica launches a new product and when this landed on my desk, I squealed in delight. I’ve always know vitamin C was good for the body but never really used it on my skin. I guess that has to do with the fact that the previous vitamin C serums I used just didn’t pack that big of a punch. This one, however, blew my socks off.

The Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum has been formulated with technology that allows the vitamin C to be kept stable. Quick fact: Vitamin C is highly unstable and breaks down when exposed to light, heat or air. When this happens, you’ll notice your serum turns brown and the product is no longer effective. This is why you’ll notice that quality serums are packaged in opaque bottles, to protect the Vitamin C from light and keep it from breaking down in the bottle.

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum changed my skin


Dermalogica has used a super stable Vitamin C complex (Ascorbosilane SP and K3 Vita C) and a formulation that results in more Vitamin C actually being absorbed by the skin, making it more effective.  The serum promises to protect, brighten and firm the skin. It achieves this by combining its highly stable Vitamin C complex with other amazing ingredients such as:
Alpha Hydroxy Acid which gently exfoliates dead skin, enhancing product penetration and increasing skin brightening.
A designer peptide, upping the serum’s age-fighting properties.
Sophora Japonica and Chia Seed Oil, superior antioxidants that provide additional protection from the daily stressors that cause skin damage.

So what does vitamin C do for the skin?

Vitamin C has a huge range of benefits for the skin but the most noteworthy are the following factors. Since it is an antioxidant, it limits the damage done to skin from UV rays. This, in turn, assists with fewer wrinkles and pigmentation on the skin. Vitamin C also affects the water barrier in the skin and can help combat dryness and roughness of the skin. Lastly, it assists in wound healing so any cuts, scars, marks or pigmentation have their cells regenerated before they can get worse.

What I like about the Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum

The scent, man oh man, is divine. I’m not generally a citrus fan. I’ve given away perfumes and candles that smell even remotely tart so this was strange for me to try out. What I ended up getting was a whiff of orange pound cake good enough to eat. The citrus scent is subtle and muted by a sweetness that excites me just thinking about it. This coupled with the formula, makes it the perfect serum. Thin, lightweight and easily absorbed with no greasy feeling. What more could you ask for? That said, I guess there isn’t anything I dislike about this product. 

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum changed my skin

Price & Where to Buy

The Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum retails for R1 495 for 30ml and whilst that sounds like a lot, keep this in mind. With all the Dermalogica products I have used over the years, regardless of the product or the size you buy, it lasts for ages. I’ve been using 4 drops of this serum to cover my entire face and neck, morning and evening for two months and I’m probably only halfway through the bottle. The dropper dispenser definitely prevents wastage and control of how much product I use. You can purchase Dermalogica products online or at their concept stores nationwide.

*** Dermalogica is currently running a special where you receive a full size sunscreen valued at R599 with the purchase of any 2 full sized products for this month. It’s almost over so get shopping. Some of my favourite products that I would recommend is the Special Cleansing Gel, Daily Microfoliant, Pre-Cleanse Balm and Calm Water Gel.

Do you use a Vitamin C serum in your skincare routine?

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Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation Review

Hiya bellas,

It’s been a hot minute since I last posted so today I thought I’d spill the tea on the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation. I initially picked up the wrong shade using the comparison chart on the website because the matches are so off, it’s not even funny. Luckily, my sister managed to get me another shade and I’ve used it a few times to test it out. There’s been good and bad so if you want to know whether to pick it up or skip it, here you go.


As usual, the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation mimics the rest of the range perfectly. The sleek plastic packaging with the black lid is synonymous with the brand. I love the way they designed it to look as if it was a glass bottle. 

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation Review -

It has a pump which is hygienic and prevents spillage during travel. It is slightly bulky but it’s not going to mess or fuss whenever you use it.


The texture of the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation is on the thicker side and blends better with a dense brush over a Beauty Blender. It does dry quite quickly so it needs to be blended out before it starts to set and becomes patchy.


