Saturday, January 30th, 2010


Pinto, Berry, Downtown LA
Poppy, Rose Bowl, Coney Island

American Apparel:  Nail Lacquers, Part 1

American Apparel launched eighteen shades of cream nail lacquers. I’ll be showing you fourteen of the eighteen shades (all but Dynasty, Hunter, Mount Royal, and Passport Blue) spread over two posts (there are forty-two photos–too many for one post!).

NOTE, American Apparel has recalled all bottles of their nail lacquer due to a defect in the packaging itself — the glass is prone to breaking, so the brand has done a voluntary recall so that they can rollout a second run with safer, more durable packaging. There is nothing wrong with the formula itself. American Apparel is offering customers the following: bring in your old bottle or a receipt and receive two new bottles or a $10 gift card. They expect to roll out the new and improved bottles in the next week or two.

The nail lacquer is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. Each bottle retails for $6 or you can purchase a three-pack for $15. They’re currently sold exclusively in American Apparel store locations and online at americanapparel.com (expect them to be back online in a week or two).

The formula is really good, actually. I wasn’t quite sure how an apparel brand was going to do polish, but they did an exceptional job designing a formula that is richly pigmented, easy to apply, and wears beautifully.

Even without a base, I experienced no chipping over four days and only minor tip wear. With a base, no chipping, minor tip wear, and it looked nice and glossy with a top coat of Seche Vite. All of the shades are cream finishes and, overall, have a nice consistency that’s thick enough to get bold color with just one coat, but not so thick that it’s goopy. Each shade, without a top coat, has a lightly glossy finish, but they all look better with a nice and shiny top coat (I like Seche Vite with these).

  • Pinto is a reddened brown cream. It goes on opaque in just two coats.
  • Berry is a deep raspberry-burgundy cream that goes on opaque in really just one coat, but I did two just ’cause.
  • Downtown LA is a bright orange-based red cream. I’m sure this one is dupe-able, but it has a great formula and consistency. It’s surprisingly orange-based without being flat out orange.
  • Poppy is a bright orange cream. It’s not quite neon orange, but it gets pretty close. It has just a smidgen in red in it that keeps it from being neon, I’d say. You only really need one medium-thick coat to get good opacity, but I did two.
  • Rose Bowl is a pretty, played-down yellow-based pink. It’s muted and paled a bit, but it’s not boring. This is one of those easy-to-wear more neutral shades. It found two coats was perfect to get the right color and thickness.
  • Coney Island is a light, airy cotton candy pink. It’s definitely a cool-toned, blue-based pink, so warm skin tones may find it a little hard to wear. I found two coats was almost enough, but three would get you totally opaque. I found my Coney Island seemed a little thinner in consistency than the majority of the American Apparel polishes, as well.

Any of these catch your eye?

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love cream finish polishes, you may find American Apparel polishes a nice surprise!

Availability: AmericanApparel.com

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

SpaRitual Believe Collection
SpaRitual Nail Lacquers: I am the Light, Yes, I Can, Hope Springs Eternal

SpaRitual Believe Collection for Spring 2010

For spring, SpaRitual has created a collection of six shades: Yes, I Can (leafy green creme), I Believe in You (poppy orange creme), Hope Springs Eternal (hot pink shimmer), Spread Your Wings (pomegranate creme), Shoot for the Stars (purple creme), I am the Light (lavender creme).

Each shade comes with a unique charm that dangles from the bottle with “an inspiring mantra,” like Yes, I Can comes with the charm “I Can.” This collection of nail lacquers will be available February 2010 at fine salons and spas nationwide, as well as skinstore.com. Each bottle retails for $10.00.

  • I am the Light is a cool-toned lilac. It’s very spring-y! It has a cream finish and goes opaque in just two medium-thick coats. The formula gave me no issues when I applied it, which was surprising (I’m not always so good at applying cream polishes!).
  • Yes, I Can is a rich, grassy green cream. Like I am the Light, it goes opaque in two solid coats. I don’t think I own any greens like this in my own stash, so it’s a nice addition.
  • Hope Springs Eternal is a bright, shimmery pink-coral that flashes fuchsia-pink in some light. It has an almost chrome finish to it, though it’s definitely not a full-on chrome. I had some brushstrokes, but I think with a more patient hand, you could get it to look pretty smooth. This formula was easy to apply and went opaque in two coats.

Are you digging any of these shades?

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For some fun shades for spring, SpaRitual gives you six you just might not be expecting.

Availability: skinstore.com

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Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Barielle Wildflower Collection for Spring 2010

Barielle’s Spring collection is called Wildflower and consists of six spring-y shades.  All but Snap Dragon apply pretty well, with Blossom being a little goopy but manageable.  Daring Dahlia and A Bouquet for Ava had the best application–very smooth, pigmented, and perfect consistency.  My favorites were Daring Dahlia (the way the fuchsia shimmer sparkles is gorgeous!) and June Bug (so different!), but I also really liked Myrza’s Meadow, too.  Snap Dragon was my least favorite from the runny consistency to the way brush strokes are really apparent.

Each bottle retails for $8 a pop and is available through barielle.com (though I swear, I only saw Daring Dahlia there at present). By the way, 100% of the proceeds from A Bouquet for Ava, June Bug and Myrza’s Meadow purchased at OCRF.org will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund!

