Wednesday, December 25, 2013

[Review] Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel

Photo By: Elin Chow

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel - I got this product when I visited Korea 2 months back. I must say this is a very good yet affordable product which I really regretted for not getting more.

What Nature Republic Says

- Its made of 92% Aloe Vera from Jeju island.
- Gently soothe sensitive skin caused by harmful environment
- Can be easily absorbed into skin due to its cooling and light texture
- Reduces skin stress, thus creating a healthy skin
- Improves elasticity of the skin

Benefits of Aloe Vera on skin

So what is all the rave about Aloe Vera and why is it widely use as a common ingredients in many of the cosmetic, skin and hair care products today?

Ancient Egyptians called the Aloe Vera plant as the "plant of immortality".

1. Healing properties

Aloe Vera has been widely used for medicinal purposes since the ancient Egyptian times, especially in treating sunburns. Due to its well-known healing and anti- inflammatory properties,  it is often used to relieve pains caused by burns, abrasions, psoriasis, acne, eczema and even bug bites.

In addition, the ability in Aloe Vera to reduce skin inflammations and itchiness also helps the skin to heal more quickly and naturally with minimal scarring.

2. Hydration

Aloe Vera  has an over 99% water content which helps to provide intense hydration without leaving a greasy or sticky feel on your skin. Apart from these, Aloe Vera  also contains an excessive amount of vitamins and antioxidants which are effective in improving the skin's firmness, thus creating a more healthy and youthful looking skin.

In another word, Aloe vera is a natural approach to ageless skin!!!

Benefits of Aloe Vera on hair

However, not only on skin, records has also indicated that the ancient Egyptians used Aloe Vera on their hair as well. This tradition has since been passed down to us due to the following benefits.

1. Hair conditioner

Aloe Vera acts as a very good hair conditioner which helps to moisturize and provide stronger and shiny hair. Researches has shown that Aloe Vera contains enzymes that promotes healthy hair growth. It also helps to reduce redness, itchiness and inflammation on the scalp. Due to its anti-fungal properties, it is also said to aid in reducing the amount of dandruff as well.

What I like About This Product

1. Intense hydration

With this product claiming to be 92% made up of pure natural Aloe Vera, it does provide very intense hydration to my skin. My skin feels very smooth and soft after each application.

I would say this product is suitable for all skin types. However, I will strongly recommend this for people with dry and flaky skin problems as Aloe Vera has traditionally being a popular remedy used to treat these conditions. So for people who suffered from dry skin, you might wish to give this product a try.

2. Texture and smell

The Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel comes as a translucent water-base gel, which can be easily absorbed by my skin. The gel itself feels light and does not leave an oily or sticky feel on my skin after application. I think this is hugely due to its high water base content.

Smell wise, it is very pleasant and fresh. This product has a very strong Aloe Vera smell that is very similar to a fresh Aloe Vera.

3. Packaging and Price

This product is packaged in a green plastic container, containing 300g of Aloe Vera gel at a very affordable price. I have forgotten how much I actually paid for this. However, I am pretty sure that this product does not cost more than Rm 15.  So if anyone of you is looking for a new daily moisturizer, I think it is very worthwhile to give this product a try. I believe the Aloe Aqua Soothing Gel will not disappoint you.

Ways To Use

1. As daily moisturizer

For me, I use this product on every part of my body except my face and hair. The reason being I am actually very particular about what goes on my face and hair. I actually have a range of facial and haircare products I am loyally sticking to everyday. This is why I never use products for my face on my body and likewise the other way round.

2. As hair conditioner

For people who would like to explore, I suggest using this as a hair conditioner. It might bring you an unexpected effect since Aloe Vera has been traditionally used as a hair moisturizer to create shiny and healthier hair.

However, I suggest avoiding the scalp if you have sensitive or oily scalp. I used to apply fresh natural Aloe Vera directly on my scalp a few years back. This is because I was taught by my mum that Aloe Vera is effective in slowing down sebum production on my oily scalp, thus reducing dandruff. I deeply believe that this would be a solution to solve my long-term scalp problems. However, it worsen my scalp condition. My scalp became much more oily than before. Spots of redness started to appear on my scalp which caused me unbearable itchiness even after I washed my hair. Eventually I stopped using Aloe Vera on my scalp. Currently now, I have found another way to treat oily scalp. I will do a post on that much later on.

