Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NOTD: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Bronze Ablaze

Hi Guys!

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've gone back to school and work has been soooo busy! It may be a slow few weeks as I acclimate to my new schedule and wait for things to die down a bit at work, but I will do my very best to keep posting at least sporadically for you all! I have some really exciting things to show you, but I want to use the products a bit longer so I can offer reviews as opposed to just quick swatches. Or would you all prefer swatches to start, reviews to (possibly) follow? Let me know what you think...

In the meantime, I am showing you Bronze Ablaze, a Sally Hansen Insta-Dri shade that I picked up in this haul. I've had ok luck with the Insta-Dri line in the past, and this is more of the same; the colors are beautiful and you can be done in one heavy coat (although I do two thinner ones if I have the time). I don't know that they dry *instantly*, but being able to get away with one coat, having a thick brush that makes the polishing go by faster, and a formula that tends to go where you put it and not create a mess definitely reduces polishing time. Throw down a quick-dry top coat (I use my beloved Seche Vite), and you're good to go! However, I find that these chip faster than most polishes, so after about two days I have to switch it out for something else  or it drives me nuts. It's a trade-off; I can get something on my nails pretty fast if I am in a hurry and want to have freshly polished nails, but I just have to know that I won't be able to leave it on my nail for my usual 4 or 5 days.

Bronze Ablaze is a warm muddy metallic with green, gold, and bronze flashes to it. It's a bit hard to describe, but is very pretty; I don't know if I'm over the moon with the way this looks against my skin tone, but it is definitely a pretty neat shade. These bottles come with a modest .31 ounces of product in them, but the price tag is similarly modest, at around $4.50 a bottle. You can often find Sally Hansen products on BOGO at drug stores, and discounted a bit at retailers like Walmart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond (where I picked mine up). This line seems to put out some trendy colors that mimic the haute "it" colors of the season, so it's a good place to go for dupes, or colors that are at least in the same vein as their pricier cousins; Bronze Ablaze, for instance, reminds me of something in the same family as Chanel's Peridot, and while I wouldn't go so far as to call it a dupe, it's close enough (metallic duochrome that flashes green-ish yellow-ish? Check! Although Bronze Ablaze is considerably warmer with more brown than yellow/green) that I don't feel the need to even consider the Chanel polish with its heftier price tag.

Bronze Ablaze!


Sally Hansen Bronze Ablaze

Bronze Ablaze, closer up. Enlarge this to see the multi-colored shimmer! 
Rating: 6 out of 10

I just can't get behind this 100% because of the terrible chipping, but I love that this applies quickly and relatively neatly, and the color itself is gorgeous. The formula runs a little thick and the brush picks up a lot, so make sure you let it drip a little and wipe it against the mouth of the bottle, but this is very similar to the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure formula, another favorite of mine. For a drug-store range, the colors are really very varied and complex, with a lot of them feeling more fashion-forward than the basics we often encounter time and time again in drugstores. If you've not tried these polishes, check them out! They're great for when you're in a hurry and want a spiffy color to go with a specific outfit. However, if you're looking for something that will wear like iron that you'll be able to keep on your nails for a full week, look elsewhere! All in all, this is a polish for once specific contingency that I find myself in quite frequently (oh crap! I am pressed for time and want pretty nails! That match this very specific going-out outfit!), but it's not a good multitasker.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick: Cremes

Hi Dolls!

Sorry for my absence, I was living it up in Vegas! But I am back home now, and back to blogging! I brought my camera and meant to take pictures of looks while I was away, but I ended up being in a hurry every time I did my makeup, so I didn't have time to photograph. Howeer, I've been thinking about re-creating some of the looks I ended up doing, and even creating some more daring ones that I thought about using, but didn't end up having an occasion to wear; this was a pretty low-key trip to Vegas, and most of my time was spent just wandering the strip in relatively comfortable clothes/shoes, or at the Star Trek convention, so I didn't want to do anything too over the top. However, I did score some pretty awesome makeup while I was away, including a few products from Inglot and some new Urban Decay awesomeness. Stay tuned!

