Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oscars Nails: A Red Carpet Rundown

You've seen the hair, the make-up and the dresses. So are you ready to see what the stars were rocking on their nails during last weekend's Oscars? Spoiler alert: Get ready for a LOT of nudes and neutrals!

Catherine Zeta-Jones, wearing L'Oreal Broadway Boogie:
Catherine Zeta Jones Oscars 2013 nails

Stacy Keibler, wearing Deborah Lippmann Glamorous Life:

Jessica Chastain:
 reg .022413 e1361843062888 Best Nails In Show At The Oscars!  
 Jennifer Hudson:
 Best Nails In Show At The Oscars!

Anne Hathaway, wearing L'Oreal The Palace Life topped with her grandmothers' intials written using a silver nail art pen:

Kerry Washington:
 Best Nails In Show At The Oscars!

Emma Roberts:
2013 Oscars Twitpics & Instagram 

Zoe Saldana, wearing Chanel Rose Cache:

 Jennifer Lawrence, wearing Covergirl Forever Frosted:
Oscars 2013 Best Hairstyles/Makeup Looks: Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon 
Quvenzhane Wallis:


Kelly Osbourne:

I'm disappointed by all the neutrals. I'd love to see more pops of color--even a bright red would have been a nice change! I look at my nails as another way to add character and fun to my outfit, but I could understand the rationale of letting the thousands of dollars' worth of jewels and couture dresses do the talking.

Do you play it safe with your nails on a big night out or do you amp up the color even more?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

China Glaze Tart-y For The Party

China Glaze Tart-y For The Party is a blue-based pastel purple from the new Avant Garden Collection. I am sure I have something similar to this polish in my stash already (Essie Bangle Jangle comes to mind, although I think it may be less blue) but I am obsessed with anything lavender. So really, what's one more, right? Welcome to the hoard, Tart-y For The Party!

Like Snap My Dragon, Tart-y For The Party may not be the most unique polish, but it's still a very pretty one. I am always drawn to pastel purples and I love that this one doesn't give me lobster hands. The formula is stellar, especially for a pastel. It covers in two blissfully non-streaky coats.

One negative about Tart-y For The Party though is it gets this stuck in my head. All. Damn. Day. Apparently someone at CG is a Real Housewives fan...

Oh, and you're so welcome for the major earworm. "Ohhhhhhh woooaaahhhh."

Twinsie Tuesday: Ruffian Manicure

I have been dreading this week's Twinsie Tuesday theme. I have never tried a ruffian mani before, mostly because I know I'd fail miserably at it. But I've developed a sense of humor about my complete ineptitude for all things nail art, so I figured it couldn't be any worse than stuff I've done before for our other TT nail art themes. (Translation: I couldn't figure out how to cheat my way out of this one.) So here we go! :)

I used OPI Goldeneye as my base and then layered my favorite black, Rimmel Black Satin, on top. I actually think this turned out pretty inoffensive, which is a hell of a lot better than I thought it would look. It's nothing special, but it's (hopefully)  not vomit-inducing either. Yay!

I think the hardest part was getting the shape of the curve right with my layering polish and then trying to replicate that same shape on the rest of my nails. I wouldn't say I accomplished that, but I actually wore this out of the house, which is more than I can say for a lot of my nail art.

I know several of my other Twinsies have mentioned already that this was not their favorite challenge either. I'm curious to see what everyone came up with though!

Amanda at Amandalandish
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Ashley at Art Evolve
Brandi at The Beaulieu Review
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Jamie at Polish, Please!
Katherine at Haul of Fame
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite!
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Tara at Polishy of Truth

Monday, February 25, 2013

Layla Caviar Effect Mambo

I've never tried a caviar mani before but have always wanted to. So what better way to give it a shot than with one Layla's new Caviar Effects? Layla has a dozen different colors of beads available in the Caviar Effect line. The one I tried out, Mambo, has teal beads. I paired Mambo with Layla Ceramic Effect Bally Sky.

