Changing hairstyles – a story in pictures

Filed Under (salon, services, shopping malls, style file) by rinnah on 26-07-2013

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After several years, I figure it’s time to give my wonderful stylist the recognition he deserves for making me look awesome each time I go for my haircut.

Not every stylist out there knows how to handle my hair, which is frequently described as being deceptive. It doesn’t look like it, but it is thick and has differing qualities – some strands are thick, most are baby fine, and the occasional odd one out is curly/wavy! Most stylists start off thinking my hair is easy to handle, and then they discover that it’s actually quite a handful. Deceptive appearances, I say. :P

So before I found the one person I trust to handle my hair, I used to bounce from salon to salon in search of a stylist who could manage not only my hair but my high expectations as well.

Enter Sam.

I have to tell you the story of how I found him, because it was totally by chance.

A long, long time ago…
I had gone for a trim at one of those ‘quick-cut’ salons because it was so cheap, and naively asked for a layered cut. Said ‘quick-cut’ salon botched up the job and left me with not a layered cut, but literally a jagged cut with ends that stuck out like a broom. I was *thisclose* to tears when I looked at myself in the mirror.

A desperate girl…
So in desperation, like, 10 minutes after I left that ‘quick-cut’ salon, I walked into Peekaboo at the Curve and told the reception “I want your best stylist who does short hairstyles”. As luck would have it, I was assigned to Sam and I guess I freaked him out at first – new customer sits down in front of him and tells him to chop off her hair in order to rectify the badly botched haircut from the ‘quick-cut’ salon. (I really wonder what he thought that day of this funny customer. Heh.)

Sam saves the day!
In any case, Sam did wonders to save the walking disaster that was the ‘quick-cut’ salon haircut (I couldn’t maintain the length anymore because the original cut was that badly executed) and I determined that this was it, he was THE stylist for me. So it’s been nearly five years since (late 2008 – 2013) and I’ve never even thought of going elsewhere. Such is my total confidence in him that I can confidently tell him to go ahead and cut whatever style he thinks he wants to give me for the season. I’ve never been much attached to the length of my hair and I reckon I’m rather chameleon-like in adapting my style to fit my look of the moment.

You can find Sam (Professional Stylist) at Peekaboo, the Curve

The following is a series rather self-gratuitous series of shots to show how much my hairstyles have varied over the years under Sam’s capable hands. (I realized that I generally prefer myself in shorter hairstyles…) And oh, this is probably the only time you’ll see this many pictures of me floating around on the blog. *wink*

01 Hairstyle Sept 2008
First time with hair that’s above the chin level with a longer, slightly shaggy fringe – very Korean guy’s style

02 Hairstyle Nov 2008
Hair is a bit longer here at the sides but now sporting a short spiky fringe

03 Hairstyle Jan 2009
Trying out blunt cut fringe and a rather bowl-shaped cut – Sam and I mutually agreed it wasn’t very me

04 Hairstyle Feb 2009
Still with the blunt fringe but thinned out for a more wispy look at the sides –more of a Japanese look/feel

05 Hairstyle Oct 2009
Growing out the fringe by reverting to my original left side parting but keeping the chin length cut

06 Hairstyle Feb 2010
Shoulder length and nearly on the level

07 Hairstyle Oct 2010
Going for the ‘tai-tai’ look with a blow-out

08 Hairstyle 2012
Total refresh of image – short boyish style

09 Hairstyle June 2013
And now, growing out the undercut and getting an asymmetrical bob

Which look do you think suits me best? Let me know in the comments!

Signature Hair Treatment with Glitz HairWorkz

Filed Under (haircare, salon, services, treatment) by rinnah on 01-08-2012

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Last week, I was invited to try out the Signature Hair Treatment at Glitz HairWorkz salon at TripleOne Somerset. Feeling in dire need of a pampering session for my hair, I immediately said yes.

