Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sometimes Pretty Doesn’t Translate–China Glaze’s Sea Spray

It seems to be the color of the Anchors Away Collection.
It’s light without being bright. It’s like a blue sky but after a rain. It’s Sea Spray.

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I’d seen some swatches posted online and thought it was so beautiful. Not wanting to fall into a mad search for the new it color though, I decided not to hunt. Wouldn’t you guess that I’d just happen to run into the one hype product that I don’t go looking for? There it was starting up at me from a rack at Ulta. I had to get it.
I think the universe has played a little trick on me.

The prettiness in the bottle just doesn’t translate across onto my nails.

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Somehow what’s pretty in the bottle translates to borderline corpse-esque on my nails. It’s still a beautiful shade, but maybe one meant for me to admire in the bottle. Maybe I’ll do some layering experimentation with other polishes to see if I can change it into something more flattering.

Have you ever had a polish whose beauty in the bottle just didn’t translate?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ready for Summer! Zoya’s Rica

I did a post on my first ever Zoya purchases, and finally got a chance to try one out. Choosing which to go for first was honestly a hard decision. I contemplated trying out Caitlin first, but after Towel Boy Toy, I thought I’d keep going with the bright, summery colors.

Zoya’s Rica

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I’ve said before that I’m not a huge fan of pinks, but Rica is more of a coral. And can we talk about the amount of gold shimmer going on in this? It’s gorgeous and reminds me a bit of a sunset.

Application and Texture

The brush size is neither very big nor very small. It’s very close to the size of a China Glaze polish brush. The polish itself is medium consistency. I had no issues with it running or applying too thickly. In terms of both aspects, the polish lies at a nice middle ground.
As a Zoya newbie, a big concern was that with all that shimmer, I’d have to slather on multiple coats of a top coat to smooth it out. As beautiful as shimmer can be, I don’t think any of us want that sand paper feel that some of them leave behind. To my surprise, this dried almost perfectly smooth! I still don’t know how it’s possible. I’m convinced black magic is involved.

Drying Time/Lasting Time

I do have to say that it seemed like this took a bit longer to dry than some of my other polishes. With some of my nails needing three coats for perfect coverage, this did take a bit of patience. However, I feel like this is made up for my the lasting power. This stuff went strong for a week (with no top coat) before it started to show tip wear. I know I’ve read that the faster a polish dries, the shorter its wear life and the slower it dries, the longer. I can’t swear how true that is, but this does seem to support the idea.

Removal

The other thing I was concerned about was how long it would take to remove it. Along with leaving a gritty texture, intense glitters tend to be a huge pain to remove. Foil wraps, anyone? But again, to my surprise this barely took more effort to remove than a cream polish.

Final Thoughts

I am truly beyond impressed with Zoya polishes so far. This one has already put most of my other glitter polishes to shame. They are pricier than some others at $8 a bottle, but you seem to get more from these.
The only criticism I can make about this particular shade is that it seemed to dry closer to a true pink than it appears in the bottle, but I still ended up happy with it because all the gold glitter really sets it off.

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The only other criticism I could have made was that I had no other choice than to purchase these online; but a few days after receiving my order, I found out that my Ulta had started to carry them (at least some of them). So if you have an Ulta near you, I would suggest going to check there if you want to see some shades in person.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Birch Box 2–April Edition

Take two! If you missed out on my first Birch Box experience, you can check it out here.

And now for the new things.



Juice Beauty, Green Apple Peel (Sample Worth: $11.25)
I was so excited to get this! I’ve been hearing things here and there for a few months, but at $45 for the full-size, I just couldn’t bring myself to throw down the money for something I have no experience with. Now I get to see what the hype is about! (And can we just mention that I got my money’s worth for the box with just this product?)

Juice Beauty, Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment (Sample Worth: $3.15)
I haven’t heard anything about this, but I’m happy to get to try something else from the brand.

LIV GRN, Earth Eau de Parfum (Approximate Sample Worth: $.88)
The product description card says this is made from biodegradable, sustainable ingredients including jasmine and sandalwood. I’ve never heard of this either, but always the perfume junkie I’m always up for trying something new.

Weleda, Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion (Sample Worth: $4.76)
I saw a few other girls’ Birch Boxes before I received mine, and it seems I got this in place of a lotion from LaVanila. Though I was looking forward to the lotion, I’ve actually eyed this line of products many times in-store, but at $28, it’s also pretty expensive just to try. I’m excited to use this, and I always love something that smells of roses.

