Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Revlon Top Speed Swatches

Revlon recently released a large (24 shades) new collection of what I consider one of their best polish lines, Top Speed. Many of my old original Top Speed polishes are among my most cherished. These are on sale buy one get one half off at Walgreens this week, and there's also a $3.00 coupon in the Rite Aid flyer if you're interested in picking up some shades from this line. I noticed a $5.00 Walgreens Jingle Cash coupon printed out on the back of my receipt, which I believe is a sign that I should go back and pick up a couple more of these!

Above: Sugar Plum, a delightful plum shimmer with a plush dimensional effect, this shade also seems to have a slight charcoal base. This shade is further enhanced with red, silver and blue micro glitter. I found all of these shades to be highly pigmented and while they applied nicely, these do dry pretty quick. If you have a small area that you need to go over to correct, work quickly so that your application isn't flawed. 2 coats.

Below: Orchid is a pinkish mauve tone with silver and pink micro glitter. I love the textured look that these finishes have. Both Orchid and Ocean below have a slight foil finish, and they applied almost streak free--if you work fast! When I removed these two, the polish on the cotton balls looked like a straight-up foil. Again, two coats.
Below: Let Ocean (turquoise shimmer with gold and lighter turquise micro glitter) be my example to you of what happens when you forget that these are quick-drying polishes! This was the first one I swatched and you can see several flaws that when I went to correct them at my normal pace, it was too late. The fine piece of fuzz on my middle finger was already firmly embedded. You can see at the tips a bit of unevenness, because when I went to touch up a few light areas, it was already dry and I was unable to cover the brush marks when I applied the second coat. Once I remembered how quick these dried, I didn't have a problem with the other three.

Below: This is one coat on Emerald, and there's just one small light area on my index finger, so it's very pigmented and applied like a dream. This creamy medium to medium/light green creme is similar to some other shades, but a very quick search didn't yield any exact matches. I'll have to do a more thorough search tomorrow and let you know if I find anything close.

Below: Here's a quick bottle look with Essie Going Incognito, the first possible dupe that came to mind. No dupe there!

Below: Another possible contender for dupe-dom was China Glaze Starboard from the upcoming Anchors Away collection. I was way off in my thought process on that one!

You know, I really wasn't going to buy any of the new Top Speeds, because at first glance, a lot of them looked very similar to other shades. There may be some re-promotes in there or similar shades to other Revlons, I'm not really sure without going back and studying them a bit more. Even after I looked at them sitting on my desk all day, I thought "Why did you buy those? Surely they're nothing special." I never have too much of a problem admitting when I'm wrong, and so I admit. I was wrong! These are really nice polishes, from the formula to the colors. I love the micro glitter shimmer finishes, and Emerald is not only a great green shade, but it's virtually a one-coater. And they were on sale. Win.

Four Shades from Finger Paints Winter Dreams Holiday 2010 Collection

Today I have the four shades I chose from the Finger Paints 2010 Holiday Collection, Winter Dreams. I used 2 coats in the photos, but I do believe Mulberry Madness (directly below) needed one more coat. The application went well and I had no issues with any of the formulas. A couple of them seemed slightly thick, but they applied just fine.

Below: Mulberry Madness is a perfect holiday red shade with loads of glitter. The foil glitter is primarily red, and flashes to a deep fuchsia glitter in brighter lighting. Both this shade and Winter Wishes dried to a slightly matte finish, so I used a top coat over them. Does this remind anyone else of a toned-down version of Massini's Slammin' Red?

Below: Winter Wishes is a new favorite of mine! This is much more pigmented than I thought it would be, and I initially planned to use this as a top coat over other polishes. It works fine all by itself though, and it's probably a little too pimented to use as a layering top coat. This pale gold glitter shade looks more silver in the bottle, but I love that it actually applies as more of a gold shade--a very delicate gold shade.

Below: Holly Good Time also surprised me with its level of pigmentation, especially for a glitter in an almost clear base. The abundant tiny glitter is colored in reds and golds. I am completely impressed with the coverage on this shade, not to mention its unique coloring. I also bought this one with the intention of using it as a top coat only, because I didn't think it would work well by itself. I guess I was wrong!

Below: That's not to say that the versatile Holly Good Time won't work as a top coat though. I used 2 thin coats over Winter Wishes, and I can only imagine how well it would perform over a darker shade to give it more contrast.