The foundation is definitely full coverage. It covers blemishes, marks and your soul in a single layer.

Shade Range

The Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation comes in a decent 30 shades. Whilst a lot of the shades are more for lighter skin tones, there are a good few shades for women of colour.

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation Review -

I got the shade Brown Sugar but since it oxidises, I think Machiatto or Dulce de Leche would have been my perfect match. In the image below you can see how bad it oxidises from when it is applied to how it dries a few minutes later.

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation Review - Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation Review -


The foundation didn’t dry completely matte on me every time depending on the primer I used so I would say demi-matte depending on your skin type. If I did set it with powder it looked cakey immediately and I have oily/combo skin. 


The worst part about this foundation is the scent. It smells like a granny’s bedroom because the floral scent is so overpowering. It’s described as being subtle but it literally bowls me over every time I use it. Luckily it fades about 30 mins after application and then it’s not very detectable.


The Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation wears beautifully throughout the day. It doesn’t fade, separate or crack on the face. However, oils do tend to peek through as the day progresses so you would need to blot or powder if it’s really warm out.

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation Review -

Price & Where to Buy

The Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation is available from the Huda Beauty website for $40 and on Cult Beauty for £32 (~R600). You can get 15% off your Cult Beauty order by creating an account, filling in your preferences and using the code ‘YOU15’ during checkout. There are third party sellers within SA but they charge R850 upwards per bottle.

Overall Thoughts

As much as the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation looks good on the skin, there are two problems I have with it. Firstly, the scent, apart from it not being pleasant, the fragrance is an irritant for some people and can cause an allergic reaction. Secondly, the foundation is so thick that it can clog pores quite easily and cause breakouts and blackheads. I’ve been able to avoid this by using a silicone based primer that forms a barrier between my skin and the foundation.

Even though this foundation is hyped up and has good aspects, it’s not something I want to reach for nor something I would recommend.

Huda Beauty Complexion Perfection Pre-Makeup Base

I managed to get my hands on a few samples of the primer as well to test out. It is really thick and tacky so it made my foundation difficult to blend regardless of which one I was using. It’s also scented which I don’t like but it’s not as strong as the foundation. It’s also a skip from me.

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation Review -

Have you tried the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation or primer? Do you still want to after reading this review?

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Clere-ly a much needed makeover

Hiya bellas,

Today’s blog post is going to be short and sweet, just like what my family thinks of me. If they only knew *inserts evil laugh*.

Jokes aside. I wasn’t planning on writing a dedicated blog post for the new Clere lotions because it’s basically just some of their old products in new packaging and with a few more fragrances. However, I felt I needed to because trying out these products, has completely changed my perception of things. Let me explain why.

Disclaimer: My intent with this blog post is not to offend or discriminate against anyone. I’m just sharing my views on the brand and product.

Growing up, Clere has been a brand I have noticed hundreds of times on the shelves whilst shopping. Have I ever purchased a product? No. Have I ever tried a product? No. Why not?

This is probably an ignorant thing to say, but I never thought to purchase their products because of their advertising. It was always geared towards the African community and perhaps in some way still is as per all the images on their website. They’re not the first brand to do so and I’m sure definitely not the last.

I recently got invited to the Clere launch where we were introduced to the new formulations and new scents available in the range. We got sent home with a very generous goodie bag containing 3 lotions and 3 creams to test out. The day I got home, we each chose our favourite scent that became ‘ours’ to use. 

Pampering Body Crème – R27

I chose the Vanilla Honey Cream Crème because of my love of sweet scents. This was a double whammy because I also suffer from extremely dry skin on my body and this one is specifically formulated to assist with that. My favourite part about it, it that unlike other rich creams, this one is non-greasy.

Clere Body Crea and Lotion review -

My daughter chose the Powder Fresh Crème purely because the jar was pink and my son settled on the Argan Butter Crème which is a mix of fruity and sweet scents. They no longer suffer from dry skin or itchiness which was a huge problem for us when winter began. Daily use has made all of our skins supple, soft and moisturised. Oh, and his favourite colour is red too.

