Gold Fever Hair Extensions Review; Keratin Bond Extensions; Before & After

If you follow my social media, particularly Instagram (@kayleighjcouture), you may have seen me raving about my GoldFever hair extensions. I had them fitted almost three months ago now so today I want to share my thoughts on them in case you guys are considering bonded hair extensions yourself. I was going to review them as soon as I had them fitted but I think having lived with them for almost 12 weeks now, it has given me a much better idea of their overall quality and how they hold up over time with daily styling, trips abroad and being washed regularly. Let's face it, most extensions look great when they're first fitted but it often isn't a true representation of how they'll look months down the line. 

I've been wearing extensions in some form for over 10 years now and have had some interesting experiences to say they least. From dodgy market stall buys to micro ring disasters and clip in wefts, I've pretty much tried every form of hair and extensions going. I think thick hair is something most women long for - the kind that bounces and swishes when you walk, like the glamorous actresses in Hollywood movies. For me, my hair is a major comfort blanket and I don't feel like myself unless it's looking it's best and is full of volume. Some of you reading this are probably blessed to have naturally thick long hair (if you are, I'm very jealous) but for the rest of us, extensions are the only way to create that look. To be honest, I've always been lucky in the sense my natural hair is fairly long and has a nice natural wave but as I've got older, I've found it's lost its fullness and can look pretty thin and lifeless in its au natural form! That's why I like to wear extensions - not for length but for extra volume.

As I said, I've tried every form of extensions going and I was just about ready to give up on trying any more (due to always being disappointed and wasting money) when my friend Kerry told me about her hairdresser Becca. I've recently moved to a new area so didn't have a clue where to go and get my hair done until Kerry told me how great Becca is and that I should have a look at her Instagram (@hairbybeccan). As soon as I had a look, I was blown away by her before and after photos. As well as being a colourist, she also specialises in extensions so I knew I had to go and see her to see what kind of extensions she'd recommend for me. I booked my appointment and told her all about my previous disasters - the most recent being some bonded Balmain extensions that started to fall out and go disgustingly matted after only one weeks wear. I was so disappointed and angry that I'd wasted my money and was almost convinced that bonded extensions were a huge con and not worth the hundreds of pounds they cost.

However, Becca assured me that the experiences I've had in the past are not normal and that I'd clearly been given bad quality hair or had them fitted incorrectly. She told me that her clients wear their extensions for six months or more and they're mostly always in the same condition as the day they were fitted when they come back to get them removed. She uses various brands of hair on her clients but told me that Gold Fever was her current favourite and the one she'd recommend me to go for. I'd personally never heard of the brand before and that can sometimes put me off but I did my research and after reading multiple rave reviews, I was sold. I couldn't find one bad review about them online and every single before and after photo I saw had me amazed - the hair is so thick from root to tip and looks completely natural.

With this being said, I booked my appointment. In the lead up to getting them done, my only concerns were if they would hurt and the maintenance. Some extensions I've had in the past have left my head in agony from pulling at my scalp and have taken so long to blow dry that I just got so fed up and had to have them removed. Becca reassured me that she'd never had these issues with her own Gold Fever extensions so I took her word for it and got excited at the prospect of having princess hair! When the appointment came around, I made sure my hair was freshly washed (it's important hair is clean before getting them applied) and then sat back to let Becca work her magic.
To give you guys a bit of background on Gold Fever, their extensions are made of the finest quality Indian hair that is 100% ethical and traceable. The brand personally oversee what they're buying and how it's processed ensuring only the highest quality product is brought to market. They're also the same thickness from top to bottom which is something that is very hard to find when it comes to extensions. If you're a wearer of extensions, I'm sure you've all been left disappointed by hair that's thick at the root but looks thin on the ends meaning it doesn't blend in with natural hair. 