Below: Merry Mittens is much more conservative than the other 3 shades I chose, but it's pretty and a nice color for the holidays. This slightly burnt red shimmer has red and gold glitter mixed in, but the glitter is sparse in comparison to the others. Not a bad thing, but this one is definitely less complex than the others.

I passed on the other two shades, Mistletoe Mischief (green glitter) and Just Plum Fun (purple shimmer), but I'm very pleased with the shades I chose. Did you pick up anything from this collection?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Coty/OPI Deal Could Be Announced Tomorrow

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Coty acquisition of OPI could be announced as early as tomorrow, although the article cautions that "negotiations could still fall apart", according to their source. It's an interesting article to read, particularly the part about how nail polish has surged (up over 11% last year) well above other beauty products during the recession. It's nice to hear that others are enjoying nail polish as much as we always have! Check out the paragraph I highlighted in red--I wouldn't have guessed that OPI had that small of the market share, nor that Coty/Sally Hansen/NYC Color Line had such a large share of the market.

Coty Inc., one of the world's largest fragrance companies, is close to an agreement to acquire nail-polish maker OPI Products Inc. for about $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said.
Talks were continuing Sunday, and a deal could be announced as early as Monday, these people said. But the negotiations could still fall apart, they added.

Closely held Coty has been on the acquisition trail recently, announcing last week that it had agreed to purchase beauty company Philosophy from private-equity firm Carlyle Group. Terms of the purchase weren't disclosed, but people familiar with the matter valued the deal at around $1 billion.

Two weeks ago, Coty, which has annual sales of $3.6 billion, said it was buying Dr. Scheller Cosmetics AG of Germany.

Though the beauty industry suffered sluggish sales during the recession, demand for nail polish has surged in recent years as women embraced it as an inexpensive way to accessorize their apparel. In 2009, U.S. sales of nail polish rose 11% from the previous year to $462.9 million, according to market-research firm Euromonitor International Inc.

OPI was founded in 1981 by George Schaeffer, who is president and chief executive. The company began as a dental-supply business. Based in North Hollywood, Calif., OPI now sells nail polish and other nail-related products in salons, using fanciful names for its colors like "Overexposed in South Beach" and "I'm Not Really a Waitress." Its products also are sold in retail stores.

OPI, which is considered a premium brand, held about 6% of the U.S. nail-polish market last year, according to Euromonitor. Coty, which owns the market-leading Sally Hansen brand and the NYC New York Color line, held 48%.

New York-based Coty makes fragrances for brands including Calvin Klein, Vera Wang and Stetson, and calls itself the world's largest fragrance company.


Nicole Bring on the Tinsel & Spark My Mistletoe

I spotted a couple of the Nicole by OPI holiday polishes at Meijer recently, but they were laying all by themselves on a shelf, so I'm not sure what type of display to tell you to look for! Bring on the Tinsel is filled with tiny multi colored glitter in a clear base. The silver, red, blue, and green glitter combine to remind me of Christmas lights, making this perfect for the holidays.

Above & Below: The top photo was taken outdoors, while the ones below were taken with an Ott lamp. I only used 2 coats and all in all, I'd say I had good coverage with a fairly even application. Three coats would be ideal, or it could easily be used as a top coat over another shade. Like many clear based glitters, the formula has a somewhat jelly texture, but it dried quickly.

Below: Before I removed Bring on the Tinsel, I added one quick coat of the other Nicole shade I picked up, Spark My Mistletoe. This is poor lighting, but if that look doesn't say Happy Holidays, I don't know what does!

Below: If you're wondering how the Nicole compares with another holiday favorite this year, China Glaze Party Hearty, here's a bottle comparison showing just how different they are. The Nicole is more blue with finer glitter, while the China Glaze has more green in it, as well as a variety of sizes and shapes for the glitter.

Below: Spark My Mistletoe is shown here using 2 coats over China Glaze Frosty. This primarily red glitter with secondary multi colored larger glitter seems to have a bit of a foil finish, making it another festive shade for the upcoming holidays.

Below: This shows two coats by itself, and I think when I use this the next time, I'll use it alone and go with 3 coats.

Below: In lower lighting, the multi colored glitter becomes more obvious.

