What You Need To Know About Halal Foods

halalA lot of non-Muslim people, and even some folks that have newly reverted to Islam, know very little about what truly constitutes the ‘halal’ description of foodstuff or beverages. Simply put, the term ‘halal’ is Arabic for ‘lawful’, ‘allowed’ or ‘permitted’. In a nutshell, it is basically whatever food or beverage that is ‘permissible’ as per Islamic Law, which is closely detailed in the Quran.


Being one of five Islamic commandments that helped to govern the daily lives of the faithful (‘Al-ahkam al-khamsah’) it is comparable to the Judaic dietary laws called ‘kashrut’, which deems foodstuffs as ‘kosher’(‘fit’) or ‘treyf’ (‘torn’). Foodstuffs and beverages which are considered not halal are called ‘haram’ (‘sinful’ or ‘forbidden’).


What Makes Food Halal?

Knowing what foods are halal may be difficult for those new to the Quran. It’s common knowledge that Muslims are absolutely forbidden to eat pork, but what most people miss out on is that there are other foodstuffs besides pork that devout Muslims are forbidden to consume. In fact, even foods that are deemed ‘halal’, if prepared improperly, will be rendered haram and therefore unfit for consumption.


What is halal food?


In a nutshell, foodstuffs which are deemed halal are beef, poultry, fish that have scales, some species of mollusks and crustaceans (although not all sects of Islam consider mollusks or crustaceans halal), and a select number of avian species (barring birds of prey and carrion feeders). However, food derived or sourced from the above-stated animals does not immediately make them haram, as there is a special form of ritual ‘slaughter’ called ‘dhabihah’, which must be undertaken in order for food to be considered halal.


halal food infographic


As per Islamic Law, food is deemed halal if it meets the following criterion of dhabihah:


1. The animal to be slaughtered must be in perfect health and free from any mar, disease, or physical deformity.


2. That upon slaughtering, the animal must be sequestered so that it is not seen by any other animal of its species to prevent any degree of discomfort or emotional pain towards other animals.


3. That the animal be killed swiftly, without causing undue pain, by a quick, deep thrust of a very sharp non-serrated single-edged or double-edged knife (similar to the Jewish ‘hallaf’ or ‘sakin’ through the throat, severing the carotid artery, the windpipe, and the jugular veins, but without decapitating or severing the head from the body.


4. That the blood of the animal be drained from its body and returned to the earth. The blood of the animal must ‘never’ be consumed.


5. That the animal to be slaughtered with proper prayers, invoking the Name of Allah. The prayer generally constitutes the Bismillah, or the more complete phrase ‘Bismillah al-Rahim, al-Rahman’ (‘In the Name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful’), followed by a threefold exhortation of ‘Allahu akbar!’ (‘God is the Greatest!’)


6. In some orthodox sects, the animal to be slaughtered must be facing the Qiblah – the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.


A little-known fact is that Muslims can freely partake of foodstuffs prepared by observant Jews and Christians , provided that food prepared by the latter is not sourced from, or contain products derived from swine, since these two religions are considered ‘Ahl al-Kitab’ (‘People of the Book’), and therefore deemed ‘siblings’ of Muslims.


For more information about allowable Muslim foods, you can find more on halal online here.

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The Ultimate Bicycle Gear Basics for Beginner Cyclists


Understanding bicycle gears and using them correctly can sometimes be a bit confusing for beginning cyclists. Since the gears control how much effort it takes to move, learning a few basics about the different types of gear systems and how to shift bicycle gears correctly will make every ride more enjoyable by maximising your peddling energy.

Let’s Explain Bicycle Gears



The speed of a bicycle refers to the number of gear combinations that are possible. There are two sets of gears that work together to accomplish this. The gear that is attached to the peddle crank arm at the front is called the chain ring. When this group has two gears, it is called a double. If it has three gears, it is called a triple. In the rear, there is either a freewheel with up to five gears, or a cassette with eight to ten gears. In some cases, like a Shimano gear system, the rear gears can be enclosed in a sealed hub and will not be visible. By multiplying the number of gears in the front with the number in the back, you arrive at the total number of possible gear combinations, or the speed of the bike. So, for example, a bicycle with a triple in the front and eight gears in the rear is a 24 speed bike.

