Friday, December 30, 2011

Nyx Round Lipstick in Very Berry, Pumpkin Pie, Fig, Saturn, Spellbound - Review, Swatches, Photos

How difficult is it to return to work after a few days off? Very. It's like my own personal law of inertia - once I'm motionless I want to remain motionless and sometimes I think it would have been, on the whole, more productive and restful not to have been on vacation at all! Hopefully this fog of inactivity that settled over my brain will dissipate soon with a bit of hardy mental exercise. Are any of you also in this dismal state of holiday hangover?

Onto beauty-related things... I believe I've waxed poetic over Nyx's Black Label lipsticks, but today I must remedy my inattention to the Round Case lipsticks of the same brand. These are a tad less expensive than the Black Labels ($3.99 each at Ulta, currently $2.50 at Cherry Culture; the Black Label line is about $3.00 more per lipstick) but are pretty neat all the same. I find them fairly neutral on the whole, neither drying nor moisturizing. The Rounds come in a plethora of colors (I counted 168 shades!) and finishes (your usual suspects: cremes, sheers, frosts, shimmers...). Yes, a few of these guys are patchy and/or short-wearing, but most I own possess a perfectly respectable texture, smooth and soft and easy to apply. Average lifespan, discounting the odd outlier, is 2.5-3.5 hours for me. You'll find you can find a color to suit nearly any look you are going for, apart from the most extreme, and you can be sure the quality is solid for a rather small investment; this line is great if you're unsure about what shade might work for you for a certain makeup and want to try a variety of options without a devastating financial commitment. 

Very Berry -

Pumpkin Pie -

Fig -

Saturn -

Spellbound -

L to R - Very Berry, Pumpkin Pie, Fig, Saturn, Spellbound

Hope you found this useful :) Have a very happy New Year's!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

LA Splash Nail Polish in Arctic Gleam, Pretty Jellyfish, Sparkling Torpedo - Review, Swatches, Photos

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Hope you were able to celebrate with family, friends, and delicious foodstuffs! (I haven't yet eaten anything today as I'm still satiated from yesterday!)

Anyway, enough messing about; time to get back into the rhythm of work! This is a fairly smallish post where I share with you a few of my LA Splash nail lacquers. It is a relatively new brand to me, both in polishes and in makeup, but I'm enjoying their fun, colorful, and sparkling takes on an ethereal ocean theme. I hope to swatch my entire collection from this company in time.

First is Arctic Gleam, a lustrous, pearly, seafoam green/blue -
I adore Arctic Gleam, though I wish it were less sheer (three coats are pictured, and the nail line is quite visible). Very pearly, very subtle, very icy. I'm curious to see how this holds up layered (perhaps over a dark blue?).

Pretty Jellyfish, a shimmering lavender with silver and dark violet glitter -
Pretty Jellyfish is such a fun color - it looks like the base was sprinkled with black pepper :P What you see is two coats, and it covered well while still retaining iridescence.

This glitterbomb is Sparkling Torpedo, a predominantly holographic glitter with interspersed multi-colored glitter -

Sparkling Torpedo is simply outstanding, if you like that sort of thing! (That sort of thing being loud, in-your-face, stand-out nails with the capability to blind, if the sun hits them just so :D) The polish market has been flooded recently with glitter polishes, so you may be over the trend; however, remember that Sparkling Torpedo was around before glitters resurged in popularity not too long ago (and thus deserves a look!), and also that it is quite unique to any seasonal releases I've seen. The fabulous multi-color and pizazz of the shade make it perfect for a New Year's Eve soiree or any party, really. The only complaint I have is that the formula on this is a bit thick and gummy, but still workable.

LA Splash has some wonderful, unique colors available that don't take themselves too seriously. As far as wear-time and all that, I'll update you once I paint a full manicure. I'll also let you know just how badly the glitters gobble up topcoat ;)

LA Splash's nail lacquers are available at Cherry Culture for $3.99 each. I've heard some Ultas carry them, though I've never seen it in my area.

Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Revlon Lip Butters in Gumdrop, Raspberry Pie, Sweet Tart - Review, Swatches, Photos

Lately, it seems, drugstore brands have been churning out the hits faster than The Beatles! I'm in no way complaining; the more quality drugstore makeup made available, the less money I spend on the luxury brands! This time, the product I'm head over heels for is Revlon's new lip butters.
Fairly ordinary packaging for a fairly extraordinary lipstick :) The three shades I purchased were Gumdrop, Raspberry Pie, and Sweet Tart.

Here's Gumdrop, a cool, light lavender pink -

This is Raspberry Pie, and raspberry pinkish red -

Finally, Sweet Tart, a bright rosey pink with the barest hint of coral -

Swatches -
L to R: Gumdrop, Raspberry Pie, Sweet Tart

Gumdrop is simply the perfect everyday lipstick for me - a cool wash of color that is neither overwhelming nor boring, and effortless enough for my ultra-casual workplace. Onto observations more useful to you, ha - I would categorize most of these as semi-opaque, high-shine finishes with no shimmer/glitter/frost to them. The resulting look then is young, fresh, and playful, as are the color selections - no blah, nondescript shades as far as I can see! The lip butters overall are smooth, non-fussy, and low-maintenance - not difficult to apply in the least, and very forgiving to my frequent hasty car applications. They are moderately moisturizing (a great compliment for a lipstick) and will work as a balm if you're in a pinch. Wonderful texture. Wear-time is only about three hours, but longevity is something I'm willing to sacrifice for the truly epic amount of moisture this lipstick provides. Revlon's Lip Butters are available at drugstores for $7.50-9 (ish? I've seen prices vary wildly...).