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I had no problems at all in locating Glitz Hairworkz in TripleOne Somerset – it’s right next to the escalator. At first sight, the decor is a mix of sleek modern lines of leather with the warming accents of wood.

glitz 03

The moment you’re settled in, Glitz offers you a choice of beverage from a menu – ranging from teas to juice or soda. It was a nice personalized touch, especially when my Earl Grey tea came all nicely presented on a tray. Your comfort is also assured as you slip on a light robe to protect your clothing.

glitz 02

I mentioned to my stylist Kelvin about my ongoing battles with my skin which had recently begun affecting my scalp and hair too, with the appearance of dry flaky bits and my hair turning into a haystack – in both texture and appearance. (The appearance bit is also partly because I’m overdue for a haircut!) He recommended that I try their dandruff treatment, which would address the scalp issues of dryness and flaking and therefore the itching.

The hair treatment is done using products from an Italian brand, Revivre, which is environmentally friendly and only uses the finest organic substances in their products. Interestingly enough, the entire range is oil-based! I can see girls with oily hair/scalp cringing already. Even though I don’t have an oily scalp, the roots of my hair are prone to oiliness that never extends down the rest of my hair. I can tell you right away that no, the treatment did not make my scalp or hair oily at all.

The stylist will apply and massage the treatment into your scalp before letting it sit for a while. Then, it is rinsed off and your hair is shampooed and conditioned. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but the treatment time was slightly over an hour, which was a lovely treat in the middle of the work week after a tiring day at the office.

The best part of the treatment for me was the scents of the entire Revivre range used on me that day. If you’re into aromatherapy, these products will be right up your alley. I loved the scents so much a bottle of the shampoo found its way home with me. :P

glitz 04

I wasn’t expecting miracles from just one treatment, but I can say that my scalp was significantly soothed – the itching was reduced by about 70%, I saw less flakies and I really did feel clean again. You know that clean scalp feeling? Yeah, that one. Treatment is recommended on a twice monthly or monthly basis if you really want to see long-term results. Or you could try the do-it-yourself route at home.

Glitz HairWorkz Signature Hair Treatment is priced at SGD 90.00.

Glitz HairWorkz
111 Somerset Road
#02-18/19/20 TripleOne Somerset
Singapore 238164
Tel : +65-6820 0789
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/Glitz.HairWorkz

Note : The product/service in this post was provided for consideration by the brand itself or a PR firm. This does not affect my review in any way and do refer to my disclosure policy for further details.

Introducing Fabulous Finds – Malaysia’s first Beauty Box subscription service

Filed Under (beauty, bodycare, cleanser, cosmetics, events, lotions, moisturiser, online shopping, powders, services, skincare) by rinnah on 27-06-2012

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If you’ve ever enviously looked on while our beauty blogging sisters in UK, US, Australia and Singapore talked about the beauty box subscriptions available to them, fret no more! Starting from now, Malaysia has its first beauty box in Fabulous Finds.

fabulous finds 01

For just RM35 a month, you’ll get 4 – 5 deluxe beauty samples from high-end and niche brands in a pretty box and delivered to your doorstep via courier.

I was invited to the launch of Fabulous Finds last Saturday and had a preview of the July box. What’s in the box?

As a nail polish hoarder, my first thought on seeing the pretty melon-pink box was, ‘Yes! I can keep more polishes in that box!’ :P because that’s how I’m storing my ever-expanding collection of polishes.

fabulous finds 03

Inside the box we find:

  • Beaubelle Clarity Brightening Cleansing Exfoliator
  • Beaubelle Gorgeous Multi Defence Protection Cream
  • Burt’s Bees Cranberry & Pomegranate Scrub
  • Burt’s Bees Milk & Honey Body Lotion
  • Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturising Cream
  • Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional
  • Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy
  • Lunasol Skin Fusing Powder Foundation
  • Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil

I was quite pleased with the brands represented in the first ever Fabulous Finds box – well known brands do a lot in reassuring me and I like that they were not your average drugstore brand but yet not so high-end so as to make them inaccessbile.