Even though I'm not a fan of Nicole's bottle shape, I do think they come out with some beautiful shades, and these holiday polishes are a good example. Have you seen these in a display? I'm wondering if any of the other shades are worth hunting down! Let me know your thoughts if you've come across these yet.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Updated Shoppe Page!

Just a quick note that I've updated my Shoppe page! You can view everything here. I didn't realize just how many extras I'd picked up over the last year from sales, CP's that once I purchase their items they don't respond back, etc., so I'm cleaning out! The Massini polishes are always available, but I still have more polishes and cosmetics to get added. I'm sorry that I'm not offering International shipping at this time on the Shoppe items. I've had a couple of instances lately where items from the Shoppe were reportedly not received, and rather than say "Oh well, I've got my receipt so it was shipped", I've refunded them because I felt bad about it. That gets expensive on my part, so I hope you understand.

On U.S. shipments I use delivery confirmation, and if you are interested in any items, send me an eMail (mej0620@hotmail.com) with the items noted and your zip code, then I'll send you the shipping rate. PayPal is used for all transations. Each order through the end of the year will receive a random Massini polish as a free gift. I'll be adding more items in the coming weeks, so check back!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Follower Freebie!

I hope all of my U.S. friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Today I've got 2 more shades from the China Glaze 'Tis the Season Collection to show you and to give away! I've also included one of the high fashion Holiday Ballz necklaces that China Glaze includes with the Celebrate in Style gift sets. Your ballz are sure to be the envy of everyone at the Holiday parties this season!

Below: Naughty and Nice is a high gloss jelly vamp creme that reminds me of one of my all time favorite discontinued China Glaze shades, Dripping Wet. Naughty and Nice applies much better though, as I used 2 coats and the coverage was fantastic, unlike the old school Dripping Wet formula. This is a beautiful deep rich wine shade and less red than Dripping Wet.

Below: Sugar Plums is a glowy burgundy or deep red shimmer filled with tiny multi colored glitter. Oddly, this too reminds me of another favorite discontinued China Glaze shade, Crystal Ball. This is sort of a darker version of that shade. Again, only 2 coats and great coverage.

If you'd like to enter for a chance to win both of these shades and the fab ballz, just leave your eMail in the comments section below. I'll leave the contest open until I post on Monday, at which time the winner will be announced. How many of you braved the Black Friday crowds?!!!
*Polishes featured were furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for review.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Holiday Gift Idea~Suave LE Seasonal Body Wash

Here's another inexpensive product that would make a nice Holiday gift for a stocking stuffer, Secret Santa, or for you! Suave introduces limited edition seasonal scents during the holidays and they're available at Wal Mart. I picked mine up last week for $1.50 each, and their normal price is still a bargain at $1.98 each. This year's seasonal scents are:

· Candy Apple Luscious Body Wash

· Holiday Pear Refreshing Body Wash

· Peppermint Bliss Shimmer Body Wash

· Toasted Vanilla and Sugar Indulgent Body Wash

They all smell true to their name, and right now I'm on a peppermint kick, so that's my personal favorite. I plan on making some peppermint bark candy and putting little packages together with the Peppermint Bliss Shimmer Body Wash, and bath gloves for the kind ladies who work in my veterinarian's office.

They all smell wonderful and they leave my skin feeling soft and silky. I love how they make my bathroom smell after a shower! These feel much more luxurious than $1.98. The only bad thing I have to say about these is that they are limited editions, so if you fall in love with one of the scents, you'll need to stock up!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

American Apparel African Violet, Mannequin & Raccoon

Today I have the other 3 shades I ordered from American Apparel's newest polish selections, African Violet, Mannequin, and Raccoon. If you'd like to see Army Jacket, I showed that shade yesterday here. None of these impressed me as much as Army Jacket, but I will say that African Violet is still very impressive in terms of the shade itself and the application.

Below: African Violet is a lovely shade of medium purple with a hint of dusty and the slightest touch of plum, all working together to offer a fabulous purple creme shade. I used 2 coats and the formula was near perfect. This one applied much like Army Jacket, but was just the tiniest bit thicker. The first photo was taken with an Ott lamp, while the second photo was taken outside under cloudy skies and I might add, freezing temps...brrrr!

