Manicure round-up

I’m sorry I’ve gone quiet this week. There’s been some pressing real-life stuff that’s been forcing me away from the computer.

The good news is that due to that real-life stuff, I did some more stress buying, and I just acquired what I believe are the last 3 colors from Revlon’s Matte Balm collection, which means that when I find the time – hopefully this weekend – I can do a complete on-the-lips swatching of the whole collection!

The bad news is that post isn’t happening today ūüė¶ Instead, I’ve got a quick round-up of the polishes I’ve tried out over the past few weeks. Hey, it’s better than nothing! So, onward.

Revlon Parfumerie - Lime Basil, topped by ELF - Enchanted
Revlon Parfumerie – Lime Basil, topped by ELF – Enchanted

After the orange fails I had with Revlon Parfumerie polishes, I wanted to give another bright a try (I’ve already had success with darker colors from the line, but I wanted to see whether all the brights were problematic). Lime Basil, a bright lime green, was thankfully not nearly as streaky as Orange Blossom was a month ago. I wouldn’t say the formula was anywhere near perfect – it was still a bit of a struggle to get on neatly – but it’s at least way better. And how much do you love this matte white glitter topper from E.L.F? It reminds me a lot of the much-more-expensive “Doily” topper from Butter London.

On the other hand, let’s talk about Lime Basil’s scent. Whoever called this “Lime Basil”, well…let’s just say their nose is not my nose. Or my husband’s. He and I both agree that this would be better titled “soapy pine trees”, but I suppose that wouldn’t be as catchy a name.

And, well…after taking it off, I looked like I’d been doing illicit things with Kermit the Frog. Even though I wore a basecoat under the Lime Basil, this was the scene after removal:


This is not the first Parfumerie polish I’ve had staining troubles with (Autumn Spice was also hellish, though looks great on the nail!). I took that staining picture on…let’s see…June 15. It’s now July 1, and no amount of scrubbing, acetone-ing, or anything else has budged that damn stain. Which has made it really difficult to wear the lighter colors I’ve been wanting to wear. Case in point, Sinful Colors’s “On the Bright Side”.

Sinful Colors – On the Bright Side

This is an egg yolk-colored orangey-yellow, and I loved it at first sight in the bottle. But it’s a little streaky and it’s definitely not an opaque enough color to hide dark green kermit fingers, which meant I had to try layering it over white polish. And as usual, that made things awkward. The final result wasn’t actually that bad – I could certainly have worn this out of the house, for all that it’s a bit chunky – but by the time I finished two layers of white and three layers of On The Bright Side, plus some Seche Vite, on one hand, I was sick to death of staring at this manicure and just took it off!

I replaced it with something I knew wouldn’t show the kermit stains: vampy dark red.

Rimmel Salon Pro - Red Award
Rimmel Salon Pro – Red Award

This polish is actually close to a jelly on first application – I believe it took three or four coats to build it to this opacity, and the color progressively darkened with each coat. Initial coats were closer to the color you see staining my cuticles here, more of a strawberry red. I kind of wish that lighter color had persisted through the coats, but then it’s not like I don’t already have lighter reds in my collection. Nevertheless, the final result here was very nice indeed, especially when I added a matte topcoat (Nicole by OPI, to be specific) to half of each nail, which added some quick and easy dimension.

And lastly, we have what I’m wearing now: Jessie’s Girl High Intensity Nail Color (only available in Rite Aid, at least near me) in Blue Moon:

Jessie's Girl - Blue Moon
Jessie’s Girl – Blue Moon

This is a really great blurple metallic polish. If you’re familiar with Rimmel Salon Pro’s Barmy Blue, imagine that with a metallic finish added and you’re pretty close to this. I’ve had this on for three days now and it’s holding up pretty darn well – only the very tiniest of chips on my right thumb. This did have some weird reactions with Seche Vite, though – after applying the top coat, the polish underneath cracked in a couple of spots, like the Seche Vite had pulled it apart. It was easily fixed by dabbing some new polish on top of those spots, though, so not a big deal.


