Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Hands Illusions, Michael

I have reviewed Happy Hands Illusions, Michael here before, but my original swatches were pretty dreadful and frankly, this polish deserves better! Inspired by Arrested Development, one of my all-time favorite TV shows, Illusions, Michael is a clear base with silver microglitter, red round glitter, orange hexes, gold squares and holographic gold stars.

I originally swatched this polish alone and while you can certainly do that, I think the different elements really pop when you layer Illusions, Michael over something else. Here's one coat over Pure Nail Lacquer Sunny Disposition. I really dig the super hero vibe this combination has!

I absolutely love these two polishes together! I think they compliment each other perfectly and the bright yellow really makes the red glitter stand out.

You can purchase Happy Hands on Etsy.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Essie Luxeffects 2013 Preview

Along with the upcoming Shearling Darling, Essie has another collection up its sleeve this winter: new Luxeffects! Five of the polishes are repromotes from the existing Luxeffects line, but we will be seeing two all-new Luxeffects: Jazzy Jubilant and Sparkle On Top! Take a look!

As Gold As It Gets (Repromote)
A Cut Above  (Repromote)
Pure Pearlfection (Repromote)
Set In Stones (Repromote)
Stroke Of Brilliance (Repromote)
Jazzy Jubilant
Sparkle On Top

I would have loved to see the return of Shine Of The Times, my favorite Luxeffects polish and one of my all-time favorite Essie's period, but it's still exciting to have two new shades added to the Luxeffects family! According to Transdesign, these will be launching in November.

Are you excited for more Luxeffects? What is your favorite Luxeffects polish so far?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pure Nail Lacquer: Review & Swatches

I've got three polishes to share with you from Pure Nail Lacquer today! Pure was started by Danielle, a Christian worship artist who noticed on her singing tours that no matter where she went, she saw women who were so hard-working that they often had to put taking time for themselves at the bottom of their list. She started Pure as a way to brighten women's days and encourage them to take some time for themselves. The entire line is four-free and vegan-friendly.

Fiesta is a vibrant, citrus-y orange creme. I like my oranges bright without veering into "traffic cone" territory, so this was a perfect fit for me! The formula was excellent--almost a one-coater, but covered beautifully in two.

Sunny Disposition is a bright, cheery yellow creme. I'm very pale, so I have to be careful with yellows, but Sunny Disposition is a very pretty one that didn't make me look sallow. This is the only one I had any formula issues with. It's streaky and needed four coats--five on a couple of nails--to be completely opaque. Using thicker coats and waiting a while in between them might be helpful. Still, it's so darn cute!

Sunday Brunch has got to be my favorite of three polishes I tried. I definitely gravitate toward these offbeat greens but even then, this was still a very unique polish in my stash. It's a tough color to peg; not too green, not too yellow, not quite bright enough to be chartreuse. But whatever it is, I absolutely love it! (I did an awesome layering with this polish that I can't wait to show you guys!) This is three coats.

You can purchase Pure Nail Lacquer from their website.

Disclosure: These polishes were provided to me for my honest review. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Essie Shearling Darling Preview

I am so ready for fall that it's not even funny. Fall is not even one of my favorite seasons, but I've been binging on Bath & Body Works fall candles lately, which has really put me in the mood for sweater weather--plus, I always look forward to the holiday collections from my favorite make-up and polish brands that start to pop up at this time of year!

Today, we'll be taking a look at Essie's winter offering, called Shearling Darling. The collection will feature six new polishes.

Shearling Darling
Sable Collar
Mind Your Mittens
Toggle To The Top
Parka Perfect
Warm & Toasty Turtleneck


It's not a bad group of shades, but I feel like we have seen a lot of these colors before from Essie. Granted, swatches might tell differently, but Toggle To The Top looks a lot like Leading Lady, Parka Perfect reminds me of Bobbing For Baubles, Warm & Toasty Turtleneck reminds me of Love & get the idea. Still, I might be able to get behind Mind Your Mittens and Shearling Darling does look like a pretty perfect deep winter red. There's nothing that screams "must-have" to me personally, but maybe a shade or two will worm its way into my heart--you never know!

Shearling Darling will hit stores this October. Will you be picking up any of these polishes? Stay tuned later this week for a look at Essie's other holiday collection...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Barry M Blueberry Ice Cream

I gotta admit, I was pretty stumped for this week's Twinsie Tuesday theme: ice cream mani. I actually worked at an ice cream place for about five years as my first job, so you'd think I'd be better at coming up with creative ideas involving ice cream! I was searching through my stash, trying to find something that might fit, when I came across my little collection of Barry M. Barry M is a British brand; my friend Alya was nice enough to pick up some of their polishes for me while she was studying in England. :) Blueberry Ice Cream, a bright sky blue creme, comes from the brand's Ice Cream Collection (but of course), so this seemed like a good fit for the theme.

