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China Glaze It’s a Trap-eze Nail Lacquer

China Glaze It's a Trap-eze Nail Lacquer
China Glaze It’s a Trap-eze Nail Lacquer

Does This Polish Contain It’s a Trap-eze?

China Glaze It’s a Trap-eze Nail Lacquer ($7.50 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “white cream base with multi-glitter.” It has a cool-toned, milky white base with large, hexagon-shaped glitter in pink, light-medium blue, yellow, green, orange, and white, along with smaller glitter in the same colors. I don’t know of any dupes at this time, but I’d love to hear from any of you that may! The whole combination reminds me of confetti birthday cake.

I tried one coat layered over China Glaze Escaping Reality as well as two coats of the polish on its own. It had a streaky base–just as milky lipglosses tend to streak and settle into lip lines, so did the polish. Whether worn on its own or was layered, you could see a streakiness that made it look uneven. The consistency of this was incredibly thick–nearly goopy–and it was difficult to apply in even layers. Because it is so thick, each layer had quite a bit of glitter, but the glitter particles didn’t spread evenly. I think this would be best over a white base with one or two coats of glitter, and if you don’t like the feel of glitter on your nails, you’ll need a really thick top coat or two layers of your regular top coat. I wanted to love this one so much, because everyone else was raving about it but I couldn’t get past the thickness of the formula.

China Glaze Nail Lacquer It's a Trap-eze

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Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream Review

Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream
Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream

Just Hydration — by Lancome

Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream ($45.00 for 1.70 oz.) is supposed to have 24-hour hydration with a greaseless formula and contains SPF 30. For sun protection, the active ingredients are Avobenzone 3.0% (UVA I) Octisalate 5.0% (UVB), and Octocrylene 7.0% (UVB), so the formula does not protect against the UVA II portion of the spectrum.

I tested this moisturizer out, because I was looking for something with sun protection (ideally, you’d get full coverage across both UVA and UVB ranges, but many sunscreens miss UVA II part of the UVA range) and didn’t want a juiced-up, hopped-up, anti-aging-injected moisturizer.  I just wanted something that would 1) hydrate and 2) offer sun protection.  I’ve really tried to reduce the amount of skincare products I accept for testing, particularly those that are high in price and (supposedly) high in anti-aging benefits, only because I don’t feel I can adequately test the efficacy of most anti-aging products to ever justify a three-digit price tag. Check back with me in a few years 🙂

It’s a thicker cream, but I felt like it was rather airy–so it didn’t feel too heavy in the jar, and it had great spreadability on the skin.  It took about fifteen to twenty minutes to absorb and really sink in, but after that, it didn’t feel greasy or look oily.  I wore it under makeup numerous times, and it did not interfere with the longevity of my foundation, blush, and the like.  It hydrated incredibly well; my skin never felt dry or parched in the evening, and some lighter-weight moisturizers can leave me anxious to take off my makeup and apply my night cream.

The elephant in the room is the amount of fragrance Lancome puts into their skincare range.  Bienfait Multi-Vital was tamer compared to other Lancome moisturizers I’ve tried, but it was still heavily scented with a nondescript floral perfume.  Because of the scent, amount, and that it’s not a scent I want to tolerate, I wouldn’t purchase a jar.

I only tested this product for three weeks or so, because Shaun was also using this (mostly) daily in the morning as well–much to my dismay, of course.  If I don’t give him his own moisturizer, he will steal whatever is my section of the bathroom counter!  I did ask him for feedback, and he didn’t have much, other than it has a strong scent but otherwise worked well for him.

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Soothe Dry, Cracked Cuticles with Burt’s Bees

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream ($5.99 for 0.60 oz.) is designed to help hydrate dry cuticles, brittle nails, and fingertips. It uses a combination of sweet almond oil, beeswax, vitamin E, and cocoa butter to do so. It smells like lemonade–sweet, lemony, but it’s not synthetic. There’s a little tartness still left, so it’s not cloyingly sweet.

I’m one of those people who would love to use hand cream/lotion regularly, apply cuticle oil/cream nightly, and so on, but frankly, I suck at it. I always forget, and on the rare occasion I remember, half of the time, I’m too lazy.  I have hand cream by my nightstand and my desk.  I’m trying to improve those bad behaviors, because my hands really could use additional nourishment–especially as the temperatures come down.  What’s nice about this cuticle cream is how quickly it works and how effect it is even if you only use it sparingly.  I suffer from dry, dehydrated cuticles/fingertips; not so much cracked, definitely not bleeding, and I don’t have brittle nails, so those are the conditions which I tested this under.