Face of the Day featuring Revlon, Coastal Scents, and Be a Bombshell

Since I teased with all those hand swatches last night, I decided today to try to do something using as many of those products as I could. As a result, you get a Face of the Day and some bonus product swatches!

Also me!
Also me!

So. There’s me today. I’ll tell you right off to ignore how perfect my skin looks in the above photos; I used the “beauty” (aka “erase all the pores!”) mode on my camera to conceal my ongoing lip hair situation. The eyes and lips in the pictures are basically as they are in real life, though, and I’m a fan of all the products I used today!

Shall we start with my eyes? Yes, let’s, because I desperately need to rave some more about this Be a Bombshell mascara. Yes, the one Ipsy hates. Because YOU GUYS LOOK AT MY LASHES.

Incidentally, what is the angle I'm supposed to be taking mascara photographs at? Because this surely can't be it
Incidentally, what is the angle I’m supposed to be taking mascara photographs at? Because this surely can’t be it.
Look at them there lashes, Ma!
Look at them there lashes, Ma!

That’s three coats of Lash out. As a reminder, here’s my bare lashes :

Bare eyelashes, closed eye
Bare eyelashes

Notice that with Lash Out, the volume and quantity of my lashes is the same – they’re not clumped together into one mega-lash or anything – but they’re slightly thicker-looking and the length is much increased. This, right here? This is how I like my mascara, girls and boys.


Also on my eyes:

  • Pacifica eyeshadow Duo #1 from my May Ipsy bag (the gold-toned shadow on inner lid). I’m not madly in love with this – especially because the other half of the “duo” is so light it doesn’t even show up – but I wanted to start with a neutral-ish base on my eye and this was handy
  • Rimmel Soft Kohl eyeliner in Pure White (bottom waterline)
  • Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner for Brown Eyes (phew, what a mouthful!) in black, because, well, I was looking for a black eyeliner and this was on top of the pile and I know it doesn’t tug
  • Coastal Scents eyeshadow in Elven Midnight, from the sample palette they sent me (see below), in my crease, mashed into my eyeliner, and smudged under my eyes
Elven Midnight is the bottom left
Elven Midnight is at the bottom left

Now, on to lips! I just picked up this Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic yesterday, and I really liked the way it swatched on my hand, so I wanted to get it on my lips ASAP.

Revlon Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic
Revlon Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic

On the plus side, this color is great on a paleface like me, because it’s red but it’s not, like, RED. It’s kind of like the color you’d get if you licked a red candy and then rubbed it on your lips. It’s also got a bit of sheerness to it (I know it doesn’t look like it in the photo, but trust me), which makes it not so in-your-face. Which means it’s wearable!

Yes, I have no upper lip. I blame my mother.
Yes, I have no upper lip. I blame my mother.

On the negative side, this formula is…weird. It feels a bit like slathering your lips in hand lotion, with that sort of fatty feel (am I the only one who’s accidentally gotten hand lotion on my mouth? I can’t be, right?) to it. I guess that’s the “moisture” part. The glossy finish mattes down some within about half an hour, but because of the shimmer in it, it still looks glossy longer than that.

Because the doefoot applicator has a pointed tip, it doesn’t tend to distribute color completely evenly. You’d think the point would be great for lining, but mostly it’s just great at holding onto globs of color until it deposits them unevenly where you try to line. You can still sort of see that problem on the edge of my upper lip in the photo above. On the whole, though, the formula evens itself out after a few minutes, so it’s not a huge problem.

Here’s the color after three hours and a meal:

Pardon the awkward lighting
Pardon the awkward lighting. I took this picture looking up at the ceiling light fixture because the daylight, it had gone away

The color has mellowed out quite a lot, but it’s not gone, it’s just lighter. There’s some fading around the edges, but the gloss finish has remained remarkably shiny. This is more longevity than I expected to get out of this lipstick, honestly; the shiny, wet finish did not inspire confidence. Actually, I was about to say that I still wouldn’t consider this a “stain” so much as a set lipstick, but then I decided to test that by rubbing away the color with my finger and, uh, it didn’t go anywhere. So yeah, it does seem to be a stain under all that fancypants moisture!