Clere Body Crea and Lotion review -

Luscious Body Lotion – R19

Hubby enjoys using the lotions because they’re lighter in texture and absorb quickly into the skin. I can see myself reaching for this more during summer because it is so cooling once it hits the skin.

Clere Body Crea and Lotion review -

See, I’ve sidetracked talking about the products and didn’t get to properly explain my point.

If I was not invited to the Clere event and given their products to try out, I probably would have been none the wiser and continued spending my money on other products. I love the new rebranding of their products because it features women of all colours and they have exciting scents and textures to suit all preferences. One of the main factors I like about this product is its affordability. I spend a lot of money monthly on body products and I’m glad I found something I have no problem purchasing over and over again. The scents and the price coupled with the fact that it actually works to combat dry skin.

Do me a favour, if there’s one thing you pick up next time shopping at Clicks, let it be one of these. You won’t regret it. Otherwise, if you want to take a chance, you can enter my giveaway over on Instagram where one of these babies is included.

Have you ever tried Clere products before?

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Benefit Hello Happy Soft Blur Foundation Review

Hiya bellas,

I’m sure by now you know that Benefit is one of my favourite brands of all time. You can see my previous purchases from them over here. I was lucky enough to be sent their Hello Happy foundation which is a new addition to their range. I’ve been testing it out extensively and I’d like to share my thoughts with you on it.


The bottle of the Benefit Hello Happy foundation is definitely different from what we’re used to seeing. Housed in a square plastic container, it looks smaller than regular foundations. Fear not, it still contains the standard 30mls of product.

Benefit Hello Happy Foundation Review -

The heart smiley face is just so endearing and makes me want to reach for it. The bottle is light, compact and perfect for travelling.


The coverage on the Hello Happy foundation can be considered sheer to medium. It creates a soft wash of colour to even out skin tone and blur imperfections for a more natural look. It contains optical blurring spheres that diffuse light and create a soft focus effect.

Shade Range

Due to the fact that coverage is sheer, multiple skin tones can get away with using the same colour. There are 12 shades available from very fair to very deep. I am in the shade 7 which is described as medium tan warm.

Benefit Hello Happy Foundation Review -

I also compared it to a few of my other serum foundations and between these 4 the Hello Happy is my favourite. The NYX Total Control requires way too much product to create an even base across the skin and it is less than half the size. The Ordinary Serum foundation is fuller coverage so you need to add additional products on top of it to create some dimension. The Stila Aqua Glow is one I still enjoy using but it doesn’t dry down and needs to be set with powder.


The foundation dries down to a semi-matte that is not tacky or cakey on the skin. It is suitable for all skin types but I do find that it clings to dry patches. I would suggest using a hydrating primer or moisturiser beneath your usual one.


The Hello Happy foundation lasts the entire day on me even when it’s been hot outside. It doesn’t break apart or separate during wear but if you do accidentally wipe it off, it’s not very noticeable.


The main downside for me is the top of the packaging. Since the formula is quite thin and runny, it tends to spill around the rim wasting product. I usually just run my Beauty Blender around the top to absorb the excess product but I hoped it would have a stopper for more control.

Benefit Hello Happy Foundation Review -


The Hello Happy foundation retails for R435 for the 30ml bottle but if you want to test it out first, there are 5 mini shades available for R175 (6ml).

Where to Buy

The Hello Happy foundation is available online at Edgars or at selected Benefit counters in-store nationwide.

Overall Thoughts

This has become a foundation that I reach for often and is perfect for the no-makeup makeup look. It blends easily, looks effortless when I’m in a hurry and lasts for hours on my skin. Two of the main factors for me is that it dries down completely so I don’t have to worry about it transferring when I hug my friends or touch-ups during the day and it feels weightless on the skin. I do feel it is a bit steep in price but for the soft blur effect and convenience, I would repurchase this time and time again.