Below: My first thought when I saw African Violet was that I wondered how it compared to another purple favorite of mine, Rescue Beauty Lounge Mismas. While they are very close, they are not identical. The first photo, taken with an Ott lamp, shows Mismas on the index and ring fingers, and African Violet on the middle and pinkie fingers. The photo below this one (which I remembered to label!) was taken outdoors under cloudy skies.

Below: Swatches on paper give you another look at the differences. I would say that African Violet leans more purple and is obviously a lighter shade, while Mismas leans a little more blue.

Below: Mannequin was thick enough that it wasn't nearly as nice to apply as Army Jacket and African Violet. This Band-Aid shade is shown using 2 coats and I can safely say that I don't think I'll be wearing this one much! I personally don't care for it with my skin tone, but maybe after I add some thinner to it and try it again when I have more of a tan, I'll feel differently.

Below: I love a nice chocolate brown shade, which Raccoon is. Again, the formula was thicker than I prefer so I will be adding thinner to this one as well. Another trait I didn't care for is that the gloss finish is quite low on this one. It's certainly not anything a clear top coat won't fix, but I wanted to mention it.

Of the four shades I chose, Army Jacket and African Violet are the clear winners for me. They both had well above average application, the formula was great, and I love the shades themselves. The other two shades I might have liked better had the formula been perfect right out of the bottle, but I'm not that crazy about the colors themselves.

Did you order any of the new shades? I'm looking forward to seeing more swatches show up, because all in all, I think American Apparel has done a great job with their shades and formulas. They certainly seem to add in some unique shades every time they release new colors. I just need to choose a little wiser sometimes, because I already have quite a few chocolate brown cremes and I don't see this one as being particularly special. I should know that when it comes to neutral shades like Mannequin, I should stick with something that has a little more taupe in it. Those just seem to work better for me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Del Sol Introduces 3 Holiday Color-Changing Polishes!

I received an eMail from my main man at Del Sol that their holiday polishes are now available on their web site and at select Walgreens locations! The promo pictures that were attached look gorgeous, especially Tinsel Toes. I love the name too! Their Halloween polish was perfect for the spooky season and these look very nice for the holiday season. My Walgreens doesn't carry these, so I'm not sure of the pricing there, but they retail for $10.00 each on their web site. They sometimes offer them at buy 2 get 1 free, but right now the only offer I see is free shipping on any order.

Zoya & Qtica Offer Buy 1 Get 2 Free Gift Sets!

Zoya and Qtica are offering some great deals starting now through Monday on their gift sets! I think the 3 for $8.00 on the Zoya Color Cubes (each cube contains one polish and one Hot Lips lip gloss) is a fantastic deal at less than $3.00 per set. I see some fabulous stocking stuffer ideas!

Here's How it Works!

To find a complete list of qualifying Holiday Gift Items click on the Buy One - Get 2 banner on Zoya.com or Qtica.com. Items on the Holiday Gift Sets Page can mixed and matched with ANY* other holiday items of equal or lesser value. With over 25 items from Zoya Nail Polish, Qtica and Smart Spa the combination's are endless! There is no limit on this promotion! Buy now before supplies run out! Here are some examples:
Get 3 Zoya Color Cubes for $8**! Zoya Color Cube are a great stocking suffers! They feature a perfectly coordinated bottle of Zoya Nail Polish and tube of Zoya Hot Lips Lip Gloss. With 6 Color Cubes to Mix and Match there is certain to be the perfect color for everyone!
Home Spas for the Holidays! For only $15**!Smart Spa Holiday Home Spas are here! This appetizing gift set is a perfect hostess gift! Home Spas include Lotion, Sugar Scrub and Shower Gel. They come in may different scents. Pick up a Eucamint, Berry Berry, Mandarin Honey or Sweet Citrus Home Spa.
Get 3 Mini Color Lock Systems for $20**. Make DIY manicures last with the Zoya Mini Zoya Color Lock System! This is the perfect gift for any nail polish lover! The Mini Color Lock System is only available for a short time and contains - 2 oz Remove Plus, Anchor Base Coat, Armor Top Coat and the incredible Zoya Hurry Up Drops.
Or Get a piece of it all for $20 you could get a Mini Color Lock System, Home Spa in Vanilla Wild Plum and a Color Cube!

The Buy One - Get Two Free Sale is an incredible offer that is too good to pass up! Zoya.com is open 24 hours day - Order Now!!! Remember supplies are limited.

Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays!