How to Switch Bicycle Gears



The shift leavers are located on the handlebars. There is one for the front and one for the back gear group. In most set-ups, the left hand shifter operates the chainring, and the right hand shifter controls the rear gear group. Both are marked with numbers, indicating the gears. Grip style shifters are a ring built into the handle bars which operates by twisting. Trigger shifters are small leavers, except that there are two on each handle bar. The smaller one on the left moves the gears to an easier range. On the right, the smaller trigger moves the gears to a harder range. On the front gear group, lower numbers mean easier peddling. On the rear, it is the opposite: A low gear number is harder, but it is the combination of front and back, combined with riding conditions, that ultimately determines how much effort is needed.

Shifting Gears

In most systems, gears can only be shifted while peddling. When the shift mechanism is moved, a cable attached to the derailleur pushes the moving chain onto the next gear. Soft peddling is a technique of easing up on the peddles while still turning them, as you gently shift from one gear to the next. Starting out in the middle range of each gear group makes it faster to determine which way to shift gears, if they need shifting at all.
Keeping your peddling speed in the range of 75 to 90 RPM is usually the best speed for getting the most efficiency from your gears. Using the right gear combination lets you maximise your effort. Buy Shimano bicycle gear online here.

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Why are Rolex Watches Expensive?


The high price of a Rolex watch (especially Rolex in Malaysia) is set at such a point to keep the acquiring of such a feat of engineering out of the reach of most of the masses unless they make significant sacrifices to do so. However, this often begs the question as to why Rolex watches are so expensive in the first place and whether their high cost is a matter of materials and production or simply a measure of exclusivity that has been driven by demand and a desire to create exclusivity.


The watches come in various lines and for examination it is easiest to choose one of the best examples of quality in watchmaking which is the Oyster perpetual. These lines include the Oyster perpetual movement which undergoes a strenuous certification process by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute in order to insure that each unit is capable of handling extreme conditions such as movement, humidity, and temperature while still maintaining the most exacting level of time.



It would take pages to explain the Swiss Oyster Perpetual movement in detail because there are so many high-end components which are delicately assembled in a small space like a work of art. The perpetual rotor is self-winding and was invented way back in 1931 as a way to provide the watch with a constant source of energy to keep the mainspring under tension. A balance wheel with variable inertia is included through the use of gold Microstella nuts which allow for high precision and stability that is not easily found in other brands of watches.


The cases of the Oyster watches (remaining with the same line of examples) are also feats of engineering in their own right. Rolex is continuously obtaining patents in order to keep features in their watches that are out of the reach of their competitors despite any amount of reverse-engineering that they may choose to do on the various models. The Oyster case was one of those patents back in 1926 as it was designed as a new way to screw in all of the parts to the middle case securely (bezel, case back and winding crown). This provided a new waterproof case that was impervious to liquids like never seen before in the history of watchmaking. It is this quality and passion for protection which keep Rolex ahead of the curve and the price tag high.



The cases can be purchased of various materials. The lower tier of these materials is 904L steel which is a corrosion-resistant superalloy that can handle the most extreme of sweaty conditions when wrist meets watch in an active environment. The other materials available are 18ct gold and 950 platinum which bring the precious metals to the higher-end models to create a luxury item that is desirable worldwide. Rolex has a passion for durability which means that these watches are not just a prize for the initial owner, but they can become heirlooms passed down from generation to generation with an expectancy that they will still work and that is the value behind the Rolex price.


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Top 5 Tips for Visiting London

London is a wonderful city that demands to be explored. Make your trip memorable by travelling right and exploring the best sites the city has to offer.


1. Walk

London has one of the world’s most comprehensive underground rail systems, and it can shuttle you to all of London’s main sites quickly and efficiently. If you rely too much on the Tube, however, you will inevitably miss out on some of London’s hidden gems. Instead of taking the Tube to all of the city’s highlights, walk when you can, and take in the local pubs, eccentric neighbourhoods and other off the beaten path travel destinations.