Before you go, did you know I’m running a huge giveaway over on my Instagram page? Head over to @belleblushh to check it out and to tie in with today’s review, I’m revealing which Benefit products I’ll be adding to my giveaway.

Would you try a sheer coverage foundation?

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Getting a GSM with Biomedical Emporium

Hiya bellas,

A few months ago I went for a treatment with Biomedical Emporium at their Head Office in Pretoria. It wasn’t the first time I had this specific treatment done but it was definitely the best. My first experience with Dermapen was during the vampire facial which I documented here. Even though I did see results, the steep price of R5 000+ has always deterred me. So when I went to Lightsculpt in Rosebank for an event in Feb, I was recommended the GSM facial. I agreed because it was 25% off and I only paid R1200 for the treatment.

I posted a few snippets on it but I was really impressed by the results. Dr Judey, the co-founder of Biomedical Emporium messaged me to invite me for a complimentary treatment at their lab in Pretoria. Since I had loads of requests asking what has helped with my pigmentation, I decided to document the process for you.

Hand Peel

While I was waiting to do the treatment, they applied the Hand Refine Peel (R955) on me. Since I wash my hands often, don’t moisturise enough and don’t wear sunscreen on my hands, I started developing sunspots on it. It really freaked me out so I was glad they had something to help. It was applied with a brush just on the outer part of the hand and left on for 10-15 mins. 

Hand Peel Biomedical Emporium -

This is what it looked like immediately after the product was removed from the skin. It did exfoliate even more as the days progressed and till today my hands are free of freckles and sunspots.

Hand Peel Biomedical Emporium -

Now on to the face. This is my skin pre-treatment.

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

The GSM Treatment

The treatment starts by cleansing the skin and then applying a glycolic advanced peel solution on it for a few minutes. Afterwards, some people do apply numbing cream to the entire face to minimise discomfort but doing it without any anaesthetic yields the best results. Then the part that makes this GSM different is the application of retinol to the skin. The needle just deposits the product on to the skin without penetrating it.

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Then a Dermapen is used to microneedle the product into the skin instead of just letting it work on the outermost layers. The Dermapen has 9 or 12 needles and makes tiny punctures into the skin for the product to be absorbed through. Once the retinol has been absorbed and massaged into the skin, the Biomedical Peptide Therapy (R1580), which calms skin and aids hydration, and Wound Occlusive (R890) which helps cell restructuring, is applied to the skin to complete the procedure.

This is my skin immediately post-treatment.

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

The Results

I documented the next days after treatment to show you the progress and effects of the treatment.

Day 2

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Day 3

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Day 4

I wore makeup to go out and this is how badly the texture was emphasized. So I do not recommend getting this treatment within 2 weeks of any function you have coming up.

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Day 5

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Day 6

This is when my skin started to flake and peel. The dead skin and outer layers are shed to reveal a brighter complexion.

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Day 7

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Day 8

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Day 9

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Day 10

As you can see my marks faded drastically over the 10 days and going for regular treatments will dimish the marks completely.

GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium - GSM Dermapen Biomedical Emporium -

Overall Thoughts

If you struggle with pigmentation, then this is hands down the best treatment available considering the price. I have tried countless products that do assist but you need to use it for months/years to get similar results. The only thing is that you make sure it is the Dermapen treatment done with retinol or else the effects might not be as drastic.

Price and where to get the treatment done

The GSM treatment ranges from R1 100 to R1 500 depending on the salon you go to. For a full list of salons that offer this treatment, check it out here.

Would you go for the GSM procedure?

* Thank you to Dr Judey and the Biomedical Emporium team for hosting me.

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Spilling the tea on Chick Cosmetics

Hiya bellas,

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be catching up on a lot of overdue posts. I’m finally getting my ish in order and hopefully can get a flow going with these blog posts. Today’s post is all about Chick Cosmetics and when I say overdue, I mean I received the PR drop two months ago already. Yes I know, that bad. Anyhoo, here’s the scoop on it.

