Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hard Candy Glossaholic in Gorgeous

Hi guys!

I'm continuing my reviews from my recent Hard Candy haul with Gorgeous, one of the Glossaholic lip glosses. If this is the first you're hearing about Hard Candy, it's exclusively available at Walmart now, and has abandoned its high-end ways for drug store pricing and completely new products. This was the first time I'd seen the Glossaholic lip glosses in the store, and they caught my eye; I picked up Gorgeous, which is a pale, nearly milky pink with flashy warm gold and pink iridescent glitter flakes. These glosses feel thick on the lips but are not sticky, and have a vanilla scent; they are super glossy and make lips look very full without any uncomfortable "plumping" effects. What really makes them stand out from the crowd are the holographic glitter flakes  If you remember Sally Hansen's "Hidden Treasure" nail polish, it's the same type of glitter.With such a sheer color, it's not too flashy, but I think layered over a dark lipstick this would be stunning and much more noticeable. The applicator, however, is huuuuge. It's supposed to cover each lip in one pass, but I find it hard to work with. Thankfully, this is a sheer enough color that it doesn't get too messy.

The tube!

Hard Candy Glossaholic in Gorgeous

Glossaholic is not tested on animals! 

Hard Candy Glossaholic; check out that fat applicator! 

Glossaholic in Gorgeous, no flash

Glossaholic in Gorgeous, flash! 

And here's a close up of Glossaholic in Gorgeous; enlarge to see the foil flecks! No flash.

Hard Candy Glossaholic in Gorgeous; flash! 

Rating: 7 out of 10

I would buy this product again! I dislike the scent, and I wish the applicator were smaller, but the product itself is comfortable and the effect is gorgeous. I look forward to layering it over lipsticks for different effects, and it's fun on its own for a little bit of color and a lot of shine. Let me know what you guys think of the kind of glitter in these; I wasn't sure about it, but now that I've worn it a few times, I think that I really like it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Poll: Mascara Formula!

Hi Guys!

I added a new poll, it should be on the right hand side of the page. I'm wondering what other people look for in a mascara formula; I know I like my lashes to look as big and black and fake as possible, but what about you guys? I'm assuming no one wants clumpy lashes or flakes, so those basics are already assumed; what effect do you look for your perfect mascara to give you, though? The poll is open for two weeks, so don't spend too much time contemplating before you vote! Feel free to discuss mascaras you've loved and hated in the comments here. I'll go ahead and start!

Mascaras I have loved at one point in time or another:
Lancome Hypnose
Benefit Badgal
L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes
Dior Show Blackout
Stila Major Lash
Fresh Supernova

Mascaras I thought were nice:
Buxom Lash
Smashbox Bionic Mascara
Benefit Badgal Blue
Clinique High Impact

Mascaras I hated!:
All the Covergirl mascaras I've tried (I've tried several!)
Korres Abyssinia Oil Volumizing Mascara
Maybelline Great Lash

Can't wait to hear what you guys recommend or warn against!

Hard Candy Nail Polish in Beetle

Does anyone else miss the old Hard Candy line? I loved it when Sephora carried it, and then it disappeared all of the sudden! It's been resurrected at a drugstore price point exclusively through Walmart, and while there are certainly products I like in this line, it's not the same as the old Hard Candy... However, there are still products worth checking out! Like the original Hard Candy line, the new Walmart exclusive line has a gaggle of funky nail polish colors. I normally stick to reds and metallics, with infrequent forays into pink, but Beetle caught my eye; it's an oil-slick kind of iridescent, flashing olive green, purple, and sometimes hinting at teal depending on the light and angle, with gold shimmer throughout. These all come shrink wrapped, so you know no one else has tried your bottle in the store, and they also come with a hard plastic novelty ring; Beetle's was a metallic purple heart. Hard Candy does not do animal testing. These are available online for $4, although I think my bottle in the store was $5, and they come with .35 ounces of product.  I found mine relatively easy to apply, going mostly opaque in two coats. Once I got into bright sunlight, I noticed there were some areas that could have used a third coat; next time I'll either do three thin coats or two heavy ones. I used a L'Oreal base coat and Seche Vite top coat, and this color stayed on my nails maybe a day longer than what is average for me (I find "average wear time" very subjective, based on experience, so let's just go with slightly better than average, rather than trying to quantify this with a number of days). I don't experience any trouble with the packaging or brush, even if it's not the best I've ever used; the handle isn't a particularly easy shape to grip, but it's fine, and the handle isn't so long that big drips form; the brush is about average. It gets the job done, but doesn't make application easier than usual.

