Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Lippmann Collection Funky Chunky Nail Lacquer ($35.00 for 3 0.5 oz. lacquers) is third polish from Lippmann’s Celebrate Set, which also contained my new polish love Ruby Red Slippers and the gorgeous Superstar.

I had several readers ask me why I didn’t review this polish alongside the other two, and the simple reason is it looked unexciting in the bottle, so I didn’t reach for it when I was trying out the other two, much more eye-catching shades! A follow-up to that would be that it’s such a subpar lacquer from Lippmann that it’s such a real disappointment–not just within the set, but overall. Lippmann has such a fantastic formula and color selection, I’m quite surprised at how dismal Funky Chunky is.

Funky Chunky is a black jelly base lacquer with black hexagon glitter bits. It’s very similar Ruby Red Slippers, but it lacks dimension, pizazz, and pretty much anything that would make it pop. It ends up looking like a sloppy black polish, because the glitter is nearly undetectable in terms of sparkle – it just looks uneven and messy. The black base doesn’t go opaque in two coats either, so you do need to go for three thinner coats for better coverage.

One of the big reasons this product just doesn’t hit the mark is that the chunky glitter actually makes the black base look sloppy and messy–uneven without any reason as to why it would be that way.  Glitter polishes always tend to have a bit of an uneven texture and feel to them, but you can see the glitter so it’s all good.  Since you can’t visibly see the glitter here, it just looks like you don’t know how to paint your nails!

Normally, a Lipppmann lacquer is priced at $16 a pop, so you pay an extra $3 for the other two and you do get this polish. It’s disappointing, but maybe you can add some extra glitter and make it pop for fun. Call it a chance to experiment!

Bottom Line: It’s a bad sign when glitter isn’t even detectable with flash photography (which can always amplify the sparkles of glitter!). This polish is just a total miss for me, and if you could purchase the other two separately, I’d advocate for that, but since you can’t, I still think the set is worth every penny for the two standout shades Ruby Red Slippers and Superstar.

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I don’t recommend this shade whatsoever on its own, but I do recommend the set it comes with overall, just because the other two shades are amazing.

Availability: Beauty.com, Nordstrom

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Lippmann Collection Superstar Nail Lacquer ($35.00 for 3 0.5 oz. lacquers) is another shade that’s part of Lippmann Collection “Celebrate” Nail Set. It also includes Ruby Red Slippers and Funky Chunky (which is similar to Ruby Red Slippers, except it’s a black jelly base with black glitter).

While I don’t love Superstar quite as much as Ruby Red Slippers, I do love it quite a bit! The black-brown jelly base with the small-sized muted copper-orange glitter particles looks ridiculously perfect for the fall/Halloween. In fact, as soon as I finish up swatching up a few more polishes I’ve been meaning to review, I’m going to be doing an alternating manicure of Ruby Red Slippers and Superstar for Halloween. Ahh, so perfect!

Superstar goes opaque and full-on glitter within two medium-thick coats of lacquer, and it dries pretty fast, actually, even without a fast drying top coat.

As with any glitter polish, removal isn’t the easiest or quickest, but I consider it something that just goes with the territory. I know some dislike the clean-up rituals associated with glitter polishes, but I didn’t find it too time consuming or difficult. My technique is to take a cotton pad soaked in remover and let it sit on my nail for about 2-3 seconds (just press the pad against the nail), then move to another nail, repeat… and then go back and remove the polish.

Superstar is currently only available in the Celebrate Set, so value-wise, it’s a good deal, since you get three for $35, rather than $16 a pop.

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: I’m slowly falling in love with Lippmann lacquers. The glitter is so sparkly and glitzy–I die! If you love glitter, this is a great set.

Availability: Nordstrom

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009


Lippmann Ruby Red Slippers Nail Lacquer

Lippmann Collection Ruby Red Slippers Nail Lacquer ($35.00 for 3 0.5 oz. lacquers) is part of Lippmann’s “Celebrate” Nail Lacquer Set, which features three shades of nail lacquers (two new and limited to the set–at least for now).

Ruby Red Slippers is, quite possibly, one of the most beautiful nail lacquers I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s a burgundy-black jelly base with two sizes of red glitter–small glitter particles mixed with larger, hexagon-shaped glitter. The combination of the two glitter sizes is unique and fun, but just the dark base with the rich ruby red glitter is gorgeous.  I know in the photos the red seems a little fiery, but when I look at my nails in natural lighting, I see more of a scarlet, ruby red.

The formula stays on with minimal tip wear when I used it with Zoya’s Color Lock System (base, top, and fast drying coats). It’s easy to apply, and the glitter doesn’t seem to drag much, so you do get a nice look. As with most glitters, you won’t necessarily get a 100% uniform look, but it doesn’t bother me. I used just two medium-thick coats to get a good, solid look with plenty of sparkle.

I know some dislike the clean-up rituals associated with glitter polishes, but I didn’t find it too time consuming or difficult.  My technique is to take a cotton pad soaked in remover and let it sit on my nail for about 2-3 seconds (just press the pad against the nail), then move to another nail, repeat… and then go back and remove the polish.

Bottom Line: LOVE THIS. The kit is $35, and you do get this plus two other polishes (and let me say, Super Star is divine–will review it separately), so I absolutely think the value on these is fantastic, considering Lippmann lacquers usually retail for $16 a pop.

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

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

Recommendation: If you love glittery nails, I think these are tops. They’re great shades for fall and winter, but Ruby Red Slippers just blows my mind!

Availability: Nordstrom

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection
Nail Lacquer: Lucky Number

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Review: Nail Lacquer & Softsparkle Eye Pencil

MAC launches two metallic finish lacquers: Lucky Number and $$$ Yes (which is a repromote from Heatherette), as well as two repromoted shades of their Softsparkle Eye Pencils — Nightsky and Iris Accents.