2. Brush Up on Your History

Knowing about the history of London is a great way to enrich your travel experience. London began as a diverse trading city, and it has remained so throughout the years. When walking through Notting Hill, for example, it is helpful to know that the area began its life as a similarly ritzy alternative to Kensington. It failed to take off as a haven for the rich, and the area became an enclave for London’s poorer inhabitants. In the mid-twentieth century, it was primarily inhabited by Afro-Carribean immigrants, who were responsible for the creation of Carnival, a huge street celebration. In the twenty first century, Notting Hill has become one of London’s most prestigious addresses.


Oyster Card



3. Travel with an Oyster Card or Travelcard

Riding the Tube isn’t cheap. Instead of buying passes for individual rides, purchase an Oyster card or Travelcard, which allow travellers to pay for multiple rides at once. They also help travellers find the cheapest fare, avoid queues and ride various types of transport.


da Vinci and Renoir



4. Soak Up Some Culture

When visiting London, exploring the area’s culture is an absolute must. The city has some of the best museums and architecture in the world. The British Museum investigates the history of man, from Ancient Egypt to modern times, and The National Gallery houses paintings by masters like da Vinci and Renoir. The National History Museum is noted for its incredible dinosaur collection, and the Tate Modern has an extensive collection of contemporary art.


5 Things You Will Love & Hate About London, England

5. Stay in Holiday Homes

When looking for the perfect London accommodations for families, stay in a holiday home instead of a hotel. These luxury apartments are often in ideal locations and are more comfortable than hotel rooms. They come in a variety of styles, sizes and price ranges, and are especially useful for large groups going on vacation to London.

With the right accommodations and the perfect travel plan, your trip to London will go off without a hitch.

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10 Commandments of a Raw Vegan



Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes the use of animal products and by-products for food, clothing and other purposes. Vegans reject animal exploitation and cruelty, espousing the belief that animals should not be treated as commodities. The vegan diet was first defined in 1944, and interest in this lifestyle has increased tremendously. (https://www.vegansociety.com/try-vegan/definition-veganism)


1. Thou shall not kill, exploit or harm animals unnecessarily.

This is the basic precept of veganism: avoidance of any harm to sentient beings whenever possible and practicable, including in the choice of food, clothing and other purposes in the home and at work. In the pursuit of nutritious food, strict vegans may avoid dairy products. Avoiding the use of animal by-products such as leather, goose down and pelt may be part of the lifestyle choices of vegans.

2. Thou shall think before you act.

It is easy to get carried away by the philosophy of strict veganism. However, there are many ways to practice veganism. If adhering to stringent rules leads to unhappiness, dissatisfaction and possibly eschewing the lifestyle altogether, consider tweaking the practices, making sure that the products used are sourced and processed in ethical ways.

3. Thou shall not renounce vitamins and supplements.

Aside from advocating for animals, the vegan lifestyle is also focused on promoting health and general well-being. Pay attention to plant sources for iron and vitamin B12 that are typically available from meat and meat products. These sources include spinach, miso and fermented foods. When considering supplementation, scan the ingredient list to make sure that it is vegan friendly. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/vegetarian-diet/art-20046446?pg=2)

4. Thou shall not favor one food group to the exclusion of other essential food groups.

Diversity in the intake of nutritious food for vegans is based on variety, and taking advantage of this rich array of choices enhances satisfaction with the lifestyle. For instance, a diet based largely on vegan chocolate to the exclusion of everything else cannot be considered healthy even if it conforms with vegan guidelines.

5. Thou shall not take the easy path to vegan choices.

With the popularity of the vegan lifestyle, grocery chains have made it easy to find vegan products. However, something labeled vegan may not be the best choice, depending on how the product was sourced and handled. Industrial processing can strip away nutrients, so whenever possible, shop local and opt for regional suppliers to ensure that produce is as fresh as possible.

6. Thou shall not shun fat.

Cold-pressed, high quality oil should be part of the diet. The body needs fat to process fat-soluble vitamins and minerals especially those that are available from raw food. Plant sources for fat include tofu, full-fat soymilk, avocado, nuts and all plant-derived oils. (http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09324.html)

7. Thou shall not take the Earth in vain.

Vegans are concerned about the ethical aspects of living as well as the environmental impact of their lifestyle choices. For this reason, vegans are self-aware when it comes to sustainable practices. The Earth’s resources are finite, and conserving these resources for future generations is one of the causes backed by vegans. Environmental activism begins at home through recycling, upcycling and efficient use of resources.