The deluxe beauty samples in the box were pretty decent too, and there was one full sized product in the Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy tube which if you buy retail is about RM25. Also, the Beaubelle products, Benefit’s POREfessional and Lunasol powder were travel-sized.

The subscription point of RM35 is reasonable in my opinion, and not likely to break the bank for a boxful of pretty surprises. I personally like to think of my beauty box subscriptions as little monthly presents to myself for being a good girl. *cough* :P

fabulous finds 02

But you know what really made me like Fabulous Finds? I like that the founder, Hui Ling (that’s her in the picture above), really believes in giving back to the community. Did you know that each box is packed with care by women from disadvantaged backgrounds? This gives them the opportunity to gain employment and supplement their income even though it may not be able to provide them with a full-time income.

I’m really looking forward to see how Fabulous Finds progresses with their subsequent boxes and am more than happy to support a homegrown, local business.

You can subscribe to Fabulous Finds’ July box for just RM35 before 14 July 2012 as the boxes will be mailed out by courier starting 15 July 2012. There are only 180 boxes for July so you’ll need to be quick to reserve your box! Subscribe at the Fabulous Finds website here. Only available to residents of Malaysia.

Buying a prepaid sim card in Hong Kong

Filed Under (mobile phones, services, technology, telecommunications, tips and tricks, travel) by rinnah on 05-04-2012

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During my recent trip to Hong Kong, I needed to have access to data on my smartphone while roaming but I didn’t want to pay expensive roaming charges. (This is what living in a connected world does to you. You feel bereft of something important, like checking Twitter, Facebook, email and blogs. Or having to reply your Draw Something games.) :P

So I did some research on the Internet (doncha just love Google?) and found that it was very easy to get a prepaid sim card in Hong Kong with reasonable data charges. The network provider that I eventually went with was 3 (I think they are located in Australia as well) and it proved to be a good enough choice for the 4 days I was in Hong Kong.

3

Where to buy
You can buy your prepaid sim card from convenience stores (7 Eleven et al) or from mobile shops. I chose to go to the 3 mobile shop located at the airport terminal itself upon arrival. You just have to go up one floor to where the check-in counters are located – both 3 and rival operator CSL have shops there.

3 mobile store
Unit No. 7T038, Level 7, Departure Hall Row G, Hong Kong International Airport

3 shop at HKIA

Which type of sim card to buy
I initially wanted the HSDPA Broadband Access Rechargable starter pack recommended on various travel forums (which is only available at mobile shops), but was rather short on time to explain to the salesperson which starter pack I was looking for – the salespeople will automatically recommend you to take the basic mobile prepaid pack.

The basic mobile prepaid pack costs HKD 98.00 and it’s as easy as pie to pop in the sim card and be instantly connected. Since you’re using a mobile prepaid, naturally you will be able to make local and international calls as well as use data. (Side note : If you are using a tablet device, you may have to point your settings to the correct APN before the device detects the connection.)

Fees and charges
I didn’t really do much research into the call rates so I’m not able to list them on the blog but at the time of my trip (March 2012), the data charges for 3’s network were as follows :

1MB = HKD 2.00
Maximum daily charge = HKD 28.00
Monthly charge = HKD 388.00

Basically, as a tourist you would only need to pay up to HKD 28.00 per day for unlimited usage of data. The usual fair usage throttling only starts after 5GB so you’re basically running around with a free hand on how you use your data. :P

Although I did read some reports online about poor connectivity or coverage by 3’s network, I didn’t experience any problems throughout my trip. In fact, I was highly impressed that even underground in the MTR tunnels, the Hong Kong network gave me far more stability in coverage and faster network speeds compared to Malaysia and Singapore networks.

