Monday, January 2, 2017

Sally Hansen New Shades | Winter 2016/2017


In catching up with my swatching, I'm finding that the lighting in my new apartment just is not as good as the natural light I had readily available before getting married three months ago.  While I of course love my husband, I miss the big bay windows in the living room that gave me unfettered access to amazing sunlight to take my pictures.  These days, as I'm creating a new blog schedule, I've found myself curled up in convoluted positions all over the apartment attempting to capture random lighting angles I hope will work, buying Hue lightbulbs with millions of lighting options, using my shadow box, not using the shadow box, and whatever other option I can think of to recreate my previous lighting situations. 

In essence, my ramblings are basic a preambled apology for the lackluster quality of the swatches below.  They should in no way reflect the quality of the polishes and only in my limited ability to learn new photography tricks since I was so lucky beforehand with natural lighting.  

I'll stop now and just let you look at what you really came for: the nail polish.  Briefly, these new colors for winter reflect the perfect wardrobe collection, with chic neutrals and deeper tones to express your mood during the colder months.  Take a look!
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Society Ruler
A winter collection is not complete without some burgundy, so this oxblood creme is a must have for anyone without a rich, deep shade like this already in his or her stash.  The formula was okay, tending to pool a bit in the cuticles if I took too much on my brush -- a problem I rarely have with the Complete Salon Manicure brand.  And despite the redness that was hard to remove despite multiple attempts of acetone over a few days (yup, I wore this as a full mani and loved it, but kept at trying to rid myself of that red you can make out in the sidewalls of my ring and pinkie), the polish actually did not stain one bit when fully removed.  So all in all, A-/B+ for this beauty. 
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Freedom of Peach
Despite the name, I'm not quite sure I'd classify this creme a peach.  More of a muted tangerine or a dusty mango, Freedom of Peach is different take on a neutral and not necessarily something I would find myself gravitating towards naturally - or during this season for that matter.  However, the color is rather delicate and refreshing without any pastel-leanings and the formula was perfection and covered perfectly in 2 coats. 

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World is My Oyster
Riding the rose gold train, World is My Oyster captures the essence of the metallic of the season in a bottle here.  The shame of it all, however, is the brushstrokey finish that leaves this more frosty than a classy champagne with an antiqued rose tone.  

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Mauvin' on Up
Perhaps my favorite from this foursome is this delicate dusty pink.  While mauve is in the name, I'm not sure it definitely falls into that category per se but it's not quite a baby/pastel pink either.  The formula was super easy and not at all chalky, making this a chic, fresh pink that's great for this time of the year.  
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The two other polishes from this release I was not sent to swatch are Hooked on Onyx, described as a "glossy black," and Devil Wears Nada, a "neutral pink-beige," both keeping in line with this neutral chic collection's tonality.  

These shades are available now wherever Sally Hansen is sold.



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This product was provided for my honest, unbiased review.  Please see my PR Disclosure Policy for more information.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Barry M. Island Fever


Happy New Year!

I was in London visiting family about a month ago and despite telling myself I was not going to pick up polish, I of course came home with a few beauties that are unavailable Stateside.  

Barry M. is like SinfulColors of the UK.  Affordable and readily available at Superdrugs and Boots drugstores, I'm not just a fan of their color selections (while not wide ranging, always chic), but of their deals (buy 3, get 1 free, etc.).  For what the British pound at least used to be compared to the US dollar, Barry M. was a really cheap option to pick up while I was visiting family.

This visit, I picked up 2 or 3 of their Coconut Infusion polishes which are supposed to be enriched with the "it oil" of the moment.  Coming off of my last post, I guess I'm getting into all the healthier ingredients especially since the formulas appear to not have changed at all.  In fact, Island Fever applied ridiculously easily with no pooling or getting anywhere on my cuticles -- a marvel for a red polish.  And even more of a wonder: I wore this mani for nearly a week with no chipping!


I love the pinky undertones to this red creme which are perfect for fall and winter to me and tone down any yellowness I might have in my cuticles from dry skin or cuticle issues.  

The one MAJOR downside to this polish was removal.  This baby stained like a mofo.  My nails were okayish, just kind of pink toned, but my cuticles and finger tips were red for at least four days.  I mean, people commented, it was evidently that bad.  I guess I'm so used to that happening from time to time it doesn't even phase me anymore but the comments did jar me.  I guess I looked like I had just killed someone or was about to bleed out from my fingertips.  Who knows.  But just a word of warning to those that pick this up.  It's a beauty but beware of removal...



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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sally Hansen Color Therapy | Swatches and Review


I know I haven't been the most consistent blogger in the world but if you have stayed with me (bless you), you'll know that one of my all-time favorite brands is Sally Hansen.  So when I heard that they released a whole new line of 38 colors (yup, that's like a WHOLE NEW BRAND OF SHADES) curated by color ambassador Madeline Poole, my interested was piqued to say the least.  