3. As pain relievers against sunburns

Given the cooling and soothing texture of the Aloe Aqua Soothing Gel, the product itself acts as a very good pain reliever for sunburns. The gel may be a very effective preventive shield against the UV rays as well. However, please note that this will not be sufficient as compared to other sunblock products in the market.

4. After shave for men

For men, you might wish to apply some of the gel after shaving every morning.  Due to its healing and soothing nature, the gel might be able to treat some small cuts and irritations caused by shaving.

What I Dislike About This Product

If I really have to say something bad about this product, it will be the the huge packaging which makes it inconvenient when traveling. Apart from this, there is nothing else that is of a big issue to me.

Available In Many Other Korean Brands

Aloe Aqua Soothing Gel is actually one of the popular product in the recent years, with many other Korean brands launching a similar product. Among them, I believe the most well-known one will be by Nature Republic. I can typically find and purchase the Nature Republic Aloe Aqua soothing gel everywhere I am in Seoul. But do not worry if you could not get Nature Repulic brand products in your country. You could still purchase a similar product from other Korean brands as well.

Although the Aloe Aqua Soothing Gel is easily accessible, I have not been able to restock another container of it since I finished it a month ago. Unlike in Singapore, I find online shopping not as convenient in Malaysia. Its probably because I have little confidence in the postage and shipping companies here. In addition, most of the website I visited do not offer online payment mode (via Debit/Credit card) when I made a purchase. Due to all these reasons, I have switched back to my usual Nivea moisturizer which can be purchased easily at any drugstores and shopping malls.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Marrying A Malaysian Part 2 : Obtaining a Long term Social Visit Pass (Spouse Pass) Malaysia

Hey everyone! Sorry for the long absence. For the past 2 months, I have been busy settling down and adapting my new life in Kuala Lumpur (K.L), Malaysia. I promised I will be back with my regular posts from now on. If anyone of us wish to read about certain topic or issue, please drop me a comment or email. I will be very happy to research and write about it.

Okay, back to the post, as I have mentioned in one of my previous post, Marrying A Malaysia Part 1, I have legally registered my marriage to my Malaysian husband in K.L back in September. Currently, I am residing in K.L on a one year long term social visit pass (LTSVP), previously known as the spouse pass. Apart from that, another good news is I have also managed to secure a stable job in this entirely new city after having my work endorsement application granted by the Immigration Office.

As such, similar as before, I am documenting my experience in preparing all the necessary documents here for people who are in the same situation as me. Hopefully, I will be able to guide you through the whole complicated process in obtaining a LTSVP in order to reside and work permanently in Malaysia.

So why do you apply for a LTSVP, but not a permanent resident (PR)? This is due to the immigration laws of Malaysia. Different from Singapore or many other countries, a foreign spouse can only start applying for PR status after holding a LTSP for at least 5 years. Of course, he/she must remain be legally married to a Malaysia citizen in order to apply for a LTSVP.

Compared to those foreign spouses who married Malaysian many years ago, I must say I am a very lucky one. Thanks to the various changes made in the immigration laws in 2010, the application process has now be simplified and straightforward.

The LTSVP application must be submitted at any state immigration office, "Pass and Permit division".  In my case,  I did my application at the Jalan Duta office. The entire process will take a week to complete.

However, before you proceed to any state immigration office, I suggest having the documents listed below prepared to prevent a wasted trip.

1. Original and copy of Mykad of Malaysian spouse (all pages) - 2 copies

2. Original and copy of passport of foreign spouse (all pages) - 2 copies

3. 2 passport photo of Malaysian spouse

4. 2 passport photo of foreign spouse

5. 4R size wedding photo
You will need to paste your wedding photo in the center of a piece of A4 plain paper.