Today, I'm going to show you some lipsticks that I've had for awhile now but rarely use.In this post, I'll be reviewing the Creme formula Revlon's Super Lustrous Lipsticks I own, which are Pink Velvet, Sassy Mauve, and  Mauvy Night.  Revlon's Super Lustrous Lipsticks aren't my favorite, but they're certainly not a bad drugstore option; I definitely prefer them over L'Oreal's Colour Riche lipsticks, and they're not as tacky feeling as L'Oreal's Infallible lipsticks (which do stay on longer, however, because of said tackiness!) The black plastic cases aren't exactly luxurious, but they get the job done and are nondescript enough that they're not visually offensive, even if I wouldn't go so far as to call them attractive or stylish. You can find these at most drugstores as well as Ulta, Target, Walmart, etc..., so they have accessibility going for them! They'll run you about $5.99-7.99 depending on where you find them, but Revlon can often be found for BOGO sales at drugstores. Each tube contains 1.5 ounces of product. These smell strongly of a makeupy, waxy base with some sort of generic sweet/floral perfume, but I don't find it to be a terrible scent. I haven't noticed any taste in my experience with them, but the formula does feel a bit greasy on the lips and is thin enough that it has a tendency to settle into lip lines. It's a perfectly serviceable formula, but there's nothing to recommend it in my opinion.

So, lots of pictures ahead, but I wanted to include all three shades together!

Pink Velvet: 

Swatch of Revlon Pink Velvet

Revlon's Pink Velvet, no flash

Revlon Pink Velvet, no flash

Revlon Pink Velvet, flash

Revlon's Pink Velvet
Sassy Mauve: 

Swatch of Sassy Mauve

Revlon's Sassy Mauve, no flash

Revlon Sassy Mauve

Revlon's Sassy Mauve, flash

Revlon's Sassy Mauve, flash

Mauvy Night:

Mauvy Night!

Swatch of Revlon's Mauvy Night

Mauvy Night, no flash

Revlon Mauvy Night, no flash

Revlon Mauvy Night

Mauvy Night

Rating: 6 out of 10

This lipstick is just fine, but between slightly less than average wear time, the faintest hint of an oily texture, and an emphasis on fine lines, it just doesn't cut it as a favorite. However, if you're looking to build up your collection of colors inexpensively or if you're just looking for a specific color that won't be a staple in your lipstick wardrobe, this isn't a bad option. There's nothing so offensive about these that I avoid them, but with better lipsticks so easy to come by (albeit often with a heftier price tag), this isn't a product I seek out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Viva Las Vegas!

I am leaving for Sin City tomorrow, and I just wanted to share with you some of the makeup-related perks I am excited about!

In addition to having a Nordstrom, Bloomindales, and Saks Fifth Avenue on the Strip (yay makeup counters!), there is also an Inglot store, three Sephoras, one of which has a fancy-pants Make Up For Ever boutique inside of it, and a MAC Pro store. And? They're open until 11pm and midnight! Drunk late-night makeup spree? Sign me up! (Ok, maybe not, but a girl can dream, right?) Las Vegas has good make-up juju for me: housekeeping smashed a brand new bottle of foundation I brought on my last trip (purchased for the trip!) and one of the Sephoras on the strip exchanged it easy-peasy for me, AND it's where I found Sally Hansen's Hidden Treasure, that fabulous flakie top-coat that no one could hunt down in my neck of the woods last spring. Here's to hoping this trip brings similarly fabulous finds my way; forget gambling, I'm spending my money on makeup!

I'll try to take pictures of anything makeup related that might be of interest to you guys, (and I may even throw in a few Star Trek-related photos for Vulcan Butterfly!)

