Thursday, January 30, 2014

REVIEW of Deborah Lippmann Glamorous Life With SWATCHES

Hello darlings,

This is the first Deborah Lippmann polish I'm reviewing. Can you believe I'm reviewing a Deborah Lippmann polish? No, I didn't suddenly realize my great expectations and come into a large inheritance. They were having a sale on Deborah Lippmann polishes on and I caved and bought three of them. Yeah, I'm still cheap. Deal with it. I did own another Deborah Lippmann polish before this, Across the Universe, but I've never really used it so this is my first chance to really evaluate the Deborah Lippmann formula. It typically gets raves in the nail blogging community and it better for the price. What did I think of my first Deborah Lippmann polish? Well...

Color: Glamorous Life is a gold frost polish. Before purchasing this polish, I'd read on a blog about how this was Deborah Lippmann's attempt at a rose gold polish. In my opinion, that attempt wasn't successful. I was expecting more of the pink or coppery tones that are associated with rose gold but this is a fairly ordinary gold polish that only occasionally takes on a bit more warmth. Even then, I would not call this color rose gold.
Formula: This is a thicker polish.
Packaging: I just wanted to talk about the packaging for a second as this is the first Deborah Lippmann polish I'm reviewing. God, have I said that enough in this post? You could turn it into a drinking game. Anyway, I find the bottle to be a little bulky which is a bit irritating when it comes to storage (I really need to come up with something more sophisticated than cardboard boxes.) but I like how distinct the design is. It's not the craziest bottle shape I've ever seen but you can definitely pick a Deborah Lippmann polish out of a crowd. The shape of the cap is also a little unnecessarily bulky but it wasn't hard to manage during application.
Application: Application of the first coat was very smooth though the brushstrokes were very apparent because of the frost finish. Though the polish has a thicker formula, I was able to apply a nice thin layer of polish for the first coat. The second coat also applied smoothly though there was a bit of dragging on one nail (which was resolved by using more polish) and I had a bit of a tough time evening out the polish on two other nails. I wouldn't call this polish gloopy but it wasn't a dream to apply like some of my favorite polishes. I also found that the brushstrokes became more pronounced as I added more coats of polish. At two coats, this polish still failed a light test so I added a third. The third coat of polish also allowed me to adjust the look of the polish and smooth out any issues. The third coat of polish glided over the nail smoothly though again, the brushstrokes were very apparent and I had to work at evening out the polish to create a single even layer. At three coats the polish was opaque though I was able to see one or two spots at the tips of my nails where there wasn't full coverage. Applying this polish with my nondominant hand, it also went on smoothly but the brushstrokes were even more apparent and I had a bit of damage at the tips of a few of my nails. I think there was a drying issue.
Wear: This polish doesn't dry matte but it also doesn't dry to a super shiny, glossy finish. I'm not sure if it's intended to be a satin polish or if it simply isn't a high shine polish but it's something to note if you don't use top coat or if you don't use a high shine top coat.

CONCLUSION: I wouldn't recommend paying full price for this polish. It's pretty enough and application is manageable but it's not such a beautiful or unique polish that it's worth the price of a Deborah Lippmann polish. Putting aside my disappointment that this wasn't a true rose gold polish, you still have the very apparent brushstrokes. There are plenty of cheap gold polishes like Confetti Debutante and rose gold/copper metallics like Essie Penny Talk to give Deborah Lippmann Glamorous Life a run for its money.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January Ipsy Glam Bag

Hi chickadees!

My January Ipsy Glam Bag finally came in the mail a day or two ago. I was getting worried that it was never going to show up. I like the bag this month. It's nice and sturdy but not so nice that I would be reluctant to put makeup in it. I actually think this would be a great bag to put liquids and skincare items in while traveling and the bag's design would make it easy to remember what was in it.

I only have one real makeup product this month which is a Tinted Lip Balm in #5 Natural from MICA Beauty Cosmetics. It's a dusty rose/mauve pink kind of color which I haven't tried yet because my lips are a mess and I'm currently trying to get them to heal so I can continue testing the products in my current rotation. However, I can already tell that this probably won't be my kind of color.
direct sunlight

I suppose you could call the yaby natural finish liquid foundation in buff a makeup product but I put it in the skincare category. Not that it matters as I don't use a lot of foundation anyway. My skin tends to be very dry and the last thing you want to put on dry, flaky skin is foundation. And I always go back to my old L'Oreal liquid foundations on the few times that I need a full coverage foundation. Still, the yaby foundation they sent me seems like a good match for my skin and I'm looking forward to trying it out. I'm actually curious about yaby after seeing it mentioned in a Refinery29 post. Apparently it's a Canadian brand and the shipping to the US is ridiculous or I would have gotten some of the single pan eyeshadows to try as they're super cheap compared to similar products from brands like MAC and Inglot.