I picked this up a few weeks during Drugstore.com’s big ol’ 40% off sale on a whim, and I’m really glad I did.  It comes in a metal tin, and inside is a solid balm.  It really is quite solid, which I thought would make it difficult to apply, but it actually encourages you to use less product (which is all you need) and minimizes any excess so you aren’t left with greasy fingertips.  Because it doesn’t immediately dry down, it’s best used at night, which is what’s recommended, and I always wake up with hydrated, soothed cuticles (and wherever else I put it).  In a pinch, it can also help moisturize dry spots as well as smooth flyaways.

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Guerlain Liu Shimmer Powder Face & Body

Guerlain Liu Shimmer Powder Face & Body
Guerlain Liu Shimmer Powder Face & Body

Fun to Use, Fun to Wear, But So, So Sparkly!

Guerlain Liu Shimmer Powder Face & Body ($88.00 for 0.61 oz.) is a loose iridescent powder that is dispersed by squeezing a black bulb. It’s really the elegant packaging that attracts the most attention, I’d say. It’s very fun to squeeze and spray the powder. I’d describe the particle size as sparkle; larger than shimmer, smaller than micro-glitter–looks very fine on, but it’s too much for just a subtle glow or highlight to the face. For a fun holiday look, one could surely use it on the face, but it’s not an everyday-kind of sparkle. I like it best in hair, decolletage, and legs. It’s a lot like Chanel Reverie but with a sheerer base and more sparkle. MAC Silver Dusk is more silvered, but it is also similar.

Trying to photograph this product was like trying to track down a mythical creature and proving it exists. I tried and tried but could not capture it actually used. But I swear to you that it twinkles and dances and sparkles in person. I have it sprayed on my right forearm as I’m writing this review, and it’s all quite lovely. The scent of Liu is very, very subtle. I’ve never smelled the original fragrance, and on me, the powder smells like warm vanilla, light florals, and something a little woody. If you wanted this as a scent, I’d look to the actual fragrance, because this is just barely scented.

It’s not a product I would go-to and wear if I knew I was going to be photographed lots and lots, particularly with flash photography, because sometimes the particles get all lit up and look like little bits of dirt.  For the average holiday party and occasion, it would be a luxurious accessory.  I’d opt for one of Guerlain’s Meteorites or luminizing powders over this for a more practical product at this price point, but Liu will add a fine veil of sparkling gold anywhere you spray it.  Sparkle lovers who long for luxe packaging may see this as a match made in heaven. It’s one of those products you either love completely and wait for every holiday season, or one of those, “So what?” products you know you’ll never use.

Say Hello to Indie Nail Polish

Say Hello to Indie Nail Polish

“Indie” nail polish is a category of brands that are independently-owned and operated, and generally, have a smaller distribution. They are small businesses with big ideas and are full of passion. They’re not brands you’ll find at Nordstrom, Sephora, or your local drugstore (but maybe, one day, you will). One brand we’ve featured in the past is Cult Nails, but we haven’t delved too deeply into the world of indie brands when it’s come to nail polish. (Though, there are “indie” brands that have larger distribution and more brand recognition that are still technically “indie,” as they’re independently-owned and operated (and may be considerably smaller than polish giants like China Glaze and Essie) but may have a more traditional corporate structure.)

This niche is pushing boundaries, experimenting, and making nail polish, in and of itself, an art form. I think the push and rush of glitter polishes in the past six months by major brands is a result of the rise of indie polish shops. A year ago, when I searched for “nail lacquer” on Etsy, there were only a handful of sellers. Try that search today, and you’ll be overwhelmed with options!

