Tuesday, January 31, 2012

nails inc. Fashion's Night Out Nail Polish - Photos, Swatches, Review

Ever buy something impulsively because it looked neat online, only to be disappointed when the order arrived?

That's sort of the position I find myself in now. nails inc.'s Fashion's Night Out nail polish ($9.50) looks so beautiful and complex on Sephora's website. Here it is in person -

Yes, FNO is a pretty steely navy frost with an excellent formula and a smooth, non-fussy texture. One coat nearly sufficed, though I applied two as usual. Once dry the streaks mostly disappear. I appreciate the thread of charcoal shimmer that elevates this lacquer from the realms of pedestrianism to endow it a bit of distinction, but on the whole I'm not overly impressed. That's not to say this isn't a beautiful color - I think FNO is a gorgeous silvery dark blue; I just feel that I already have similar and, because it's the only special edition item, I was hoping for a little more character and creativity.

Again, the formula is high quality, as is the norm for nails inc. There really is nothing wrong with this polish technically, but I would check my stash for a dupe before purchasing! You may find that you can save yourself the $9.50 :)

Thank you for reading! Have you made any recent beauty purchases that you regretted?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sephora Prisma Chrome Eyeshadow in Emerald Facet, Moon Beam - Review, Swatches, Photos

Sometimes, very, very rarely, the magpie in a dusty and closely guarded corner of my head lets loose and entices me to buy shiny things which my instincts tell me that, while pretty, are not the best quality and will likely lay abandoned in my bottom cosmetics drawer (note: my bottom drawer is where makeup goes to die).

That's how I ended up with two of Sephora's Prisma Chrome Eyeshadows!

L to R: Emerald Facet 25, Moon Beam 05
Beautiful, no? Like shimmery seashells from a far-away galaxy! Emerald Facet is an... emerald (dur :B) green with a gorgeous duochrome-y gold sparkle. Moon Beam is a rich, pinky beige shimmer. The Prisma Chromes come in sleek, lacquered black compacts with a mirror. The packaging is a bit bulky, as it has to be high enough not to flatten the wavy, 3D design of the shadow. For me it's a non-issue, but I mention it for the sake of meticulousness.

I was pleasantly surprised, expecting substandard quality from a 'cheap' (relative to their other products) house brand. However, the pigmentation is amazing! The colors are lovely! Emerald Facet is unique to anything I have in my stash, primarily due to the way it flashes gold with the changing light; I absolutely adore it! The finish on both shades is bright, velvety, and soft. Moon Beam is a wonderful neutral too, warm and subtle but interesting nevertheless. The wear-time is pretty excellent - with a primer, the eyeshadows wore 15+ hours with minimal creasing and fading. The consistency is rather hard but it's not hard to scrape product onto the brush. Application is easy, as is blending. Overall, a great purchase.

The Sephora Prisma Chrome Eyeshadows are available at Sephora for $15 each and I whole-heartedly recommend them! Not only is the product top-notch, the intricate design of the shades is like a miniature, fun little piece of art.

Speaking of art... (see the masterful transition? 8D) The other day I had the indisputable pleasure of seeing one Joshua Bell in concert. In an attempt to retain at least some dignity and not turn into a giggly, love-struck thirteen-year-old, I will only say that it was positively brilliant. I admire the dedication and camaraderie between musician and instrument, a kinship that always eluded me when I myself played the violin but something I always strived for. I will share one of my favorite of his pieces, the beautiful and romantic Zigeunerweisen by Pablo de Sarasate -

:) Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Orly Nail Polish in Androgynie, Au Champagne, and Oui - Review, Photos, Swatches

Now is as good a time as any to post this Orly collection since Sally Beauty Supply has, as of the past weekend, a pretty sweet clearance! The three polishes featured in this post, along with an array of other Orly, China Glaze, and Finger Paints lacquers, are on sale for $1.99-$2.99 each. It's your final chance to stock up on any missed holiday collections, as well as a variety of colorful crackles (something tells me the crackle craze is on its way out, and it couldn't come swiftly enough).

I must give accolades where they are deserved and declare that I am utterly infatuated with Orly's Holiday Soiree collection! I daresay I would have purchased more, if I wasn't so confident that I had adequate dupes.  
L to R: Au Champagne, Oui, Androgynie
This is a stellar deep brown/black jelly with multi-colored, multi-sized, multi-shaped glitter. My photos are somewhat deceptive; before swatching the bottle had been resting on its side, and that's where the glitter gathered. All the shaking in the world couldn't have helped distribute the stubborn particles uniformly! Consequently, imagine the glitter slightly denser than what is pictured. It's nevertheless a beautiful shade.

Au Champagne
I was surprised to like this one as much as I do. It is a creamy pearl fine shimmer, but it is unique in that it has something of a flat/satiny finish. It's a soft white too, so it does NOT look like you white-washed your nails with industrial strength bleach. Very pretty.

I hardly needed a second coat on this one! Oui is a pinky/purple/gold shimmer foil. Very much a shade I would typically wear, but I feel I've seen variations of this in the OPI Glam Slam collection and Orly's previous Mineral and Cosmic FX collections. Perhaps a bit recycled, but a top quality polish with a fantastic formula.

All lacquers were swatched with two coats. Absolutely NO application issues; perfection, or as close as one can get to it, in terms of consistency and texture. Some truly lovely hues as well, and I love the amity of the color story as a whole. These polishes are available on clearance at Sally's, and regular price (I assume) at various online retailers.

Have you picked any of these up?

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy my blog, please feel free to follow me! :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Revlon Lip Butters in Lollipop, Berry Smoothie - Review, Swatches, Photos

More Revlon Lip Butters!