8. Thou shall not sow discord among carnivores and omnivores.

Differences in lifestyle and dietary choices should not be a reason for discord. Let the carnivores and the omnivores enjoy their own smorgasbord.

9. Thou shall show tolerance for everyone.

It takes different types to make the world and different ideas to keep it going. Pursue your bliss without causing grief or harm to anyone. Listen to what others have to say even if their practices and beliefs are radically different.

10. Thou shall share whenever the opportunity arises.

The most efficient way to let others know of the benefits of the vegan lifestyle is to share it with them. Open your kitchen and share a vegan spread with family and friends. Enlighten them on the advantages of the raw food diet by sharing nutritious food based on vegan recipes.

Veganism is a celebration of life. Embrace it, and share the joy with those around you.



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When Boarding School is the Right Option

As a parent, you have a multitude of options when it comes to where to send your children for school. Some of you will choose religious institutions that help to support the sense of morality you’re teaching at home. Others will select local public schools with amazing reputations, and still others will wonder if an international school in Penang is right for their families. Perhaps you are also considering boarding school, but aren’t sure if such a program is the right fit for your child.

Children’s Maturity Level

When you send your children to boarding school, they are going to live more on their own than they would in your home. Therefore, you need to consider the maturity level of the individual child. Let’s say that your youngsters struggle to spend more than just a few minutes away from you, or maybe they really have trouble completing their chores. Going to boarding school can help them to internally resolve some of these issues, but you don’t necessarily want to push them in right away. Giving them time to learn a bit more maturity before they go is a wise decision.
boarding schools in Asia

Time for Visits


Having a large role in your children’s upbringing is important, and you want to find a balance. Selecting a boarding school can work well if you maintain the appropriate amount of contact with your children. Some parents send their children off to school and have very little contact with them at all during the school year. This approach can lead to strained relationships with your children as they may feel that you are entirely absent in their lives. On the other hand, you don’t want to constant call them and visit them because then you are not providing them with the ability to flourish on their own.

Lack of Good Schools

Perhaps you live in an area where the schools are ridden with crime, or maybe none of the schools in your neighborhood follow a curriculum that is suitable to the needs of your children. A lack of good schools is a reason why some people choose boarding schools. Your ultimate plan may include moving to an area that has a reputation for good schools. However, until you do, you may want your children to obtain a strong education at a boarding school.

Problem Situations

For whatever reason, your children may be growing up in an environment that is not conducive to a healthy learning experience, and you feel that boarding school will provide them with the space that they need to thrive. On the other hand, your children may have struggles that would benefit from staying at a boarding school. For example, some young people experience emotional turmoil, depression, trouble with addictions, the side effects of bullying and so forth. You may want to look into boarding schools especially designed for these individuals.

The decision to send your children to boarding school is not a light one, and it is a choice you should thoroughly research.

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Meet Your Meat: An Introduction to Halal

What is Halal Meat?

The term “halal” actually means “permissible” in Arabic, so halal food means food considered permissible — in this case, according to Islamic law as it is defined in the Koran (Quran). Halal food in Malaysia is abundant, making it a tourist attraction for Muslims around the world and a hotbed for Muslim tours.

The opposite of halal would be haram, or “forbidden.” Forbidden foods can include anything that has:

•forbidden animal meat, such as birds of prey, carnivorous animals or pigs

Under Islamic law, it is permissible to consume otherwise haram items provided it is due to survival and not disobedience.

What is halal certification?

This halal certification indicates that the food was tested and approved by systems that guarantee it does not contain any forbidden ingredients or components. A certifying body will issue this certificate for a company for a fee.

What is halal slaughter?

In order for a product to be certified halal, the animal must be facing Mecca. While it is still alive, its throat will be cut and a Muslim will recite a prayer to Allah, sacrificing the animal slaughter as dedication. Other means of slaughter usually aren’t permissible as the heart must pump away the forbidden blood.


How different is halal from kosher meat?

For starters, halal and kosher meats follow different compliance laws; the former follows the Koran, whereas the latter complies with kashrut, or Jewish dietary law.

While the methods of slaughter are similar in that specially trained individuals use a very sharp knife for the same purpose, Jewish law specifically prohibits stunning. Not only this, but kashrut does not demand a special prayer or sacrifice as with halal.

