Sunday, February 28, 2010

Maybelline Minty (brush fail!)

Above: Maybelline Minty is not among my favorite mint shades, which may be due to the lack of quality control on the brush itself. I used 3 coats on this creme shade and it looks a mess!
Below: You can see the mess that the brush made, even after 3 coats. The formula was a bit thick, so it didn't even out the brush streaks. My skin isn't really that red, I think it's the lighting.
Below: The culprit was really the brush, much more so than the formula. Nice quality control, Maybelline!
Below: Bottle comparisons with some of the other Mint green shades I have L-R: Sinful Mint Apple, Barry M Mint, Jessica Cloud Mine, Maybelline Minty (devil brush!), American Apparel Office, Essie Mint Candy Apple, China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, Nicole Hint of Mint. Click to enlarge photo, but in my opinion, Minty falls in between Office, which is a bit more muted, and Mint Candy Apple, which is ever so slightly lighter.
Even though Goody Plum Drop applied nicely for me yesterday, I can't say the same for one of the other shades from Maybelline's Spring LE collection. Minty, although a nice shade, was rather disastrous upon application. The formula itself wasn't too bad, although it was a little on the thick side. I ended up having to go with 3 coats instead of my preferred 2, but the real problem was in the cut of the brush. I seldom do any clean-up, but was forced to on this shade, and it's still rather a mess around the cuticles. It was quite streaky after the first coat, but that could be from the poor quality of the brush. I did some comparison bottle pictures for those of you trying to locate this one, and I wouldn't say it's an exact dupe to anything I have, although it is close to a few of them. Other than the brush issue, which ruined everything for me, it's just 'okay'. Nothing terribly unique in the mint green realm, but it is what I would call a true mint--not too blue, not too green. Damn brush!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Last Call To Enter My Anniversary Contest!

Above: One winner will receive all of the prizes pictured above (click for larger version). Included clockwise L-R: Color Club's Femme Fatale collection, Organic Apoteke Rejuvenating Face Mask & Sicilian Orange & Mandarin Body Creme, a $25.00 gift certificate from OC Nail Art (includes free shipping worldwide), Simply Organic Every Shampoo & Everyday Conditioner, Zoya Reverie collection and Minicure Color-Lock set, 3-BB Couture polishes in your color choice and a Magic Lash Eyelash Enhancer & Black Magic Mascara gift set from Overall Beauty, Juice Beauty's Cleansing Milk, Hydrating Mist and Green Apple Peel, and Bella Sugar Cosmetics 4-pan custom palette with your choice of pressed mineral eye shadow shades, a tub of shower jellies, and a $25.00 gift certificate. Many thanks to my wonderful sponsors for their generous contributions, which made all of this possible. (Entry & prize details can be found in the upper right-hand corner of my blog).

Next month I promise to get back to my first love, swatching nail polishes! This month has been overtaken a bit by my 1st Anniversary Celebration, but I've enjoyed reviewing all of the prizes (my own, yours will be untouched!) throughout the month and I hope you've enjoyed reading them. I've especially had fun reading your comments and your eMails about my first year, so I thank you for taking the time to send those. Some of you mentioned some topics you'd like to see more of, so I'll do my best to work those in as I begin my second year. I wanted to do a quick wrap up of all of the prizes that one lucky follower will receive, and to thank you all once again for taking a few minutes out of your day to read what I write...or are you just looking at the pictures?!! Lastly, I'd like to thank all of my prize sponsors for their support of my blog and many other blogs as well.

Maybelline Goody Plum Drop (with sprinkles on top!)

Above & Below: Goody Plum Drop is such a pretty shade of lavender, and the subtle shimmer is a nice delicate touch. I used 2 coats and although the formula was a little on the thick side, it caused no problems.
Below: The sprinkles on top are Chelly Cosmetics Shade #83 Rainbow Sparks, a clear polish filled with tiny multi colored holographic glitter. Read more below about where I got this polish.
Yesterday's Friday Follower Freebie contains 4 of Maybelline's LE Spring shades, and I wanted to check mine out too! You can still enter the FFF until midnight tonight. Goody Plum Drop is a medium lavender shade that appears to be a creme, but upon closer inspection, it has very fine shimmer...an added bonus to me, because pastel cremes are not always my favorite. I love the looks of them, but I sometimes have application issues with them. This shade applied nicely in 2 coats and dried quickly. I love the subtle shimmer and the color itself reminds me of my Lilac bushes blooming in the Spring. We are still getting lots of snow, so this shade makes me happy and gives me hope.