Are you a fan of drugstore makeup? I must admit, I've become more of a fan in the last few months than I have ever been. Budget brands certainly are stepping up their game!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

L'Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow in Iced Latte, Bronzed Taupe, Midnight Blue, Eternal Black - Review, Swatches, Photos

Ok, guys. Are you ready? This may be my most favorite drugstore makeup purchase ever, and it comes courtesy of L'Oreal's new Infallible Eye Shadow which, as an eye product, is simply spectacular (spectacular, no words in the vernacular... *ahem*).

These darling little moppets come in sturdy, clear, plastic jars, a packaging which allows the color to be seen through the base. Upon unscrewing the lid, one is greeted by this -
Look familiar? The pot, the stopper... reminiscent of the Armani Eyes to Kill shadows, no? :D

Here's Iced Latte, a warm champagne -

This is Bronzed Taupe,  a shimmering cool brown -

Midnight Blue, a gorgeous, jeweled, dark blue shimmer -

And Eternal Black, a black with silver microglitter -

Swatches -
L to R: Iced Latte, Bronzed Taupe, Midnight Blue, Eternal Black

The question I want to address first is if L'Oreal's Infallible Eye Shadows meet the high standards set by Armani's Eyes to Kill Eye Shadows, and the short answer is a resounding YES! These are beautifully pigmented, opaque in one swipe, and are offered in a variety of pleasing colors. What impressed me most is Infallible's wear time: without primer, these lasted me all day without moving, creasing, or fading! Did I mention I used NO primer? One night I absent-mindedly forgot to remove product from one of my eyelids (yes, my brain sometimes goes on strike). The next morning, besides looking like a crazy person sporting some very special post-modern asymmetrical makeup, the eye looked great and I could not discern any differences in intensity or migration.

Where Infallible and EtK differ:
1. Price, of course. I saw Infallible for between $8 and $10, and you can often save a few bucks with coupons or sales. EtK will set you back $32.
2. Size. EtK contains slightly more product at 0.14 oz against Infallible's 0.12 oz.
3. The texture is a tad different - EtK is more creamy, rich, while Infallible's consistency morphs into that of a powdered pan eyeshadow soon after it leaves the jar. Both are velvety, soft, and smooth.
4. Color selection. Here I favor EtK's unique, interesting shades woven together with the complexity and artistry expected of a luxury brand like Armani. L'Oreal's shade selection is more conservative but still beautiful, offering classic staples of beiges, pearls, taupes, etc.
5. Finishes. As far as I know, EtKs are all shimmers. Infallibles come both in shimmers and mattes, which I'm also intrigued to try.

Yes, these are pretty awesome. Have you spotted them in your local drugstores yet?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nail Polish Hodgepodge Vol II - Studio M, RBL, Color Club, Laura Mercier, Wet n Wild, Zoya, NerdLacquer

Sorry to post two nail polish entries in a row (I'm sure it goes against some unspoken beauty-blogger rule!) but I had a RIDICULOUS amount of fun writing my previous Hodgepodge post and rediscovering old (and oftentimes forgotten) lacquers from my collection. So, here is the next set of my random polish swatches!

 This is two coats of Studio M's Bluecicle, a frosty light blue-silver foil. Studio M is a relatively new brand to me; I first spotted it a few months ago during a rare Meijer visit (the closest store is nearly 30 miles away). I guess the company is kind of a big deal, as Meijer had a nearly full-wall display of their beauty tools and polishes. The lacquers are $2.99 each and come in a range of impressively chic shades. Bluecicle is from the current holiday collection. It's a perfectly wintry color, if not very unique. I do have a complaint about the product, however - the brush is reeeeally long, making for less control during application; sort of like reaching across the room with a broomstick to flip a light switch. (If you've never tried that, you haven't LIVED.)

Wet 'n Wild's Caribbean Frost, a soft, jungle green... frost. I believe this was three coats. The color and finish of this polish seem a bit retro, vintage-y. It's all good! I wish the formula wasn't as sheer, but it's a solid product for the price ($1.99).

Here's the gorgeous Delilah from Zoya ($8). It's a beautiful, bright, cool red with amazing sparse gold microglitter. Overall one of my favorite red polishes. This shade makes me so happy :) The formula is fantastically smooth and the consistency is spot-on. Zoya rarely disappoints!

I love finding new indie brands to try, and above you can see Event Horizon from one such brand, NerdLacquer (formerly By StringTheory). I'm so pleased that I ordered a slew of polishes from the company's Etsy store, as they are wonderfully colorful and glittery and joyous! Event Horizon is a deep blue-green/teal jelly base with multicolored glitter, some hexagonal. A two-coat application lends itself to fully opaque coverage. Lovely and space-y.

Oh, Rescue Beauty Lounge's Insouciant ($18) is spectacular. It's a light lavender-gray base with stunning blue-purple microshimmer, and the formula is first class. A great neutral alternative.

I like the shade of the Color Club polish - a warm, slightly dusted chocolate brown - but I disliked the thin consistency of the lacquer. It would drip off the brush, if I wasn't careful! Three coats were required to bring Color Club's Positively Posh up to snuff, though I must say I quite like the end result.

I'll admit Laura Mercier's Twilight was a thoughtless buy, surely to bring an order into discount territory or to qualify for free shipping. And since that impulsive purchase it has been sitting, lonely and neglected, in my makeup drawer. I'm glad I finally took it out for a spin - it's an ultra pretty murky purple with brighter purple/fuchsia shimmer. Very broody and romantic. Perfect for any season, but especially for the cool autumn days. 

We're almostnearlyhalfway-ish to the weekend, kind of.. :D Thanks for reading, as always. If you enjoy this blog, I would love for you to follow me (no pressure, though!).