However, it does forbid parts of the carcass from being consumed, such as certain fats as well as the sciatic nerve. Halal, on the other hand, forbids parts like the bladder and the carcass.

What is the law on labeling?

Currently, it is not required for halal to be marked specifically as such. However, when you visit a halal hub in Malaysia, you can ensure you’re getting only halal-certified meals.

Examples of Halal Meals in Malaysia

As previously stated, halal means permissible according to Islamic law. As such, Muslims need to follow a halal diet by not consuming haram foods, including:


•Pig-based products like pork or gelatine
•Animals slaughtered in sacrifice to anyone except God
•Any intoxicant, such as alcohol
•Any carnivorous animal, except for the majority of sea and fish animals
•Amphibians, such as frogs


It is common to consider generally any fish as halal, although most will avoid certain types like shellfish and similar types. Although it is not required to label halal products, you’ll be pleased to note that many reputable companies do nonetheless.


The following meals are examples of some of the many halal dishes you can find while visiting Malaysia. They are suitably balanced for a typical Muslim adult who wishes to maintain his or her weight without doing exercise. This is just an example, of course; there are many more varieties of dishes in halal hubs in Malaysia.


•Chicken breast
•Basmati rice
•Granary bread with chicken or turkey
•Oatcakes and low-fat cheese
•High fiber cereal
•Crispbread with cottage cheese or another type of cheese
•Yogurt with fruit and a large serving of potatoes

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Why Are Luxury Watches Expensive?

Virtually everyone can appreciate the class and elegance of a Tag Heuer or a Rolex with their high quality craftsmanship and stylish face. There’s no doubt they’re incredible and the envy of those who can’t afford one. But, are they actually worth the price?

For the cost of some of these extravagant watches, you could literally take a trip around Europe on the vacation of a lifetime. Depending on the exact style and model, you could rent a mansion in the countryside and live very comfortably for several months. The question is, why do people keep buying them? Why do they rank so high on their wish list? Is it really worth the money to buy something that just tells time? In Malaysia, high-end watches are becoming more and more popular. In fact, people want to see more luxury watches in Malaysia so they can choose from a plethora of styles.


TagHeuerThe Science Behind Luxury Watches

Like high-powered cars, luxury watches are engineered to be the best. They’re the perfect combination of efficiency, science, refinement, and beauty. Research and testing materials go into finding the ideal combinations of weight, longevity, accuracy, and strength, which is why they don’t come cheap by any means.

No matter how concerned you may be about the price of a Rolex or a Tag Heuer, there’s no denying they both tell time with supreme elegance and sophistication. They’re literally works of art that incorporate technical innovation, architecture, and artistry along with an utterly attractive design all rolled into one. In other words, don’t expect any 007 Bond girls to swarm around you while you’re wearing a basic calculator watch, but expect a little attention if you’re sporting a Tag Heuer.


Who Designs Luxury Watches?

The gifted individuals who actually design and develop high-end luxury watches are scientists, engineers, and people who take art as seriously as particle physics. In fact, a master watch maker isn’t called a watch maker at all. Instead, they’re referred to as horologists, a special breed who strives to perfect their craft and dedicate themselves to the art of watch making itself. The word ‘perfection’ is a key term that differentiates average mundane objects from their outstanding counterparts. Sure, you can tell time just as easy on a dime store calculator watch as you can a pricey luxury watch. But, that’s the only thing they have in common. In terms of quality, craftsmanship, and style, they’re worlds apart.


Philosophy of High-End Watches

or the ideal time piece. Just like the amazing cities of the dead found in Ancient Egypt that had more worth in terms of earthly materials than the average person could ever hope to attain during their lifetime, the science of horology is the exquisite art of trapping time to create something that can be passed down from generation to generation.

Like the famous composer Mozart, who deeply and fully understood the science of music, horologists put their talents to work in creating the finest time pieces in the world, handcrafted, and to perfection. Every spring, minute gear, and cog, all made to perfectly coordinate with one another in supreme harmony to result in a very expensive luxury watch.