So, there you have it. A “let’s use a bunch of products I have laying around and want to try” FOTD, with bonus lipstick and mascara reviews thrown in!

Another one of those days…

…where I start testing stuff out on my hand and end up looking like modern art. You can tell I didn’t intend it to get this out of, er, hand, because it goes backwards toward my arm instead of upwards on my hand like anyone who was planning this out would have done.

Various products
Various products

This is mostly stuff I’ve acquired in the past month or so that I haven’t worn (other than swatching) yet. Starting at the upper left we have:

  • Four sample eyeshadows that Coastal Scents sent along with my Revealed 2 palette (from left to right: Vibrant Blue, Deep Eggplant, Candlelight, Elven Midnight)
  • Rimmel Soft Kohl Eyeliner in Pure White
  • The stain left behind by Revlon Moisture Stain in Milan Moment, immediately after dabbing with a tissue and letting it dry
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencil in Midnight Cowboy
  • ¬†The stain left behind by Revlon Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic, immediately after dabbing with a tissue and letting it dry
  • The stain left behind by Revlon Matte Balm in Shameless, after swatching and then generally using my hands for a few hours
  • The stain left behind by Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Adore, after swatching and then generally using my hands for a few hours
  • A fresh swatch of Revlon Lacquer Balm in Coquette
  • Bottom row is swatches of the items that came in an Essence of Beauty brow-and-lid kit I picked up at CVS: Brow duo pencil (black/brown), very worn away swatches of the brow duo powders (dark brown, light brown), and fresher swatches of an eyeshadow trio that came with it (buttery white, sparkly brown, matte brown)

Swatch week – manicure edition

My posts have been coming really slowly lately, and I think part of that is because I’m putting pressure on myself to write nice, comprehensive reviews of everything I’m posting about. But I know that when I go hunting for a product on beauty blogs, the thing I’m mostly interested in is seeing the product in use, on/against someone’s skin! Reviews, while useful, are sort of secondary.

So to try to shake myself out of this rut, I’m going to devote the next few posts to swatches and quick comments about many things, rather than trying to go in-depth on a few.

Today, I’m doing a sampling of manicures I’ve worn in the past few weeks. Some were awesome; some were…not. All of them will display my usual utter lack of talent when it comes to cleaning up around my cuticles, so I apologize in advance for that horror.

Avon Purplicious and Rimmel Punk Rock
Avon Gel Finish in “Purplicious” (lighter color) and Rimmel Salon Pro with Lycra in “Punk Rock” (darker color)

I loved the color contrast in this manicure (and both formulas are a long-lasting dream), but it was my first time going back to plain creme finishes after a few weeks of fancy glitters, and I got bored of this quickly.

Sally Hansen Triple Shine - Make Waves
Sally Hansen Triple Shine in “Make Waves” (over L’Oreal “I Will!”)

This was a complete failure. I really wanted to make “Make Waves” work, because that iridescent sort of seafoam greenblue is awesome, but this formula was so. damn. sheer. Even four coats on my swatch stick couldn’t opaque it up, so when it came time to put it on my hands, I decided to try layering it over a white polish. Unfortunately, the only white polish I own is also prone to streakiness. So I piled on two coats of L’Oreal’s “I Will!” trying to get that evened out, and then followed it up with three coats of “Make Waves” for a still-not-completely-opaque finish, and by then I had so many damn layers of paint on my fingernails that they still weren’t dry a few hours later and I dinged them all to hell every time I moved.

So yeah, this lasted about six hours before I gave up and took it off.

Revlon Gel Envy - All In
Revlon Gel Envy in “All In”

This was my first try at Revlon’s new Gel Envy line. I bought this and the line’s topcoat and tried them together.¬†Love¬†this color, a vampy sort of dark blue. The wear time was really good – I think I got a week out of this – and removal, despite the glitter bits, was simple. The only complaint I had here was that the Gel Envy topcoat, which I used instead of my usual Seche Vite, dulled down faster than I would have liked. So the manicure’s shine only lasted me a few days, followed by a few days of “polish still unchipped, but it’s not really popping”. The next time I tried a polish from this line (“Showtime”, a sparkly purple I forgot to take pictures of, sorry!), I topped the Gel Envy topcoat with Seche Vite.

