Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Jack Black Hand Healer Hand Cream
Jack Black Hand Healer Hand Cream

Battle of the Hand Creams: Jack Black

I’m a constant hand washer, so my hands are often in a sad state.  Even though I’ve made many attempts to become a regular user of hand cream, it was only recently that I’ve decided it’s about time and I’m determined to go through and do a little Battle of the Hand Creams here on the blog.

Jack Black Hand Healer Hand Cream ($15.00 for 3 oz.) is a man’s man’s hand cream.  It’s incredibly moisturizing, even on the toughest, cracked and peeling hands (or feet!) and never feels greasy.  It has this manly scent–it’s woodsy with a little eucalyptus, but it’s not really unpleasant nor something I’d like to bathe myself in.  I don’t find the scent overwhelming, and it certainly doesn’t linger for long on my hands.

This is definitely one of the better hand creams I’ve tried, because it absorbs quickly and you won’t need to apply it several times a day.  I’ve been using it just before I go to bed, and my hands have certainly improved–less “old lady” like.  It has silicone in it, which really helps to keep it from feeling greasy (has a softer, more velvety feel) and adds a bit of a barrier on skin–much like a face primer, actually!

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  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you have cracking or peeling skin on your hands/feet, I think it’s worth trying this.  If you don’t find yourself with very dry hands, a more affordable hand cream might work just as well for you.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Illamasqua Lament Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Lament Nail Varnish

Coral Tips for Summer Trips

Illamasqua Lament Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a fierce coral-orange that practically glows in the light.  Even in soft, indirect light, you can see the brightness of the shade.  Like Baptiste, Lament applies easily without streaking.  It has a very slight jelly quality, but overall, it’s your standard cream finish.  Above, I used two coats, but you could probably do a third for complete opacity (it looked opaque to me originally, but you can very faintly see the nail line in the photos).   Application really is quite dreamy here– so smooth, no fussing, no bubbling.

The Glossover

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Lament

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Saturday, August 14th, 2010

MAC Venomous Villains - Maleficent

MAC Disney Venomous Villains Collection: Maleficent Review, Photos, Swatches

As we continue on, we move to Maleficent‘s (from Sleepy Beauty) “collection,” which includes two mineralize eyeshadow duos, two lipsticks, two lipglasses, one beauty powder, and three nail lacquers.

All of the character images are stamped on the products; they are not stickers. You can find official promotional imagery and color descriptions here. The collection launches on September 30th, 2010 at all MAC locations, October 2010 internationally, and approximately September 28th for online. You may also want to check your local store to see if they are holding an unveiling/preview party for the collection.

Lipglass ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Revenge is Sweet is a sheer, jelly-ish medium pink with fuchsia micro-shimmer. It has a very wet look to it but seems to settle into lip lines.
  • Wrong Spell is a semi-sheer, burnt burgundy with pinky-plum and copper shimmer. I thought Liqueur was similar, but it’s much, much lighter and bronze, not burgundy.

Lipstick ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Violetta is a brightened fuchsia-violet with an amplified finish. This is a PRO color.
  • Dark Deed is a darkened blood red with blackish-brown with an amplified finish. It’s a ever-so-slightly redder version of Media (but they are very close), and Dark Deed has a wetter/glossier finish.

Mineralize Eyeshadow Duo ($21.00 U.S. / $25.00 CDN)

  • My Dark Magic is a duo that features a blackened purple with a frosty finish and a violet-tinged blue with a navy-black base. Young Punk (Style Black) has a stronger black base with more of a glittery finish than the shimmer finish of this product.
  • She Who Dares is a combination of a darkened navy-black base with medium-dark blue shimmer and a dirty green and gold shimmered over a blackened, forest green base. The blue side does resemble Blue Flame (Style Black) with the finish being smoother in this product.

Beauty Powder ($25.00 U.S. / $30.00 CDN)

  • Briar Rose is a cool-toned, blue-based medium pink. It’s kind of like a bubblegum pink to me–like perhaps Snob lipstick in blush form. It is also reminiscent of a less purple, less cool version of Pink Swoon–perhaps if Pink Swoon and Well-Dressed had a baby. It does apply rather sheerly, though it can be built up.

Nail Lacquer ($13.00 U.S. / $15.50 CDN)

  • Bad Fairy is a stunning shade of duochrome polish that’s both ruby red, molten lava copper, and gold, depending on how the light hits it.
  • Formidable! shimmers teal, blue, violet, and reddened purple, depending on the light. It is, however, a dead-on dupe for ORLY Galaxy Girl.  There is nothing that I can distinguish as different between the two brands–formula feels the same, it wears the same.  MAC may take just a minute longer to dry.
  • Mean & Green flashes burgundy, green, and gold and is totally full of shimmer. It is a dead-on dupe for ORLY Space Cadet.

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Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Deborah Lippmann Supermodel Nail Lacquer
Deborah Lippmann Supermodel Nail Lacquer

I’m Gonna be a Supermodel, and My Hair Will Shine Like the Sea!