Layla says you can keep their Caviar Effect beads in place without any topcoat, so I decided to put that claim to the test. I had them on for a little less than 24 hours by the time I decided to take them off and the beads actually stayed on very well. I halfway expected to be shedding beads all day long, but on the two accent nails I did (one on each hand), there was only one little spot on my left ring finger where a small cluster of beads had fallen off. Some of the beads had turned silver (probably just had their surface color scuffed off from the wear and tear of a normal day) but other than that, I was pretty impressed with how well this mani held up. The beads are also small enough that the texture didn't bother me throughout the day.

If I had to point out one thing I think could be improved upon, it'd be nice if the beads came with some type of sifter or special bottle to help with application. The bottle here is pretty much the same as the Layla Ceramic Effect bottles, just with a slightly smaller opening at the top. But overall, I really enjoyed my experience with Mambo and found it very easy to apply.

The Caviar Effects retail for $11.50. A separate funnel is also available for $1.00.

Disclosure: This product was sent for my honest review. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

China Glaze Snap My Dragon

Happy Sunday, everyone! Will you be watching the Oscars tonight? I am a major dork about awards shows and the Oscars are my absolute favorite! I didn't see as many of the nominated films this year as I would have liked, but I still caught a few and of course, there will always be amazing red carpet dresses to look at!

How about a nice red (as in red carpet, naturally) to mark the occasion? Earlier this week, I called around at my local Sally stores for the China Glaze Avant Garden and was thrilled to find one that A) had the collection in and B) would sell it to me from the backroom. I have been really looking forward to this set (probably the most I've anticipated a CG release since the Hunger Games Collection) and I know many of you have been too. I grabbed four polishes from the collection and I can't wait to share them with you guys!

First up we have Snap My Dragon, a metallic red with pink shimmer. I have a bunch of red shimmers, but I mainly got this one for the name. I think it's too cute!

Snap My Dragon isn't something we haven't seen before. Like I said, there are a ton of shimmery reds out there and nearly every mainstream brand will have a polish that's either just like or very close to this one. But it's still a beautiful red and the formula is stellar. It is soooo close to a one-coaster that it pains me, but I'm pretty anal about VNL so I had to use two.

Although it's not the most unique polish in the world, I still like Snap My Dragon quite a bit. The pretty glow it has reminds me a lot of red cellophane. It makes a great pedi color too. I am way less adventurous with my pedis than I am with my manis so I popped this on my toes too and it looks great!

What are your favorite pedi colors? I almost always wear red but if I'm in the mood to mix it up, one of my very favorite colors to wear on my toes is Orly Frisky, a pastel teal.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Layla Ceramic Effect Bally Sky (CE 62)

Layla Bally Sky is teal duochrome infused with a rich gold shimmer. Oddly enough, Layla doesn't put the name anywhere on the bottle. The imprint on the top of the cap and the sticker on the bottom of the bottle just say "CE 62." I had to look up the polish's actual name online. It certainly doesn't detract from Bally Sky's beauty at all, but I thought that was kind of weird not to include the name.

This is easily one of the most gorgeous teals I've ever seen. The intensity of the shimmer is absolutely incredible. Even in dim indoor light, it has a gorgeous reflective sparkle that catches your eye. There's an almost metallic glow to it. Plus the formula is excellent! This is almost a one-coater, but I needed two to even a few areas out.

When I saw Bally Sky in the bottle, I could tell it would be pretty, but I didn't think it would be as awesome and special as it turned out to be. There are lots of teal shimmers out there--and I have plenty in my own stash--but the richness of this teal and the dense shimmer really make this one stand out. If you like teal, you need Bally Sky--no question!

Disclosure: This polish was provided for my honest review. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sinful Colors Orange Cream

I am a sucker for a good creamsicle orange. I broke my no-buy to bring Sinful Colors Orange Cream home with me from Walgreen's the other day. I stopped in to get milk (and not-so-secretly hope they had SC's new Sugar Rush Collection on display) and I just could not resist this one. At only two bucks, I'm gonna cheat and say it doesn't count!