Zoya, Dove (Sample Worth: $4)
Watching others’ Boxes, I also saw that everyone seemed to be getting Caitlin or Jules. If you saw my recent Zoya acquisitions post, you know why I was really hoping to get Jules! Color me surprised when I got a whole different shade. At first I was a tad disappointed because Jules looked so pretty, but after holding the swatch for it (they sent a swatch card for the Intimate collection) I saw that the color may not have looked amazing with my skin. Dove, though, is lovely and will probably make a perfect light grey for me.

The extra was a Bloomin, Seed Paper
It’s the pink square in the top left of the photo. It’s paper infused with wildflower seeds. So you plant the paper, and it blooms. I’ve seen ideas like this a few times before, usually in product packaging. A quick look at their site showed that they’ll do multiple different types of printing (think invitations, cards, even wrapping paper) so it really is a charming idea if you want something a little different.

Total box value: $24.04
Paid: $10

I think money well spent.
*Sample worths were calculated based on the weighted unit prices of the full-sized items. The LIV GRN is approximate because the sample measure was not included, so I had to estimate the size of the sample based on other perfume samples I have.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shrinking the Stash: Shampoo Edition

I mentioned a few months ago that I was thinking about trying to phase sulfates out of my routine. Since then, I have actually found some amazing hair care products that I would like to become my one and only go-to items (I promise to write about them soon). The bad thing is that I still had a massive number of products to go through that I had previously accumulated. I’ve been working my way through them on ‘off’ days (where I don’t go anywhere or only run errands but still feel the need to wash my hair). Doing this for a few months, I have actually managed to work through a few! Few of them warranted their own post, so I decided to put them all together.



*Click on any photo to enlarge it so you can read the ingredients and directions/claims.

Biosilk Silk Therapy Shampoo
 Biosilk
I picked this one up because I am a fan of the Silk Therapy serum from them. According to the bottle, this combined with heat will provide ‘protection’ for your hair while also making it healthier and shinier.

I did notice that my hair felt soft when I used this, but I don’t think it was any softer than when I use other good conditioning products and noticed no added shine. Also, though I do wash my hair every day, there are some days that I could probably get away with not doing so. With this shampoo though, second day hair was not an option. It always looked a bit more greasy than normal the next day and always needed a rewash. Maybe I don’t use enough heat to activate it correctly?

I try to avoid heat as much as possible, but it might work out better for someone who dries on high heats or does a lot of curling or flat ironing. I’ve seen it at prices from $8 to $14, so it’s not terribly expensive if you want to try it. It’s just not for me.



Neutrogena Clean Volume Body Enhancing Shampoo


This is another product that I got pulled in with the possibility of more volume. I’ve mentioned before that I believe a lot of ‘volumizing’ shampoos do their job by stripping everything out of the hair so that there’s nothing to weigh it down – both product buildup and natural oils. I think this is no exception.

My hair did feel like it had slightly more lift, and though I’ve had worse before, my hair did feel noticeably drier after using this shampoo, no matter how strong a conditioner I used after it. It did give a bit more fluff to my hair, but also made it more flyaway and frizz prone. In all honesty, I finished up the last bits by using it as a body wash. I just couldn’t subject my hair to it anymore.

At only around $4 per bottle, it’s the cheapest of the three, but I wouldn’t use it again.



 David Babaii Amplifying Shampoo

David BabaiiThis is the only one that I’m sad to see go. It’s another one meant to provide some volume. It gives about the same amount of added lift as the Neutrogena, but it doesn’t leave my hair feeling stripped at all. In fact, my hair feels extremely soft after I’ve used this stuff.

And the smell is amazing. It’s a sweet, creamy, spicy amalgamation of goodness. I’ve had other good smelling products, but this one seems to envelope the entire shower like no other when I use it. I’m also working through the conditioner that goes with it, and I don’t think it’s anything special. It’s too thin for my taste and, though they smell the same, the scent doesn’t travel the same way as in the shampoo.

I do have to say I have read some very bad reviews of this product with people saying that it made their scalps break out after a few days of use. Since I’ve used all three of these shampoos on off days and tend to rotate products in general, I can’t speak to anything happening after an extended period of time using it since I didn’t do it. But that is something to look out for if you give this one a try. I believe the most I ever used it was two days in a row, but I never felt any hint of something bad happening.

This is also the only one of the three to contain no sulfates or parabens. Bottles retail for about $10.

*****

So my collection is now three bottles smaller. I have to say that I’m pretty pleased with myself (false sense of accomplishment?).