6. Original and copy of marriage certificate (Malaysia or foreign if married overseas)
If you have registered your marriage overseas, there are extra steps to complete before you could proceed for the LTSVP application.

7. Form Imm 12, Form Imm 55 & Form Imm 38 (2 copies each)
These forms cannot be downloaded online. Please Q up at the reception desk at the "Pass and Permit division" to get the forms from the immigration officer.

However, for me, Form Imm 55 is not required for me. This is for people who need to ask for a visa extension to remain in Malaysia while waiting for their LTSVP to be approved.

Once you have gotten the form from the officer at the reception desk, please fill them up accordingly. The forms are in Bahasa Malayu. For LTSVP application, I will really recommend for the Malaysian spouse to tag along during the whole process.

After you filled up the forms, please proceed to the Commissioner of Oaths office. There is one located at the ground floor in the Jalan Duta Office. Pass them the forms for them to do some stamping. This will cost you RM10. In the case where you do not know how to fill in some parts of the form, please do not worry. The officers at the Commissioner of Oaths office will be able to help you to complete them at a fee. If I did not remember wrongly, it cost another RM10.

After having everything above completed, please proceed back to the "Pass and Permit division". Get a number ticket from the reception desk. Submit all the documents to the immigration officer once your number is called. You will be given a receipt and ask to go back again a week later.

You are required to pay an amount as security bond before collecting your LTSP. The amount varies depending on your country of origin. You could refer here for the rate.

Normally, the initial LTSVP will run from 6 months to a year depending which country you are from. In the case for Singaporean, I am granted with a initial LTSVP of a year.

Work endorsement

For foreign spouses who wish to work or who has already found a job, please prepare the following documents listed below for your work endorsement application. The application itself should be simple and fast. In addition, it is free of charge.
1. Passport of foreign spouse (original & copy)

2. IC of Malaysian spouse (original & copy)

3. Resume/CV

4. Job offer letter

5. Stamped employment contract (Stamp Duty 10RM)
Please get your employment contract stamped at the Income Tax Office. The stamping will cost you RM 10. However, I paid RM 30 to the officer at the Commissioner of Oath office to have them bring the document to the Income Tax office for me.

6.Company forms 9, 24 & 49
To be provided by your employer

7. Company License
For certain industry only. I am not sure which industry required this. Please check.

8. Letter of application
Get this from the officer from the reception desk at the "Pass and Permit division".

9. Letter from husband if Malaysian citizen is male to allow female spouse to work
I simply typed a letter out and got my husband to sign on it.

The work endorsement application can be submitted together with your LTSVP application if ou have already found a job or after your LTSVP application has been approved. The whole process will take you only 3 working days.

So far, working in Malaysia is not bad thing for me. However, for foreign spouses who wish to be employed, there are a few things to note:

1. Paper qualifications are quite important and crucial in securing a well paying job. However, it is not as important as compared to Singapore.

2. For those who managed to get employed, please be prepared that 26% of your monthly income will be taxed. According to the taxation laws in Malaysia, foreigners will only become a tax resident after he/she has continously reside in the country for more than 183 days.

Having live in Singapore, which I believe has one of the lowest tax rate in the world for all my life, this came as a big surprise for me. However, I could only silently accept this and pray that time will pass faster.

3. You might face a lot of problems while looking for a job due to visa issues. As most of the employers are still unfamilar with the LTSVP, they might be reluctant to even offer you a chance for an interview. My only advice is not to give up on hope and keep applying for as many jobs as possible. Explain to the employers if they asked about the LTSVP and convince them that you have no problems in getting employed.

This post is solely based on my experience. The approval of your LTSVP is subjected to the immigration office. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a comment here. I will try my best to help you.

For foreign spouse who plans to marry and reside in Malaysia on a long term basis, you may wish to learn more about the following topics too. If you are interested to know how to:

1. Register your marriage in MalaysiaMarrying A Malaysia Part 1

2. Extend your LTSVP and work endorsement: Marrying A Malaysian Part 3: How To Extend Long Term Social Visit Pass (Spouse Pass)

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!