Revlon Moon Candy - Orbit
Revlon Moon Candy in “Orbit”

This is the polish I just took off today. I’d say that while this was brilliant in concept, the execution went a bit wonky. The creme polish in this duo is a really pretty dark blue-purple, but it’s a bit on the thin side, and I got it all over pretty much everything when applying it. On the bright side, it’s pretty close to a one-coat wonder (I did two here just to be sure, but I probably didn’t need to).

The glitter in this is shards, which are prone to sticking up off the nail, rather than thinner, more flexible flakes. I had a small amount of trouble with them sticking up, but really it was less trouble than I expected to have, based on reviews I’d read of this polish. The real problem I had with this glitter is that something about it didn’t play nice with my Seche Vite topcoat. It was almost like some chemical in the Seche Vite (which, for the record, is pretty much a chemical concoction of doom and is neither 3- nor 5-free ) started partially dissolving the glitter shards. It didn’t happen on every nail, or on every piece of glitter on nails it affected, but on some chunks of nail, this is what I ended up with:

Revlon Moon Candy - Orbit - Seche Vite messy
“Orbit”s glitter didn’t get along so well with Seche Vite

See that patch on the upper right? That’s where Vite and Orbit had a fight and I was left with some chewed-up looking glitter. The Seche Vite also didn’t completely even out the finish on this, so my nails looked chunky rather than smooth.

Also, this stained my nail beds hot pink, even though I used base coat under it. Why hot pink, for a dark purple polish? Dear reader, I have no more idea than you do; just keep it in mind if you decide to pick this up.

Sally Hansen Color Foil "nail makeup" in "Purple Alloy"
Sally Hansen Color Foil “Nail Makeup” in “Purple Alloy”

This is what I put on today after taking off Orbit, so I have no real idea how it’s going to last, though I suspect it will chip quickly (I’ll keep you guys informed about that). The biggest things I noticed about this polish are

1) That it’s labeled “nail makeup” rather than “nail polish”. For no particular reason, I suspect this to be code for “it’ll last about as long as you leave on face makeup, rather than as long as nail polish does”. The label also explicitly notes that you should “touch up as needed”. Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to get a week out of this baby.

2) You know how all nail polish tells you to “shake well” and you’re like “yeah uh-huh, looks fine to me” and you maybe give it one halfhearted shake and call it good? Yeah, no, you can’t do that here. When they say to shake they mean it, because the purple pigment and the silver “foil” pigment separate, and if you don’t give it a good five-second shaking, you’re going to end up with some purple streaks and some silver ones.

Oh, also I got this one everywhere when trying to put it on, too. Yay me.

CVS stress haul

So like I said a few posts ago, I was a bridesmaid in a wedding this month. It was the first wedding I’d ever been in, other than my own, and the bride is a very organized Type-A person. I’m not so much with the Type-A, and I was so, so worried that I would do something wrong or get distracted about something and basically just ruin the wedding in her eyes. Everything came out just fine in the end, but there was about a week I was generally just worried, my bridesmaid dress barely zipped, my spring allergies had kicked in, and I was just way. too. stressed.

My husband and I have developed this weird coping mechanism where when I get stressed, we both start buying me makeup. Me, because it’s a security blanket and a distraction, and him, because he figures “Hey, maybe this will cheer her up!” As a result, I came home from wedding travels on Sunday with quite a stress haul that I figured I might as well share with you guys.

Don't be a bridesmaid. This will happen!
Don’t be a bridesmaid. This will happen!