Have you finished anything lately? Trying to downsize?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bring In the Brights– China Glaze’s Towel Boy Toy

We’re officially into Spring, the weather is warming up (at least on some days), and it’s time to work those bright colors back into rotation. I’m not really one to rock the bright shades, so I typically only dabble in them in the smallest way possible – nail polish.

One polish that somehow managed to work its way into my collection – probably a combination of internet shopping and impulse buying – is China Glaze’s Towel Boy Toy.  It’s a gorgeous, bright blue that would really be more appropriate to wear for a tropical vacation than sitting at a desk. But it’s been staring up at me for months from my polish rack, so I had to give it a try.

And?

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Strangely, I think it works. Obviously it is very bright, but I like it.

It did take three coats for opacity, but each coat of this dried very fast.  I was also playing with one of my new Zoya polishes when I did these, and I had finished all three coats of this in the time it took one coat of the Zoya to dry.

However… There are some definite negatives.

Even when the color was opaque, I still had a visible nail line in some light (you can see it some in the photo).

The biggest problem, though, was the wear. TBT dries to almost matte (I thought it was slightly more reflective than a true matte). Because of this, I could not apply a top coat unless I wanted to hide its finish. On its own, it lasted a day before beginning to chip. So I guess this will be relegated to the collection that is broken out to be used on specific occasions and then taken off at the end of the day.

So ending thoughts – I think it’s fun. It will never make its way into normal rotation for me, but it makes for a quick manicure and will be nice to break out every now and then for a pop of brightness. Only for a day though.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: Hard Candy Hide & Glow Cheek ‘In Love’

Oh how misleading a product name can make a blog title post.

For the past few months, the brand Hard Candy has been getting a lot of love from beauty girls on the internet – mainly for their shadows. One day though, I saw a review from a very big beauty blogger singing the praises for a new HC product – their duo cheek tints. Hard Candy is currently sold at Wal-Mart, so I decided to pick one up on my next trip there, without bothering to look up other reviews on the product.

Being as I am very fair, I chose the lightest shade -

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A bright coral shade with very subtle silver shimmer.

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A softer coral-pink with a gold sheen. A little Orgasm-esque, I thought.

4 Hard Candy In Love

The shades seemed very pretty from what I could tell in the packaging; and it’s very easy to overwhelm my skin color, so I thought this was playing it safe with these lighter shades. It turns out I played it too safe.
Even on me, this hardly shows up!

Color Payoff

Pigmentation on these is mediocre at best. In an attempt to show what the colors could be, I ran each shade hard across my arm – 12 times – to get this -

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Coral with sparkle on left; ‘Orgasm’ type shade on right.

And when I say hard, I mean harder than I would be willing to press into my face. This was solely to demonstrate how poor the color is even after excessive effort.

Out of interest, I decided to test just one swipe of these against one swipe of the NYC blushable in Big Apple Blush.




There’s really no contest is there?

Texture

The product packaging describes this as a cream cheek color. I’d describe it more of a solid gel.

I’d be fine with that if the product would set! Imagine the feeling of putting a thick gel on your face, and then that staying with you all day. It does give a ‘dewy’ sheen, but at the cost of your skin feeling very tacky and greasy for the day.

I actually had a hell of a time getting a good swatch photo because most of them came out like this from reflecting too might light. None of that sheen is from shimmer in the productIt's like the sheen you'd get putting a clear lipgloss on your skin.

5 Hard Candy In Love swatch

Some would say that to get that look, you have to contend with a more tacky finish; but I’d say there are many cream highlighters that would suggest otherwise.

Overall Thoughts

There is not one aspect of this product that I find impressive. Bad color and awful texture do not a happy girl make. It’s possible that if I’d tried a darker duo, I would have liked the result more; but for this one – if something isn’t pigmented enough to do something for me, then it won’t do much for anyone.

Granted I recognize that this is slated as a tint, not a blush, but that still suggests at least some color. I’ve seen some say that they like it since it’s more mistake proof than some other products because it’s impossible to get much color, but wearing nothing is also mistake-proof – and the two looks aren’t very different.

Also, you get very little of each shade. That in conjunction with how much you must use to get it to actually show up, I think someone would go through this extremely quickly. Even a $6 product isn’t a good deal if it doesn’t last at all.

If you really want a tinted look at a drugstore price, I’d suggest the NYC blushables (I’ve talked about them before) over these. Although they can be built up to be quite pigmented, it’s very easy to blend them out. If you only apply a small amount, you can easily get the tinted effect.

Final thoughts. Completely unimpressed. Don’t understand how this has gotten any positive feedback. Trashed.
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