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 →

Monday, September 21st, 2009


MAC Nocturnelle Nail Lacquer

MAC Style Black: Nail Lacquers Review, Photos, Swatches

MAC Style Black is a deep, dark collection with the rich tones of black as inspiration.  In the launch, there are three nail lacquers:  Nocturnelle, Seriously Hip, and Baby Goth Girl.

Nail Lacquer

  • Nocturnelle is a creamy, glossy opaque black. There aren’t any subtle nuances really, it’s really just black. This is a repromote, so check your stash before you buy.
  • Seriously Hip is a green-toned black with gold-green-olive shimmer. This is insanely pretty, and it coordinates with Bling Black glimmerglass. It goes on opaque in two medium-thick coats.
  • Baby Goth Girl is a red-toned black with reddish-purple shimmer. It’s dark and fall, but the red-purple shimmer is gorgeous over the black base. Like Seriously Hip, it goes on opaque with just two medium-thick coats.

All three lacquers are intensely pigmented and go on opaquely with minimal effort–no special tricks or techniques required. They have a glossy finish, and Seriously Hip and Baby Goth Girl have shimmer whereas Nocturnelle is a cream. These are really quite stunning, and I love these much more than the shades from Nail Trend F/W, actually. Nocturnelle is your standard glossy, creamy black–not a must-have–but the other two are on my list of must-haves.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you don’t have issues with MAC’s formula and you don’t mind a splurge, Seriously Hip and Baby Goth Girl are both great picks!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

See more photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection

Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection Complete Day Cream

Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection Complete Day Cream ($30.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) is one of the best hand creams I’ve ever slathered on my paws. My hands take a beating, because I constantly wash them, and I’m less-than-perfect about regularly applying near enough hand cream/lotion to keep them in tip top shape.

With the labrasnore running around, wiggling for attention all the time, and it, of course, being absolutely impossible to resist, I pet him, but then I wash my hands afterward. (Hey, since becoming acne-prone, hand-washing has become a regular ritual.) I easily wash my hands twenty times a day, and I may only lotion up once or twice a day–it just seems so silly to apply lotion and wash most of it off a half hour later.

Additionally, after landing in NYC last February, I found myself with these odd dry patches on my hands and fingers. I just figured that lotioning up more often would cure those dry patches, but to no avail. I saw my doctor after a few months, and she informed it was just eczema. OK, cool.

The only product (out of some ten or more that I tried to moisturize those dry patches) that worked was Hand Perfection. I can’t actually think of any better endorsement for it, because I was starting to feel rather hopeless about it all. My hands were soft, smooth, and they even looked a little less ragged after just a few uses (like two days). It’s a bit more than I’d think to spend on a hand cream, but a little goes a long way, and I’ll often use it as a spot treatment now, and then use something else throughout the day.

It does have titanium dioxide, which can be used for sun protection, but there’s no SPF noted on the product, so I don’t think it’s in a high enough quantity to do anything. For being touted as a day cream, I’d expect SPF in it (hands need SPF protection, too!). The size I have is just the “purse” size, which has lasted me a month now. The full-size is 3.4 fl. oz. and retails for $50.00 (ouch!).

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you’re still searching for a hand lotion to keep your hands smooth, soft, and moisturized, I definitely urge you to check this one out. The purse size makes for an easier first-time investment without committing to the full kit and kaboodle.

Availability: Ellen Sirot