*Buy One Get Two offer valid only on select items of equal or lesser value found on the Holiday Gift Items section at Zoya.com and Qtica.com. Available on consumer orders only. Continental US only. Offer not valid in conjunction with other promotions, discounts or offers. Offer ends Monday, November 29, 2010 11:59 PM EST while supplies last.**Additional (S/H) charges apply.

American Apparel Army Jacket

I just received the four new American Apparel shades I ordered and naturally, I'm in the middle of 3 projects I need to have finished up in an hour so I don't have time to swatch them all! My curiosity will have to wait on the other three, but I just had to see what Army Jacket looked like. The three photos below were all taken outside, the first under cloudy skies, then partly cloudy skies, and the last one is under full sun.

Below: Here's a quick bottle comparison with Essie Sew Psyched. Similar shades, but in no way dupes.

My order arrived quicker than I expected and they were all packed very well. As with the majority of American Apparel polishes, this one applied very nicely and I used 2 coats. Actually, I think it applied even better than previous ones I've swatched. I would describe Army Jacket as a muted dusty celery with a touch of olive. What do you think of this shade? As a lover of green polishes, you know I'm loving it!
edited: misscarley asked how it compares to Chanel Khaki Vert and I apologize, I should've thought to include the Chanel in my photo! I just looked and the Chanel is darker and greyer. In my opinion, Khaki Vert is more similar to the Essie.

Deborah Lippman Today Was A Fairytale

Today Was A Fairytale is one of the Holiday 2010 polishes from the Deborah Lippmann collection. This grey/silver/blue shade is filled with large silver hexagon shaped glitter sequins and tiny silver glitter pieces. The grey/blue base is relatively sheer and reminds me of the Maybelline Water polishes with its subtle tint of color. I'll call this a two-and-a-half coater, because after the first coat I touched up the balder areas, then I applied a full second coat. I still didn't end up with complete coverage, but I don't think it's meant to have opaque coverage.

Above & Below: The large silver hex glitter really pumps up the bling, which is perfect for the Holiday season or a night out on the town. I had nothing but clouds when I photographed this, and it's still eye-catching. I was surprised by how smooth the finish was, given the amount of glitter.

Below: I like the way this shade looks when worn alone, and I imagine it would also work well over a darker shade. I wanted to try a subtle polish over It's A Fairy Tale, so I chose Orly Winter Wonderland. The finished look is more silver, and this delicate milky white glitter seemed to fuse all of the glitters together for an interesting effect.

Today Was A Fairytale is described as a silvery blue starlight glitter with virgin diamond powder. I'm not entirely sure what virgin diamond powder is exactly, but it sounds impressive! According to Deborah Lippmann, "This was created with songstress clients like Cher and Mariah Carey, divas known for their dramatic hand gestures, in mind. I created Today Was A Fairytale to provide show-stopping sparkle that fans would see from the audience. Today Was A Fairytale is exclusively for those nights when you're going to bring down the house."

This polish retails for $20.00 and is available at Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and online at DeborahLippmann.com.
*Product featured was furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for review.

In the News: Coty to Buy Philosophy


Bloomberg is reporting that Coty announced today it will acquire the fragrance/skincare company Philosophy. Coty has been rumored to be in serious negotiations to buy OPI, so it makes me wonder who they'll buy next.

Coty Inc., the perfume maker owned by Joh A. Benckiser SE, will acquire beauty company Philosophy from private equity firm Carlyle Group as it seeks to build its luxury skincare business outside of Europe.

Philosophy will probably generate sales of more than $200 million this year, New York-based Coty said today in a statement. The sale price wasn’t disclosed. Carlyle, based in Washington, had sought $1 billion for the skincare maker, according to people familiar with the situation who declined to be identified because the negotiations were private.

The acquisition of Philosophy, based in Phoenix, Arizona, forms part of Coty’s strategy to increase sales of luxury skincare and fragrances, particularly in the U.S. and Asia. Coty this month agreed to acquire German cosmetics firm Dr. Scheller Cosmetics AG and is also considering a purchase of OPI Products Inc., the North Hollywood, California-based nail polish maker, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Philosophy makes anti-aging moisturizers, one-minute skin peels, perfumes and lipsticks which are sold at
Sephora, J.C. Penney Co., Nordstrom Inc., Macy’s Inc. and QVC Inc. stores. Skin-care entrepreneur Cristina Carlino founded the company in 1996 as a way of bridging the gap between skin-care products offered in doctor’s offices and retail outlets.