This color was really difficult to photograph; bear in mind that the dark parts look more olive green in real life, and that while the brighter areas have the purple-pink shimmer, in lower light it tends to just look like a darker purple.

Hard Candy "Just Nails" nail color in Beetle

Hard Candy Beetle, no flash

Hard Candy Beetle, flash

Hard Candy Beetle no flash again, a different angle!
Rating: 6 out of 10

The formula is fine, but nothing special. If these were run of the mill colors, I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase Hard Candy's formulation. However, the colors Hard Candy offers are really neat, and I like that they are doing some funkier shades at this price point. Beetle is definitely something different, and I look forward to wearing it on my toes this summer! It's eye catching and flashy, and looks great in sunlight. I feel like a lot of iridescent colors that are supposed to have an oil-slick effect end up looking muddy on the nail, but Beetle gets as close to succeeding as anything I've seen yet!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Hermetic

Hello all!

I'm really excited to finally show you a product that I love and have had for a few months now... It's Hermetic, one of Illamasqua's Intense Lipglosses. This one was released in the Fall, but it looks like it's sticking around for awhile, since it's still available through Sephora's website even though the Spring line has been launched. Illamasqua's Intense Lipglosses are intensely pigmented, opaque glosses with lots of shine; you don't need much product to get a nice opaque coating, so adding more only dials up the shine; likewise, a thin coat gives a unique satin finish. These are tacky without being sticky; not my favorite gloss texture, but it seems to be how they get this formula to stay put forever, stay really shiny, and go on opaque with such a modest amount of product. These come in a squeeze tube with a molded applicator tip- once again, I sound like I'm beating a dead horse, but I really, really prefer tubes with wands, I find it hard to get a nice precise application with these, which is especially important with such a dark color! Hermetic is an almost metallic looking blackened burgundy. You can find these glosses through Illamasqua's website, or at Sephora's website; they come with .2 ounces of product and are $20.

Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Hermetic

Hermetic's applicator tip

Swatch of Illamasqua's Hermetic

Wearing Hermetic on my lips, no flash

Close up of my lips with Hermetic, no flash

Illamasqua's Hermetic, with flash

Illamasqua's Intense Lipgloss in Hermetic, flash
Rating: 7 out of 10

I really love this color, and it's so much fun to wear, but there's enough about it that is frustrating to me that I can't give it a full 10/10. First off, the applicator is really unprecise, especially for such a dark, opaque color, so I always have to go back in and do some damage control. I feel like an applicator wand would significantly improve application. Also, I dislike how tacky this feels on my mouth; I can get past it because it is worth the inconvenience for the color, but it does keep this from being a go-to gloss, since I have to be careful of getting my hair in it or getting fuzz stuck in it (don't ask, this happens to me! I have cats...) This being said, I appreciate the bold color with the metallic finish, and I love that such a small amount of product yields full, opaque color. This also looks great mixed with clear or shimmery gloss for a different finish, or with just a small amount of product rubbed around for a stained effect! If you've not tried Illamasqua, the entire line is pretty bold and there are some really neat shades; this is a great example of this!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Last Day to Vote!

As you guys may or may not have noticed, I've been running a poll in one of the right hand widgets on my page as to what lip product everyone likes best! If you haven't voted yet, you have one more day left to do so! I invite you all to comment here and explain your choice of favorite lip product.

Personally, I voted for lipstick, since I think it's the most versatile lip product; you can layer it with gloss, or blot it for a stained look. A dark color can look vampy, a pale pink can look girlish, and red always looks glam, and unlike a balm, which always looks natural, you can play up or down lipstick. I also love that a really nice lipstick feels like almost nothing on your lips, unlike a gloss, which I'm always aware of. However, I'm glad that in the real world, I don't have to choose just one formula for lip color!

So, if you haven't voted yet, I urge you to do so! If you have, feel free to make your choice public and tell us how you made your decision!


Essence Fairy Berry Lipgloss

Hi guys!

I picked up a couple of Essence products from their holiday Fairy themed line; they were cute little sizes with accordingly cute little price tags, and I appreciated the little-girl throwback theme and packaging. I'm not sure why this display was front and center at my local Ulta, since this was a holiday collection; I've been in the store a few times since Thanksgiving, too, and this is the first I've seen of this collection there! The gloss that I'm reviewing today is Fairy Berry, a sheer violet color with lots of pink and silver shimmer and sparkle. I love wearing cool purple tones on my lips, from berry shades to straight up purple; Urban Decay's Asphyxia lip gunk (rest in peace!) was a long-time favorite until I decided it was unhygienic to keep using it. I've had a hard time finding a suitably opaque replacement, but I still love a good sheer purple gloss to use on top of lipsticks or by itself. Unfortunately, I can't find my receipt for this shopping trip, and I can't find this for sale online, so I can't tell you exactly how much I paid for it; however, I don't think it was more than $3 for the .2 ounce tube.