If you're familiar with Blue Moon or Superman ice cream, this polish is the same color; it's not as pastel as how my camera insisted on showing it. I'm not a big fan of either flavor (give me something rich and chocolate-y any day) but I definitely like this color!

What's your favorite ice cream flavor? I don't think I have a definitive favorite, but I can get behind just about anything with fudge or peanut butter in it! I can't wait to see what my Twinsies do for their ice cream manis!

Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined and Polished
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Traci at DrinkCitra

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: Lush Ponche Shower Gel

I have never been much of a drinker, but lately, I've been enjoying tequila every morning--in the shower, even! Don't worry, I'm just talking about my Lush Ponche Shower Gel. ;) Based on Mexican Christmas punch, Ponche contains orange juice, plum and cinnamon infusions and a shot of tequila.

Ponche smells like fresh-squeezed orange juice with a tequila kick; I really can't smell the plum and cinnamon at all, aside from the slightest hint of spice that I catch a whiff of sometimes. This bright and boozy shower gel will have you practically samba-ing in the shower. I am one of those people who does not like to get up early so I need all the help I can get waking up in the morning. Ponche doesn't make me into an instant morning person, but it does perk me up and it never fails to put me in the mood for a cold glass of actual orange juice.

In addition to the uplifting scent, it lathers really well and you don't need much to use much gel to feel fresh and clean. I have a 250g bottle (medium-sized) and it should last me a good long while. Good thing, too, because Ponche was a seasonal product that Lush put out last year for Christmastime. I am really hoping they'll bring it back again this year, as I'd love to grab a second one. In the meantime, you can still find it for fairly reasonable prices on Ebay, which is where I got my bottle. If you're looking for a great scent for the transition from warm to cold weather, Ponche is worth hunting down!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Born Pretty Cartoon Notebook--Plus, How To Make Your Own Swatch Book

I've reviewed plenty of Born Pretty Store nail products on this blog, but did you know the make non-beauty products too? They sell everything from clothes to kitchen supplies to phone cases. I was recently given the opportunity to try out some of their stationery and I picked out this cute little notebook. I've been wanting to create a swatch book for a while now and this seemed like it would be the perfect fit!

When you order the notebook, you receive a random design (although you can leave a note with your order if you really have your heart set on one of the designs), so thankfully they are all adorable! Mine has a bear on it and there's also cat, panda and pig designs.

The notebook is nice quality, especially considering that it's priced at under five dollars. It's made of a faux leather-type material and the bear on the front is attached to the notebook as a separate piece, so he could serve as a pocket for notes or as a place to tuck a pen or pencil. The cover and binding both feel pretty sturdy. Inside, the pages have lots of cute little drawings on them and there's a variety of page types: grid paper, unruled, lined, diary pages, etc.

I don't know for sure how many pages are inside, but there seems to be plenty of paper and the spine is 3/4" thick. The notebook dimensions are about 4x6 inches, so it's big enough to write comfortably in, but still small enough to stash in your purse.

As for the swatch book idea, I can't remember where I saw it originally, but it's really cool and easy to do. Just put a small swatch stripe of each polish on a page. You can organize your book by color, brand, finish--whatever makes the most sense to you. Label each swatch with a name, let it dry for a while (the pages in this notebook are thick enough that I didn't have any bleeding through), then repeat until you have your entire stash cataloged in one handy reference guide! To give you an example, here's the page I made for the brand Happy Hands:

If you would like to purchase anything from Born Pretty, they have provided a 10% off code for Nailed readers below:

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

China Glaze Unrefined

I have been on the fence about non-sparkly textured polishes, but last time I was at Sally, they had some of China Glaze's textured polishes on clearance, so I decided to try one out. My friend Cordia shared some beautiful pictures of Unrefined, a textured bubblegum pink, on Facebook the other day and I'd had that polish in the back of my mind ever since, making it the natural choice. Once I got over the fact that creme textured polishes totally remind me of popcorn ceilings (just like the ones in my own apartment), I was kind of surprised how much I actually like this polish.

Unlike sparkly textured polishes, which look mostly like regular polish when you're first applying them, I could see and feel the little textured granules in this polish as I was spreading it across my nail. You'd think this would cause some application difficulties, but it was surprisingly easy and Unrefined was opaque in just two coats.