Top-ups
I did miscalculate the amount of data I had used (dang the fast download speeds that seduce you into using more than you originally planned!) so towards the end of my trip, so I learnt the hard way that 3 will cut off your data once you’re down to HKD 10.00 worth of credit in your prepaid account. You’ll have to top-up to continue enjoying their services.

Nevertheless, top-up is fast and easy – I did mine at a 7 Eleven convenience store. Do take note that the minimum amount to reload is HKD 100.00 so if you foresee that you won’t be using up this amount, you may wish to monitor your data usage accordingly to maximise your credit.

Your prepaid sim card and its corresponding number will be valid for 180 days from the date of your last top-up and if you don’t top-up additional credit within that time frame, whatever balance you have in your account and the number will expire.

All in, I consider buying a prepaid sim card to be a cost effective way of enjoying unrestricted data coverage while you are in Hong Kong (finding free wifi spots are not easy at all!) and would recommend 3’s network to leisure travellers (do note that online forums do not recommend 3 if you are travelling to China or the outskirts of Hong Kong).

Get WAXXX-ed

Filed Under (beauty, services) by rinnah on 20-12-2011

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Take. It. All. Off. Down. There.

That can only mean one thing. A Brazilian wax.

Getting yourself waxed has always been a ‘you gotta try it at least once in your lifetime’ kinda thing to me. But yet, I had no gumption to do it until recently. Never let it be said to my future grandchildren that grandma was too scared to try a Brazilian wax! Also, if those Victoria’s Secret Angels can do it, so can I. Heh.

So one fine day in November, I took myself to WAXXX, a new-ish waxing salon located in Aman Suria. Two things I like about WAXXX’s location : 1) they are relatively near to where I stay and 2) it’s easy to find parking on a weekend.

Welcome to WAXXX

Stepping into WAXXX is like stepping into a different world. They certainly are different from your normal waxing salon as they have a trendy and stylish designer vibe going on.

Interior of WAXXX

After registering, I put myself into the very capable hands of Kelly, co-owner of WAXXX, for my Hollywood (all off) experience (MYR 116.00).

The Hollywood at WAXXX is done using full premium hard wax and they are very professional about it. Instead of scissors (dangerous! could poke your eye out. Haha), WAXXX uses clippers to trim down hair and you get to take home the attachment comb used on you. It’s a nice personalized touch, in my opinion. Also, your therapist will be masked and gloved at all times and there is a strict No Double Dipping policy in place.

Together with my waxing, I also tried out the Depilar treatment (MYR 44.50 per treatment) which is said to inhibit hair growth. WAXXX is the first and only salon in Malaysia currently offering this. The two step treatment is applied to your skin immediately after the waxing is done and it felt very cooling and comfortable.

Depilar System

The whole process was certainly quicker and more painless than I thought it would be. Kelly was very thorough and professional about it, so much so that I didn’t feel inhibited about the experience (except that now come to think of it, it’s a bit funny to be chatting about all sorts of things while someone looks at your privates. LOL).

I was prepared for it but didn’t experience any itching or ingrown hairs a few days after my waxing so that was awesome as well. (I’m not sure if that was due to the Depilar treatment?) In fact, I don’t know why I made such a big deal out of it before!

I plan to go back to WAXXX and get my armpits done when I’m next back in Malaysia. I should think with a full round of Depilar treatment (around 12 – 24 treatments) I can dispense with shaving or waxing for the rest of my life. Imagine the freedom to raise your arms! :P

WAXXX - logo and promotion

If you’d like to experience WAXXX’s excellent services for yourself, first time customers can quote this code “RINNAH50” while making your appointment and get a 50% discount on one body part valued above MYR30.00. This promo code is valid until end February 2012.

Do check out WAXXX’s Facebook page here as well.

