Friday, January 24, 2014

Get Awards Season’s Best Red Carpet Looks with L'Oréal Paris (Sponsored)

Awards season is upon us and that means new looks on the red carpet. L'Oréal Paris has got you covered because their new interactive series of how­to videos will show you how  to get the most popular beauty looks from the red carpet.  Beauty blogger Sona  Gasparian of MakeupbySona shows you how to get the perfect orange­hue lip, statement  eyes and lips, or that camera­ready hair with the perfect manicure. The best part ­ the  videos are interactive, allowing you to purchase any L'Oréal Paris product on  straight from the video with just a click!

Visit L’Oréal Paris' Guide to the Latest Red Carpet Looks to see more #GetTheLook videos!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dance Legend Chameleons 092 Roz

 Dance Legend 092 Roz

Dance Legend's Chameleons collection is amazing.  There are five shades, and each one is an extremely intense multichrome.  This one's called Roz, and as you can see, it truly is a chameleon.  It has a burgundy-plum base and it shifts to a glowing red-orange-gold-green rainbow.  It has decent coverage on its own (I used three coats for opacity) so it doesn't need to be layered, but layering it over black (or another dark, opaque creme base) accentuates the green flash.

The formula is a little on the thick side, so I needed to be careful to apply very thin coats to avoid bubbling or lengthened dry time.  Since the finish is slightly frosty, it's also a good idea to be conscious of your brushstrokes. Most of them disappear when the polish is fully dry, but not all of them.  Other than those two issues, I was very happy with these polishes.  Dry time is quick as long as your coats are thin, and they have been very durable and chip-resistant each time I've worn them.

Dance Legend is available either directly from their website (RU), or from Ninja Polish and Llarowe (US).

(sent for review)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Girly Bits Cosmetics Bawitdaba

 Girly Bits Cosmetics Bawitdaba
Another really cool glitter from Girly Bits!  This one is new; it's from the concert series collection.  Bawitdaba is a mixture of gunmetal and grey microglitter with larger pieces of red, silver and black hex glitter, and then some even larger pieces of silver hex glitter.  It has this sort of grey-red sheen to it that makes it look like it has a pink base, but I think that's just an optical illusion.  Either way, it's a great color combination, plus it's full-coverage.  I used three very thin coats, plus one coat of topcoat. 

(polish provided for review)

Monday, January 20, 2014

China Glaze Crinkled Chrome Textured Polish Collection 2014 Swatches and Review

China Glaze Aluminate

China Glaze Crush, Crush Baby

China Glaze Don't Be Foiled

 China Glaze I'm A Chromantic

China Glaze Iron Out Details

China Glaze Wrinkling The Sheets

The formula on these is very good.  They're thick but easy to control, and completely, 100% opaque in just one coat. In fact, they look better at one coat than they do at two.  They have a true chrome finish (think China Glaze's Khrome collection from 2009) that becomes reflective when dry.  They have some sandy grit like other sand/textured finish polishes, but they also contain white matte bar glitter for extra texture. They dry almost immediately.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about these yet.  My gut reaction was, "oh, lumpy-looking chromes.... okay," but they're growing on me.  To tell you the truth, I was expecting them to crinkle up almost like a crackle polish as they dried, so the grit texture was a bit of a surprise to me.

Still, it's a unique idea that I haven't seen done before, so that's pretty cool.  Good formula at least. 

This collection is available now!

(collection provided for review)

Monday, January 13, 2014

OPI Mariah Carey Collection Holiday 2013 Swatches and Review

OPI Mariah Carey Collection Holiday 2013

 OPI All I Want For Christmas (is OPI)

 OPI All Sparkly and Gold

 OPI Cute Little Vixen

 OPI In My Santa Suit

 OPI My Favorite Ornament

 OPI Sleigh Ride for Two

 OPI Ski Slope Sweetie

 OPI Underneath the Mistletoe

 OPI Visions of Love

OPI Warm Me Up

OPI Wonderous Star

The collection also includes a special, large-particle hologram glitter called I Snow You Love Me.  I find that it's too sparse to apply directly from the bottle as a topcoat, but works very well as a jewel accent when you place the glitter on the nail with a toothpick or nail art brush:

You can do something quick and simple like this,

Or add more pieces for something a bit flashier.  The clear polish base acts like glue so the pieces stay right where you put them.  Just be sure to let the clear polish on the dots dry before adding topcoat or else they might slide around a bit.

The formula on all of these was perfect.  Application was so uneventful that there's nothing I can really say other than that they all apply exactly how polish should.  I did three coats of each polish (only the glitters and Ski Slope Sweetie actually needed three) and dry time was very fast. 

My favorite of this collection is My Favorite Ornament, but I'm also really into Ski Slope Sweetie.  It's a lot like China Glaze White Cap from a few years back.  It's sheer enough at one coat to use as a color-transforming topcoat over various base colors (it adds gold, yellow and green iridescence and glass fleck shimmer), but I love how it looks all by itself at three coats. 

This collection also includes six new shades of OPI Liquid Sand textured polish, which you can see swatched here.

Mariah Carey Holiday is limited edition and can be purchased at Professional Salons, including Beauty Brands, Beauty First, Chatters, Dillard’s, jcp Salons, Pure Beauty, Regis, Trade Secret, ULTA and for $9.00 ($10.95 CAN) suggested retail for each nail lacquer. 