There’s quite a bit of stuff here, but let’s see if I can list everything, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start at the bottom left, with Revlon Matte Balms (with the two I already own mixed into the pile): Sultry, Complex, Standout, Elusive, Audacious.
  • Maybelline Eye Studio duo in Bronze Blowout
  • Revlon Leather finish polish in Leather Skinnies
  • Revlon Parfumerie polishes in Orange Blossom, Apricot Nectar, and Spun Sugar
  • Revlon Pebble texture polish in Mayan Riviera
  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Sandstorm
  • Sally Hansen Triple Shine in Water Melon, from the Palm Beach Jellies collection
  • Sally Hansen XTreme Wear polish in Breezy Blue
  • Essie Lux Effects polish in Sparkle on Top
  • Rimmel Scandal Eyes waterproof gel liner in Brown
  • At the back center, largely obscured by other stuff, is a Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain in Honey
  • And finally, at the back right, are Revlon Colorburst Laqueur Balms in Whimsical, Coy, Tease, and Enticing

Not pictured, because I forgot I bought them until I went through my makeup case while doing this post:

  • Rimmel Stay Matte primer
  • Revlon Laqueur Balm in Ingenue
  • Maybelline DreamLumi touch highlighting concealer
  • Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser
  • Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse foundation in Classic Ivory (which I picked up because Small Budget Beauty’s post on it intrigued me)

So yeah. Lots of stuff (largely bought with Extra Care bucks and X% off Coupons – thanks CVS!). Since I now have large chunks of both collections, I’m hoping to do comprehensive posts on the Matte Balms and Laquer Balms within the next week or two.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you guys with a face-of-the-day that I just quickly did using the Maybelline Dream Mousse, Maybelline Dark Circle Eraser, Maybelline Eye Studio duo, Rimmel Scandal Eyes gel liner, and Revlon Matte Balm in Audacious (and just a touch of MAC Dainty blush on my cheeks). Please ignore the patchiness around my mouth – it’s not the foundation, it’s that my skin is so dry there that it’s flaking, and it’s not helped by the fact that I lost my moisturizer somewhere among the many pieces of luggage I haven’t unpacked yet!

Simple face-of-the-haul
Simple face-of-the-haul

I’m not completely sold on whether Audacious flatters me or not – this is my first time trying orange lipstick. What do you guys think?

A Sunday Mani

I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding few weeks from now, and my dress is navy blue. I’ve been obsessively swatching together bits of my nail polish collection for weeks to try to find a combination of colors that lets me do something interesting to match my dress, and I think I found the right pair today!

I’ve got smears of various blue polishes all over my hands right now, but I was so excited by how much I liked this mani that I took the picture to share anyway. Hopefully when I wear it for real at the wedding, it’ll be slightly neater…

bridesmaid mani

Base: Rimmel Salon Pro in “Barmy Blue”

Tips: Freehanded, messily, with Julie G Textured Nail Color in “Sleigh Ride”

Polish longevity check: Polka dot nails

Time to check in on that Polka Dot Nail Art¬†I did last week. How did my Rimmel Salon Pro + Seche Vite manicure last? Amazingly well! ¬†When looking at these pictures, keep in mind that I spend most of my day typing, so my nails are in constant use. I also don’t avoid doing things like opening pull-tab cans or washing dishes. I’d say I’m about in the middle of the pack as far as how hard I am on my manicures – I don’t baby my hands, but neither am I a doctor¬†who has to wash them ten times a day or anything.

Here it was on my left hand the day I applied it:

A closer look at my dots
A closer look at my dots

Here’s how it looked on my right hand day 4. No idea why I switched to photographing that hand, but since I’m right-handed and that one is more likely to show wear anyway, it works for our purposes:

Notice the beginnings of tip wear, especially on index finger and thumb, and the slightly ragged edges at the bottom of each nail
Notice the beginnings of tip wear, especially on index finger and thumb, and the slightly ragged edges at the bottom of each nail

There was a little bit of tip wear, and the bottom edges of the polish on each finger had started to catch in my hair, but for the most part, it looks pristine!