Speaking of happy--thrilled, elated and touched beyond words would be more like it--yesterday I received a FedEx package from someone for no reason other than because she wanted to. She has purchased Massini polishes from me several times and we've chit-chatted a bit in eMails about our love of nail polish. She sent me the sweetest note and the items she sent were all perfect for me. She took the time to wrap everything so neatly and attach little notes to each item. The fact that she took the time out of her life to do something like this means so much to me. That's where the Chelly polish pictured above came from. Brooke posted about this brand yesterday and I'd never heard of it, but thought they looked very interesting. Then this package showed up with a couple of them, along with many other wonderful items. I'll do a post about everything she sent soon, but it just shows once again how kind the people in our nail polish community are. As I told her, it's people and acts like this that restore my faith in humanity, especially in this sometimes sad and destructive world in which we live. Isn't it amazing how some pretty colors and a simple act of kindness can do that?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Follower Freebie!

Today's FFF features four of the new Maybelline LE Spring shades. I chose these four for myself as well, so if I'll be swatching my own soon. It looks like the lavender one may have a hint of shimmer, while the others are cremes. One winner will receive all of the polishes pictured. L-R: Pie in the Sky, Sweetie Pie, Goody Plum Drop, Minty.
The Rules: You must be a follower. You must leave your eMail in the comments section below as your entry. You must leave your entry no later than midnight tomorrow (2/27/10). Good Luck!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Final Anniversary Prize Added from Color Club!

Above: Last but certainly not least, the final prize being added to my Anniversary Contest prize comes to us from Color Club. In addition to the other prizes already revealed, the winner will also receive the Femme Fatale Collection. The polishes in this collection include from L-R: Oooooo La La, Worth the Risque, Femme Fatale, Revvvolution, Oui! Oui! Oui!, Where's the Soiree, and a bottle of their Milky White Base Coat.
Below: Following, are a few swatches from the polishes I have from the Femme Fatale collection.
Above & Below: Revvvolution is a testament to the fact that there is always a rainbow behind the clouds. Even with no light to bring out it's true beauty (below), it's still a stunning polish.
Below: Femme Fatale over Revvvolution. Alone, this is a very sheer polish, but it adds so much when used as a layering polish.
Below: It even adds an almost duo chrome effect.
Below: Are you getting tired of looking at this combination yet? Obviously, I wasn't!
Below: Worth the Risque is a beautiful silver holo with micro fine shimmer.
The last prize being added to my Anniversary Contest prize is from Color Club/Forsythe Cosmetics. They have graciously contributed their Femme Fatale Collection, which contains some of my favorite Color Club shades. I don't have the set in it's entirety among my own collection, but I do have several of the individual polishes I can share with you. I think everyone's favorite is Revvvolution, and there's no sense in trying to explain why with words. The pictures can do all of the talking. Worth the Risque stands just behind Revvvolution as a favorite of mine, as does Femme Fatale. Femme Fatale is rather shy on her own, but once she gets acquainted with another polish, she takes over the conversation. I think we can all agree that Color Club comes out with some pretty unique polishes in both color and finish, and for me, Wild at Heart and Femme Fatale are two of their collections that have revvvolutionized what nail polish trends are all about.

If you still need details about entering my Anniversary Contest (which ends 2/28/10), you can view all of the prizes that one lucky winner will receive by viewing the Anniversary Sponsors Box in the upper right hand corner. Just below that, in the box titled February Contest, you can find all of the details on how to enter. Many thanks to Color Club for this wonderful prize, and for their continued support of my blog.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Product Review: Bella Sugar Cosmetics

Above & Below: The Zebra eye shadow palette and the tub of shower jellies are the products I'll be reviewing from Bella Sugar Cosmetics. These are some of the prizes included in my Anniversary Contest giveaway.
Above & Below: The eye shadow palettes are hand-painted and come in several different design options. Each palette holds 4 shades and comes with an insert stating the color names.
Below: A macro shot of the colors in my palette. You've got to know that although I'm impressed with the quality and shades of all four colors, Chocolate Covered Blueberries won my heart straightaway! It's a duo chrome!
Below: The back of the palette box shows the ingredients of the shadows.
Below: In all my excitement over these products, I neglected to photograph my jellies, so I 'borrowed' this one from Patricia's site. Not only do they smell good, they look good too! They have tiny flecks of gold shimmer in them and I am holding myself back from getting mine out and just playing with them (think Jello Jigglers!).
Below: The shower jelly ingredient list is printed on the back on the container.
Below: A family portrait of the products and swatches. Click the photo to enlarge the detail. I couldn't capture the true beauty of Chocolate Covered Blueberries, but you can see how it changes from brown, to reddish brown, to a teal/aqua shade. All four of the shadows are highly pigmented and very blendable.
Last week I gave you a little preview of one of the prizes in my Anniversary Contest from a brand new independent cosmetics company, Bella Sugar Cosmetics. I have received my products from the lovely Patricia, who is the mastermind behind these products, so I can now share my thoughts on them with you. She also has a blog with additional swatches and photos that can be found here. Bella Sugar's generous contribution to my prize package includes a $25.00 gift certificate, a tub of Shower Jelly in your scent choice, a 4-pan palette in your design/color choice, and 4 hand-pressed mineral eye shadows in your color shade choice. Now for the review!

