REVIEW: VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX Awakening Lipsticks – #102 Triple Berry & #104 Triple Swag

Hello everyone!

I’m in the mood for Korean makeup today, so let’s take a short breather from western beauty products, shall we?

As a K-beauty rookie, there is honestly no better place to buy Korean cosmetics than from their country of origin itself. Even though the prices between the products in South Korea and Singapore may only differ by a few Sing dollars (so I don’t feel much of a pinch if I end up not liking the product), the latter does not necessarily get to enjoy the latest offerings at the same time as the South Koreans do. Some took months (e.g. The Face Shop X Disney) to appear on our shelves, whereas a handful (e.g. Tony Mony X Pokémon) never made it. On top of that, there are also brands (e.g. HERA) that are not available here in Singapore. Hence, I made it a point to visit the shopping districts during my first trip to Seoul last July and while at the Myeongdong branch of Lotte Department Store, I chanced upon the VDL booth which had their displays and products all tied to a summer theme they named Awakening.

VDL Awakening collection for Summer 2016

VDL Awakening collection for Summer 2016

For the uninitiated, VDL (Violet Dream Luminous – whatever that means..) is an international cosmetic brand founded by South Korean corporate giant LG – or more precisely The Color Lab, a carve-out of their household and health care unit – in 2012. Since landing on Singapore’s shores in 2013 with their first outlet at Suntec City, it has grown to 5 islandwide, including 2 at heartland malls. But despite the relatively widespread availability here, it was only during this work trip (shout-out to BLS Korea for the wonderful opportunity 👄 More on this another day) that thrust me out of my comfort zone to give this brand a try.

You see, Korean beauty products have been taking the world by storm, so much so that countless Korean cosmetic brands (with dubious-sounding and grammatically incorrect English names, no less) have emerged out of nowhere the past few years, seemingly riding on the coattails of the Hallyu phenomenon. No doubt, that got me a little sceptical about the quality of the products (and also a small part of me had refused to jump on the bandwagon). There were, of course, prominent brands which have been in existence long enough to be considered reliable in my book. But as a newcomer in the market, VDL was certainly far from that. Still, I don’t shut myself out from new or unknown brands so long as they don’t cost an arm and leg and are safe to use (especially on sensitive skin like mine).

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) Lipsticks

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) Lipsticks

In case you haven’t noticed, single-colour lipsticks are so yesterday.

Multiple-tone lipsticks has been all the rage recently, thanks to the obsession with ombré lips. The craze is understandable – after all, it reduced what was traditionally a three-step technique to a single swipe and the effect is a gorgeous just-bitten look! Clearly, it is such a big hit with the Koreans (and in fact, the rest of the world) that virtually every Korean beauty brand has its own permanent line of two or three-tone lipsticks. VDL, for one, has its own range of three-tone lipsticks known as Tint Bar Triple Shot.

Available in 6 juicy colours (#102 Triple Berry / #103 Triple Fuchsia / #104 Triple Swag / #503 Triple Cherry / #504 Triple Scarlet / #602 Triple Orange) from this Awakening collection, these three-tone lipsticks are a tint, lip-balm and base in one which promise a “perfect gradation and more vivid colouring with a single touch”. Each of them features a main, sub and base colour and smells like candy/bubblegum.

1. Main Colour
Enriched with Royal Jelly extract, this colour layer brightly stains lips as it moisturizes, preventing drying and chapping.

2. Sub Colour
This lightly tinted balm conditions and seamlessly blends colour into your lips for a natural, gradient effect.

3. Base Colour
This lip base naturally blends the lip line with your original skin tone and evens out and nourishes discoloured, dry lips into a smooth, even base. The base prevents feathering and creates a purer, lasting colour effect.

(Source)

Before moving on with the reviews, I would like to comment a little on the packaging, which is pretty much similar to those in the regular line. VDL never came across as a budget makeup brand… until I saw the packaging of Tint Bar Triple Shot – white, brittle frosted plastic material with a chunky appearance to boot. Seriously? It feels as cheap as it looks, not forgetting it is also ugly. On top of that, I have to be really gentle with the lipstick or the body of the tube would easily detach from the reflective base when I twist up the bullet. The quality of the packaging is, to say the least, poor, and I’m sure most drugstore makeup brands make better packaging than this. To think VDL is owned by a multinational conglomerate corporation, I find this highly unacceptable..