Here’s how it looked on day 6, just before¬†I took it off. Again, right hand:

Tip wear has gotten worse, and chunks are now missing from the bottom of my index finger and thumb
Tip wear has gotten worse, and chunks are now missing from the bottom of my index finger and thumb

The tip wear we saw on day 4 has gotten a little worse, and the bottom edge of my index finger and thumb have chipped a bit, but if you just glanced at my hands quickly, you wouldn’t notice anything amiss. In fact, I had a cashier stop me when I was paying her for my lunch on day 6 to tell me how much she loved my nails! I could probably have gotten another day or two out of this manicure before it became obviously crappy.

So there you have it: Rimmel Salon Pro nail polish, topped with Seche Vite topcoat, equals a 6+ day manicure. Is it the Rimmel or the Seche that makes this a powerhouse manicure? I’m not sure. If people are interested, I might do some tests putting Rimmel alone up against Rimmel + Seche Vite, and see what shakes out (or chips off…)

Spring weather means spring nails!

Things have been unseasonably weird here in New York lately. We hit 75¬į a few days ago, and then the night after that we had snow! Nevertheless, the approach of spring means it’s time to start using colors that aren’t quite so…severe. I decided to try my first real polka-dot manicure today, using a couple of colors that seemed springy.

Easter nails!
Easter egg nails!

For a base coat here I used Sally Hansen Double Duty, which, as usual, I then immediately proceeded to scuff up on four nails by smashing them into the edge of my desk. Nevertheless, I plowed onwards and added Rimmel Salon Pro with LYCRA¬†in “Yes sir!”, a dusty sage green creme.

I really like these Salon Pro polishes; they dry quickly and the Lycra really does seem to make them a bit more flexible and forgiving of activities that would chip other polishes. “Yes sir!” applied just the slightest bit streaky on the first coat, but a second coat evened it out and made it perfectly opaque. You could probably get away with one coat on this if you applied it thickly. I also love the brush on these Rimmel polishes – it’s a bit shorter and wider than a typical nail polish brush, and two swipes covers my nails just perfectly.

Rimmel brush
Rimmel brush

I waited about five minutes after applying “Yes sir!” before I attacked with my dotting tool. The polka dots here are L’Oreal Color Riche in “I Will!” (the white dots) and E.L.F. “Nude” from the 14-piece Brights Nail Cube gift set¬†(the pink dots – side note: there is also a E.L.F. Essential shade called “Nude”, but I can’t tell from eyeballing it on the website if it’s the same color).

A dotting tool, by the way, looks like this:

Double-ended dotting tool
Double-ended dotting tool (pardon the crust on the end – I didn’t clean off the polish before I took this photo)

It’s a pencil-sized¬†object with a tip that tapers and then rounds off (mine has two ends, with two different-sizes rounded heads). You dip the tool into your polish, the touch it to your nail, and it leaves behind a perfectly-round dot. Well, or a mostly-round dot. Or occasionally a smear, if you’re me. But at any rate, it produces better dot results than you can ever hope to get by just dabbing a nail polish wand to your nail.

At this point, I had some unevenness in my polish, more the fault of my scuffed base coat than of the polishes themselves. Luckily, I have a secret weapon:¬†Seche Vite topcoat, which is magic as far as I’m concerned. I’d seen blogs rave about it for months before I decided to try it, though I didn’t quite understand what could be so special about a topcoat, but it turns out Seche Vite has a couple of things going for it. First, it can be applied over wet nail polish. Not just “this isn’t quite dry” nail polish, but even “I just put that on thirty seconds ago” nail polish. Second, it dries almost gel-polish-like, so that rather than being hard and chip-y, it dents and then bounces back, and its thickness evens out any unevenness in the polish underneath it. And third, once it’s on your nail, your nails are basically dry in ten minutes. I mean, don’t go smashing them into things or anything – you can still harm your manicure – but the tackiness that comes with normal nail polish dry-time isn’t there. You go right from wet to “can use my hands, carefully”.

A closer look at my dots
A closer look at my dots

And that’s what goes into a polka-dot manicure! With a dotting tool, this is actually a really, really simple way to get some cute nail art on your hands, very little coordination required.

Stay tuned for some shots of how this manicure wears over time, coming in a few days.