Shower Jelly in Basil Citrus: These come in a plastic container and contain between 21 and 24 jellies. Mine are heart shaped and are very jiggly! I used one whole jelly (I use those exfoliating gloves and just squished it into my palms), and I had a delightful shower experience! The scent is strong but not overpowering, and the jelly lathers up very nicely. It rinses clean, but the scent lingers ever so lightly. These left my skin silky soft and feeling very moisturized. I am certain than using just half of a jelly would be more than enough for one shower or bath.

4-Pan Shadow Palette (Zebra pattern): This is a well-built, sturdy palette that measures 3"x3". The designs are hand-painted (they are also available in a solid color), there is a mirror inside, and it has a push button type of opener/latch so it stays secure if your carry it in your bag. They are magnetic so the shadows can be interchanged. I think this is super cute!

Hand-Pressed Mineral Shadows: Oh my, where to start! These shadows are unbelievable. The texture is unlike any of my pressed shadows that I have (powder or mineral), and I probably have several dozen brands to compare them to. They seem softer, yet they are still dense like any pressed powder shadow. Because of their nature, they blend incredibly well. The four I have are all shimmery, but there isn't any fallout like what is normally associated with mineral shadows. I have issues with loose mineral shadows/pigments, so I stay away from them because of the mess I make. I also have some pressed shadows that are minerals, but they don't apply and blend the way these do. I've had mine on for over 14 hours now, and am just starting to see a very slight bit of creasing on my eyelid (I didn't use any shadow primer product). I tight lined with one of them as well, and my eyes are not irritated at all. Simply put, these are some of the best and most interesting shadows I've come across in a long time.
*Products were furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for review.

Product Review: Zoya Minicure Color-Lock System & Zoya Colbie NOTD

Above& Below: One of the prizes in my Anniversary Contest is Zoya's Color-Lock Minicure system. Below is a review for the products contained in this set. For my NOTD, I used Zoya Colbie and my own Minicure products.
Below: Colbie is a Black Cherry shade with a blackened base. It's very rich and deep in color. I used 2 coats and all of the products in the Minicure set for this look.
Below: This photo was taken with a flash and shows the velvety glow of Colbie.
Below: Zoya Anchor basecoat in conjuction with Armor Topcoat, gave me a smooth application with a glass-like finish.
With the month winding down (yay! come on Spring!), I have a couple of reviews I wanted to share with you, as these products are prizes in my Anniversary Contest, which ends 2/28/10. You can find the entry details here, and all of the prizes one lucky winner will receive by checking out the 'Anniversary Prize Sponsors' box in the upper right-hand corner. The first item is Zoya's Minicure Color Lock System, which is a seasonal item and often available on Zoya's web site around the holidays. It is a miniature version of the most basic items in their full-sized Color-Lock system and does not contain the Get Even (ridge filling basecoat) or the Renew (polish rejuvenator) found in the full-sized version. It does however, contain probably their most popular treatments, including Remove, Anchor, Armor, and Hurry Up. Those are the four products I'll be reviewing today.

Remove-this is a 3-in-1 product that is primarily used for polish removal. It moisturizes, nourishes and fortifies the nail plate, and also acts as a nail cleaner and nail prep prior to polishing your nails. It's a very gentle acetone formula that is non-drying to the nails and surrounding skin. It has a scent that reminds me of anise and lavender. It contains only 5 ingredients, one of those being glycerin, which helps your skin to retain moisture. The remover I use most often, is Sally's Beauty Secrets. Zoya's is honestly a superior product and the only excuse I have for not using it more often, is that I don't plan ahead and Sally is right around the corner, which makes it easier access. I have the large Remove with the Big Flipper, but I use it sparingly and need to remember to order it again! The Sally brand isn't too drying, but I always feel the need to moisturize after using it, which is not the case with the Remove. I normally use 2 cotton balls to remove the polish from one hand (unless it's a glitter!), and with the Remove, I can accomplish the task with just one. Also, the Remove, like I mentioned, only has 5 ingredients. The Sally brand has 11, and when in comes to beauty products, in many cases, less is more.