  • Lucky Number is a metallic-finish purplish-berry with a high-shine/sheen. Since it is a metallic finish polish, it does show brush strokes. I don’t know if it’s even feasible to manage to get no brush strokes to show, but I know I don’t have the patience to attempt such a feat. It’s a pretty color, though, and it’s not something I already own.
  • $$$ Yes is like wearing tin foil on your nails. It’s a bright silver with a metallic finish. Like Lucky Number, brush strokes will show up. I’ve just kind of learned to deal with brush strokes in metallic shades myself.
  • Nightsky is a medium black with silver microsparkle.  This one is opaque and goes on easily.
  • Iris Accents is a cool-toned, silvery-purple with silver microsparkle.  I find this one more of a semi-opaque shade and doesn’t go on as nicely as Nightsky–it will go on opaque, it just requires layering.

I liked Lucky Number a lot, and if you haven’t played around with the Softsparkles, you may find you like the glitz of them. I like them, but I never find myself reaching for them, despite owning all of them, so they’re not must-haves for me.

  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

See swatchesContinue reading →

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soap ($50.00 for 3 100g bars) is an elegant yet simple way to add a little luxury to your counter top.

Composition

  • Top Notes: Cassis, Cherry, Fresh Grass, Fig
  • Middle Notes: Cyclamen, Hyacinth, Jasmine, Pine
  • Bottom Notes: Patchouli, Cedar, Amber, Musk

Every product by Jo Malone should be opened with care, like a treasured gift, because each piece feels like an indulgence. Beautiful packaging with a signature black ribbon makes it feel like a present, even if it’s just for you. I really just appreciate that extra touch. In the box, each soap is individually wrapped, so you can use it as you need to (or even easily split with a friend) and close the box and stow away the extras.

Jo Malone describes this scent as, “Inspired by breakfast in Tuscany – the moment of breaking open juicy figs, fresh from the tree – Wild Fig & Cassis is a delicious fragrance. The scent of sun-warmed figs and delicate cassis is entwined with notes of hyacinth and cedarwood, enveloping the wearer in the warmth of the Mediterranean. Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soaps cleanse, moisturise and fragrance the skin. The frothy lather feels delicious to the touch.”

It has that slightly earthy, lightly sweetened scent of fresh fig, but it also has the touch of cedar, amber, and musk after you’ve washed your hands. What I love is the scent lingers. It perfumes my bathroom, and it stays on my hands after washing (not all day, but a few hours). I’m actually not a bar soap kind of gal–I usually stick with liquid soaps I can easily pump out, but I love the way this feels. It smells amazing, and the soap itself doesn’t dry out my hands. I will say that this is a scent you have to sniff more than once; at first pass, it may be too intense or bitter, but give it time, and I think you’ll enjoy it more than you’d think.

Sometimes I find life can be stressful, and I love little home accents that just make your home more welcoming, more you, and give you moments to savor scents and memories. I’ve been using the first bath soap for over three weeks now, and I can easily see it lasting me several months. For my household (since it’s just in my bathroom–please, the boy would never appreciate it!), one gift box of the three soaps will easily keep me in luxury for a year. Even though it seems pricey, I’ll get a lot of use out of these before I need to start thinking about what scent to try next. Now, the only issue I face is finding the perfect soap dish to pair this with!

The Wild Fig & Cassis Collection also includes Cologne, Bath Oil, Shower Gel, Body Lotion, and Candles, should you find yourself loving this scent and wanting to be enveloped in it! If you like Bath Soaps, Jo Malone also has them available in Pine & Eucalyptus, Lime Basin & Mandarin, Lime & Grapefruit, and Nectarine Blossom & Honey.

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

Recommendation: If you love bathroom luxury, Jo Malone’s Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soaps are an easy way to add some warmth.

Availability: Nordstrom

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Chanel Noirs Obscur Collection
Chanel Diabolic Le Vernis

Chanel Noirs Obscurs Collection features three shades of Le Vernis ($23.00 each): Diabolic (deep black), Vendetta (deep violet), and Forbidden (deep black burgundy brown).

Le Vernis ($23.00)

  • Diabolic is a rich, wine-berry burgundy that looks darkest in natural light–like a deep, berry-brown. It has more of a cream finish as it doesn’t have any shimmer.
  • Vendetta is a delicious shade of a deep violet-black with violet shimmer that’s most noticeable in bright light. This shade actually made an appearance a year or so ago, so check your stash if you’re an avid Chanel polish collector. I love this shade, though!
  • Forbidden is a deep, dark reddish-tinged brown. It’s very dark, very sultry, and it’s such a sexy way to wear red without really wearing red. Surprisingly, I really loved this shade on my nails. It’s also a cream texture, like Diabolic (ignore any residual sparkles–I’m pretty sure that’s MAC’s Seriously Hip leftovers).

There’s no real need to discuss value here–it’s a double C nail lacquer, so pick your poison. I’ve always had good luck with Chanel polishes. For my nails, I tend to use Zoya’s Color Lock System for base, top, and fast drying coats, and my nails always last forever. I just get tip wear (which is normal), but I never get chips. Chanel’s formula is consistent, too, which I can appreciate. I just need two medium-thick coats to achieve solid, intense color. I think these colors are perfect for the fall/winter season, and I love how they coordinate so well with the rest of the Noirs Obscurs collection.  If I had to rank ‘em, I’d recommend them in this order:  Forbidden, Vendetta, and Diabolic.

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Love vampy nails? Love Chanel? Then check these out!

Availability: October/November 2009 at Chanel.

See swatches and close-up photosContinue reading →