As far as the formula goes, it has a pretty generic sweet berry scent but no flavor. There's a bit of grit from the shimmer, but it's not bad at all. I do like that this is a gloss in a tube with a doe foot applicator; I feel like it's so much easier to get a precise application with these than with squeezey tubes or tubes with brush applicators, which often fray.

So, Essence Fairy Berry Lipgloss:

Swatch of Fairy Berry Lipgloss

Fairy Berry, by Essence; no flash

Fairy Berry Lipgloss, no flash

Fairy Berry Lipgloss, flash

Fairy Berry, flash
Rating: 5 out of 10

This is a decent gloss; I like the packaging, but it could be less gritty and more pleasantly scented. I also wish it had a bit more purple to it, but there is enough of a tint that it cools my natural lip color slightly; this will be a great gloss to layer with, even if on its own it just looks like a lot of shimmer. I do like the idea that Essence has these smaller sized products that are accordingly priced; I rarely finish products, so to get something with half as much product in it for less than full price is a great way to try some new things without feeling too guilty about it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Palladio Couture Herbal Liplicious in Blackberry

I made a trip to Sally Beauty last weekend, and found a couple of gems on clearance; I never realized they marked things down so far! I snagged a Palladio Herbal Liplicious gloss in the color Blackberry for a mere $1.99! I've never tried anything from Palladio (at least not that I can remember!) so I was excited to get a chance to try something from the line for such a good price. Full price on Amazon, these are $4.49, and contain .5 ounces of product. I'm not sure why this product was on clearance; it may be that Sally Beauty is no longer going to carry them, or that the shade is being discontinued, or that the product itself is being discontinued, so fair warning that if you decide you'd like to try this, you may have to move quickly (it's still on Amazon!).

I was pleasantly surprised by this gloss. In the tube, it looks like a milky, opaque red. On the lips it is sheer but still brightens and reddens my natural lip color. It is very shiny but not at all sticky, and even feels moisturizing on the lips. I do dislike the squeeze tube with the angled applicator; I much prefer tubes with a wand. However, the gloss feels nice enough on the lips that I'm willing to put up with a messier application method to wear it.  It has a very faint synthetic vanilla scent, but I do not notice this once it is on my lips. There is no flavor that I can notice.

Onto the packaging!

Palladio Herbal Liplicious

On sale! 

Palladio Herbal Liplicious in Blackberry

Blackberry swatched in good light

No flash, Palladio gloss in Blackberry

Close up of Blackberry, no flash

Palladio Liplicious in Blackberry, flash

Close up of Blackberry, flash. 

Rating: Six out of Ten

I like this gloss overall, but I don't know that I would go out of my way to buy another at full price; it's not as pigmented as I'd have liked, so I don't know that another color would look much different from this one! And although the gloss feels great on, I do wish it had a different applicator; it can get messy trying to cover the lip area with the angled applicator of the tube. I love how shiny without being sticky this is. On a whim, I put some of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream that I reviewed here on top of the gloss and made a shiny, opaque lip color, which worked out great. It's a really nice product and I'm glad I grabbed the one that I did, but I don't know that this is my new favorite gloss. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Amsterdam and London

Hello, all!

I went into Ulta yesterday and found that they'd restocked NYX and are now carrying more of the line! There are tons of NYX things that I wanted to try, but have been nervous to buy online without being able to look at in real life or bring back to a store if it's absolutely awful. They had a new product in stores, the Soft Matte Lip Cream. If you had a chance to see the liquid lipstick that MAC released with the Peacocky line, the texture is very similar; this is a little more mousse-like in texture. I was really impressed with that product; full coverage like a lipstick, but in an easy to apply, long lasting formula with a finish that goes from a little glossy when applied straight out of the tube to matte but still opaque when blotted with tissue. The NYX formula is almost identical in application and wear; yes, the mousseier texture is a bit different, and it feels a touch drier on the lips than the MAC formula, but it's very much the same. I found that this wore for a few hours easily. It didn't settle into lines, but if your lips are already dry or in bad condition, this will emphasize it since it's close to matte and a very thin coat provides full, opaque coverage. What's more, this color is fantastic. I may have found my new favorite full-on true red in Amsterdam. London is a caramel nude, and emphasizes dry lips a little more than Amsterdam; while I don't think the shade is as flattering on me as I'd hoped, it's still very nice and the formula in both shades is identical.