Coty is aiming to almost double sales to about $7 billion by 2015. The company reported revenue of about $3.6 billion in the financial year that ended in June.

Coty’s luxury business has revenue of about $1.7 billion, around half of which comes from Europe, according to
Michele Scannavini, head of the prestige unit. The U.S. accounts for 25 percent of sales, while Asia represents 10 percent. Fragrances such as Calvin Klein and Chloe account for 95 percent of Coty Prestige revenue, while the rest comes from skincare, mainly under the Lancaster brand, which is present only in Europe.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Gift Idea~Fragrance & Shea Infused Lounge Socks From Bath & Body Works

With the Holidays quickly approaching, I've got several inexpensive gift ideas I'll be sharing with you over the next couple of weeks. If you're looking for stocking stuffers, Secret Santa goodies, or other Holiday gift ideas, maybe some of the items I'll be focusing on will fit the bill! I'll include reviews on all of them because somehow, I often end up picking up a little gift for someone and then thinking "Hmmm, this is cute/pretty/nice, I think I'll get one for me too!" Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this. My first gift idea is for the Fragrance & Shea Infused Lounge Socks from Bath & Body Works.

These retail for $7.50 and are often on sale as they are right now for $5.00. They are extremely soft and while the scent is rather light, it's more evident on the inside of the sock if you're in the store checking out the scents. If you rub them before wearing them, the scent is further released. There are several scent options available including Vanilla, Peppermint, Fresh Cotton, and Lavender, to name a few. They are infused with Shea Butter to moisturize and soften your feet. According to the tag, the Shea Butter lasts through 25 washings and the scent lasts through 8-10 washings. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, and some have the little non-skid buttons on the bottom. I picked up a short (turquoise) pair and a longer pair (fuchsia) for myself.

I've worn the turquoise pair 4-5 times so far and they're still soft and scented after 4-5 washings. I'll assume they're still infused as well, because to give them the true test, yesterday I intentionally neglected putting my body cream on my feet as I normally do daily. I wore them all day yesterday around the house and when I took them off, my feet were definitely softer than when I put them on. My only complaint is that some of the non-skid buttons are already starting to show a little wear around the edges and a couple of them are just starting to pull away at the edge very slightly. If they don't get any worse in that area, I don't see it causing a problem.

These are very luxurious, pampering, and warm. Their scent and softness are sure to appeal to most everyone on your list!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Old School! Ruby Kisses Blue Denim & A Fun Top Coat

Showing one of my favorite discontinued polishes some love today! Ruby Kisses is a brand often found at independent beauty supply stores for a reasonable price of around $1.99. They have a wide range of colors and finishes, and they apply and wear quite well. Blue Denim is a deep teal creme that was ahead of its time, because it was available long before teals became popular by today's standards. Two coats, high gloss finish, and fumes--what's not to love!

Below: This is Blue Denim topped with a coat of Bridal Veil ($3.95) from American Manicure. This top coat is readily available at VNS, which is where I bought mine.

My local independent beauty supply carries a wide range of Ruby Kisses, and even though I keep checking for a Blue Denim back-up, I've yet to find one. The top coat is something I saw at VNS that I thought sounded interesting, so I also picked up the gold one called Gold Dust along with Bridal Veil. The description reads: Use these shimmering top coats to gently highlight your American Manicure. Sheer Effects are translucent and reflects softly colored accents in direct light. Today is the first time I've used Bridal Veil, and it is interesting! It adds a nice subtle effect, sort of a duo chrome with only one color--a mono chrome maybe?!! It seems to add a silvery shimmer that shifts on the nail so that the edges still look like the base color.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reminder: 2 Contests Ending Tonight!


I hope you're all having a great weekend! Just a quick reminder that my November Monthly Contest (Essie Winter Collection & Essie Lotions & Treatments), and my China Glaze Holiday Polish Giveaway (3 shades from the 'Tis the Season Collection) both end at midnight tonight!

If you'd still like to enter, click here to read the details on the November contest, and here to read the details on the China Glaze giveaway.