Gold Fever say that this occurs when the individual hairs that make up a strand are noticeably different lengths with some being much shorter than others and therefore creating a thin look at the ends. Gold Fever hair is 'double drawn', meaning they remove these short hairs from their extensions in order to ensure the hair is the same volume from root to tip. You can read more about this here but that's the simplified version! I have to say this was probably the biggest selling point for me as they look so realistic - nobody would ever guess I was wearing extensions. In fact, since getting them, people have been so surprised when I tell them my hair isn't 100% natural. 

They also have a naturally wavy finish unlike other brands that dry poker straight and look unnatural if your own hair has a slightly wave (which mine does). You can see how they look when left to dry naturally in the image of me below - this was taken on holiday when my hair had been quickly blasted with the hairdryer then left to dry in the sun. Effortless beachy waves!! If you do have very straight hair naturally, don't let this put you off - you can still wear them straight, they hold any style you give them exceptionally well.

As for the application, I mentioned earlier how comfortable the process was - I could barely feel a thing as they were being applied. As the title of the post suggests, Gold Fever hair is applied via a keratin bond which is heated and then moulded around the root of your hair and they're spaced evenly around the head in rows. Now you may see the word 'heat' and panic that they'll damage your natural hair but that isn't the care - the protein tips Gold Fever use actually protect the natural hair and most people find their hair grows and is in an even better condition when they come to get them removed.

The whole application from start to finish including cutting and styling took around 3-4 hours which I didn't think was too bad at all. The application was so comfortable too, I could barley feel them being applied - I had to ask if she'd started putting them in at one point as they're so lightweight. We started off with around 85 strands which isn't a full head of hair but because I only wanted them for thickness rather than length, this was enough to thicken it up whilst still looking natural. I specifically said that I didn't want them to look bulky and instead to blend seamlessly with my own hair which is exactly the look we achieved.

The last thing I want to talk to you guys about is the maintenance and how they've held up for me over the past three months. I'll be completely honest - for the first week, I wasn't sure if I was going to like them. The sensation of them annoyed me to begin with and it felt as those they were slightly pulling on my scalp - I've sine realised this is a totally normal feeling as you have something on your head that isn;t usually there and like anything new on our bodies wether it be a piercing or even eyelash extensions, it takes some getting used to. However, around a week after getting them, I'd totally forgotten they were there and as I sit here typing this post now, I can't even feel them - they just feel like part of my normal hair. In fact, I can't imagine how I'd feel without them now, haha.

(before and after the day I got them fitted - different lighting here hence it looking darker after)

Another slight concern I had to begin with was that my hair would take ages to wash and dry but again, this hasn't been the case. With other extensions I've had, it's taken so long to try them but Gold Fever hair seems to dry so quickly - it's only added an extra five minutes onto my morning routine and to have nice thick hair, that's something I can deal with. I had my hair blow dried in a salon recently and even the hairdresser couldn't believe how quickly they dried and how much they felt like my own hair - she was blown away by them so that's saying something! One thing worth mentioning is that Gold Fever do recommend using a sulphate free shampoo to wash them so I've been using the Joico sulfate free range (get it here) and have had no issues at all. In fact, I've even used normal shampoo and conditioners and had no issues with those either.

Honestly I don't do anything in particular to look after them - I treat them exactly like my own hair. They say to plait them or tie them up at night time but I don't always do this and it hasn't affected them. The only other thing I do differently is use a special brush which Becca gave me when having them applied - it has soft bristles so is gentle on the extensions and stops them from matting but again, matting isn't something I've had an issue with and I only brush over them as I would my normal hair - I don't spend any extra time than I usually would. I also use a hair oil on the ends every time I wash my hair but this is something I always did anyway.

(after three months wear)

The only slight downside for me would be that the bonds are sometimes visible when my hair blows in the wind as they're a light blonde and my hair is balyage meaning it's dark on the roots. However, Becca recently told me than gold fever have just released new protein tips that allow you to mix colours so next time I get them, I can have dark bonds at the roots and still keep them blonde on the ends, yay! Problem solved.