I didn't really see it in the bottle, but on the nail, Orange Cream has a pretty, subtle shimmer to it. It's  nice to have a polish with surprise shimmer for once, instead of the dreaded vanishing shimmer that can be so common with these lighter shades. The formula is on the streaky side, but still workable. I used three coats here.

This is a lovely polish, especially for spring. It's got that very appealing pastel softness that is so perfect for the season. I am so ready to be done with all this snow! I can't wait to wear all my bright polishes, strappy sandals and spring dresses.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Zoya Neeka

I'm sure you've all been there: You want a polish forever, but keep putting it off for once reason or another. Then, once you finally snag it, you put it on and...are immediately crushed by disappointment. For me, this is the story of Zoya Neeka. 

 I've had a lemming for Neeka ever since it came out in 2011's Mirrors Collection and I'd picked it up and put it down in the store plenty of times. There was always something else that caught my eye or seemed like a more urgent purchase (the "limited edition" mindset that I'm sure many of you can relate to) But I finally bit the bullet during Zoya's latest promo.

Neeka is a a muted purple with golden flecks. In the bottle, it looks so ethereal and lovely, then on the nail, it just looked kind of muddy to me. See if you agree!

Maybe I had such heightened expectations going in that a let down was inevitable. But after seeing so many swatches of Neeka's stunning pinky-gold sparkle, I felt like this polish didn't live up to the hype. In terms of the formula though, I have no complaints. Neeka covers in two smooth, glossy coats. I just wish the gold flecks were a little more vibrant. I feel like they kind of got swallowed up by the darker base and their sparkle can't quite come through.

 Am I being too harsh on poor Neeka? What was the last polish you were disappointed by?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

China Glaze Neons On The Shore Preview

China Glaze is at it again this summer with another installment of beach-ready neons called Neons On The Shore. This year, CG will be putting a bit of a spin on their annual neon offerings, by featuring both cremes and jellies in this collection. Check it out!
Top row, L to R: Sun of a Peach, Neon & On, Bottoms Up, That's Shore Bright, Too Yacht To Handle, Highlight Of My Summer -- all cremes
Bottom row, L to R: Shell-O, Are You Jelly?, Heat Index, You Drive Me Coconuts, Isle See You Later, Keepin' It Teal -- all jellies

I think the cremes in particular look awesome! I love the contrast of a softer color palette (peach, mint green, etc.) with neon intensity.

Neons On The Shore will launch this April. See anything you'll be on the lookout for?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Polka Dot Mani

This week for Twinsie Tuesday, we had a choice: polka dots or stripes. So I decided to do my first-ever polka dot mani for this challenge! I layered Spoiled by Wet N Wild Did I Dye It Too Blonde? over Sally Hansen White On for my base. (You can never, ever wear Did I Dye It Too Blonde? alone--just check out those swatches to see the reason why I once called it the ugliest polish ever. But it looks much better over white!) Then I used a black Sally Hansen nail art pen to make my dots.

I'm really happy with how this turned out! Yes, nail art I did that I actually like--I'm shocked! The nice part about dot manis is that your dots don't have to be completely perfect to create the overall effect. There's a fine line between mistake and "abstract," you know. ;)

Which do you like better on your nails: dots or stripes? Check out what my fellow Twinsies chose below!

Amanda at Amandalandish
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Ashley at Art Evolve
Brandi at The Beaulieu Review
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Jamie at Polish, Please!
Katherine at Haul of Fame
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite!
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Tara at Polishy of Truth

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pomegranate Nail Lacquer Broken Curse

Broken Curse is a blue and purple glitterbomb from Pomegranate Nail Lacquer's newest collection, Royal Fairy Tale. The blue and purple in this polish are both very rich shades and they compliment each other beautifully. I originally tried wearing this on its own, but it still wasn't at complete opacity after four coats, so this is definitely a polish best suited for layering. But no worries, it does a great job of adding some fabulous texture and sparkle to any mani! This is two coats over Pixi Amazing Amethyst.