See you Ladies soon!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Great Reds: NARS Turkish Red

Hi All,

You thought I was done with my reds, but I wasn't. I just got bored of posting lots of red lip colors! I'm including NARS' Turkish Red, a cream blush, even though it's discontinued because I love this color so much and have a sentimental attachment to it. I have owned it longer than I want to admit (let's just say it shouldn't be safe to put anywhere near my face at its age, but aside from drying out a bit, it hasn't changed in scent or color or anything!), and use it as a lip color more than I use it as a blush. Because this is a lip series, I didn't bother even putting it on my cheeks for these swatches, although I may come back in and do a cheek swatch at some point in time, if I happen to wear it anytime soon.

Because it's discontinued and its unlikely any of you are trying to decide if this is something you want to add to your collection or not, I'm not going to worry about evaluating it; I'll just show you guys the pictures!

NARS Blush case!

Turkish Red!

I still haven't hit pan... A little goes a looooong way!

Turkish Red on my lips, no flash

Turkish red on my lips, no flash

Turkish Red on my lips, flash

Turkish Red on my lips, flash
So, there you have it! I like this red a lot; using the blush on my lips gives them a soft, matte look with a lightweight feel, and this stuff is so pigmented that I don't have any trouble reaching opacity. It's also a softer red, so while it still reads "classic red!" on the lip, since it's matte and opaque, the shade is toned down enough to keep it about as subtle as a true red can be. I'm so sorry this is discontinued, it was a great color; maybe they will re-release it in a seasonal collection. Who knows!

Speaking of the Ethics of Buying Expensive Nail Lacquer... Butter London's Yummy Mummy!

So, my customer may have thought it was unethical to spend $25 on a Chanel polish and further justify couture pricing, but honestly, if I had the money I would do it. I don't think the polish is *worth* the money, per se, but I understand that this is one way that couture companies elevate the brand. Honestly, I have pangs of conscious when I consider how much some of us (myself included) put towards beauty products, but I sincerely consider this to be one of my hobbies, so when I splurge, it's almost always on makeup. Some people get a glass of wine with their dinner, some people buy expensive bags or jewelry; I save my pennies for nail polish. (Or lipstick or eyeshadow or eyeliner or blush or...) But I don't have to justify this to you, fellow makeup enthusiast! You know how it is.

On that note, Butter London is the most expensive nail polish I own, and I have two bottles of it; I bought them both at Ulta right when they started selling them there, and they let me use a 20% off coupon on them, even though they're considered a prestige brand (sweet!). They normally retail for $14 and have .4 ounces of lacquer. These are 3-free.

Yummy Mummy is a mauve-toned griege-ish nude-ish color. It's hard to pin down with one descriptor, though I probably wouldn't settle for one even if I could.I would describe it as a cream with some very subtle shimmer strewn throughout. It's a really gorgeous color; sophisticated and on-trend while still remaining restrained. It's completely opaque in one coat, but patchy, so I added a second to make it look acceptable; however, the formula is really gloppy, and so it didn't quite look smooth and even. I also got some drag around the base of the nail where the brush dragged the excess polish to the tip of the nail, so the color looks lighter at the base of the nail than at the top even though it's opaque across the entire nail. A layer of Seche Vite helped hide the flaws, but I was really unhappy about this issue. The other side of the coin is that this polish is amazingly easy to control, and so I hardly got any on my cuticle, which is kind of a miracle for me. Unfortunately, I had a couple of chips by the second day of wear... This would be a great polish to throw on in a hurry since you can get away with one coat and not have to touch up since it's easier to do a neat manicure, but I don't know that I'd put it on if I needed something that would last for five days straight.

One thing I really like about these is the bottle. It's cute and sleek, and shows off the color inside really nicely. It's also very easy to hold and use while painting your nails. The cap lifts off to reveal a grippier handle underneath, and the brush itself is nice and narrow and flexible, but not too out of control.

Butter London Yummy Mummy

Love it! 