OK, now onto the skincare. I received four Mark Fading Pads from Rodan & Fields proactiv + which are pre-moistened towelettes with a salicylic acid treatment. I'm a little scared of these. I don't have perfect skin. My skin is very dry and I occasionally get blemishes, though mine tend to be hormonal and I tend to get little bumps under the skin instead of big, inflamed cysts. I don't really have scars or discoloration from the pimples I have had but I'll do a little research into these and see if there's a way for me to try them out. If I was going to get some kind of acne treatment I would have preferred a spot treatment to dry up blemishes. I'm also not sure how I'll react to the salicylic acid as I haven't really used acne treating products so I don't know which ones will work for me and which ones I might have a negative reaction to.

This month's hair product is a Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair deep conditioning mask. I'm actually feeling positive about this one. I still haven't really used the spray clay (what is it for?) or the argan oil (what am I supposed to do with it?) but this deep conditioning mask makes sense to me and it's a good little sample.

Lastly I received a Purifying Exfoliant from epice. I'm reluctant to add new things into my skincare routine because I'm never sure if I'll have a negative reaction but I've been meaning to find a good exfoliator for a while now, especially with how dry and flaky my skin is in the winter. I've tried a lot of different things in the past that haven't worked for me but maybe this will the product I've been looking for. I also just picked up a konjac face sponge so I'll have to decide which one I'll integrate into my routine first.

Are you subscribed to ipsy? What did you think of this month's glam bag? Let me know in the comments and I'll see you again next month. :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

REVIEW of Essie Mesmerize With SWATCHES

Hi bumblebees,

I'm back with another impossible to photograph blue nail polish which means I get another chance to mess about with my photo editing software. Hooray. By the way, I had to download Picasa onto my laptop again and it was scary as hell. Google, please stop making me feel like you're trying to steal my soul. Or at least all the content I generate. It's ridiculous that when you first start Picasa it starts downloading all your photos and there's no way to stop it. Some things are private and I'll add them to Picasa if or when I feel like it.

Color: Mesmerize is a medium blue creme polish. I would call it a primary blue or a true blue. It's a saturated, intense blue but it isn't a bright color.
Formula: I didn't find it notably thin or thick.
Application: The first coat applied smoothly. I found the polish very easy to work with. The second coat also applied smoothly without any drag. I noticed a little bit of threading (where the polish forms small threads as you pull the brush out of the bottle) but it didn't affect application. I did have to even the polish out a little with the brush but it wasn't a problem. At two coats, this polish appeared opaque but since I was wearing it with shorter nails, you might need a third coat to get to full opacity with longer nails. A more intense light test with a flashlight revealed that the polish was not completely opaque as there were a slight space in between brushstrokes.

CONCLUSION: If you're looking for a nice blue creme polish that's easy to work with and fairly opaque, I would recommend Essie Mesmerize. It isn't the most exciting color and you could easily find a dupe but application is great and unless you can find a cheaper dupe, there's no reason to not pick up Mesmerize if you're looking for a blue creme polish for your collection.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

REVIEW of Sephora By OPI Nail Colour in Havana Dreams With SWATCHES

Hello beautiful dreamers,

Today I'll be reviewing another Sephora by OPI nail polish. I picked this up in a Sephora haul in the summer for $4.50 as they were phasing out the Sephora by OPI line in favor of the new Formula X polishes. I haven't the slightest clue what this polish has to do with Havana but if you do like this polish you can probably track down a bottle online and Sephora still carries the color in their gel polish line.

Color: Havana Dreams is a light blue creme polish. It is a pastel blue but it is just bright enough for me to not call it baby blue polish. As far as blue polishes go, it's fairly demure and very wearable while still being fun. I could see someone wearing this polish as a manicure or pedicure for a wedding as their "something blue." Even though I'm wearing it in December, it's definitely more of a spring/summer shade. I think it's fairly flattering for someone with my yellow undertones though the brightness can make it a little harsh. However, I do think is one of those polishes that could work for a lot of people.
Formula: The polish has a thin, fluid formula. It also smelled rather terrible. It wasn't as toxic as Sally Hansen polishes can be but it was noticeably bad.
Application: Here's where we really run into trouble. First of all, this polish comes with a very wide brush and you know how I feel about wide brushes. That said, to begin with application went fairly smoothly. The polish glided on beautifully though I immediately noticed that the polish was a little sheer. As soon as I went over the polish with the brush, it just pushed the last layer of polish around so I ended up with an even thinner layer of polish. The brush was also a little streaky. The problem was that I could paint a stripe of polish on the left and right sides of my nail but the middle brushstroke would always mess things up. Application of the second and third coats were more of the same. I wish I had a different brush to apply this polish to see how it would perform. Anyway, since the polish was still sheer and failing a light test at 3 coats and I had somewhere to go with this polish I just pushed ahead and added a fourth coat of polish. A light test still reveals sheerness and uneven application but I'll be damned if I'm adding a fifth coat of a creme polish. Seche Vite helped to smooth out the polish a little.
Wear: I have actually enjoyed wearing Havana Dreams on my nails. As long as I don't pay too much attention to the imperfections, it is really a very pretty polish. I wore it for five days and I didn't experience any tip wear in that time. The polish just naturally dulled a bit.