So what is this new line?  Color Therapy!  Bottled similarly to the the Complete Salon Manicure line, Color Therapy blends a complex of natural argan, acai, and evening primrose oil in its formula to condition weak, dry nails.  Why are these oils important?  Well, I'll tell you:

Argan Oil contains high levels of unsaturated fatty acids as well as Vitamin E, essential antioxidants for healthy skin and nails.

Acai Berry Oil is rich in Omega 3, 6, and 9, essential fatty acids valued for nutrition and conditioning in skin and nails.

Evening Primrose Oil features fatty acids known to reinforce hair strength.

So all good stuff bottled into fabulous, rich color applied with the signature pro-wide Sally brush.  And because the formula is so packed with vital nutrients for your nails, it's recommended not to use a base coat with these polishes.  I must highly recommend not using one as well for practical reasons; I didn't read this caveat in the press materials before swatching and found that the formulas apply horribly when used over any base coat.  Like goopy, sloppy messes.  I was so confused since typically Sally Hansen polishes apply like a dream.  But once I reread and saw that these need to be worn without, it made a lot more sense and application became a lot easier.  The formulas on all of these are not exactly the same as the standard CSMs and I noted below any deviations you might want to make a note of.  However, of the four colors I have to show you and the cuticle oil I tried, I must say I'm impressed.

Please keep reading for more about this lovely new line!
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Chai on Life
So winter has done a number on my cuticles and certain colors definitely exacerbate the damage so please bare with me through this post.  However, if you're in the market for a vanilla toned nude, Chai on Life -- apart from having the cutest name ever -- is tops.  The color is so chic without being putty or mannequin looking and despite the warm tones, doesn't veer off into yellowdom.  The formula was pretty good but needs three coats because as the second dried, you can make out some bald spots, which I find to be fairly standard with shades like this.
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Cool Cucumber
I'm a sucker for shades that border on black but clearly aren't so Cool Cucumber really tickled my fancy.  What I also love about this rich evergreen is that smoky quality to it, which makes this shade so Fall/Winter 2016 in my book.  The formula had a tendency to drag and run into my cuticles but didn't stain which I was surprised at given the color.  Definitely a keeper.

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Steely Serene
Ugh, I hate this photo.  Another stunning color that just brings out the worst in my skintone.  Regardless, I've been digging all things mauve and taupe lately so this soft greigey lilac hit my neutral with a twist button majorly.  The first coat was suuuper runny and nearly sheer so I highly recommend using the thinnest coats imaginable to avoid the terrible cuticle pooling I experienced.  Once you apply the second and third coats, it's smooth sailing but so not worth the mess the first go around if you can avoid it.  But look at that soft, dusty color.  Isn't she divine?

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Slicks and Stones
This color became my nemesis.  I tried applying this like 15 times and it just refused to cooperate.  This was a goopy nightmare with and without base coat.  I had read in another review that Slicks and Stones stained so I was so careful when applying to avoid the dragging and pooling I experienced with the other polishes, however the deep jewel tone purple refused to apply where I wanted.  I didn't have any staining though so that's definitely a bonus.  Another bonus: that intense pink and blue shimmer that is evident in any light.  Just magic.  But applying this was something altogether less pleasant.

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Argan Oil Formula for Nail and Cuticle 
I know I've been complaining about the state of my cuticles in the photos but do not blame them on this wonderful little bottle of fabulousness!  Unfortunately, prior to swatching and photo taking I got caught outdoors in freezing weather without gloves for an extended period of time and whenever that happens, my fingers get destroyed (I have terrible eczema).  That being said, I also have terrible allergies and can't use so many products that are often espoused for dry skin, allergies (go figure), cuticle care, etc. so the fact that I can not only use this and it works is just a miracle.  The brush on the wand is considerably shorter than a standard polish, providing an easier and less messy application of the oil.  I personally like using it as I would a scrub brush, lightly digging into the side walls of my nails and around the cuticles and nail beds.  The scent of this oil is also so nice!  Like a soft vanilla but somewhat powdery.  Very delicate.  I'm sensitive to scents so those that are as well and don't like vanilla might tolerate this since it's a very soft odor and goes away quickly.  In only one use, I saw a great improvement, and the dryness around my nail beds really went away!  Just wish the winter wasn't stronger than this little guy...

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The Color Therapy line is available wherever Sally Hansen is sold.



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This product was provided for my honest, unbiased review.  Please see my PR Disclosure Policy for more information.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Zoya Enchanted Collection | Winter 2016



With the holidays so close, I'm excited to show you the Zoya Enchanted Collection for Winter 2016.  At first I scoffed at the odd combination of four PixieDust polishes, one semi-duochrome, and one soft shimmer but when you see the color palette together, the jewel tone selections just go with a bit of something for everyone.