I didn't find the formula drying, nor did I find it moisturizing, although the NYX website claims that these are moisturizing. If you have try lips, make sure they're moisturized before you apply these so that dryness isn't emphasized. These are $6, although I can't find how much product is in each tube. However, in my poking around, I was reminded that NYX is a cruelty free brand, which is always an excellent thing, and makes me even happier to discover another product I like from them.

Here is London:

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in London

And the information on the tube... 

London on my lips, no flash

NYX London, no flash

Soft Matte Lip Cream in London, flash

Once again, London with flash

And here is Amsterdam! I am totally gaga over this red!

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Amsterdam

Amsterdam's Tube; enlarge it to read the claims! 

Amsterdam Soft Matte Lip Cream, no flash. 

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Amsterdam, no flash

NYX's Amsterdam on my lips, flash

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Amsterdam, flash

Rating: 9 out of 10

I am loving this formula! I'm half-tempted to run out and snatch up all the colors now, but I'll be a good girl and wait... I love being able to apply lipstick with a doe foot applicator instead of straight out of the tube, I love the way this feels on the lip, and I am crazy about Amsterdam, it's a wonderful red. I dislike the scent- it's a synthetic vanilla- but it's not distracting to me once it's on the lip. I am also a big fan of the price; thank you, NYX, for making high-quality, cruelty free products at affordable prices! This is a great, versatile formula, and I urge you to check it out if you are at all interested in the product; there are 11 colors available, too, so if neither of these strike a chord with you, check out some of the others. You can find NYX at some beauty supply stores, at Ulta, and online at www.ulta.com and www.nyxcosmetics.com.

Love & Beauty Nail Polish in Brick


I've been on a bit of a nail polish kick lately... I used to be completely obsessed with it, and a few months went by when I wasn't buying nail polish or doing my nails very frequently, but in the last couple of weeks I've rediscovered the joy that is nail lacquer. A recent visit to a very large Forever 21 yielded a handful of interesting and inexpensive nail polish colors... One of these is Brick, a fire-engine red with red and gold shimmer throughout. The color almost looks like a glass-fleck suspended in a jelly, but goes on opaque because of all the shimmer in two coats. I got about two days of perfect wear out of this, before my unglamorous life of tapping keys on a register and scrounging in the till for change resulted in some unsightly tip wear and even a couple of chips. However, with a base coat and top coat, Love & Beauty nail polish tends to perform just as well on me as most other nicer drugstore brand nail polishes, and maybe only a day's worth of wear worse than brands like China Glaze and O.P.I.

Brick came in a square bottle, as opposed to the usual Love & Beauty nail polish packaging (seen in my review for Aqua, here), and I didn't see any indicator of volume listed on the bottle or the label; I'm assuming it's between .3 and .5 ounces, since it looks like it may be the same size or slightly smaller than most average nail polishes, and I got it for $2.80. This color is so much fun; it has an insane amount of shimmer, and it's noticeable shimmer because of the gold strewn throughout the red base. I should also mention that, unlike colors with big chunks of glitter, this was no more difficult to remove than a cream polish.

A note on the pictures; once again, it looks like I let a three year old paint my nails. Whatever. I probably should have waited until after the polish had come off of my skin in the shower before I took these pictures, but I didn't really think about it. Also, this color looks like more of a blue-red in the pictures than in real life. It was really difficult to capture the color accurately because of all of the shimmer in this color.

Love & Beauty polish in Brick

Here it is on my nails; all of these pictures get larger if you click on them, if you'd like to see the texture and the shimmer.

Brick on my nails, no flash.

Brick on my nails, flash

Here's Brick nail polish with flash at a different angle. 
Rating: 7 out of 10 

This polish is coming in at a solid 7 out of 10. The wear was around average (maybe a little better), it applied really easily, much better than Aqua did; the polish wasn't runny or gloppy, and it was opaque in two coats. The formula may not be Big 3 Free, I couldn't find any information on this when I was googling the polish, so if you try to avoid these ingredients, you may want to steer clear. (Hah, my post on this polish was the first result when I tried to google this question again!) I also really appreciated that this particular shape bottle came all wrapped up, unlike the type that Aqua came in, so there's no way anyone could have sampled the polish in the store. Overall, I  really enjoyed this color and I'm happy with my purchase. If chemicals don't scare you and you want a cheap, fun red, run out to Forever 21 and hung this shade down!