Overall I would give these extensions a 10/10 and I never thought I'd say that about bonded extensions. I've finally found a brand of extensions I'm 100% happy with and I cannot fault them in any way whatsoever. Three months down the line and they look and feel just as good as the day I had  them fitted. I'll probably get at least another 2-3 months wear out of this set until I need to get them removed and reapplied when they've grown down too far to maintain. 

Like most extensions, they are expensive ranging from £450 up to a whopping £700 for the longer lengths (I have 22" and then had them cut to around 20") so it's definitely a big investment but for me personally, they give me so much confidence that it's a price I'm willing to pay. I was very kindly given the hair free of charge from Gold Fever for my first set and only had to pay to have them fitted but this hasn't swayed my opinion in the slightest and I'll be spending whatever I need to keep getting them applied when this set is removed.

What do you think of my hair makeover? Would you like to try Gold Fever extensions? You can visit their website here for more information on the quality of the hair, application method and to find your nearest Gold Fever accredited salon.

Benefit They're Real 'Double The Lip' Lipsticks

Hey guys! So it feels like ages since I last did a beauty review here on my blog but I've decided it's something I definitely want to get back into as beauty is one of my favourite things to write about, after all! I'm very lucky to often be sent press samples and I sometimes don't know where to start or what to write about first but from now on, if something stands out to me and I find myself using a products a lot, I'll be sure to let you guys know here on my blog. 

A couple of months ago, a huge box from Benefit arrived at my door and it was full of their brand new They're Real 'Double the lip' lipsticks which are packaged just like the famous They're Real mascara. I personally love the packaging and they look so pretty all lined up next to each other in my makeup collection.

I didn't know what to expect from these lipsticks before they arrived as I hadn't heard a great deal about them if I'm completely honest.  There's usually a lot of hype surrounding new Benefit launches but this one almost came out of nowhere. When I removed the lids to look at the shades, I was surprised to see that each lipstick had two colours inside. I was expecting one solid colour so this had me very intrigued. After reading the press release, I realised that they're actually a lip liner and lipstick in one tube. How handy is that?

The lipsticks have a 'custom tear drop tip' which Benefit say helps to grab and define the lip line with the darker shade and fill the lips with the complimenting lighter shade for the appearance of added volume and dimension. I love that Benefit's products are always really innovative and different from other launches - I always find trying their products so much fun.

The most important element of a lipstick for me would have to be pigmentation and I can confirm that these ones are insanely pigmented - I mean, the swatches speak for themselves. That level of pigmentation was achieved with a light swipe - impressive or what?! The finish is another important factor for me as I don't personally like anything too matte and drying. I'd say these have a semi-matte finish meaning they certainly aren't glossy but they also aren't super matte to the point they dry my lips out or feel uncomfortable to wear. I like this kind of finish as they look great worn alone or with a gloss over the top.

Benefit also claim these lipsticks last for 8 hours but for me personally, no lipstick lasts that long on me, even liquid lipsticks come off after eating and drinking so I wasn't expecting these to last that long. Don't get me wrong, they definitely do last but as with all lipsticks, I do need to reapply a few times through the day. I can't say this bothers me too much but if you're someone wanting a lipstick that lasts all day without the need to reapply, it's something to consider.

Overall I'd have to give this new release from Benefit a huge thumbs up as I know I'll be getting so much use out of all of these shades. I can't wait to wear the really vibrant ones on my upcoming holiday - how perfect will they look with a tan?!

Do you like the sound of these lipsticks? They're available here for £16.50 each.

Exploring Sydney - Larmont Hotel & The Hyde Sydney

Despite visiting Australia so many times, I’ve never really explored properly so this time around, we decided to visit Sydney and Melbourne for a couple of days to visit some famous landmarks we’ve heard so much about. I have to be honest, Melbourne wasn’t really for me - it almost reminded me of a sunnier Manchester - it was very grey and I didn’t feel overly inspired by it if I’m totally honest. However, both myself and my ‘fiance’ (still can’t get used to saying this hehe) have been to Sydney before and loved it but as we’ve only visited briefly in the past, we were excited to see more of the city and I was obviously desperate to go to Bondi Beach.