Anyhow, after spending a couple of minutes swatching and contemplating on what to get at the booth, I picked up two of the Tint Bar Triple Shot lipsticks and was given a free mini ceramic hair straightener 😮 One perk of shopping directly in brick-and-mortar stores in South Korea is that you will mostly likely receive a truckload of freebies and samples in return for your purchase, regardless of how small it is. Love the generosity of the South Korean retailers! It’s also a perfect excuse to return 😜

#102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry (18,000 KRW)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry (18,000 KRW)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry

There are several ways to use these triple-tone lipsticks. Depending on your preference, you may apply the base colour on the outer lip line and main colour on the inner, and glide it sideways along lips to create the standard gradient lips. Otherwise, you can also place all three sections of the lipstick vertically on the lips and glide it sideways to achieve a milky effect. I prefer the intensity of the gradient to increase as it spans outward (i.e. western style) because the colours look fuller and more pronounced on me that way. But I will update this post with additional pictures if I decide to do the Korean way. Perhaps.. tomorrow 😉 just added!

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry (Korean style)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry (Korean style)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry (Korean style)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #102 Triple Berry (Korean style)

Triple Berry consists of mainly low-contrast soft pinks/corals and so you need to exert right amount of pressure (on the darker pink, for instance) to show the clear distinction between the colours. It has an oily texture which enables it to work very smoothly across the lips and keep the lips feeling moisturised. On the downside, it is not very long-lasting and since the base colour only acts as a conditioning agent, it does not contain any pigment. Although it has a pretty even colour consistency (with minimal skipping), it requires several applications for the main and sub colours to be reasonably opaque. Still, Triple Berry lends a nice twist to conventional pink lipsticks and is a gorgeous everyday lip colour to wear for any occasion.

VDL #102 Triple Berry compared with Laneige Two-Tone Lip Bar in #6 Pink Step

VDL #102 Triple Berry compared with Laneige Two-Tone Lip Bar in #6 Pink Step

#104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag (18,000 KRW)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag (18,000 KRW)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag

I had bought Triple Swag with the expectation that it would give an ombré of the three depicted colours (because somehow I did not swatch this before buying), but only to realise later on that there is zilch colour payoff from its base colour. How disappointing ☹

Similarly, Triple Swag goes on slick and more opaque (as compared to Triple Berry) with a slight sheen to it. It has an emollient and lightweight texture but the greasiness can be a little too much to bear, which also causes the lipstick to wear off very easily. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a two-tone lipstick with a starker colour contrast, this is it. It has hot pink as the main colour and bright warm orange as the sub – almost like the colours of sunset and the combination looks absolutely unique and stunning. That said, it would require more effort to blend the harsh lines, and I think this shows up more prominently against fair skin tones.

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag (Korean style)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag (Korean style)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag (Korean style)

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot EX (Awakening) in #104 Triple Swag (Korean style)

VDL #104 Triple Swag compared with similar-looking Laneige Two-Tone Lip Bar shades

VDL #104 Triple Swag compared with similar-looking Laneige Two-Tone Lip Bar shades

Having already used these multiple-tone lipsticks, I kinda understand the hype around them now. Contrary to the strong and heavily pigmented lip colours made by western beauty brands, these lipsticks give a softer touch to our delicate Asian features while exuding a feminine and sweet vibe. However, I wouldn’t consider any of these VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot lipsticks three-tone since only two of the three colours show up on my lips. I feel a bit cheated.. 😣

What are your thoughts on them? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

VDL Tint Bar Triple Shot is available in local VDL outlets in limited shades for 18,000 KRW / S$24 each. the EX Awakening series has been discontinued but you may be able to find the products in reseller markets.

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Chicken Up @ Tanjong Pagar Road

Hey everyone!

Beyond the towering commercial buildings in one of Singapore’s busiest districts lies a row of bustling shophouses, just a stone’s throw away from the nearest MRT station. As I trotted down the stretch of shops that led to my destination, I saw restaurants, convenience stores and bridal boutiques with Hangul characters prominently displayed on their shopfront. Ashamed, it was then I realised that my head had been in the clouds for most of my life.

There is a little Koreatown at Tanjong Pagar that I didn’t know of!

Crowds typically centered around the food establishments along Tanjong Pagar Road like 2D1N Soju Bang (known for its Korean BBQ) in the past. But lately, people have been flocking to its neighbour Chicken Up instead because of all the media attention it had received for its soy fried chicken. Regarded as one of the best places for soy fried chicken in Singapore, it has become so popular that the waiting time to get seated especially on weekends can be in the hours. Even so, everyone else in line appeared to be unfazed by the long wait when boyfriend and I were there last month for a dinner get-together with a few of his ex-colleagues. People were either milling around or chatting heartily with one another to kill time.