Anchor-this is the basecoat in the system and is made up of protein chains to strengthen the nail. This applies thinner and smoother than many basecoats I've used, and dries quickly. I always am amazed how nicely this applies, because some of my basecoats tend to thicken up after the bottle is about one-third empty, but I have never had that problem with Anchor.

Armor-Zoya's topcoat (with UV block) is designed to protect the nail color while retaining flexibility of the nail and blocking yellowing UV rays. This is not a quick-dry topcoat, but it always dries in a reasonable time for me. It leaves my nails with a glass-like smoothness, and although I have heard some people complain about bubbles, this has never been the case for me.

Hurry Up Speed Dry Drops-as the name implies, this product dries your polish at a much faster rate than it would normally dry. It also is formulated to act as a polish enhancer, keeping the color true and bright for up to 2 weeks when applied over Armor every 2 days. I cannot attest to the enhancer/2 weeks statement, because I rarely leave my polish on more than a day, let alone 2 weeks! I can tell you that it does dry my nails in record time though. I did the manicure pictured above last night, and added the Hurry Up immediately after applying the Armor. I then went straight to bed and took the photos this morning. I took no caution with my hands, picking up one of my dogs, scratching and petting him like I do every night, putting one of my hands under the pillow, scrunching blankets...the usual routine!

*Products furnished by the manufacturer or PR company for review.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Massini Spring 2010

Above & Below: Massini's Spring 2010 collection consists of 6 cremes (above) and 3 glitters (below). Above L-R: Honey Love, Jade, Sweet Dreams, Frenzy, Whose That Girl, Shy Girl. The glitters below L-R: Crystal Glitter (Bishop Weed is to the right shown as a dupe), Pink Glitter (one of the Japanese glitters shown on the right is a dupe, but mine has no name label), and Blue Glitter (which I believe is a dupe as well. More on dupes below!).
Below: Rebel Debutante appears to be identical to Jade.
Massini's newest collection for Spring is filled with 6 pastel cremes and 3 sheer glitters. It's a very pretty palette of shades for the season, although there are several Color Club dupes (both Color Club & Massini are manufactured by the same company, Forsythe Cosmetics). Of the 3 glitters, I believe Blue Glitter is the only one that isn't a dupe to one of Color Club's Japanese glitters released a few months back, but it could be a dupe of Si Vous Please from the Pardon My French collection. I don't have this collection, so I can't confirm that. The other 2 glitters definitely look similar enough to be considered the same.

The cremes also appear to match some other Color Clubs, but the only one I have to confirm that about is Rebel Debutante. Whose That Girl looks very similar to Take Me To Your Chateau from the Pardon My French collection, and Pucci-licious from the Poptastic collection appears quite similar to Frenzy. I don't have Poptastic, so I can't confirm that either. There are some shades in this new Massini collection that are new to me, so all is not lost. Confusion is setting in trying to determine which ones may be dupes, but I do find it a little frustrating when companies rename polishes, especially within the same brand line (Color Club's Poptastic, for example).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Newer Green Sinful's: Mint Apple, Rise & Shine

Above & Below: Sinful's Mint Apple shown in various lighting using 2 coats. Scroll down for some comparison bottle pictures.
Below: Surprisingly to me, this is much closer in color to Misa's Dirty Sexy Money than some of the mint greens I have. L-R: Essie Mint Candy Apple, Misa Dirty Sexy Money, Sinful Mint Apple, Barry M Mint, Nicole Hint of Mint.
Below: Bottle comparisons with Sinful Rise & Shine (center) include Color Club Wild Child (left) and China Glaze Four Leaf Clover (right).
Below: Sinful's Rise & Shine shown in various lighting using 2 coats. The formula was rather thick, hence the mess on my index finger's cuticle!
These are 2 of a handful of newer shades that I found on my Walgreen's Sinful display a few weeks back. It seems the newer ones have white labels on the display name section, while the original shades have black labels. I didn't count all of the new ones, but I think there were about 8-10 of them. Both of these appealed to me because I love the green color family and I prefer shimmers (or cremes with small glitter, however you want to define it!) when it comes to pastels and neon-type shades. The application was fine using 2 coats, although the formula on Rise & Shine was rather thick. I've since added thinner to it for my next use. Both of these have small, delicate shimmer/glitter in them, which adds to my love for these shades. Rise & Shine is somewhat of a neon and dried to a satin finish. It's not flat like many neons, but didn't have the usual gloss of a standard polish. Mint Apple is nothing short of divine. It's a darker shade of mint than many others that I've seen, and again, the shimmer adds an additional point of beauty to this one as well. $1.99 well spent!
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