  • Daring Dahlia is a bright hot pink with fuchsia micro-shimmer. This one had a phenomenal texture and feel–it applied nearly opaque in just one coat and was a dream to apply.
  • Blossom is a creamy, bright orange-peach. It’s not neon, but it’s not tame either. This one I had a little trouble with the application; definitely need to use thinner coats initially. It went opaque in two coats, though.
  • Myrza’s Meadow is definitely one of the standouts of the collection. It’s almost like a soft, pastel pickle green with particle glitter spread throughout a creamy base. Application was good on this, though I should have used thinner coats (went a lil’ thick!). Two coats was good, but a third coat was perfect.
  • Snap Dragon is a metallic grassy green. I just don’t dig metallic/chrome kind of finishes, because dealing with the visible brush strokes is a pain in the butt. I wasn’t loving how this applied (a little runny), so this was my least favorite shade of the six.
  • A Bouquet for Ava is a beautiful shade of slightly darkened sky blue. It’s a creamy shade and goes opaque in one coat, though I did two for good measure. Application was perfect with this one.
  • June Bug is a periwinkle blue with an iridescent teal-blue shimmer-sheen with small red glitter. I loved this one, because it’s completely unlike anything I have already. It has the same finish and look/feel as Myrza’s Meadow, but it’s more exciting, because the contrast is greater. Application was good on this one as well.

Which are you favorites? Are you going to grab any of ‘em?

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Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Weekend Quickies:  Carnival Lights, Lancome Cream Shadows, Philosophy Holiday Shower Gels

Here are some products I’ve tried in the past few months with reviews done all quick-style ;)

  • China Glaze Carnival Lights Nail Lacquer ($3.50) has a medium pink jelly base with silver micro-glitter and larger silver hexagonal glitter. It doesn’t go opaque on my nail, as you can still see the tip of it a bit. Above is two coats.
  • Lancome ‘Color Design’ Cream Eyeshadow ($22.00) came in three shades: Garter Belt (deep burgundy with red shimmer), Haute Smoke (soft taupe brown with multicolored shimmer), and Pink Lace (a milky pale pink). These lasted on my lids well (until I took it off, so about eight hours or so), though they are advertised to last for sixteen hours (I don’t think I usually wear my makeup for much more than eight hours!).
  • Philosophy Candy Cane Shower Gel ($16.00) smells exactly as advertised — like the peppermint-y candy canes of the holiday season. Lathers up quite well, as the rest of their shower gels do.
  • Philosophy Have a Cherry Christmas Shower Gel ($16.00) lathers up nicely and smells like slightly sweetened cherries that still have that tartness to them. The Muse has a more in-depth review if you’re curious. I love me some Philosophy Shower Gels, but how many times can I tell you that? Ha! ;)

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Thursday, January 7th, 2010

MAC in Lillyland Collection
MAC Pearlmatte Eyeshadow

MAC in Lillyland Collection: Pearlmatte Eyeshadow & Powder & Coconut Ice Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

The two prettiest-looking items in the collection are my two least favorites of the collection. Both the Pearlmatte Eyeshadow and Face Powder are lovely to look at with their floral design, but the product itself is just okay.

Pearlmatte Eyeshadow

This is basically three eyeshadows in one, and the pieces are big enough that you can get your brush into each. It consists of a lightly shimmered white, a soft yellow-green with gold shimmer (think Juxt), and a medium blue-based pink with light shimmer (think Da Bling, but blue-based). The design dusts off pretty fast — I could barely see any of the floral portions once I did swatches. The shadows themselves are decently pigmented, but they’re not ultra rich. They also felt a little powdery, which I wasn’t thrilled with. Nice design, just an okay product.

Pearlmatte Face Powder

This contains four different shades within the compact, but realistically, as a face/cheek product, you’re going to end up with a swirl of colors, not just any of the four. In particular, the orange shade is incredibly small, so good luck wearing that alone if you’re brave enough to try! Nonetheless, I did swatch the four individual shades, and then I did a swirled swatch. The individual shades are: a yellowed, shimmered gold, mostly matte/satin peachy orange, sheer, deep pink, and a neutral tan-brown with no real shimmer. Swirled together, I ended up with a rather bronzy shade — it ran a little orange and had the yellow-gold shimmer in it. I don’t know if I’d use this as an all over face powder myself, because it seems more like a bronzer based on playing around with it so far.

Coconut Ice Nail Lacquer

I’d like to know why they named this Coconut Ice. Maybe I haven’t consumed enough coconut ice in my life, but I just envisioned a lightened shade — based on the name. I’ve read the description previously, so I wasn’t misled, but the name seemed off to me. This is a brightened peachy-coral kind of shade. It’s like Seasonal Peach with a lot more pink. It has a creamy finish, and I’d say it needs two to three coats to look right. It kind of reminded of an old, old nail polish called Pink Radar, except lighter and less pink. I liked it, but I like corals, so this wasn’t much of a surprise.

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Friday, December 25th, 2009

Going Gray?  Chanel Particuliere Nail Lacquer

Last week, I reviewed the majority of Chanel’s Spring collection, which includes three new nail lacquers, but I only reviewed Inattendu and Tendresse and was missing Particuliere ($23.00), which is easily the more interesting shade of the three (Inattendu is a beige-y nude while Tendresse is a soft, milky medium pink).  Chanel describes it simply as grey, which I think is just a little inaccurate.

This is much more of a grayed taupe, because it has definite brown tones to it.  It’s certainly not a rainy gray kind of color, though.  The brown does warm-up the shade, though, and it’s something I could see myself wearing.   It’s dark enough not to be pastel or light or traditionally spring, but it’s not so dark that it makes you feel like fall.  This applied and looked better than the other two shades, though (count me surprised!) — it was very creamy, smooth, and went opaque in two coats.

I’d say that Chanel has made other colors more worthy of the $23 splurge, but I do like this one quite a bit.  (Even for high-end, Chanel’s nail lacquers are quite pricey, particularly compared to brands like Dior.) I imagine OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques is somewhat similar (I don’t own it, so I’m just going off of swatches I’ve seen).

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’re feeling like a splurge, Chanel nail lacquer certainly qualifies as one!

Availability: Nordstrom, Saks

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