Chicken Up, Tanjong Pagar Road

Chicken Up, Tanjong Pagar Road

But not for us. Despite helping ourselves to the free flow of iced water at the outdoor waiting area for the past two hours, we still couldn’t keep our hunger at bay. We spotted many uncleared tables near the entrance which could suggest the shortage of manpower faced by the restaurant. Perhaps that also explains why the waiting list wasn’t moving along as fast as it’s supposed to be.

The long and dreading wait aside, the food there was pretty damn good! Those food critics really weren’t lying when they say that it’s better than most Korean-style fast-food restaurants (yes, even 4Fingers) out there.

Watermelon Soju

Watermelon Soju

All Sojus (cocktails) are meant for sharing hence they are served in jugs. This was a friend’s order but I managed to take a small sip. Personally, I’m not a fan of traditional Soju (dislike it as much as Vodka because they pretty much taste the same to me, equally awful) but this didn’t leave me grimacing in disgust. Probably due to the fact that it was blended with real watermelon juice, the overall taste wasn’t as strong and repulsive. It was a refreshing combination with a hint of sweetness.

Bong Bong Grape Juice

Bong Bong Grape Juice – a great thirst quencher that is not too sweet

Kimchi Fries

Kimchi Fries

Kimchi Fries

Kimchi Fries

Whoever came up with this fusion food is a pure genius. It never once crossed my mind that Kimchi would complement so well with fries. To top it off, it also comes with cheese! All the flavours combined to leave a unique yet delicious and memorable aftertaste (I’m almost salivating as I’m typing this). The fries would be soggy after awhile because of the cheese and Kimchi but trust me, that’s when the fries get tastier. If you’re a huge Kimchi lover, you have to order this when you’re at Chicken Up.

Crispy Up (Normal Fried Chicken)

Crispy Up (Normal Fried Chicken)

I didn’t really scrutinise the menu because we left our orders to the discretion of someone in our group who had dined there before. But I presumed there were at least 2 different flavours for their fried chicken like any other Korean restaurants. To my surprise, they actually serve conventional fried chicken as well. Although the batter was crispier, thicker and better than normal standards, the overall taste was just mediocre and the smell wasn’t as aromatic as the other flavours. Also, if you’re intending to order this and the other flavours as well, do not, I repeat, do not eat the flavoured ones (Soya and Spicy) before this or it will taste absolutely bland and insipid and you will lose all interest in finishing the basket of deep-fried chicken.

Ganjang Up (Soya Fried Chicken)

Ganjang Up (Soya Fried Chicken)

Ganjang Up (Soya Fried Chicken)

Ganjang Up (Soya Fried Chicken)

This highly sought-after fried chicken was the highlight of the meal and also what propelled Chicken Up to the top of food critics’ list. The consistency of the seasoning was commendable – every part of the batter was moist with Korean soy sauce while still maintaining its crispiness. Just look at those glistening golden hued skin that was fried to perfection. Rivulets of the oil flavoured with soy sauce transferred to the tender flesh as I sank my teeth into it, making the entire piece of chicken ever juicier. It was the best soy fried chicken I’ve had in my life.

Spicy Yangnyum Up (Spicy Fried Chicken)

Spicy Yangnyum Up (Spicy Fried Chicken)

Another hot favourite that night was the spicy fried chicken laced with chopped scallion, sesame seeds and piquant sweet chilli sauce which heavenly smell wafted into my nose with every bite. Mmmm.. it was so finger-lickin’ good! The level of spiciness is subjective. I have relatively high tolerance for spicy food (so much so that I could finish a cup of 70g Samyang Buldak Bokkeum Myun on my own without water hehe) so I didn’t really find the chicken spicy (like maybe a 3 on the scale of 1-10). My boyfriend on the other hand had to down a full cup of water after eating 1 or 2 pieces to cool his tongue.

Watermelon balls

Complimentary Watermelon Balls

Just moments before we footed the bill, one of the service staff handed us a bowl of juicy watermelon balls freshly carved from the fruit. Initially, we thought they had given it to the wrong table but then we realised it was indeed for us, free-of-charge, perhaps as a little form of compensation for the long wait. We were pleasantly surprised by the restaurant’s kind gesture 🙂 If I’m not wrong, the watermelon balls are the same ones found on the Watermelon Bingsu.

Apart from this Tanjong Pagar outlet, Chicken Up can also be found at Tampines, Bugis, Jurong East (opening soon-yay!) and my alma mater, Singapore Polytechnic. -_- Dammit, first Llao Llao, now this. Good things seem to come to Singapore Poly only after I graduated from that school. Lucky juniors!

But anyway, I’m glad there are outlets elsewhere because I find the Tanjong Pagar outlet rather inconvenient as a non-driver and the crowd there can be really crazy at times (though I’m not sure if it’s the same for other outlets ‘coz I haven’t been to any yet). If you’re planning to walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station, it will take you about 10 to 15 minutes – ideal if you like walking as a workout but a terrible idea if you’re starving.