I am not a total convert to non-glittery textures yet, but I must admit I really enjoyed Unrefined. It's such a fun shade of bubble gum pink and the textured finish gives it a trendy twist. What do you think of China Glaze's textured polishes?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Adore Nail Polish: Review & Swatches

One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to discuss new brands with all of you. There's always something new and exciting happening in the polish world! Well, today I've got a lovely new line to share called Adore. Adore's polishes are vegan-friendly and designed to deliver a salon-quality manicure. I received two creme shades from their Wedding Collection to try out: Blushing Bride and My Happily Ever After.

If you saw yesterday's Twinsie Tuesday post, then you got a little sneak peek at this first polish. Blushing Bride is a more interesting shade than it might first appear to be. It's not quite pink and not quite lavender, but a cheery, pastel medium between the two. The formula is amazing and almost a one-coater; extremely rare for a pastel! I used two coats here.

My Happily Ever After is a deep, red-based berry. This is another fantastic formula that covers in two coats. It has a glossy, high-shine finish, even without topcoat. This would be a perfect shade for a fall wedding!

Overall, I'm really impressed by this line. The formulas are top-notch and easily glide across the nail. I wore each polish for three days and did not experience any chipping or visible tipwear. The brand's presentation is very professional as well. Here's a look at the bottle for Blushing Bride:

 Cute, right? :) It plays into the wedding theme perfectly.

Adore's polishes retail for $8 each. You can purchase Adore from their website. In addition to the launch of the Wedding Collection, they're also working to get an ad during the Superbowl! You can check out that contest HERE if you'd like to learn more.

Disclosure: These polishes were sent to me for my honest review. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Chevron Manicure

This week's Twinsie Tuesday theme is one I have not been looking forward to: a chevron mani. I've never attempted a chevron before; I'm not coordinated enough to freehand it and experience has taught me I'm pretty terrible with tape any nail art techniques involving tape. So nail wraps to the rescue!

A while back, I did a review of some Jamberry Nails wraps and my Jamberry consultant, Amy, was kind enough to send along a few extra individual strips to practice with before I used the set sent for review. (You can read more about my experience with Amy and Jamberry HERE, if you would like.) I still had a few of the strips left over and luckily for me, one of them featured a chevron design!

I used the chevron wrap on my ring finger, then tried to find some polishes for a Skittles mani that would correspond with the rainbow of colors on the wrap design. My thumb is Essie In The Cab-ana, my index finger is China Glaze Creative Fantasy, my middle finger is OPI On The Same Paige and my pinky is Adore Blushing Bride.

I'm pretty pleased with my color matching. I didn't have an exact match for the orange, but I think I came close enough. Originally I used China Glaze Urban Night as my purple and it was waayyy too dark so I swapped it out for Creative Fantasy.

So there's my chevron mani. It's kind of cheating and it's nothing to really get excited about (although the wrap design is adorable), but thankfully I have some very creative Twinsies who always pick up the slack. ;) So be sure to take a look at their gorgeous chevrons!

Amanda at Amandalandish
Amber at Nails Like Lace
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined and Polished
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Rachel at Top Coat It
Róisín at Cuti-CLUE-les
Traci at DrinkCitra

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: Lush BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask

On my quest to try all of Lush's Fresh Face Masks, my most recent purchase is BB Seaweed, a mask designed to soften, cleanse and hydrate skin. I've tried three of Lush's masks already and I wasn't quite sure which one to try next but the salesgirl suggested this one, so I gave it a go!

BB Seaweed contains honey (antibacterial and a humectant, which means it traps and holds moisture against the skin), lime tree flower and sweet violet leaf decoction (soothing and cleansing), kaolin (exfoliating and deep cleansing), fresh rose petals (toning and soothes redness), aloe vera (soothing) and, of course, seaweed (softening and hydrating). It also has exfoliating millet seeds in it, so the mask is a bit scrubby, but not as much so as, say, the Love Lettuce mask. The seeds are finely milled, so there's no sharp edges that could tear or drag across your face.

When you put the mask on, it immediately feels very cooling and while you're wearing it, it's pretty gentle on the skin. There's no tingly feeling to it or anything like that, which makes sense, as one of the things this mask is meant to do is help with skin redness, so you don't want to have anything in it that could feel too intense or potentially irritating.

I must confess that, at first, was kind of "meh" on BB Seaweed. There are other masks that I feel do more for me and are better suited for my oily skin--Cupcake and Catstrophe Cosmetic come to mind--but this is a mask I would probably like more during the wintertime, since it has hydrating, softening and anti-redness properties. In summertime, I'm mostly concerned with fighting grease and warding off blemishes. But one thing I've found BB Seaweed works great for in the summer is helping soothe sunburn! My boyfriend took me to a water park earlier this week and we had a blast, but when we got home, my cheeks and my nose began to feel hot and I could see the telltale redness coming on.