L to R: Lollipop, Berry Smoothie

Berry Smoothie
Berry Smoothie
L to R: Lollipop, Berry Smoothie
For a more detailed review on these lipsticks, you can view my original post here. General thoughts on the two shades photographed above - Lollipop is absolutely gorgeous, bright, and a fun reminder that warmer seasons will soon settle upon us! This shade, along with Gumdrop, receives more rotation in my makeup bag than the other butters. Berry Smoothie provides a nice sweep of color, but is quite subtle; given the moniker I expected a vibrant blast of pigment and was slightly disillusioned when it was not so. It is, however, one of the closest matches I've come across for my natural lip color, and it is a perfectly adequate everyday hue.

To reiterate, I love the soft, moisturizing formula on Revlon's Lip Butters, and massive props for the fact that the accompanying color selection is fresh, young, and merry - one of my favorite drugstore products! You can find them in CVS, Walgreens, etc. for about $7.49 each.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Attack of the BB Couture Nail Polishes! - Dragon's Breath, Enraged, Envy, Napa Valley Red, Santa's Sak Photos, Review, Swatches

Today I've got a post brimming with BB Couture! This is a fairly new brand to me but is quickly becoming one of my favorites for its reliability, quality, and color selection. Here is a portion of my relatively small (...for now...) BB collection; I'm heavy-handed on the dark, brooding shades, as that is what the recent turn of cold weather has left me in the mood for. 

First is Dragon's Breath, a gorgeous reddened purple jelly with silver glitter -

Enraged. With flash it's a cool navy blue shimmer but in natural light it is more of a smoky slate, flashing green in some angles. The shimmer is multi-sized and flaky! I'm smitten with this lacquer - beautiful AND flattering!

Envy, a brown/taupe/forest green shimmer -

Napa Valley Red is a vampy ruby-wine jelly. The best part, though? The glowing glitters deep in the polish's base which catch the light like a dim, dying, embers. I can't imagine any woman disliking this color; it is a sexy variation on a classic.

Santa's Sak (...yeah). Despite the rather unfortunate moniker, this shade is fun, seasonal, and fairly unique to my stash. It is a candy apple red jelly with quite sparse silver round and bar glitter particles.

I found that the 'jelly' bases (Dragon's Breath, Napa Valley Red, Santa's Sak) were fairly watery and took three thin coats to yield full opacity; that's perfectly reasonable, though the shimmers needed just two coats. In general, the formulas on the BB Couture polishes I have tried are on the thin side and a bit more drippy than I would like, but that's mostly a matter of preference and something easily overcome simply by being careful. Longevity, at about six days with no chipping and minimal wear, is average for me. What keeps me coming back to BB, however, is the interesting shade selection, mostly off the beaten path for larger nail brands. I truly love every polish I have purchased from this company. You can find them on the BB Couture site for $9.95 each.

Have you tried BB Couture? How do you like it?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Coastal Scents Go Palette in Paris - Review, Photos, Swatches

Another Coastal Scents Go Palette for you! This time we're traveling to Paris with this collection of chic, earthy, smoggy tones of smokey grays, browns, reds, blues, and purples. 

L to R 1st and 2nd row
L to R, 3rd row
The Paris palette follows the pattern of the other Go Palettes in having twelve dime-sized shades housed in black plastic packaging. It's quite sturdy and weighty for the price. I think the colors are very fitting and elegant, and in my opinion suited for the Paris theme as well as the Moscow palette suited its city (I must admit, however, that I've never been to France and am basing my assessment on pictorial, literary, and anecdotal experience :). Once again, the color payoff and quality is excellent. A few of the shades (particularly the glittery ones) were a tad dry and powdery, but very much workable. Personally I enjoy the color story of the Moscow palette a little more, but I believe Paris will suit more people for its grace, relative neutrality, and subtleness. It's classic with a twist.

I believe I forgot to list pricing in my previous pricing. Coastal Scents offers the Go Palettes on their website for $8.95 each, though they are frequently on sale for 30% off (knocking the price down to roughly $6 apiece). Either way, it's a sweet deal!

Thank you sooo sososo much for reading! I really appreciate it :) In a different vein - did any of you catch the premiere of the 2nd season of Face Off on Syfy last night? Looks promising...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Coastal Scents Go Palette in Moscow - Review, Photos, Swatches

Happy 2012! I sincerely wish you the best year yet - Here's to trying something new, exploring the unknown, and finding the happiness, satisfaction, energy, and passion in our lives. Let the mantra of the coming months be to discover, to love, and to be kind, both to others and to ourselves. :)

When Coastal Scents had their recent sale, I took this as a hint that it was prime time to try some of the palettes I had been eyeing. One of these was the Go Palette Moscow. 

The Go Palette series consists of seven square palettes, a little larger than your average blush contact, named after various cities of the world. They are travel friendly, containing twelve shadows each about the size of a dime. 

Very nice assortment of colors, and they do remind me of the vibrant Russian folk costumes! The following swatches are ordered left to right, top to bottom -

I was very pleased with the color payoff - the shades are pigmented and smooth, with gorgeous opacity. The only one that annoys me with its mediocrity is the second shade of the second row. Shame! This glittery gray is chalky, powdery, and quite sheer; I've seen worse, but I can tell you I will probably not be reaching for this shadow often. The wear-time varies throughout the compact: Some colors applied easily and held steady 18 hours later, while some felt difficult to maneuver across the eyelid and began creasing after about seven hours. (All were worn with primer.) I haven't tested all twelve shadows to give you specifics but rest assured that the quality is quite good overall, and I believe few would find this palette disappointing. 

Did you take advantage of the Coastal Scents sale? Spill your haul! And, as always, thanks for reading. I truly appreciate it!