In the end, there’s a good reason why luxury watches are referred to as ‘pieces’. They’re considered art. And, like all precious art, their true value lies in how much an individual is willing to pay for them. Luxury watches are extraordinary and magnificent in their own right as well as strong indicators of wealth and status symbols. They’re way more than just about telling the time. In fact, they’re like wearing immortality on the wrist. Therefore, if a Tag Heuer price or Rolex price is within your financial means, consider buying one a worthwhile investment.

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5 Advantages to a Career in Law Studies

The study of law is an exciting opportunity to establish a meaningful career. A solicitor can work in the field of law generally or specialize in a specific area, such as family law or international law. There are many advantages to studying law, including the following.


Support the legal system.

The study of law offers the chance to join the legal field and maintain legal jurisprudence in your area. Being part of the legal system instills pride in the position in representing people’s rights in a variety of issues.

Extend legal protection to those in need.

Everyone in society deserve legal justice. Studying law lets you stand up for those whose rights are in jeopardy or have been violated. In some cases, victims without other recourse will look to you for help as their only hope.

Enjoy professional status.

Becoming a solicitor raises your career to professional standards. People in general respect the law. They recognize the achievements of a person who has studied law and earned the right to represent them in the system. A decent wage and corresponding benefits often come with this type of position.

Provide public service.

In addition to serving the general population, a solicitor may work on behalf of agencies, organizations, or corporations. Large entities like these often affect the lives of thousands of people through business transactions or employment. Holding them to safe operations and maintaining their right to function in society are two types of public service that can be provided from a legal standpoint.

Understand and appreciate society’s legal framework.

On a personal level, studying law comes with a better understanding of and appreciation for the legal system. Knowing how law has evolved over time to become the framework it is today is helpful knowledge for everyday decisions that each of us make in our individual lives.

For more information about law studies, visit www.bac.edu.my and see how a legal career can impact your life.

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5 Wonderful and Effective South Korean Haircare Products

Beauty is a major market in the northeastern Asian nation of South Korea. Skincare products sell like hotcakes there. Although skin is a big focus in South Korea, that doesn’t mean that they don’t focus on other beauty products too, however. If you’re looking to purchase high-quality haircare, for example, you’ll have a great time exploring your many South Korean options.

Kafen Shampoo from Taiwan

Kafen Shampoo from Taiwan can be great for repairing locks that are overly damaged and dry. The brand’s Snail Restore Shampoo can do wonders for strengthening hair and making it stronger and glossier. Although Kafen is a Taiwanese brand, its products often use ingredients that are extremely popular in South Korea, specifically snail.

1. South Korean brand ‘The Face Shop’ has an amazing product called ‘Jewel Therapy.’ This deep care hair mask aims to make lifeless, dry and drab hair shiny, luminous and smooth. The mask contains camellia seed extract and minerals that can nurture tired and damaged hair in merely five minutes.

2. Missha is yet another popular South Korean beauty company. Missha’s “Procure Daily Repairing Hair Lotion’ improves the condition of the hair by nourishing it with ample nutrients. It’s suitable for all different kinds of hair. If your locks are damaged due to excessive hair drying, sun exposure, perms or coloring jobs, this hair lotion can help turn the situation around. If you dream of hydrated and soft hair, you’ll adore this product. The best part is that it doesn’t have a gooey or sticky texture.

3. Etude House is a well-known South Korean brand that’s geared toward a younger audience. The brand’s ‘Silk Scarf Hair Treatment’ includes an oil complex that’s excellent for strengthening hair that’s weak and brittle. This treatment is also great for stopping hair damage before it even gets the opportunity to happen. People who want silky-smooth locks are certain to adore this Etude House product. The treatment is intended for use one or two times per week.

4. Skinfood is a beloved South Korean beauty brand that’s renowned for its effective, food-influenced skincare products. The brand’s ‘Argan Oil Silk Hair Essence’ is great for helping hair that’s tired, weak and damaged. It contains argan oil that’s good not only at hydrating the hair but also at nourishing it deeply and thoroughly.

5. The Face Shop’s ‘Jewel Therapy’ Cherry Blossom Rinse is a conditioner that boasts a soft and pleasant fragrance. It contains moisturising cherry blossom and argan oil. People who want shiny, radiant, soft and properly hydrated locks are sure to love this popular South Korean rinse. This product is also great for people who suffer from split ends.

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