The back of the bottle

The little crowned bird on the top of the handle


Yummy Mummy on my nails; enlarge to see the shimmer!

And the brush!

Rating: 5 out of 10

I think this is a good polish in some respects; the formula is easy to control, and the color is absolutely lovely. However, getting even application can be challenging, and this chips on me way too quickly for me to be able to recommend it whole-heartedly, especially given the steep price tag. I won't be reaching for another Butter London color unless it's really spectacular and unique. I think the good and the bad just about cancel each other out, making this a decent polish because of its redeeming qualities, but they certainly aren't great enough to bump this above average. I don't know that all the shades are like this, but my other Butter London polish chips as well, even though it doesn't have the same application issues. That being said, these are probably too pricey for me to feel good about risking it with another shade.


Hi guys!

I've picked up a few fun things over the past few days here and there, and thought I'd post them here! Depending on your perspective, this has been a successful (in terms of finds) or unsuccessful (for my wallet!) week! I am going to Las Vegas in a little bit, and so I wanted to pick up a couple of things for that, and I found The Balm's Shady Lady Vol. 3 palette at Marshall's for $16! I had wanted it when it was $40 at Sephora, so I was pretty thrilled to find it there.

I also stopped in to Walmart the other night and I saw a new Rimmel line of lipglosses, Stay Glossy, and I picked up three to try out (I'll be reviewing those in the next week or two, after I've had a chance to get a feel for them), and then I picked up a few goodies at Bed Bath and Beyond. I actually had a list for BB&B! I wanted to try the Sally Hansen Salon Effects polish stickers because I'd heard they lasted longer than regular polish, and I don't want to bother with worrying about chips while I'm on vacation. I'd seen pictures of Laced Up, and knew that was the pattern I wanted to try first. I wanted bobby pins since I always lose mine and wanted to make a real effort to have Big Girl Hair while I'm out on the town. I got one of those plastic hair volume bump thingies that make it look like you teased without the teasing, mostly for my costume (ouch: here's where you find out I'm going to Vegas... for the Star Trek Convention!), and a pumice stone to try to spruce up my cracked heels and a couple of ugly callouses. Finally, I wanted new mascara, since all of mine are really old except for my Clinique (which is lovely for everyday, but not as dramatic as I like for evening looks) and my L'Oreal waterproof, which looks like a dusty black. I ended up with L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes, which I've used before and have been really pleased with. While there for those things, I ended up picking up a couple of nail polishes, too;  Revlon has a REAL knock-off of Chanel's Graphite (theirs is called Carbonite), so we'll see if that gets closer than my carefully crafted formula. I had a customer compliment me on my polish the other day, and I was praying she wouldn't ask me what it was... she did, and I painstakingly tried to explain how I arrived at the final color. I think she got more than she bargained for. (Then she started talking to me about the "ethics" of paying $25 for a nail polish, at which point I decided I was the one who'd gotten more than I'd bargained for). I also stumbled across a Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish in Bronze Ablaze, which has a nifty slight duo-chrome. I'm not going to lie, it reminds me a bit of a warmer Chanel Peridot, without the blue flash in the bottle (which doesn't show on the nail anyway). Call me obsessed, I don't care; I love the Fall 11 Chanel Beauty line, and if I can find cheaper alternatives that evoke those colors, I'm going with it, even if they're not exact dupes. I picked up some really cheap eye makeup remover pads to travel with (hopefully they work!), and a headband like one that I used to wear all the time but broke. Finally, I saw a new fall Maybelline blush in Ravishing Rouge, which looks like this great glowy burgundy. Hopefully it stands up to my expectations!

So there you have it, I'll let you guys know how these things go. Anything you guys are particularly interested in hearing about? I'll try moving them to the front of the line (as long as I have enough time to get a good enough impression to share with you guys!). Have any of you tried any of the things I've picked up? I'm always curious to hear about others' impressions!