We looked around online for hotels in central Sydney so it would be handy to get to all the places we wanted to go - the opera house, harbour bridge and Bondi Beach. Luckily we can across The Larmont by Lancemore and I just have to share this place with you guys as we absolutely loved it and I can’t recommend the place enough if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Sydney.

Situated in Potts Point and only a 15 minute walk from the famous Opera House, The Larmont is a modern hotel with beautiful open plan suites that make for the perfect place to chill after a busy day of exploring the city. The decor is very modern and minimalist with pops of colour through artwork on the walls and cushions on the bed and seating area. The rooms are light and airy, as well as super spacious - it’s one of those places where you feel instantly calm and relaxed. Not to mention the bed was probably the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on - you just sink right in.

A highlight of the room for me has got to be the bathroom - as I said, the rooms are open plan so the sinks were in the same room as the bedroom with huge mirrors above and marble tops (ideal blogger aesthetic) which was the perfect beauty station for getting ready in the evenings. The toilet and bath/shower were separated by frosted glass doors and I totally fell in love with the freestanding bath tub - total bathroom goals. I loved that the shower was a wet room style too - I seriously need this in my house. Inspo!

Another huge bonus of the room was the balcony and views of the city. As you can see from the photos, we had stunning views right over Sydney and the spacious balcony was perfect for enjoying a few drinks in the evening. There was even a bottle of rose wine waiting for us in the room when we arrived which was obviously cracked straight open and sipped on the balcony whilst the sun set. Perfection!

On the second night of our stay we were very kindly offered a complimentary meal at the hotels new restaurant, The Hyde Sydney. We didn’t know what to expect as hotel restaurants can be hit and miss but this was literally out of this world. No word of a lie when we say this was one of, it not the best meal we’ve ever eaten. From start to finish, it was incredible. The menu wasn’t huge but there was enough choice that it catered to everyone’s tastes. I’m personally not a big meat eater so I went for a tomato and Burrata cheese starter whilst Matt and our friend Emily went for Quail and Oysters - all of which were beautiful.

For the mains, Emily and I both went for the crab, asparagus and tagliolini and it was divine. I’m all about a simple pasta dish and this one was so fresh and full of flavour - hands down one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever eaten. However, the real star of the show was the pistachio crusted lamb which Matt ordered. Oh my goodness - I don’t even like lamb but this was unbelievably good. It just melted in your mouth and had the most beautiful flavour due to the herb crush. In Matt’s word is was “the best meal I’ve ever eaten” - I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Dessert was to the same standard - we got three of the desserts from the menu so we could sample a bit of each and just like the rest of the meal, they were divine. I had a hazelnut and chocolate fondant with a caramel sauce and it was beautiful. I'm not a dessert kinda girl and would usually always go for a starter over dessert but oh my goodness, this was like heaven on a plate. Emily went for the white frozen white chocolate and berry mousse whilst Matt went for the Olive Oil and Vanilla Panna cotta. 

I also have to comment on the staff who were so helpful and lovely - they couldn't do enough for us and were constantly coming over to top up our drinks (which again, were delightful) and ask if everything was okay. They were also really helpful when it came to choosing what we wanted to eat - they gave us their recommendations and told us a bit more about the dishes and ingredients. It was such an amazing place and atmosphere that I decided it would be the perfect time to ask Emily to be my bridesmaid over a glass of prosecco so The Hyde will now always hold a special place in my heart. I'll definitely be back on my next visit to Sydney which I'm hoping won't be too long away.

I honestly can't recommend this place enough and if you're visiting Sydney soon or have plans to in the future, make sure you add this to your list of hotels to stay at. You can find their website here for more details and prices.

Park Royal On Pickering, Singapore - Hotel Review

Hey guys! I'M BACK! If you follow me on social media you've probably seen that I've been away travelling for the past three weeks and honestly, it's been the trip of a lifetime. Not only did I get to spend three weeks travelling to some beautiful places and catching up with friends but my boyfriend surprised me with a trip to Bali for our 10 year anniversary and asked me to marry him. I couldn't be happier - it's a total dream come true. I feel like I've been dreaming of getting engaged and planning my big day since I was a little girl so it's crazy it's finally here. If you'd like a post with all the details of the proposal, just let me know. I'm sure he won't mind me sharing it with you guys, hehe!