The first time I got an email from Chick Cosmetics was mid-May saying they’re going to be launching a new line of products and wanted me to test it out. I checked out their Instagram, with pink everywhere, and was definitely intrigued. I posted an Instagram story about their online store opening on the 1st June and the DM’s started flooding in. “Don’t trust her”. “Don’t buy anything from them”. “It’s all fake”.

Wait, what?

So the person behind Chick Cosmetics is not new to the makeup scene. On Instagram, she was previously known as Makeup Chick SA. Some of you might have heard of it before but the name definitely rang a bell for me. A few years ago I published this post on fake makeup and told people to let me know if they ever received fake makeup from a supplier so I could add it to my list. I still have those emails and 5 of them mention Makeup Chick SA. To say I was concerned is an understatement but I decided to let it play itself out.

After exchanging a few emails, without any prompt or questions from my side, she told me that she used to run Makeup Chick SA and wanted to turn over a new leaf. I must be honest, I commended that. Not because I now condone fake makeup, which I will never be ok with, but because she decided to go for private labelling instead of just opening a new account and continuing to sell fake makeup.

So what is Private Labelling?

If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s when a company produces large quantities of cosmetics and allows smaller business to buy from them and put their own brand name on it.

I received a few of these items from Chick Cosmetics and here’s my review on them.

Body Scrub – R180

There are 4 formulas in the range and I like that they are each different in their own way. The Himalayan Pink Salt scrub has large granules and claims to soothe, calm, exfoliate and make the skin glow. It has a sweet, candy-like scent but I do feel the granules are a bit harsh for certain areas. The Coconut Milk Body scrub has the perfect-sized smaller granules and smells like a Pina Colada. It exfoliates while moisturising and softening the skin. When I use it I feel like I’m lying on a tropical island. The Matcha Body Scrub smells yucky. It’s my least favourite of the bunch. The consistency is similar to wet moss and claims to deep cleanse while minimising pores. I’ve only used it on my body, especially my shoulders and I’ve noticed I have less acne than before. I use the Coconut and Matcha twice a week and have used the Himalayan Pink Salt twice thrown in as a bath salt. I haven’t tried the Activated Charcoal one but it is also meant for deep cleansing.

Chick Cosmetics - Chick Cosmetics -

Mineral Liquid Foundation – R180

This is probably the most disappointing product in the range as they only have 4 shades available. I’m glad to see that they’ve taken that into consideration and will be relooking into this range.

Chick Cosmetics - Chick Cosmetics -

The current foundation has a dewy finish, is lightweight, medium to full coverage and is better suited to drier skin types.

That Cheek Tho Highlighter Palette – R280

I think this is the product I was most excited about (before they launched their unicorn shimmer scrub). You guys know I’m obsessed with highlighters at the moment so I couldn’t wait to test it out. The shades reminded me of something Jeffree Star would put out, I mean a mauve highlighter?

Chick Cosmetics -

The lighter two shades are slightly drier but not so bad that they are chalky. It’s too light for my skin tone so I would use it as a browbone or inner corner highlight. The mauve shade can be used as a blush topper or eyeshadow. My favourite shade is the bronze one. It looks amazing on the skin, blends beautifully and is not glittery or chunky. If this was sold as a single, sign me up.

Chick Cosmetics -

Where to Buy

Chick Cosmetics has an online store where you can purchase their products. You can use the code belleblush25 for 25% off your order.

Overall Thoughts

I find it very difficult to ‘LOVE’ private label products because I know that the markups are insane and there is inconsistency amongst the formulas. I do however applaud this new chapter and can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future.

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Collagen Lift Paris – Drinkable collagen???

Morning bellas,

Last week I finished my second box of Collagen Lift after two months of use. Collagen Lift Paris kindly sent them for me to test out and here are my thoughts in it.