Availability of brands, shades, and stock are on the rise, which has finally made it a topic we can start to touch on, but be prepared to do a little battle, perhaps some stalking, and have your money at the ready. It’s tough to review indie polish, because by the time I can buy it, receive it, and test it? It was already sold out hours after I bought it! But the brands are getting better at preparing stock levels, restocking, and making their polish more and more available. Today, I’m featuring fifteen shades from four brands that I’ve tried:

  • Enchanted Polish is available through their own website (but there’s nothing in stock at the moment) and also Harlow & Co., which has very limited stock at the moment. Pricing ranges between $13.00 and $15.00 per bottle. This particular brand features many holographic and special effect layering polishes.  Three shades were sent to me for potential review, and all three were very transformative.  Those who like holographic, multi-faceted polishes will want to check out this range. The formula wasn’t too thick or too thin, though it was slightly thinner than the average polish. Ola Rio was my favorite of the three.
  • KBShimmer is available through their own website for U.S. orders (use Harlow & Co. for international orders) and currently has 34 shades available, including many holiday-themed polishes. Each polish is $8.75, and shipping is calculated based on weight–I purchased nine shades and shipping was $5.15. What I like about KBShimmer’s polishes is that they don’t have the more typical thickness of glitter-packed polishes. Some shades are opaque on their own, while others are designed to be layered over something else.  I was particularly impressed by Candy Cane Crush, which also smelled of peppermint. It was all very first-grade, scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker for me–in the best kind of way.  Sugar Plum Faerie is beautiful on its own or layered.
  • Lacquistry is sold via Etsy, and there are, currently, eight shades from the holiday collection still available for sale. Each shade retails for $8.75, exclusive of shipping ($3.00 for the first bottle, then $0.50 for each additional bottle; international is $6.50 for the first bottle and $1.00 for each additional bottle). You can keep up with restocks for the holiday collection as well as future shade releases and updates through Lacquistry’s Facebook page–I was totally stalking the Facebook page when I was waiting to buy from the holiday collection! Lacquistry’s polishes are typically best as layering shades, so it’s about finding the right base color to make each polish sing. The first Lacquistry polish I ever purchased and used was Faux Fir, this past February.  Can-Berries works well on its own or layered; it has a very jelly-ish look by itself.
  • Lynnderella is available via eBay, and each bottle retails for $20.00 (or $22.50 each, inclusive of shipping) for most permanent and seasonal offerings (all limited edition shades are available auction-style). The brand looks to have 55 different shades currently available, including a 14-piece Halloween collection and 14-piece holiday collection most recently launched (all shades are available individually as well as sold in partial and full lots). Lynnderella could definitely be considered one of the first to the scene, and there were some bumps in the road but it looks like those kinks have been sorted out, and they’ve figured it out.  This brand currently has good availability in stock. I remember when I saw Brooke swatch Connect the Dots, which made me sit up and go, “What? What did I just see?” which led me on a hunt to find it, and it was from there I discovered Lacquistry, via Etsy, when I started wondering who else was making their own polish.  It might just be me, but I loved the way Undead Red looked over SpaRitual Lithographic.  There was a great mix of Halloween-hued bits and pieces in Witch Cauldron Was It? that looked fantastic over black.

This post is an overview of a very small selection of what’s available on the market.  Most of these you should be able to find–some with more effort than others–and it is my hope to find more ways to showcase these interesting polish brands in the future.  When shopping niche brands, shop smart – make sure you read their policies, read reviews, and do your research. I’ve never been burned, but I did purchase dozens of bottles from one shop that then disappeared overnight (I received mine but many others, unfortunately, did not)! I definitely am hoping to buy from Crows Toes, Dollish, Hare, and more in the future!

P.S. — You might need to be patient, as there are over 100 photos in this single post.

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Bobbi Brown Black Pearl Shimmer Lip Gloss

Bobbi Brown Black Pearl Shimmer Lip Gloss
Bobbi Brown Black Pearl Shimmer Lip Gloss

Bobbi Brown Black Pearl Shimmer Lip Gloss ($23.00 for 0.24 fl. oz.) is described as a “dusty mauve.” It’s a gray-tinged mauve with a hint of plumminess and pale mauve shimmer. What it does on my lips is darken the natural lip color, give it a cool-toned cast, and add a healthy dosage of pale mauve shimmer. Chanel Pleasing is warmer, less plum. Urban Decay Perversion is a bit darker.

This shade yielded semi-sheer color coverage, but it distinctly added/altered my natural lip color, and there was a lot of visible shimmer. The shimmer spread evenly across the lips, and it didn’t settle into lip lines. It has a very thin texture with a lightly tacky feel. The formula is vanilla-scented and comes with a doe-foot applicator. Black Pearl wore for three and a half hours on me, and it was neither drying nor hydrating.

Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lip Gloss Black Pearl
Black Pearl

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