Color Club Treatments: Loosen Up & Cuticle Soothe

Color Club recently sent me their 10 piece line-up of nail care treatments, and I'll be reviewing them all over the next couple of weeks. I've purchased a couple of these products previously, but I didn't realize that they offered such a range of treatments. The two products I'll be focusing on today are Loosen Up Cuticle Softener and Remover, and Cuticle Soothe Conditioning Cuticle Oil, both of which are Big-3-Free.

Loosen Up Cuticle Softener and Remover: This is a lotion/gel formula with a fairly thick consistency and little to no scent. I brush on a moderate amount, covering the cuticle at the base of the nail and the skin surrounding the nail. After letting it sit for a minute or two, I begin pushing the cuticle back with a metal cuticle pusher. I then wash off the product thoroughly using soap and water.

I normally use Blue Cross Cuticle Remover, although I have and use a number of other products for cuticle removal. Blue Cross has been the most effective for me so far in my search for the perfect concoction to magically erase my cuticles, while not harming my skin and nails. I found Loosen Up to be both gentle and effective, and while I don't see as much of the cuticle being removed during the process as I do with the Blue Cross product, the end result looks almost the same. I would say that Loosen Up leaves about 10-15% of the cuticle, while I get 100% removal with Blue Cross. It's not a big difference, but that's what I noticed. There are a couple of things I like better about Loosen Up though. The first is that my cuticle area and surrounding skin look and feel softer immediately after using the product. Secondly, the ease of application is evident because Loosen Up is thicker, so it's not running all over. I transfer my Blue Cross to a smaller bottle (one for hair color, actually) and place a few drops around each nail, but I always do it over the sink because it's very thin. I know some of you use it in a bottle with a brush, which I'll have to try sometime. All in all, I think Loosen Up is a decent product. I find it more portable than the Blue Cross, more softening, and while it's a little less effective, it does do a good job. The retail price for this product is $2.75 (0.5 fl. oz.) at Victoria Nail Supply, 8ty8 Beauty and several other eTailers.

Cuticle Soothe Conditioning Cuticle Oil: This product absorbs quickly and isn't as 'oily' as other similar products I've used. It has a light and pleasant almond fragrance and I apply it after a manicure around the nail's edge, or I apply it at night and massage it in until it's absorbed. This states that it's Botanically-infused, almond scented cuticle oil hydrates and conditions dry, cracked and sore cuticles. I find it to be both moisturizing and soothing, particularly after I've pushed my cuticles back a little too hard! It's not as heavily scented as Creative's Solar Oil, and I like that it absorbs faster than other oils. This retails for $2.75 (.05 fl. oz.)at Victoria Nail Supply, and $4.00+ on other eTailers.

Note on ingredients: I wanted to show you the ingredient lists for these products, but below is what the sticker on the bottom states--on both products. I can't believe that both products have the same ingredients, so I have contacted Color Club and will update my post as soon as I have an answer.

Ingredients: Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Adipic Acid, Neopentyl Glycol, Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Isopropyl Alcohol, Camphor, Benzophenone-1.

*Products featured were furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for review.

Friday, November 19, 2010

NEW! From Color Club/Forsythe: Cosmetic Arts Polish Line!

One of my favorite manufacturers, Forsythe Cosmetics, has recently introduced a new line called Cosmetic Arts. If you love their Color Club line or their Massini line, this newest member of the family will be a welcome addition. According to my contact at Forsythe, the Cosmetic Arts line is "our mass retail line and right now they can be purchased Fred Meyers and we are expanding into other mass stores." I don't have any Fred Meyer stores near me (I think they're in the Northwest U.S.), but I'm going to keep my fingers and toes crossed that they expand their availability to Meijer and other retail chains nationwide, so we all have access to these.

Below are their seasonal collections, Holiday, Fall, and Spring, followed by their Neons collection. You can click on the Cosmetic Arts link above to read more about this line. My initial thoughts after looking closely at the colors on their site are HURRY UP AND EXPAND! Look at some of those shades...the greens are killing me! I'll keep you updated if I hear any more on where else these beauties will be available.

Note: You really should click on these and then click again to enlarge, because if the pictures are accurate, I see some incredible looking shades. In the photo directly below, the polish on the top right looks a little like one of my favorite Misa shades, Decadent Drifter. The shade in the second photo on the top right looks very intersting as well, and could the shade in the third photo on the bottom right be anything at all like Chanel Riva? Expand the territory for these already!