What is it?

Collagen is a structural component found in the body that provides firmness, plumpness and elasticity to the skin. Loss of collagen in the body leads to wrinkles and sagging skin which comes with age. Collagen Lift has been developed to be absorbed into the body to reverse the signs of ageing.

Collagen Lift -


Collagen lift is conveniently packaged in single-use vials. The gold tube looks very sleek and will not spill even when travelling.

It is sold in a box of 28 ampoules which is said to be 1 month’s supply but of course, it’s slightly short of that. 

How to Use

A single vial needs to be opened with the provided opener and mixed into a glass of juice or water. It must be taken on an empty stomach so it’s the first thing I have every morning. I find it tastes best when drinking it with juice because even though it is sweet tasting due to its berry flavour, it does have a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. One thing I learnt is not to mix it in with tea or coffee, it tastes horrible.

Collagen Lift -

Collagen Lift

Collagen Lift is formulated to tackle wrinkles and make the skin appear firmer with continued use. It contains seaweed which helps the body absorb the product better while providing essential amino acids, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It also contains Vitamin C to help produce collagen in the dermis while it scrubs the cells of free radicals, improving the skin’s condition.

Is it Halaal?

Yes, it is halaal certified. Just do your research when shopping for collagen supplements as others are from porcine (pig) origin.

Where to Buy

Collagen Lift is available from Dischem and selected Clicks stores. You can find a full list of retailers here.


The large inconsistency of prices across the different retailers does concern me a bit. It’s R650 at Dischem, R714 at Clicks and R740 on their website. However, both Clicks and Dischem are currently having specials on the Collagen Lift for R357 and R325 respectively until the 6th September.

Overall Thoughts

While I do feel my skin has improved over the last two months, I do think it is due to a combination of factors. I use a hyaluronic acid serum twice a day, retinol at night (which also helps plump up the skin) and have upped my water intake. I do think that the drinkable collagen works but it would definitely be more noticeable in those 50+ years of age with deep-set wrinkles, sagging skin and crow’s feet.

Prevention is better than cure and I do think at my tender age of 31 I should be taking collagen supplements daily. However, I do not think I would repurchase this specific one. I’ve seen various powders and capsules available and while it might be said that it doesn’t work as effectively, I’ve done my research and would definitely be more comfortable drinking capsules daily.

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I need a vacation!

Hiya bellas,

So a little birdy told me that the Travelstart Birthday Sale is starting on the 27th of this month and it made me realise that I really need a holiday. Earlier this year we decided as a family to go to Durban, which I love, but not during the December holidays. I loathe the hustle and bustle, crowded beaches and long queues. My hubby loves the vibe and atmosphere so now we’re in a bit of a dilemma. I was reading some of the popular flight routes and Cape Town came up as number 1. I think if it was up to us, we’d relocate to the Mother City for various reasons. And that’s why I decided to do a travel post today and share with you some of the main things I love about Cape Town. Now to convince my hubby why we need to change our holiday destination.

The Food

Because Cape Town has such a large Muslim community rich in tradition, you know that there will be halaal food on every corner. From street food in Bo Kaap, burgers and decadent milkshakes at Wembley Roadhouse to fresh seafood at Snoekies in Hout Bay, it is literally heavenly. La Rocca in Canal Walk is my breakfast hotspot and not forgetting chocolate pizza from Col’Cacchio is Camps Bay while overlooking the ocean.


Confession: When I was 5 months pregnant with my second baby, Liyah (4yo), my husband took me to Cape Town on an eating holiday lol. We spent our days’ sightseeing and was so awesome to be able to eat in so many different places. 

The Attractions

Two words. Table Mountain. Regardless of how many times I’ve been to Cape Town, Table Mountain is a trip I have to make. There is nothing more romantic than being on Table Mountain with your loved ones, watching the sunset and overlooking the ocean. Just thinking about it is making me nostalgic.