CONCLUSION: I find it difficult to recommend this polish because it's not perfect but even with all of the problems, I still ended up preferring it to Zoya Blu (I will do a comparison post in the future). The polish doesn't end up looking that bad and if you're not a crazy nail polish blogger who does light tests you probably won't notice that the polish isn't fully opaque. It can be difficult to find good pastel creme polishes. This one is not fantastic but all things considered, it's not the worst.


Friday, January 24, 2014


Hello peanuts,

I know I've been quiet for a while. My laptop still hasn't been fixed so the posts on hold are still on hold. I am still testing products and working on new posts (and new nail art tutorials... maybe video tutorials?). I haven't posted any new nail polish reviews because I've been wearing the same polish for a week. I haven't posted any lip product reviews because my lips are too dry for swatching and I'm still testing products. I would post hauls but I'm not sure if anyone likes them and besides, it's too cold on my balcony (which is covered with snow) to go out there and take a bunch of photos. I may cover a sample sale soon but I'm not sure if I want to make the trek uptown. We'll see how the weather is in the next few days as temperatures are supposed to drop again. Or rise. Or it's going to snow. Or not. I hate the weather channel.

Lots of love,

UPDATE: 1/26 My laptop has been fixed!

SECOND UPDATE: 1/28 So my laptop isn't actually fixed because of course it isn't. Sigh...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

REVIEW of Sephora by OPI Leotard Optional With SWATCHES

Hello peanuts,

I've got a quick review for you today. This polish also came from the Sephora by OPI Tinsel Town Collector's Set I mentioned purchasing in my review of Sephora by OPI A True Romantic.

Color: Leotard Optional is a dusty rose creme polish. Like A True Romantic, even though you would probably call it a "pink" polish, the reason I like it is because of how much it isn't just a pink polish. When I look at this polish it seems to have a good deal of brown in it (whether that makes any sense or not). I guess it has a bit of a mauve quality. Indoors with the yellow-ish lighting in my house it can look like a light tan, mainly at night. The more natural night, the more pink the polish appears, and the more artificial light, the more brown this polish appears. I think this a fantastic sort of neutral polish for me. Sometimes very pale polishes look jarring against my skintone and Leotard Optional just has a very relaxed vibe.
Formula: The formula isn't noticeably thick or thin. If I had to make the call, I'd say it's a thinner polish.
Application: This polish applies smoothly without any drag but it is also streaky. I wouldn't try and work with it too much with the brush. I applied three coats of polish and my manicure still wasn't opaque. While I will sometimes do more coats for a light nude or a glitter I refuse to do more coats (beyond three) for a creme like this.

CONCLUSION: I would have recommended this polish if it wasn't so damn sheer and streaky. While I do like the color of this polish, I can't recommend it based on the formula. However, if, for some reason, you don't mind streaky polishes that are not opaque at three coats, go ahead and get Leotard Optional. I will be looking for a good dupe.


Friday, January 17, 2014

REVIEW of Sephora by OPI A True Romantic and Butterfly Nail Art

Hello bumblebees,

I felt like I needed a bit of a cleanse after a few weeks of darker colors. No, not one of those horrifying juice cleanses. I tried just incorporating juices into my morning routine and it was bad enough. I would rather eat fruits and vegetables. I don't need to consume them in liquid form. Anyway, I haven't been buying that many polishes lately so I was inspired to pull out the Sephora by OPI Tinsel Town Collector's Set I purchased all the way back in late December of 2012 as a bit of a Christmas gift for myself. And yes, of course there was some kind of sale going on at the time. I haven't used the set until now because I've just had so many other polishes to try out and I didn't want to waste these polishes as I'm not sure how long these little bottles will last. Also, I think Sephora has pretty much done away with the Sephora by OPI line in favor of Formula X so I didn't want to really fall in love with a polish and then worry about tracking it down or locating a dupe. Looking through the set for something refreshing after weeks of dark polishes and metallics, I decided to try out the lightest shade, A True Romantic.

