Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cult Nails Angel Whispers

Today I have a polish from the most recent Cult Nails collection. (I am so behind on everything!) a recent Cult Nails collection, Passionate Dreams. This isn't the first polish I've worn from this collection-- I wore Kiss for Valentine's Day but didn't get a chance to photograph it for the blog. I decided I needed to paint my nails and reached for Angel Whispers. This polish is a very soft, light pink (almost white) with a shimmery silver glitter/texture. It dries to a slightly gritty feel, but because the glitter is so fine, it feels like sandpaper (to me, anyway). If you didn't like the texture, a layer or two of top coat would make this smooth-- you don't have to wear it as a textured polish and though slightly gritty, is not extremely textured. 

I was only able to get flash photos of this polish, sadly. The day that I planned on photographing this in natural light (and sun!), the polish on one nail completely flaked off, so these are the only photos I have.

Here's the thing: I'm torn about this polish. Part of me loves it and part of me really dislikes it.The color is great. I like that this can be worn as a texture or not, very easily. The formula isn't as great-- it's very thick and gets a little goopy. I used three coats here, but in the future would do two coats and live with the slight visible nail line. But overall I still really like this, despite the formula issues.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Julep Lola

Today I have Julep Lola to show you. This polish isn't new new, but it did come out in the November It Girl box. I grabbed this to use with my Seahawks Super Bowl manicure, and after using it there I really wanted to wear it as a full manicure (technically, this has yet to happen... unless wearing it on four fingers counts! Twin mom life, yo!). Lola is a "moonlit night blue satin" which is another reason I wanted to wear this-- I knew I wouldn't need a top coat. Anything to save time!

Despite not needing a top coat, I would strongly recommend using a base coat. Blues are notorious for staining because of the pigment so I went ahead and used two coats of my base coat to avoid any potential staining. I did not have any staining, so take what you will from that. I like being on the safe side, just in case. Stained nails are awful! The formula on Lola was good-- almost a one coater, though I used two to get complete coverage. Lola goes on shiny and then dries to the satin finish. It didn't take too long to dry, either, which is nice.

Artificial light:

The natural light pictures were taken after a few days of wear (or at least overnight; I can't remember). You can see (if you blow up the pictures) that without a topcoat there was some denting/scratching of the polish.

Natural light:

One of the best things about Lola was that it did wear like iron. I wore this for several days (on only four fingers-- yeah, I know. Don't judge me!) and barely had any wear on my nails. So that is awesome! These days I tend to wear my manicures a lot longer than I normally would so if they are still looking decent by the time I take them off, I'm happy. 

So in summary: love the color, love the satin finish, love the wear time. Wish it hadn't gotten nicked up, but I still really like it. This is definitely a new favorite!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Urban Outfitters Green Holo

For St. Patrick's Day I wanted to wear something green on my nails to help celebrate, so I managed to squeeze in a polishing session on Sunday night. I decided to pull out a polish that is long untried-- Urban Outfitters Green Holo. I bought this soon after it first came out but it's just been sitting around so it was time to wear it! (Of course... now it's almost April, blargh.)

Green Holo (original name, right?) is a silvery green holographic polish. I keep wanting to call it celadon green, but that's not really accurate. The green seems much deeper in the bottle than it does on the nail. The holo is incredibly strong, to the point of almost overwhelming the base color.

I did find this polish to be a little patchy-- best to let the polish dry first and not go over areas you have already polished. I used two coats in my pictures, but in the future I would use three coats. However, given how strong the holo is, it covers up a lot of flaws! I had some patchiness on my ring finger, but it only showed up in low light. The formula is a little thin and I am not a huge fan of the brush (too small for my giant nail beds) but it did dry incredibly quickly.

Artificial light with flash:

I wore this for several days with only minor tip wear and minimal chipping. The pictures I took in natural light are after 3 full days of wear, so please forgive the wear.