WAXXX
J-G-17, Jalan PJU1/43
Aman Suria, Petaling Jaya
47301 Selangor, Malaysia

Opening Hours : 11.00am – 8.00pm, Tuesday to Sunday

Tel : +60 3-7880 5588
Website : http://www.waxxx.me

Read other blogger reviews here :
Connie
Sam (a guy’s take on the Manzilian)

Note : I received this service compliments of the salon for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way and do refer to my disclosure policy for further details.

Disappointed with Shu Uemura’s Mid Valley outlet

Filed Under (beauty, services) by rinnah on 25-09-2011

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I’ve previously written about my good experiences with Shu Uemura’s Brow Atelier here. I whole-heartedly endorse them as the saviours of my uneven brows since 2009 and still do, but a recent experience at the Mid Valley Megamall standalone outlet means that I won’t be going back there (adding on to my blacklist together with the Pavilion standalone outlet).

sad face
Image credit

As far as I’ve been patronizing Shu Uemura, I’ve always had my brows done as a walk-in customer. However, when I dropped by the Mid Valley Megamall outlet last month, I was curtly told by one of the consultants there (don’t know if she was the store supervisor or not, but she was behind the cashier counter) that if I wanted to get my brows done, I should make an appointment in advance and they were not entertaining walk-ins. And this was even though there was only one other customer undergoing the very same service at the time.

Naturally when faced with unhelpful customer service, I always walk away.

It was a different story at my regular Shu Uemura outlet at 1Utama just one week later. I was warmly greeted by the consultant who attended to me very nicely and made me happy by giving me perfect brows. Not one mention was made about the need for an ‘appointment’ first before she would attend to me.

So ladies wanting to try out Shu Uemura’s Brow Atelier services, I will only recommend the standalone outlets at 1Utama and Empire Shopping Gallery for their good customer service.

Lark : The Spa Atelier

Filed Under (beauty, services) by rinnah on 22-09-2011

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Recently, I was feeling sorely in need of a massage session. I had aches and kinks in my head, neck and back that insisted on making itself known to me in various stages of ache-y discomfort. Not being on home turf, I looked around for a decent spa in Singapore that wouldn’t cost me a bomb. Enter Lark : The Spa Atelier.

Lark Spa
Image credit to Lark : The Spa Atelier

What really sold me on choosing Lark Spa was their cutesy website, with all their literary references. There’s even a monthly literary inspired beauty treat – how cute is that? So I booked my appointment for the weekend and off I went.

It’s actually quite easy to get to Lark Spa (another reason why I chose it) from the Novena MRT. Just take Exit B which will take you to the underpass and get you on the right side of the road. From there, it’s just a short 10 minute walk to Hotel Royal, which is where Lark Spa is located.

I have to note that Hotel Royal is not exactly the poshest hotel ever. At the most I would give it a three star rating and even that is really pushing it, based on the ‘old’ feel of the hotel and the lobby/reception area. It reminds me a bit of the Federal Hotel back home in Kuala Lumpur. Also, in the short time I was there, I only saw Chinese nationals staying there, so I would reckon the mainstay of the hotel’s business depends on group tour package bookings.

Hotel atmosphere aside, Lark Spa is located in a teeny nook just off the lobby. Look for the stairs that leads up to the first floor and you’ll find Lark Spa next to it. Lark Spa is essentially a one-therapist operation as they only have one treatment room and a shower room for the hydrotherapy treatment (no toilet though – you’ll have to go outside if you need to use the facilities). So, in other words, it’s tiny and just a little bit cramped for my liking.

Check-in is quick and there’s a simple questionnaire to fill up on the usual – your skin condition and any current products you’re using. If you’re opting for the hydrotherapy treatment, the therapist will discuss with you which types of essential oils will be added to the bath for you. In my case, I was looking for relaxation so I had a blend of lavender, juniper and camomile.

You’re then taken to the treatment room so you can shed your clothes and don a bathrobe before shuffling across the narrow corridor to the shower room. I spent some of my hydrotherapy time wondering how on earth did they manage to get the bathtub in there – it’s that tiny and cramped.