And that’s about it, guys!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Chicken Up @ Tanjong Pagar
48 Tanjong Pagar Road
#01-01
Singapore 088469
Tel: 6327 1203
Mon to Thur 5.30pm – 2.00am
Fri & Sat: 5.30pm – 3.00am
Sun: 5.30pm – 12.00am
Website | Facebook | Outlets

6 Flavours Korean BBQ & Steamboat @ NTU Alumni

Hey, how’s everyone’s Monday goin’?

Mom’s at it again. It seems like browsing Groupon has become part of her daily routine! Today, she bought vouchers to dine at a Korean BBQ restaurant for the entire family. The voucher entitled us to free-flow of meat for steamboat and a la carte BBQ dishes, and a jug of soft drink. I think it was my fifth steamboat in 3 months.. I really feel that I’ve been putting on lotsa weight from all the binging.

The 59-day-old restaurant is tucked in the corner on the 8th level of the already-very-inaccessible (if you’re not driving) NTU Alumni Club at one-north. Despite its short tenure, it could still maintain a full book even on a quiet Monday. Besides placing an ad on Groupon, I guess occupying the unit opposite Teo Heng KTV probably plays a part in attracting customers too. However as far as I can remember, there wasn’t any signboard displayed prominently at the entrance. The only clue to the presence of the 6 Flavours was the menu display stand wedged between the door and the level directory, which once again wasn’t very noticeable. Also, I’m not sure why “6 Flavours” but I reckon that it has got something to do with the Korean cuisine? Like “palsaik”, which means eight colours in Korean, actually refers to the 8 different flavours of pork. But I’m no Korean pro, so I’m really not sure. Nothing on the menu suggested anything to be in 6 different flavours too so I guess it’s just another random name.

There is an entertainment corner in the restaurant where you can find a karaoke system and plenty of video games. When we were there this evening, a group of people were already occupying that space. They looked like they were really enjoying themselves!

Now back to the food. Despite 6 Flavours being a “BBQ and Steamboat Restaurant”, you would only be given a hotpot. Without a BBQ hot plate, you won’t get to barbecue your own food. But on a brighter note, the food would be cooked up and served to you and you won’t leave the restaurant smelling like a BBQ dish.

Let’s move on to the food selection..

6flavours-7

Raw food for your steamboat

6flavours-5

Veggieeeees

6flavours-6

Condiments

Not a very wide spread but the freshness of the food makes up for it.

6flavours-8

Soup base. There were chicken and ma-la options. We went with chicken! Mom commented that it was a little salty but I thought it was fine.

6flavours-4

Chicken and beef

6flavours-3

BBQ Chicken. The sauce is really not bad! I actually prefer this to the beef and that’s a biggie because I always prefer the latter!

6flavours-1

BBQ Pork. I’m not sure why we were served pork because I don’t remember ordering it in the first place. I wanted mutton but they didn’t think that it was a good idea to barbecue it so…

6flavours-10

Oh man, sorry for the bad quality but I guess it doesn’t make much difference. The beef was reeeeally dry, even drier when chewing it. It actually had potential because the seasoning was quite nice!

6flavours-2

Bibimbap (beef). It’s some sort of a mixed rice dish served in a stone pot. Reminded me of Pepper Lunch haha. Serving was quite generous for something that’s included in the Groupon deal. Taste wise, picture says it all. Yummy!

After ordering two bowls of Bibimbap, my folks who have a huge appetite wanted to get themselves Egg Fried Rice. Unfortunately, the request was denied because the restaurant didn’t have enough rice to prepare them, leaving my parents a little disappointed.

6flavours-9

I found another hoarder! These are the number of (empty) gas canisters collected by the restaurant.

All in all, the food, albeit with lesser variety, was pretty good and fresh. I like that I didn’t have to barbecue the food myself because getting rid of the lingering smell on my hair and fingers can be really bothersome. Price wise, I feel that it is more worthwhile to dine with vouchers (which are inclusive of everything, even service charge). The staff were commendable for they were nice and patient (to my grumpy Dad especially, because he wanted rice which had ran out).

Due to the inconvenience of the location (you have to climb up a slope after a good 15-20 minute walk from Buona Vista MRT station), I may not be returning anytime soon. But if transport is not an issue for you, this restaurant is worth a visit.

Thanks for reading! ❤

6 Flavours Korean BBQ & Steamboat
11 Slim Barracks Rise
NTU Alumni Club
#08-02
Singapore 138664
Tel: 6777 7945 | Facebook
Opens daily from 12:00pm – 3:00pm and 5:00pm – 11:00pm