Natural light - sun:

You can still see the holo in the shade, which is pretty amazing-- though obviously it is not quite as strong.

Natural light - shade:

To be honest, I'm not sure if this polish is still available. It's not on the Urban Outfitters website, but might pop up there again. You may be able to find it stores. These polishes seem to come and go, so there's a chance it may be available again!

Where do you fall on the holo train? Yay or nay? Do you prefer them to be a strong linear holo or a more scattered holo? 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Julep Lip Buff Scrub and Luxe Lip Conditioning Treatment

This is a slightly different post than normal for me. I have been a Julep subscriber for a long time-- basically since they started their Maven program. I know a lot of people have issues with Julep for various reasons; fair enough. I am not one of those people, so feel free to skip this post if you are. I initially joined Julep for the nail polish and was a bit put off when they started expanding their line to include other beauty products-- especially when they turned the American Beauty box into the Modern Beauty box. I wanted nail polish, damnit! Yet, as I have gotten more into makeup thanks to the gateway drug of polish, and the fact that I have limited time to wear and swatch polish these days, I find myself glad that Julep has expanded their horizons because I can pick to get beauty related items instead of polish that will lanquish in a drawer until I have time to get to it (though let's not kid ourselves-- I still buy polish of course!).

I haven't talked much about my personal beauty regime on this blog, but I'm a relatively simple person. My biggest beauty struggle is probably my lips-- they dry out extremely quickly and I usually exacerbate the problem by picking at them and making them worse. I try and wear chapstick constantly, but will absentmindedly pick at my lips (and not drink enough water), leading to a chronic problem of ugly, scarred, flaky lips. Pregnancy (and now post-partum), to my surprise, has actually helped solve this issue to an extent-- I am constantly drinking water and this has definitely improved the condition of my lips. So when the March Modern Beauty box had these two lip products in it, I decided to take a chance and try them!

Julep Lip Buff Scrub is described as an "exfoliating, hydrating scrub makes it easy to de-flake on the go—just massage on and wipe off. Your lips will look and feel better right away." The scrub has fine sugar crystals, vitamin B5 and shea butter to exfoliate, heal, and moisturize. It's a pen/wand with a felt applicator and you twist the bottom to get product.

It took me quite a few twists to get any product out (like 10+ at least)-- at first I thought I had a dud because nothing was coming out! So if you got this and got really ticked off (I was getting there, believe me), try twisting it a few more times. Now that I've gotten it started I only need one twist to get product out. Once it comes out, it goes on the lips smoothly and has a nice consistency-- slightly on the thick side but thins out as it is absorbed into the lips. There doesn't seem to be a ton of sugar crystals in here (or they are very very fine) so my personal opinion (not in any way verified) is that this is gentler on your lips than a normal sugar scrub and you could probably use this every day if you wanted to. Julep recommends leaving this on for five minutes and then wiping off. After wiping it off (which I do gently with a tissue) there is still some residual moisture on my lips.

Julep Luxe Lip Conditioning Treatment is basically a fancy lip balm. It is described thusly: "enriched with natural ingredients that soothe, hydrate, and plump lips, this silky-smooth moisturizer sets a new bar for balm." This has a metal applicator and a slight coconut smell to it (at least to me).

The balm comes out easily and goes on smoothly. It has a slight pink color to it and doesn't feel too thick on the lips. I usually apply both these products before bed so I can let them work their magic while I sleep, but they are a nice size for throwing in your purse if you feel like you would use them during the day. When I put it on at night, I can't necessarily feel it on my lips the next morning but my lips don't feel dry.

Overall, I'm not sure if these products have miraculously made my lips better, but I like how they feel on my lips and they certainly do seem to moisturize, which is what my lips need.