(collection provided for review)

Friday, January 10, 2014

A England Fated Prince Swatches and Review

a england Fated Prince
Fated Prince, from the Burne-Jones Dream collection, is a grey-green holographic polish.  It's a dark grey, more charcoal than silver, and it has a subtle, warm olive undertone.  The holographic effect is visible in low light, but really comes alive in the sun. 

The formula on it is excellent.  Dense, opaque, smooth, quick-drying, and extremely durable.  This is two coats of polish and it's completely opaque.  Unlike a lot of other holographic polishes that can chip within hours, all of the a england holos tend to last forever on my nails without any hint of damage or wear.  They also lack that thin foil texture that shows imperfections on the nail, which I also appreciate because it hides my ridges nicely. 

a england polishes are available directly from their website (UK only) or from Llarowe, Ninja Polish, and Overall Beauty (US).  Click here for a list of other international distributors. 

(sent for review)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Practicing Underwater Photos with Girly Bits I Hit My Bunny Phone

I love duochromes.  Multichromes.  Whatever.  I love them.  A lot.  Until I try to photograph them, at least.  You should see me spinning in circles with my camera in my hand, tilting back and forth trying to get the angle just right, it's hilarious.  And that works, usually, but I still end up taking way too many pictures to capture all the ways the color shifts.

Waaaayyyy back in the day, when I was swatching Sally Hansen Nail Prisms, a bunch of you suggested that I put my hand underwater when photographing duochromes to capture the color shift better, and I was amazed at how well that worked. The only problem was that I found it awkward, what with the water and the lighting and trying to figure out how to hold my hand so it didn't look all mangled and distorted, so I told myself I'd try it again when I had more patience and then kinda forgot about it until a couple of weeks ago.

I thought I'd share a couple of my test pictures because they turned out pretty cool.  I'm using a large glass bowl filled all the way with water, and it's still pretty awkward (and my hand looks very weird through the water), but the color came out PERFECTLY.  I think I just need more practice. 

The polish I'm wearing is I Hit My Bunny Phone by Girly Bits Cosmetics, and it is amazing.  A+ mega ultra multichrome that isn't sheer.  Can't say enough good things about it.  The photos will attest to its amazingness.

(polish sent for review)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

OPI Mariah Carey Collection Holiday 2013 Liquid Sand Shades

 OPI Liquid Sand in Baby Please Come Home

 OPI Liquid Sand in Emotions

 OPI Liquid Sand in It's Frosty Outside

 OPI Liquid Sand in Kiss Me at Midnight

OPI Liquid Sand in Make Him Mine

OPI Liquid Sand in Silent Stars Go By

The formula on these is very good.  They're thin, which makes it easier to apply thin, even coats, which in turn enhances the Liquid Sand finish.  If the polish is applied too thickly, the gritty look of the sand and glitter gets covered up and smoothed over.  I have the best results when I apply very thin coats, waiting until each is mostly dry before applying the next one.  I used three coats of each and all the shades needed three to achieve opacity.  Since these are meant to be textured, they are worn without topcoat.  If you'd like to wear them as shiny, smooth glitter polishes, a minimum of three coats of topcoat are required.

Some of the colors in this collection feel like repeats and duplicates of existing Liquid Sand/textured polishes (namely Emotions, It's Frosty Outside, and Kiss Me At Midnight). Aside from that, all the shades are very pretty on the nail.  I really like the sparkly, sugar-coated look for winter.  It mimics the texture of snow and gumdrops and candied fruit and it just seems so cute and festive to me.  Emotions doesn't quite fit with the rest of the shades in the collection, and it's not bad looking, but a glittery gold or red Liquid Sand would have had more of a holiday/wintery feel. 

For the full OPI Mariah Carey Holiday collection review with swatches, please click here!

The OPI Mariah Carey Holiday Liquid Sand polishes are limited edition and are available at Professional Salons, including Beauty Brands, Beauty First, Chatters, Dillard’s, jcp Salons, Pure Beauty, Regis, Trade Secret, ULTA and for $9.00 ($10.95 CAN) suggested retail for each nail lacquer. 

(collection provided for review)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

China Glaze Autumn Nights Collection Fall 2013 Swatches and Review

China Glaze Autumn Nights Fall 2013

 China Glaze Goldie But Goodie

 China Glaze Gossip Over Gimlets

China Glaze Charmed I'm Sure

 China Glaze Don't Make Me Wine

 China Glaze Kiss My Glass

 China Glaze Public Relations

 China Glaze Queen B

 China Glaze Red-y & Willing

 China Glaze Rendezvous With You

China Glaze Scandalous Shenanigans

 China Glaze Strike Up A Cosmo

China Glaze Tongue & Chic

 The formula of the frosty shades was disappointing but not surprising.  They had a thick, stringy texture and applied streaky, with pooling at the edges and visible brushstrokes that only diminish slightly when dry.  The formula on the rest of the shades was stellar; no problems or texture issues whatsoever.  All dried quickly and were glossy even without topcoat.

I love the foils in this collection.  They're a little different than the standard single-tone foil because they have flakes of gold in them.  It's most noticeable in the photo of Gossip Over Gimlets, so be sure to take a good look at that one.  I believe China Glaze is calling these new two-tone flaky foils "aluminum finish."
Aluminum finish? Awesome.  Frosts, though?  Please, no.  Just.... no.  Public Relations and Kiss My Glass were intolerably bad for me, but the other shades weren't as streaky or as thick as those two.  Tongue & Chic and Don't Make Me Wine are closer to a regular shimmer finish than a frost or metallic, but still show brushstrokes if you're not careful.

(collection provided for review)