Color: A True Romantic is a pale pink creme polish. I think it belongs more in the family of nudes and neutrals than it does in pink range of colors. That's part of the reason why I like it. It was light enough and had enough of a peachy/yellow tone to not clash too much with my skintone. I still prefer nudes that are more yellow like OPI Samoan Sand but I think A True Romantic is a very pretty, feminine shade and it would look great against very pale skintones with pink undertones. I'd be wary if you have yellow undertones as it could clash a bit. There were times when I didn't love the way this looked on my nails.
Formula: The formula is on the thicker side without being gloopy. Although it is thicker, it is also rather sheer.
Application: And here is where we run into trouble. When I applied the first coat I noticed that the brush seemed a little streaky and the polish seemed a little sheer but that's not out of the ordinary for a light nude polish like this so I just tried not to overwork the polish and go over it with the brush too many times. The second coat applied in much the same way. The polish went on smoothly (without the brush dragging) but streaky. The third coat was the same. I just could not get an even layer of polish. At three coats, it was semi-opaque but streaky. I could have deal with this polish not being completely opaque if I had been able to apply even coats of polish. As it was, it looked streaky and patchy. And here is where you just me. I ended up applying five coats of polish in a misguided attempt to get this polish to full opacity. Even at five coats it was still very streaky and could not have passed a light test in a million years.

CONCLUSION: The color of this polish is alright but the application was terrible. I would not recommend this polish. I was so frustrated by the streakiness that I ended up creating a nail art design to cover up the balding.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

REVIEW of Zoya Veruschuka With SWATCHES

Hello darlings,

Today I thought I'd share my Christmas manicure with you but I'm afraid I don't know what this polish is called. Is it Veruschka? Is it Veruschuka? The internet refuses to confirm one name over the other. This has been very frustrating. For the sake of this post, we'll go with Veruschuka because that's the name on the website. It's possible they changed the name with the re-release. Speaking of the re-release, Zoya Veruschuka is now available for a limited time with the rest of the Zoya Matte Velvet polishes. I pre-ordered mine because I'm a crazy person and I've been wanting to try this polish out for a while.

Color: Zoya Veruschuka is a matte dark green polish. I would call it an emerald green with brighter green microglitter. In its matte phase, the microglitter is a bit duller and gives the polish a kind of quiet depth so it looks a little different from a simple green creme polish with a layer of matte top coat. It's almost as though the shimmer is trapped inside the matte emerald green polish. The photos below communicate this quite well. In person, you do see that depth but I find that it's less apparent in dim light. Indoors, especially at night, this polish does look a little flat and like a basic matte polish. I'm not sure you'd even notice the shimmer across the table from someone wearing this polish. With top coat, this polish comes alive and seems very festive to me. It's a beautiful shade for Christmas but there are plenty of times when this color would be appropriate. A beautiful polish is always appropriate.
Formula: Zoya Veruschuka has a thicker formula.
Application: The first coat glided on smoothly without any dragging though I did have to even out the polish a bit and it didn't apply perfectly. I found that it helped to have a bit more polish on the brush so I didn't have to even it out as much. When I adjusted my technique, the polish applied more smoothly. You can work with this polish a little and go over it with the brush to even it out but as this is a matte polish it starts to dry more quickly than a regular creme polish so you don't have a ton of time to work with it. By the time you finish painting all the nails on one hand, the nail you started with is dry to the touch. I didn't find that the thickness of the polish affected how smoothly the polish glided over the nail. On my second coat I didn't have any application issues. However, the polish was still not opaque and alight test revealed some streakiness. I added a third coat, again without any application issues. The polish was fully opaque at three coats.

CONCLUSION: Yes, I would recommend this polish. It applies beautifully and glides very smoothly over the nail as long as you have enough polish on the brush. I think it looks nice matte or with a shiny top coat. Also, I have a personal love of greens and I find this very flattering for my skintone.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

REVIEW of Nailtini Lacquer in Caviar Cocktail With SWATCHES

Hello little eggs,

How are you? I still don't have access to my laptop. It is becoming a thing. Anyway, enough of that. I'm reviewing my first (and probably only) Nailtini Lacquer for you today. I received it in my November Ipsy Glam Bag. While I'm always happy to receive nail polishes in my ipsy bags, I wasn't so thrilled about the color of this one. I still kind of have mixed feelings on the polish itself. Let's break it down.