The hydrotherapy basically consists of a shower heater contraption looking thingy that pumps air into the bathtub, forming bubbles that ‘massage’ your body as you sit/lie in the bathtub. There’s a chart hanging on the wall too that shows you the six optimum positions you might want to attempt in order to get the best returns from your hydrotherapy treatment. I personally found that lying on my side and alternating sides seemed to provide the best overall ‘reach’ to allow the bubbles to do its work. The closest description I can think of to describe how this hydrotherapy feels is to imagine yourself in a river with a fairly strong current flowing all around, buffeting your body. Or imagine having a dozen kids surround you and punching you with their tiny fists – you can feel the punch, but it won’t leave a mark.

After 25 minutes of hydrotherapy, I was ready for my full body massage. The therapist used lavender oil for me again, and I pretty much liked her touch. It was firm without being painful and I thoroughly enjoyed my 90 minutes of bliss. The treatment bed is heated for your comfort and I would have fallen asleep if not to the ambient noise – I could hear traffic passing by from the road outside and also whenever my therapist moved around (although bless her, she did try her very best to minimise the disturbances). I also like that the therapist will use hot towels to rub you down each time she finishes off a particular body part or area – I then have less of that oily feeling to deal with later.

Finally, I had a nice cup of tea to finish off my Lark Spa experience, which is apparently part of their Tea Atelier experience. Like the monthly beauty treats, they have limited edition teas to promote each month.

So, the big money question is, will I return to Lark Spa? I might return for the hydrotherapy and have definitely earmarked the massage as a favorite. I may not make it my regular place though and if you’re not comfortable with the ambience/surroundings you might want to give it a pass. A final thing to note – if you don’t speak Mandarin or are not fluent in it like I am, you may encounter some difficulty in communicating with the therapist.

Lark : The Spa Atelier
36 Newton Road
#01-03 Hotel Royal
Singapore 307964

Tel : +65-6356 8750

Website : http://lark-spa.com/

Note : My visit to Lark Spa was using a Groupon deal for 25 minutes of Hydrotherapy and 90 minutes of full body massage.

Energy Day Spa

Filed Under (beauty, services) by rinnah on 05-08-2011

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I’m not really a spa junkie – in fact, I seldom visit spas for facials and such except for massages occasionally. However, I was pretty impressed by the reviews of my fellow bloggers Paris B and Connie that I decided to try out Energy Day Spa.

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Image credit

I chose to go to the branch at Great Eastern Mall on Jalan Ampang, even though the branch at Mont Kiara is nearer my home. Parking is easy to find and cheap too as it only costs MYR 1 per entry on weekends.

Energy Day Spa is located on the top floor of the mall, at a quiet corner but it’s easy to find. Because I had asked for the first appointment of the day, there were no other customers around when I arrived.

I was asked to fill up a simple registration form that just asked some basic questions about my skin (nothing about my current skincare regime) and there was no analysis done by the reception or facialist. Hmm. Whether this is good or bad, I can’t really say. On the one hand, it’s very relaxed, almost laissez faire but on the other hand, as I have uber sensitive skin, it did concern me quite a bit that no analysis or investigation was done before the facial.

I was then taken to the ladies changing room to put on disposable underwear and a huge unisex robe before being sent to ‘cook’ yourself in the steam room for 10 minutes. I did feel that the steam room was rather hot and decided to opt out after a few minutes before I got uncomfortable. So back to the changing room it was again to take a quick reviving shower before lounging about for a bit at their ladies only lounge area.

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Image credit

Now, somehow I was expecting my facial session to be a great deal more relaxing – most times I usually doze off for a minute or two (or more) during my facials and massages. That didn’t happen this time around.

It wasn’t the ambience of the room, because it was nice and dark and quiet. The bed was comfortable too. But I just didn’t fall asleep. Maybe it was too early in the morning for me to doze. Haha.