If you've been keeping up with my travels via Instagram, you'll know that the first destination of our trip was Singapore where we stayed at the beautiful Park Royal on Pickering hotel for two nights. My boyfriend and I had never been to Singapore before despite going to Australia numerous times so we figured it made sense to do a stop over on the way to break up the flights and explore a new country (little did I know he'd already been planning the Bali trip - sneaky). 

After our 13 hour flight to Singapore, we were so excited to get to the hotel and after swooning over photos online, we knew we were in for a treat. Getting there couldn't have been easier - we jumped into a taxi outside Changai Airport and 20 minutes later, we were at the hotel, which is located in central Singapore right near all the main tourist attractions. On arrival, we were greeted by exceptionally friendly staff who couldn't do enough for us - the concierge took our luggage up to our room and we were given a lovely welcome drink to enjoy while we checked in. We arrived fairly early in the morning and our room wasn't due to be ready until lunch time but they'd kindly organised early check in which was so appreciated after the long haul flight.

We were shown to our Deluxe room by the lovely hotel manager and as soon as we walked in, we were wowed by the layout, decor and impressive city views. I'm sure I don't need to describe it to you as the photos say it all - beautiful. Despite the hotel being in the middle of the city, it's 'hotel in a garden' design provides an instant feeling of zen and relaxation. The hotel is completely eco friendly and surrounded by gardens so you feel like you've escaped to a remote sanctuary rather than the hustle and bustle of a busy city. That was the whole idea of the hotel when it opened in 2013 - to provide the city with an oasis amongst Singapore's otherwise modern and futuristic sky highs. I personally think this is such a cool idea and it made the hotel that bit different from any other city centre hotel I've ever visited. They even grow their own herbs round the pool which I was very impressed by!

Our room was one of the 'Orchid Club' rooms which meant we got access to the Orchid Club Lounge - a bar/casual dining area on the 7th floor. The lounge is only for those who have paid extra for the privilege but let me tell you, for the small extra cost when booking a room, it's SO worth it. You get breakfast, afternoon tea from 2-4pm and all the alcohol & nibbles you want from 6-8pm included so you soon get the extra you've paid (and more I'd say) back in unlimited amounts of food and drink. It was fabulous to know that whenever we were feeling a little peckish, it wasn't long until we could head to the lounge for some nibbles which included cute sandwiches, prawns with sweet chilli dip, dumplings, cake and scones, just to name a few. The afternoon tea was definitely a highlight for me as well as the unlimited Singapore Slings, Mojitos and Prosseco - as you can imagine, I took full advantage!

Another huge highlight of Park Royal has got to be the pool area. As you can see from the photos, the huge infinity pool with incredible views of the Singapore sky line is pretty amazing. I'm a sucker for a good swimming pool and this one was next level - we thoroughly enjoyed having a swim whilst taking in the amazing views of the city. The pool is surrounded by colourful Cabanas too so you can chill out privately between dips in the pool or if you want to soak up some sun, they had traditional sun loungers too! As we were only there for two nights we only managed to get a couple of hours at the pool but if we'd been there longer, I could have quite easily spent a few days lounging around with a cocktail in hand. Talking of cocktails, we also sampled a Singapore Sling at the hotel bar and it was divine - I actually preferred theirs to the one we had in Raffles which is where the Singapore Sling was originally created!!

Overall, we had an amazing stay at Park Royal on Pickering and I wouldn't hesitate to go back. I absolutely loved Singapore and would like to go for longer next time to explore even further. Gardens By the Bay & Clarke Quay were two of the highlights for me - must visits if you're planning a trip. You can find more details about the hotel here too!!

Have you ever been to visit Singapore? Is it on your list?!
© Couture Girl

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