These two product are available individually or as a duo on Julep's website. Quite honestly, I'm not quite sure how the prices compare to other similar products on the market-- many companies make lip scrubs, and you can even make your own if you're a DIY kind of person. Lip balms are almost a dime a dozen, depending on what you prefer. Since Julep is a boutique brand, I think the prices are a little on the high side, but since I got them together in a Maven box, the price was okay with me! Will I purchase these in the future? Well, maybe if there is a sale on the set. While I do like them, I think you can find similar products that work for less money, depending on what you like and what your budget is! 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Rescue Beauty Lounge Moulin Rouge/Cerise Noir

Tonight I have another Rescue Beauty Lounge polish to share with you-- Moulin Rouge. Actually, that's the old name for this polish; it was renamed Cerise Noir when it was re-released. To avoid confusion, I will just call this Cerise Noir. My bottle is the old version, but both are described as "black cherries wrapped in dark chocolate. Decadant, luscious, and just a bit dangerous."

Cerise Noir is a deep vampy red with hints of brown, but despite the darkness of this polish, you can't mistake it for black. This was an easy polish to apply-- 2 coats was all I needed. This went on incredibly smoothly and dries to a glossy finish without a top coat.

Artificial light:

Natural light:

This is a lovely vampy red brown. I think it's rich, sexy and sophisticated.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rescue Beauty Lounge Killa Red

I'm a terrible blogger. I started work part time at the end of January and since then I've just been plain too busy and way too tired to even think about blogging or painting my nails. Well, that's not quite true. I think about it quite a lot-- it's actually doing anything that is the real sticking point right now. One step at a time, I suppose. Sorry I have been absent for pretty much the entire month of February!

In any case, tonight I have Rescue Beauty Lounge Killa Red to share with you! Killa Red is described as a "cool, blue-toned red worn by those dangerous blondes in Hitchcock films (as they reach for their guns hidden in slim Kelly-green alligator clutches)." This is a gorgeous red that has a crelly formula-- though it might actually be more jelly than creme, in all honesty. The formula had a slight syrupy quality to it. This was a breeze to apply-- riffing on the femme fatale theme, it went on as smoothly as a silk stocking. Unfortunately I didn't write down how many coats I used-- definitely two to three. 

Artificial light:

Natural light:

Gorgeous, classic red! Hard to go wrong here. This is a red that feels slightly dangerous-- I'm picturing stiletto nails, slinky metallic gowns... and suddenly I have the hankering for a martini.

What's your favorite red polish?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday Mani!

Hey all! This weekend is the Super Bowl! Generally I am only mildly interested in the Super Bowl, as college football is my true love, but I do enjoy watching and rooting for my hometown team-- the Seattle Seahawks! And now they're headed to the Super Bowl for the second time in the franchise's history! Naturally, I had to have a manicure to celebrate. I've been planning this mani since before the NFC Championship Game! There's a ton of Seahawks spirit in the city right now and it's awesome to see so many people excited about supporting our team.

To put together my Seahawks mani I wanted to choose the right polishes. I found the perfect polish online-- from JENsations, a local Seattle polish maker. It's a glitter polish called Seattle Seahawks and inspired by the team's colors. It features blue and neon green hex glitter, in addition to white bar and diamond glitter. I love the way this looks in the bottle and think it perfectly captures the Seahawks. Given that the team often uses grey as an accent color, I decided to layer this glitter over the now defunct Lex Cosmetics Seattle Sunshine-- it seemed like it was meant to be. Then I added an accent nail of Julep (being a Seattle based company) Lola, a dark navy blue satin. I found some nail tattoos online and ordered those as well, so I put one of those on my accent nail. Initially I was hoping to leave the whole nail without top coat to emulate the helmets (matte blue with a shiny logo) but when applying the tattoo there was some residue that also transferred so I ended up putting a top coat on anyway. The tattoo is a little lost on the nail given the dark base color and the dark colors of the tattoo itself (it's recommended you put it over a white or light colored polish) but I still like the way it looks.

It's not the best manicure I've ever done, especially given my limited time, but I enjoy having spirited nails and was glad I could put together something for my team!