But I think, most of it had to do with the awfully painful extraction of blackheads/whiteheads done on my nose. When I protested that it hurt, the facialist just dismissed it with a casual, “Your nose is too congested” and carried on like there was no tomorrow. You can bet it hurt because the extraction was so ‘vigorous’ that it left red marks – specific indentations, to be exact – which lasted for the whole day and well into the night (almost 12 hours!), which just goes to show the amount of pressure and force the facialist used. So that was a very big no factor in my opinion.

Leaving that aside, I do like that they are not pushy at Energy. They are so laid back about their sales that I had to go back out to the reception counter and ask for a list of what other treatments and massages they offered. It was almost as if they didn’t care for repeat sales from first-time visitors. If you would like to know more about their services before you go, you can find it at their website here.

What I really liked about this facial was that I walked out with wonderfully glowy skin. It was such a difference from the me that walked in that my mother actually commented on it (red nose aside) and recommended that I should keep on going back to Energy Day Spa.

Would I go back? As long as they keep the extraction bit to the bare minimum, I would definitely go back.

Yes factors : City central location, nice ambience, not pushy with sales, facial shows immediate effect
No factors : No consultation/analysis done for first-time customers prior to facial, painful extraction

Read other blogger reviews here :
Connie
Paris B

Note : I used a Dealmates group deal for a customized facial, neck & shoulder massage and steam bath. The Refreshing Facial – Hydrating that they performed for me normally costs MYR 150.00 alone.

I’m not sure how different the service is for those using a group deal compared to the full fledged service, but here is the only difference I noticed – you are only served with the red date tea after your facial. Blog reviews I read mentioned the tea before and after facials/massages.

Citibank Malaysia’s service is useless for me

Filed Under (branding, customer service, financial, services) by rinnah on 27-07-2011

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I am never banking with Citibank Malaysia ever again. EVER.

I have always had the opinion and expectation that the services of the financial industry are in a way lesser than their counterparts in say, the hotel and tourism industry or the food & beverage industry. I try to be a good customer and stay within the guidelines set out by the banks. However, this recent incident with Citibank Malaysia shows that they consider themselves to be almighty and that their customers are worth nothing to them.

I have been banking with Citibank Malaysia since 2007. First with a savings account and then in 2009, a credit card.

citibank shell visa
Image credit

For reasons only known to themselves, Citibank decides to terminate their existing Citibank Shell Silver Visa (the one above which I have) and forcibly upgrade all of their customers to a Citibank Shell Gold Visa.

I did not request for this upgrade. I was perfectly happy using my existing credit card.

The first inkling I had about this was when a customer service personnel called to ask if I had received my new upgraded credit card. I told her that I had not requested for any upgrade nor had I received any card (I assumed this was one of those things where the bank increases your credit limit and upgrades your card at the same time). She explained about the forced upgrade due to the termination of the Silver card program and the changeover to the Gold card program. I was not keen on this but she assured me that all of my auto-payments would be seamlessly transferred over to the new card. The termination of the Silver card program would take place beginning 30 June 2011.

Doesn’t seem like much problems, right? Here’s where the fun begins.

I repeated again during that same call that I had not received any new credit card. The customer service personnel did some checking and told me that the card had been sent to my address in Cheras. Immediately, I told her that that was not the correct address as I had moved to Kota Damansara in June 2010 and I had also informed Citibank of my change in address back then. Being concerned that the new credit card had been sent to the wrong address where it could be used for fraud, I told the customer service personnel to cancel that card and re-issue a new one using my Kota Damansara address.

Two weeks passed and still no new card was sent to me in Kota Damansara.

I received another call from a different customer service personnel, a guy this time, asking me why I had not yet activated my new credit card. I repeated the story of what had happened previously and he said he would look into the matter.

Fast forward another two weeks. Having received my existing credit card statement, I went to Citibank over the weekend to make my usual payment via my savings account. The existing credit card had been delinked from the savings account, thus I could not make any payment transfer.