Color: Caviar Cocktail is a gunmetal gray shimmer polish. The shimmer is a little frosty though and the brush can create streaks if you apply too much pressure. Or even if you don't. But more on that later. Obviously I did not choose this color for myself so I don't automatically have that relationship with it where I am either happy it's what I expected it to be or disappointed in how it looks on my nails. Still, I don't hate it and I think it might be useful to have around for nail art if I want to paint something metallic like little robots.
Brush: The bottle has a long cap, the stem of the brush is long, and the bristles of the brush are long so you end up with an unusually long brush. It's just something to keep in mind. I don't think it affected my control of the brush. The brush was also a bit wide. I'd say it was wider than an Essie polish but not as wide as a Sally Hansen polish.
Formula: This Nailtini Lacquer had a very thick formula. I'm not sure if this is the norm for these polishes as I've never tried anything else from the brand. Also, it smelled truly awful.
Application: Painting with my dominant hand, the brush glided very smoothly but there were very visible brushstrokes. The brush also didn't really want to bend to get into the corners of my nail which makes me suspect that the bristles might be stiffer than those of the other polishes I work with but I can't be sure of that. I only needed two coats to get this polish opaque though I had to go back and add another coat because of a few bald patches. Yes, I am a perfectionist. But I think that if you did a really clean application you could get away with two coats.
Painting with my nondominant hand, the polish did not apply as smoothly. Visible brushstrokes were much worse and I noticed something in the polish. I could not tell if they were bubbles or unidentified lumps. I had seen one or two when I was painting the nails on my other hand but I'd overlooked it and covered it with another layer of polish.
Wear: I wore this polish for five days and experienced a notable but not awful amount of tip wear. As you know, my polish pretty much never chips so tip wear is usually the worst thing I get.

CONCLUSION: I would say that based on my experience painting with my nondominant hand, it's hard to recommend this polish enthusiastically. I'm also not that thrilled with the color and I think you could easily find a dupe from another brand. The visible brushstrokes are a negative. And also, this polish is more expensive and not as easy to come by as polishes from other brands. So no, I would not recommend this polish.


Friday, January 10, 2014

REVIEW of Zoya Dahlia With SWATCHES

Hello darlings,

First of all before we start the review I just wanted to say hi. I know I've been quiet for a little while. I've been around. I've just been working on other projects and also it's a little harder for me to get posts up when I'm working on my desktop computer. Yes, my laptop is still not working. Rage! OK, enough of that. Let's get into the review. I have another Zoya Pixiedust polish for you today.

Color: Zoya Dahlia is a black textured polish containing silver microglitter. It is very similar to the rest of the polishes in the Pixiedust formula line. It's a little sheer and the texture is a finer grit than the OPI Liquid Sand polishes as well as (I imagine) a lot of the other textured polish formulas. There isn't much to say about the color besides that it's a black base with silver microglitter. I do like the way it looks but it doesn't have a great amount of depth with or without top coat. I think personally I prefer it without top coat as it has more of a subtle edge whereas with top coat it comes across as a bit more flat. If you're looking for a lot of texture you might be disappointed.
Formula: The formula is on the thicker side though it's also sheer which... is what it is.
Application: I applied three coats of this polish. I could talk about the application of each coat of polish but they were all pretty much the same. The formula is thick but the polish applied fluidly without any drag though I did have to even the polish out with the brush quite a bit. However, it didn't really present that much of an issue and I was able to get fairly even coats, though of course they weren't as even as the coats I would get with a good creme polish. The first coat was already fairly glittery but when you build up the polish it doesn't end up looking like a glitter bomb. As it is a textured polish it does apply shiny when wet and dry matte. I would only use three coats of this polish. For me, it's opaque enough. It's not as opaque as a creme and it might still be too sheer for some people but I personally wouldn't go beyond three coats.

For my right hand, I used two layers of glue as my base coat. The next day I was able to easily peel the polish off of my nails. I see no reason why this wouldn't have still worked if I kept the polish on for longer but in the interest of full disclosure I probably only had the polish on that hand for 12 hours at the most. I would recommend using glue as a base coat as removal was much easier. Though removal wasn't terribly bad with nail polish remover and not as bad as it would have been with a foil or another type of glitter, I did have to use a fair amount of pressure and scrubbing and there were a few stubborn pieces of glitter than lingered. I will just save myself the trouble and use the glue method next time for both hands.

CONCLUSION: I would recommend this polish but I understand that it won't be for everyone. It is not completely opaque and it might too much for some people and not enough for others but I like how subtle it is. It's nice for those times when you're not in the mood for a basic creme but you don't want something too out there either.