I do wish Broken Curse was opaque enough to wear alone just to give this polish that added versatility, but I can definitely still appreciate a great layering glitter when I see one. If you missed the other polish I reviewed from this collection, Palace Gardens, you can check it out HERE.

Overall, I think the Royal Fairy Tale Collection is Pomegranate's best yet! There's a great mix of colors--some wintery, some spring-y, but all gorgeous. You can purchase Pomegranate Nail Lacquer from the brand's website.

Disclosure: This polish was sent to me for my honest review. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Born Pretty Hello Kitty 3D Nail Seal Stickers: Review & Swatches

Brace yourself for extreme cuteness, because I've got some Hello Kitty nail stickers for you! I am a Hello Kitty addict--my entire bathroom is done up in a Hello Kitty theme and I have countless Hello Kitty goodies all around my apartment, from my alarm clock to my car keys--so when I saw these decals at the Born Pretty store (you can check them out HERE), it was a no-brainer. I had to try them!

You get one sheet of stickers in each package. There's a few different designs featuring Hello Kitty, her mom and some accent flowers. The decals all have holographic glitter to add some extra fun.

These nail decals work just like regular stickers.You just peel 'em off, place 'em on, seal 'em in with some topcoat and then you're good to go. Super easy. I tried them out on top of some Lime Crime skittles and I think they turned out perfectly!

Seriously, how stinkin' adorable are these?! I could not have been more pleased with the quality of the stickers too. I wore this mani for five days and they still looked freshly applied by the end of day 5. There was no peeling or chipping. Although they're very durable, they come off easily with nail polish remover, so there's no extra hassle or scrubbing involved.

If Hello Kitty isn't your thing (*gasp* How could you?!) then Born Pretty has tons of other nail stickers with different designs and themes. If you're looking for a quick and easy way to dress up your mani, I highly recommend these. I would love to try out more of these stickers someday!

On the customer service end of things, I've always had good experiences with Born Pretty. My packages arrive quickly and are securely wrapped, plus overseas shipping is free.

P.S. Click the picture below and use the code shown to get 10% off your order!

Disclosure: This product was sent to me for my honest review. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Mizon All In One Snail Healing Cream and Snail Recovery Gel Cream

Allow me to introduce you to one of my new favorite skincare products: snail cream--specifically, Mizon All In One Snail Healing Cream and Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream. I am a huge fan of Korean beauty products and snail creams are one of the latest crazes in Korea.

So just what is snail cream? There's no getting around it; snail cream is made from snail slime extract. To produce the cream, snails are fed red ginseng to produce large amounts of rich slime, which is then humanely harvested. Snail mucus contains a complex blend of proteins, glycolic acid and elastin, which serve as the snail's natural defense against damage from harsh surfaces, UV rays and infection.

Snail-based products typically contain anywhere from 20-90% pure snail mucus. Snail creams are marketed as helping to reduce acne, hyper-pigmentation and scarring (including acne scars) and also to prevent and repair wrinkles, all while making skin look and feel healthier. Although snail creams as we know them today were first introduced in Europe, use of snail-based products dates all the way back to ancient Greece and even Hippocrates, widely considered the father of medicine, reportedly recommended crushed snails as a cure for inflamed skin.

"Because you're worth it."

Right now, I'm sure you're having one of two reactions to this: cautious curiosity or complete horror at the idea of putting snail mucus on your face. But hear me out. I should probably be grossed out by the whole snail thing, but honestly, I'm not. In fact, I've been very pleasantly surprised with my results.

There are a lot of different snail creams out there, but after a bit of research, I decided to give Mizon's version a try. There is also a corresponding snail gel, the Snail Recovery Gel Cream, which is supposed to expedite your results. So I picked that up as well.

Mizon is a Korean cosmetics brand that specializes in skincare. I got both products on Ebay. The cream was about $22 and the gel was around $8.Compared to a lot of the prices for high-end and even mid-level skincare products here in the US, I think the prices are a steal. You get a generous 75 ml of the cream and 45 ml of the gel. The cream contains 92% pure snail secretion filtrate, while the gel contains 74%. I wasn't sure if either product would really do anything, but I figured it couldn't hurt and worst case scenario, I was out 30 bucks.