Go Seahawks!! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

L'Oreal The Statement Piece

Textured polish is still having a moment in the nail world, which may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your personal preferences and pretty much all the brands, drugstore and high end, are jumping on the trend. When I saw the promo pictures for L'Oreal's textured collection, Gold Dust, featuring nine textured polishes I immediately wanted all of them. When I finally came across a display in a local store I exercised great restraint and only snatched up five. Now of course I wish I had the other four, but oh well. Today I have The Statement Piece to show you-- this is a pale champagne gold texture polish with larger glitter pieces throughout.

One thing I noticed when applying this polish is that the brush was rather stiff. I'm not sure if this is all L'Oreal brushes (I don't have many of their polishes) or if it's just the textured polishes. I didn't mind it, but it did tend to drag polish I already laid down on the nail if I wasn't careful. I used two coats of The Statement Piece and even though there might have been a hint of visible nail line, it didn't bother me. In fact, if I hadn't had some drag marks on the first coats I might have left it at that. Of course, I left off the top coat and the textured feeling was slightly gritty but not too rough and did smooth down as I wore it.

Artificial light - flash:

Natural light - shade:

Personally, I love textured polishes. They are easy to use and dry quickly-- you don't really need to use a base or top coat. And even though they start out gritty they tend to smooth down the longer you wear them. Now that I'm mom (wow, cliche time!) I really appreciate every spare minute I have, and with the twins on a schedule I actually have a few spare moments (hooray!) and textured polishes make for a super easy manicure when time is precious and limited.

You'll notice that I have four fingers in these pictures-- I am trying something different. I am not a fan of my pinky and think it looks weird when I hold the polish bottle, which is why I usually do three fingers. But the vast majority of bloggers seem to use four fingers so I've decided to give it on try on new swatches. What do you think: yay or nay?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

OPI The World is Not Enough

And here is another shade from OPI's 2012 Skyfall Collection-- The World is Not Enough. Not my favorite Bond movie, especially as it features Denise Richards as a nuclear scientists with the lamentable name of Christmas Jones. Ugh-- let's move on to the polish! I would call The World is Not Enough a metallic taupe, though the finish on this polish is foil and has a pink and blue shimmer.

The World is Not Enough went on a little sheer in the first coat, but built up nicely. I used three coats to make this opaque, but you could get away with two if you used thicker coats. I didn't have any issues applying this at all and it dried quickly. I didn't use a top coat on this and you can see that with the flash this polish is incredibly reflective.

Artificial light - flash:

Artificial light:

Natural light - shade:

Clearly, given the reflective nature of this polish, I had a bit of a hard time capturing it on camera. Hopefully you can get a sense of the color from my photos. I feel like this is a slightly unusual polish for a holiday collection, but the color is cool and wearable. A fun twist on a neutral, that's for sure!

Friday, January 24, 2014

OPI Live and Let Die

Another "oldie"... sort of. Today I have OPI Live and Let Die from the 2012 Skyfall Collection, which was released last year for the holidays. I have had this swatched for some time (last January, cough) but time got away from me and I never posted it. Time to rectify that! Live and Let Die, aside from being one of my favorite James Bond themes, is a deep forest green with gold shimmer. The green is pretty murky and deep, but I don't think it ever looks black, even in lower light. The shimmer also doesn't disappear into this dark base, which is great, because I think the shimmer really makes this polish.

Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten to write down any notes for Live and Let Die, even though I did apparently to do it for all the other colors I swatched that day! Very annoying. I'm fairly certain I used two coats here, though you might be able to get away with one. The formula was good (again, as far as I remember)-- I certainly don't remember having any issues with it.

Artificial light - flash:

Artificial light:

Natural light - shade:

Sorry for the half-assed review-- hope you enjoyed the pictures! I don't have another polish like this in my collection. I do like that this polish, while part of a holiday collection, doesn't necessarily say "holiday" and you could definitely wear it at other times of the year.