Deborah Lippmann Supermodel Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a sheer, jelly cherry red that leans a little orange-coral. It’s glossy, and it’s genuinely designed to be sheer–it’s not meant to be opaque, so keep that in mind. It has a very squishy, jelly look on nails. I do think this will complement warmer skin tones best, but it doesn’t pull extremely orange, so cooler skin tones may still enjoy it. Where Supermodel stands out is in the formula–streak-free, a dream to apply, and doesn’t take eons to dry. But really, the lack of streakiness makes it this sheer a pleasure to swatch.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: This may not be the most unique shade, so it’s not a run-don’t-walk kind of purchase, but if it’s a color and look that you dig, it’s certainly worth a look. The formula is outstanding and true to Lippmann’s range.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Thursday, August 12th, 2010

ORLY Cosmic Collection
Nail Lacquers: Out of This World, It’s Not Rocket Science, Haley’s Comet

Intergalactic, Planetary, Planetary, Intergalactic

This September, ORLY’s Cosmic FX Collection will launch.  According to ORLY, these polishes have a textured finish that have multi-dimensional flashes of shine as a result of “MINERAL FX” technology.  This technology uses a mix of natural rock minerals, crystals, and glass that give these shades an optical effect.  All six shades will retail for $10 each and are limited edition.

From ORLY…

The MINERALFX technology includes specialty mica, that allows for a clearer, vibrantly bright lustrous shimmer. Crystals allow for a multi-dimensional color transformation. Glass particles carefully controlled in shape and size create a luminous phenomenon. This combination infused with the Silica and specific colors selected create this exclusive technology that gives nails a unique optical effect that’s magnified as the lighting source intensifies or viewing angle changes.

Nail Lacquers

  • Out of This World is a deep purple base with shimmer flecks of violet purple and green gold.  Three coats.
  • It’s Not Rocket Science is an olive green base with darkened chartreuse and teal shimmer. It looks rather chartreuse-y at some angles, while in others, it almost looks emerald green as the teal comes into play.  Two coats.
  • Haley’s Comet is an aqua-blue color base with flecks of green, teal, and blue shimmer. It looks bluer at some angles, more mermaid-esque at other angles. I found that this one had the least powerful duochrome.  This felt like the least pigmented, so it definitely needed a full three coats.  This also bears a strong resemblance to Zoya’s Charla.
  • Space Cadet is one of the coolest shades of the six. It has a very strong duochrome finish/effect. It looks like a mauvey plum but then it glints a chartreuse-y green with strong gold undertones. I can’t think of anything I have that’s quite like this.  Two coats.
  • Galaxy Girl is a beautiful deep wine-purple base with red undertones. It has flecks of teal and darkened fuchsia-purple shimmer. It’s dark and a little vampy, but I absolutely love the subtle but noticeable duochrome effect.  Two coats.
  • Lunar Eclipse is a glowing indigo blue that flashes violet, electric blue, and inky blue. It’s incredible–it’s my personal favorite. This was the most pigmented shade of the six, and it only needed two coats.

ORLY completely hit a homerun here for me.  Not only was this the collection I was most anticipating personally, but it fulfilled all my expectations.  It did not disappoint at any point.  The formula was nicely pigmented and not too thick, easy to work with, and the shimmer and glass flecks distributed evenly. I didn’t have any issues with drying time when I used Zoya’s Color Lock System, including their quick drying drops–I was typing away just minutes after applying the Hurry Up drops.  I also love the rubber caps of ORLY’s polish, because it makes handling them foolproof.

There’s only one downside and that’s the price–these are more expensive than your usual ORLYs (which retail at $7.50).  Don’t get me wrong, considering I’ll happily fork over $23 for a Chanel shade, I think these are completely worth it.  They’re interesting and complex shades that apply well, which is what makes a polish worth it for me.

But in the end, there’s really only one word to sum up this collection: BADASS.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you love pops of color on your nails, ORLY’s Cosmic collection is NOT to be missed!

AVAILABILITY: September 2010 at orlybeauty.com, ULTA, and Sally Beauty

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Illamasqua Baptiste Nail Varnish

Perfect for Fall: Baptiste

Illamasqua Baptiste Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a stunning shade of shimmering royal purple with flecks of red and fuchsia-violet shimmer. It’s gorgeous in the light as well as out of it; it looks inkier when in the shade, but when the light hits it, all of the shimmer comes into play.

The formula was amazing! Smooth and easy to apply with plenty of pigment. I only used two coats on Baptiste, and it was completely opaque. It’s not too thick or thin–just right–which makes it easy to apply without worrying about streaking or patchiness. The wear was also excellent. Admittedly, I don’t do dishes (the boy takes care of that), but I do type all day, so sometimes that alone will show a polish’s true colors–Illamasqua stayed as pretty as when I put it on seven days later with just minor tip wear.

The Glossover

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Baptiste

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