Take a look!
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Elphie
The name of this emerald green texture is so on the nose (bad Wicker/Wizard of Oz pun) there.  Regardless, I'm just going to say this upfront: I don't love textured polishes.  I crave the smooth finish of a manicure and for some reason I can't ever get PixieDusts to have even cuticle lines on me (you'll see below).  That being said, the colors of these are insanely beautiful and with a thick coat or two of topper, the sparkle on these must be insane.  Sad to say, at least on me, you can't make out the sparkle when in its natural matte form.
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Lorna
Our second PixieDust is Lorna, a berry magenta that again lost its sparkle when matte and textured.  The color is once again lovely but the formula bled into my cuticles which can be a particular pain with pink or red polishes.
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Alice
The third Pixie is the aptly named Alice, a cornflower blue textured polish with the best formula of the four PixieDusts.  On top of that, this color is my favorite!  Maybe it's because you can make out the sparkle more on this shade than the others but regardless for those loving PixieDusts, Alice is a definite must buy.

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Saint
My favorite on the entire collection hands down however is Saint.  The creme version in shade of Alice, Saint has the softest pink shimmer that comes alive in light.  The formula is classic Zoya buttery goodness and covered perfectly in two coats.  Love, love, love.
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Waverly
The fourth and final Pixie is this sapphire blue texture, which dries with almost a mattefied sparkle.  So interesting, right?  I think this must be glorious with a thick top coat glossed over it.
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Olivera
Full disclosure: I've tried to swatch this on three separate occasions.  I don't know if it's the formula, brush, or I just have a dud bottle, but Olivera is just broken.  The color is gorgeous, a blackened beetle shade with an oil slick duochrome quality to it.  However, it applied super goopy, pooled in my cuticles, wouldn't make a straight line at the nail line, and generally made me nuts when polishing.  It also is a pain to clean up and leaves black residue despite using acetone vigorously around my cuticles for clean up.  What a shame since I really love this color.
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You can purchase the Enchanted Collection at Zoya.com.



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This product was provided for my honest, unbiased review.  Please see my PR Disclosure Policy for more information.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

China Glaze Seas and Greetings Collection | Holidays 2016 ~ Part 1


Hello there.

Today, I have the first 6 polishes from the China Glaze Seas and Greetings Holiday Collection.  While at first -- and perhaps second and third -- glance this collection seems completely out of place for a holiday release, I like to think of this as the collection meant for those that go away to a resort for Christmas or the end of the year.  Or, barring that, China Glaze chose to reflect the entire Southern Hemisphere which celebrates November/December during their summer.

Regardless, there are quite a number of real beauties here that are worth a whirl.

My apologies for the quality of these photos.  Our lighting is totally not set up yet so I had to take these on the floor of our bathroom, working off the meekest natural sunlight coming through the window.  It wasn't pretty and these are the best I could muster given the atrocious lighting situation.  Please forgive me!
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Joy to the Waves
I can see this in part of a "classic" holiday collection, given its cool frosty finish, but I sense that Joy to the Waves' semi metallic, periwinkleness is there really to simulate the ocean.  While not my favorite kinda of polish, the formula was pretty good on this: thin on the first coat but covering evenly on the second with minimal brush strokes.
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Eat, Pink, Be Merry
This delicate pink is simply an all year round shade!  And add in that delicate rosy iridescent shimmer and you have a match made in heaven!  This is a bit crelly so rely on thinner but multiple coats with time to try in between.  A must have for any pink lovers!

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Let's Shell-ebrate
over Eat, Pink, Be Merry
For those liking both matte and metallic, Let's Shell-ebrate is a great glitter topper.  The coverage is even in one coat and the color combo is superb (who doesn't love pink, purple, and rose gold?).

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Partridge in a Palm Tree
Trying another matte (remember Combat Blue-ts?), China Glaze gives us this minty version.  Not my favorite in the bunch since it's super chalky and dries very fast so you need to have a super steady hand to make this work well.  I've seen swatches with a top coat over it and there's a lovely shimmer in it.  But for me, this is a pass.

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Twinkle, Twinkle Little Starfish
over Partridge in a Palm Tree
This oceanic seafoam flakie topper absolutely glowed over our mint matte and made my camera go a bit haywire (although the combination of bad lighting and mints with my skin tone probably didn't help matters).  For those that like a little mermaid bling, this is a great little gem for you.

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Snow Way!
Perhaps my favorite is this soft, yet full coverage white polish with a visible, yet soft iridescent shimmer.  My goodness, I adore this polish.  My only complaint is the formula which has a tendency to run into your cuticles and leave a shimmery residue everywhere.  However, the payoff is sooo worth it.  Ugh, love everything about this.

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Still 6 more shades to come!

You can purchase the China Glaze Seas and Greetings Collection at Sally Beauty.



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This product was provided for my honest, unbiased review.  Please see my PR Disclosure Policy for more information.