Two Oceans Aquarium is by far one of the best aquariums I have ever been to. And I’ve been to a lot in different countries too. While it may not be the biggest like uShaka or compete with some first world countries, it’s probably the best one in the Southern Hemisphere in terms of layout, design and variety of animals.

Some places you only need to visit every once in a while such as Robben Island, Cape Point or Boulders Beach, but knowing it’s there if you want to take a ferry or a slow, relaxing drive, makes it that much more exciting. Here in Joburg, we have Hartebeespoort with stinky water. Go figure.

The Scenery and Atmosphere

I mentioned the view from Table Mountain and Camps Bay but there is so much more. Taking a drive to Chapman’s Peak, picnicking in Kirstenbosch Gardens, hiking up Lion’s Head and Signal Hill or just relaxing at the beach takes my breath away.

And lastly…

The People

Time and time again I’ve said that Cape Town people are ‘vertraag’ (delayed). Don’t be upset cos that includes a lot of my family as well. They have no sense of urgency and for someone as impatient as me, it frustrates me endlessly. But nowhere else in the world have I travelled to always be greeted with a smile regardless of your gender, colour or sexuality. The Capetonians I know are sincere, loving and genuine. Somehow they always manage to make you feel like family. Another reason I want to move there is so I can also adopt their sense of ‘vertraagde’ lifestyle because I think in order to enjoy life fully, we need to slow down and appreciate everything around us.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in the comments what your favourite thing to do in Cape Town is.

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International Shopping 101: Shopping online and following the Aramex process

Hiya bellas,

As the last instalment of this series, I thought I would touch on a few key points when shopping online. The reason I do not go into depth on this topic is that apart from the Aramex process, it’s basically the same as shopping online locally.

If you haven’t yet caught up on all the posts in the series, you can check it out here. Part of being able to purchase from certain international websites requires you to have a Paypal and Aramex account already. Also, check out where I recommend you shop from and how to go about avoiding customs. If you’re up to date and all caught up, let’s continue. I’ll do it scenario based so it mimics how I would go about doing it and it’s easy to understand.

So I’ve been coveting items from the Glamglow site that haven’t yet been launched in SA so I am going to use that as an example. Here’s how to purchase from most international websites. I am omitting images as they differ from site to site and contain personal information so consider this a walkthrough.

  • Head over to the Glamglow website.
  • Sign up for the newsletter to get a discount code for your first purchase.
  • Navigate to the product you want and click ‘Add to Bag’, then click Checkout.
  • Enter in the promo code you received via email and click apply.
  • Click the PayPal button and select samples if offered. Click checkout.
  • Log into your Paypal account and select relevant bank account then click continue.
  • Change the ship to address to your New York Aramex address (since Glamglow is based in the US). The address you enter is dependant on the country you’re shopping in. Click continue.
  • You will taken back to the cart where the discount will be applied and any sales tax with be added. The sales tax is only applicable to certain countries and states. Review your order and if you are happy click Place Order.
  • You will receive an order confirmation via email and a shipping confirmation once your order has been shipped.
  • Once the package arrives at the Aramex hub, you will receive your first Aramex email. Your second email from Aramex will advise you to upload an invoice for the shipment.
  • You can copy the order confirmation into a Microsoft Word document, change the title header to ‘INVOICE’ and upload it to the Aramex website.
  • You will receive emails to say your parcel is on it’s way and that you can pay for shipping costs.
  • Log on to your Aramex account, navigate to the shipment and use your Paypal to pay for shipping. 
  • If your parcel incurs any customs charges, you will receive an email to pay it. If your order is under R400, you should see the shipment status either say ‘Cleared from Customs’ or ‘Out for Delivery’.
  • The parcel should be on your door within a few days and you’ll have contracted the shopping bug.

NB: Although this may seem like a lot of steps, it’s super easy and very addictive. Again, I will not take any responsibility if you shop til you drop or become homeless from purchasing too many items.