So, today I made a call to Citibank’s customer hotline.

I explained the situation to the customer service representative in detail again, stressing that I had not received the new upgraded credit card and that I had asked for it to be re-issued to me at my existing address in Kota Damansara. I was informed that the old/existing credit card had been routinely terminated on 30 June 2011 and there was nothing shown in their system about any new credit card being issued. Apparently my earlier conversation with the first customer service personnel was recorded as ‘customer does not believe the call is genuinely from Citibank’ and the conversation with the second customer service personnel was not recorded at all. There was nothing recorded about the fact that I repeatedly stressed to the personnel who had called earlier on the wrong address and my request for the card to be reissued to my new address. And since the deadline for the termination and upgrade was on 30 June 2011, there was nothing else Citibank would do about this matter. Apparently, if I want to continue to be a Citibank customer, I need to reapply all over again for the credit card as a new customer. So, all the previous years with Citibank are not regarded as customer loyalty?

From my customer’s point of view :
1. I did not ask for this upgraded credit card.
2. I agreed to the upgraded credit card since I have auto-payments billed to the card and I do not want any disruptions to occur.
3. I informed the bank on my change in address way back in June/July 2010. It is not my problem that your system data is not updated and that you have sent the new credit card to the old address.
4. When I was told that the card was sent to the old address, I informed not one, but two different personnel that the address is wrong and for the card to be reissued to the new address.
5. Since I have already informed the bank of the mistake that has happened, I expect the bank to rectify this without further inconveniencing their customer.

Citibank, your customer service personnel (I will not name names since all of your staff seem to be trained along the same lines) are the most self-righteous I have ever met. Every single one of them insincerely parroted the line, “Miss, I am so sorry for your experience, BUT (insert reason why it is not Citibank’s fault this incident has occurred)…” They did not even listen to what I was trying to tell them about the chronology of events above. Instead, they kept on interrupting me with the same parroted line above.

Frustrated, I asked each one of them what they are going to do to rectify this matter. All gave the same canned response that nothing can be done already since the deadline for the forced upgrade has passed. None of them were interested in helping me solve this matter. They only wanted to make sure that they recorded this incident as ‘not my (Citibank’s) fault’.

The end result of 6 different phone calls with 4 different staff are :
1. Citibank did not update their system data when I changed my address in June/July 2010 as my primary address is still shown to be the Cheras address.
2. Citibank already issued the notification on the Silver card termination on multiple occasions (in February 2011, May 2011 and the new credit card in June 2011) to the wrong address.
3. Since the termination deadline expired on 30 June 2011, there is nothing else they can do in the system to reissue the credit card.
4. If I want to continue using Citibank, I will need to reapply all over again for a new credit card and undergo the normal waiting and approval process.

Note that nowhere during all the multiple calls with Citibank’s staff did they offer to update my address even after I told them repeatedly it is the wrong address as I no longer live in Cheras.

How’s that for customer service?

Needless to say, I will be closing my accounts with Citibank Malaysia at the earliest possible date I can return to Malaysia and do so. I’d rather have the inconvenience of switching around all my auto-billing than to continue with this bank that does not do anything for me.

I’ll take my business elsewhere – where hopefully it will be appreciated better and with less hassle.

Apronbay : Brow + Waxing Destination

Filed Under (beauty, events, services) by rinnah on 22-10-2010

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Earlier this month I was invited to check out Apronbay, which touts itself as the first beauty boutique with an air travel concept in Malaysia. Intriguing, yes? I thought so too.

Apronbay logo

The whole idea behind Apronbay was dreamed up by Ashley Loong and her friend – a beauty salon with an exciting, fresh concept and superior customer service. I particularly like their travel themed concept with different destinations. It’s kinda like ‘Now everyone can go places even while you’re getting your brows or other parts done’. Teehee.

This is a super heavy picture intensive post, so if you want to know more, keep on reading after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

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