I remembered that seaweed is supposed to help quench your skin with minerals and hydration, making it a good post-sunburn pick-me-up, plus BB Seaweed has aloe vera in it, which is great for soothing burns. So I slapped on a BB Seaweed mask and it gave me some fast relief from the burning and redness. The redness was still there the next day (to be expected), but the burning went away completely within a few minutes of washing the mask off, which is pretty impressive, and my face felt comfortable for the rest of the day.

A single pot costs $6.95 and you can get about six to eight masks per pot, depending on how thickly you apply them, so it really is a great value. The masks need to be refrigerated because they contain fresh ingredients with no preservatives, so the only place you can buy them is in-store. The masks have a shelf life of three weeks, but personally I just treat them like food: So long as you store them properly and check for changes in scent and consistency, you can get away with using them a bit longer than the official shelf life. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

OPI Alcatraz...Rocks

OPI Alcatraz...Rocks is, hands down, one of the most beautiful textured polishes I have ever seen. The lush indigo base with gleams of royal purple and gold is absolutely to die for! But could someone please enlighten me on the reasoning behind the ellipses in the name here? I feel like I'm missing something. Odd grammar aside, well done, OPI! I think their Liquid Sands get prettier and prettier with each new collection!

The formula is fabulous and is completely opaque in two coats. As much as I love Zoya PixieDust, I think Liquid Sand has a bit of an edge, because they don't have the weird dry down that some of the PixieDust polishes do, where the polish doesn't "crystallize" all at once as it dries.

If you are a fan of textured polishes, Alcatraz...Rocks is a must-have! It's got a fantastic formula and I love the depth it has; those glints of purple and gold add tremendously to this polish. I only picked up two polishes from the San Francisco Collection (this and Peace & Love & OPI) but I think they're both beautiful! Have you bought anything from this collection yet?

Friday, August 16, 2013

OMG Nail Strips in Pink Kisses: Review & Swatches

I have really become a sucker for nail strips recently. They take a little trial and error (at least for me) the first few times you use them, but once you get the hang of it, they are addicting!

Today I'll be testing out some nail strips from OMG Nail Strips! OMG has all kinds of different nail stickers to choose from. The design I went with is called Pink Kisses, which features hot pink (bordering on red, really) kiss designs against a black background. I have always wanted some lipstick nails and these did not disappoint!

The strips feel very flexible and are easy to stretch across the nail without any bubbles or creases. I was really impressed with how stress-free the application is. There's a good variety of strip sizes available, so I didn't have any trouble finding the right fit for all of my nails.

The application instructions on OMG's website suggest finishing the strips with a topcoat. I decided to try them without one, just to see how they wore, and they withstood normal wear and tear well enough on their own. However, the strips did lose some of their initial shine after about two days of wear, so I could see where a topcoat would help in this respect. You wouldn't necessarily need something as thick as, say, Seche Vite, just something to seal everything in and maintain that shiny finish. Removal is super easy. I was able to peel them off while in the shower. They didn't leave any sticky residue or film behind and my nails were ready to go for their next adventure!

I was pleased with these strips and would especially recommend them if you've struggled with other nail wraps and strips in the past. These, along with Incoco, are the easiest I've tried, as they have a thinner, more flexible texture than some of the other decals out there. Each package of OMG strips contains 14 nail strips and retails for $6.89, so they're on the more affordable side. Shipping is free and OMG has a 4 for $20 or 10 for $45 deal going on right now on their website, so you could do a fun nail night in with some girlfriends or just keep 'em all for yourself! ;)

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

China Glaze Monsters Ball Preview

Monsters Ball, China Glaze's 2013 Halloween Collection, will feature five new polishes and the return of their glow-in-the-dark topcoat, Ghoulish Glow. It's also interesting to note that the collection display features art from Abigail Larson. You may remember that China Glaze had a bit of a scandal on their hands last year when the display for their 2012 Halloween collection, Wicked, featured some of her artwork that she alleged was used without her permission. The two sides appear to have worked things out though, as she was contracted by CG to do this artwork.

Bat My Eyes
Bat My Eyes
Boo-Gie Down
Boo-gie Down
Bump In The Night
Bump in the Night
Ghoulish Glow
Ghoulish Glow
Howl You Doin'
Howl You Doin'

I would suspect we'll see this collection in stores next month, but I haven't come across an official release date yet. I will probably pick up a couple of the glitters though! What about you?