I hope you enjoyed this series and found it both effortless and informative. Let me know in the comments if you have any further questions and if you will now be brave enough to purchase products internationally.

Happy shopping!

International Shopping 101: Avoiding customs

Hiya bellas,

Apologies that this post has taken so long to be published. I just have not had the time or motivation to write it in the last couple of weeks. I have been feeling out of sorts lately but that is a topic for another post. For now, I want to complete this series so you can start taking advantage of all the amazing specials available online. If you haven’t read the first parts of these series, please do so here so you can get your PayPal and Aramex accounts in order to shop til you drop.

So I’ve already mentioned in this post how I go about choosing where to shop and some tips and tricks for saving money and getting discounts over here. Now one thing you might notice when purchasing online is that a lot of international sites offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount. In this example from ColourPop, right on top above the logo, it says you get free international shipping if you spend $50 or more.

Don’t Do It

While it might be tempting to spend away or buddy up with a friend to place an order, trust me it’s not worth it. Let me show you why and tell you how to avoid customs.

How are customs calculated?

South African tariffs on imported goods are categorised as follows:

  • 0% on agricultural products and implements, capital and intermediate goods, manufacturing inputs, essential foods.
  • 15% on aircraft, vehicles, earthmoving equipment, computer software, appliances, etc.
  • 40% on luxury consumer goods, for example, televisions, tape recorders, video machines, antiques, jewellery, etc.

Cosmetics and other beauty items are categorised as luxury items and therefore should incur a 40% markup on imported goods. So if you’re ordering for $50 (R670) then your customs fees ‘could be’ R335.

But that isn’t always the case

This is why I say ‘could be’. I’ve imported many items over the years and I’d like to share with you some of the customs charges I have incurred. They have been from different websites, sometimes through the post office and some through Aramex.

  1. Ordered the Beauty Blender Pro on the Go Black Tie Kit from Camera Ready Cosmetics along with 3 foundation samples that cost around $4 each. Total order was $59 (which was R845 at that stage), came through the post office, wasn’t charged any customs. Absolutely no customs
  2. Ordered the Benefit Cheek Parade palette from Sephora which cost $58 (which was R780 at the time), had it shipped through Aramex which cost R220 just for shipping (heavier weight) and got charged R592 in customs. In total for the Benefit Cheek Parade palette, I paid R1592 and Edgars sold it for R850 a few months later.

The thing with customs I’ve come to realise is that it is unpredictable. While it might state that the fees are 40%, sometimes you can just get lucky. And the unlucky times are when they do spot checks and find liquid in your order, be it foundation, toner or a sample vial of perfume, they can send your package to Port Health.

What is Port Health?

Port Health Services monitors and evaluates all foodstuffs, cosmetics, disinfectants, hazardous substances and medicines entering South Africa through its ports, and controls and monitors the possible entering of all serious contagious diseases into the rest of South Africa. These infectious diseases include yellow fever, cholera, plague and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

And nope, the last acronym is not a pun nor my doing.

But the charges for Port Health inspection seem to vary as well. I can’t find a fee structure online but have paid between R300 to R600 just for the release of my parcel. That charge is over and above the SARS customs charges.

How do I avoid customs?

It’s not a hard and fast rule but I recommend you keep your orders under R400 to avoid customs. 90% of the time I order overseas, if I keep my orders under R400, I’m lucky not to pay anything extra but trust me, that 1% can still happen cos I’ve paid R20 customs on a R200 order before lol.

So how much customs will I incur on an order?

Honestly, from my experience, it can be anything. The amount of different scenarios is just too vast to pin it down. You could get lucky and have your parcel handled by someone at customs having a really good day. Your parcel can be released from customs with no charges but still held by Port Health. Your parcel could be slapped with a fee that exceeds your total order price. I’ve seen it all so my advice to you if you want to avoid customs is rather be safe than sorry.

I hope this post was informative and you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a shout.

Happy shopping!

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