The cream comes in a glass jar. The only thing I'm a bit iffy on with the packaging is that it doesn't come with a little spoon or spatula to scoop the product out, but that's not a dealbreaker for me at all.

A close-up of the cream

The cream itself has a rich but non-sticky texture to it. It has a light scent to it--nothing specific, just kind of a generic moisturizer smell, if that makes any sense. There's nothing about this product though--no texture, look or scent--that would make you think "snails" though. I use about a quarter-sized amount for my face, both morning and night. I put it on after my toner and my serums, but before my moisturizer.

Immediately after applying the cream, I follow up with the gel (then my moisturizer and I'm good to go). The gel is clear and has a very smooth, silky texture. Unlike the cream, the gel has no noticeable scent. It comes in a squeeze tube, so everything is nice and hygienic. If you don't feel like toting the cream with you when you travel, the tube is small enough to fit easily into your purse.

Some gel coming out of the tube

Both products absorb into my skin well and by the time I've rubbed my moisturizer on, it's like they've melted right in. They absorb very quickly and don't leave any type of residue or film behind. I have oily skin and I think the texture is appropriate for both oily skin as well as normal to dry skin. It's nourishing but not thick or sticky.

So I know what you're wondering: Does it work? I've been using both the cream and the gel for about a month now and while it's not the instant miracle cure that some of the advertising hype is touting it as, I really do believe the cream is making a difference, both in the appearance and the texture of my skin. Any good skincare treatment requires patience and diligence, but I've seen some very promising initial results and I think my skin will continue to improve with time and further use.

My skin seems healthier and clearer. My skintone is more even and more luminous. I feel more comfortable without make-up on, because my main trouble areas don't look as pronounced as before. My breakouts are smaller and more infrequent. My skin feels less oily than usual and my overall skintone also appears to be more even. There is less redness and it's noticeably brighter. I have some mild acne scarring on my right cheek that I always take extra care to cover up with my foundation and concealer. Since using my snail regime, the redness around the scarring looks less inflamed and the scarring is gradually becoming less noticeable. I find I don't need to use as much make-up to cover it up as I once did.

Obviously everyone's skin is different, so your mileage may vary. There are sample packets available on Ebay if you want to do a quick allergy or skin reaction test before committing to a full size. I've read a few reviews from people saying this cream made their face break out, but I have not experienced anything like that. So far, I am very impressed! I absolutely plan to buy another jar of this cream and another tube of this gel as soon as they run out--most likely before they run out, actually, because I don't want to be without them!

It may sound like a strange idea and I know for some, the mere mention of "snail skincare" will be enough to keep them away. And hey, I totally get that. But as I mentioned, other than the label on the products, there is nothing here that will remind you of snails and I think the results, at least from what I experienced, far outweigh the potential "ick" factor. As for me, I'm a total believer. Mizon has a few other products in this line and I'd love to try out the facial mist and BB cream! Snail power all the way!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Naild'It Sssnot What You Think

Happy Valentine's Day! Unfortunately I don't have a Valentine's-themed manicure for you today (I'm testing out some adorable nail decals--look for a review soon!) but how about a cool indie polish instead?

Naild'It was one of my earliest forays into indie polish and it's still a brand I adore. There's such a great sense of color and contrast in all of their polishes. This is the polish that initially drew me to Naild'It: Sssnot What You Think, a sheer teal base filled small teal particles and a rainbow of matte glitters. It definitely makes for a very eye-catching combination! This is two coats of Sssnot What You Think over Zoya Wednesday.

The formula is excellent--no complaints there! I love how the teal particles add texture to this polish, while the larger matte glitters really pop. This is such a fun polish! I liked it so much that when I ordered it, I got not only a bottle for myself, but one for a friend too. Indie polish makes the perfect gift, don'tcha think? :)

Speaking of which, did you get any polish for Valentine's Day? Are you wearing anything special on your nails for the holiday?