Saturday, January 31, 2015

NOTW: Gray on Gray on Gray | Illamasqua Raindrops, Starlight Polish Phoenix, Lynnderella Connect The Dots

18 weeks ago, I posted this NOTW on Instagram. Yeah. It's another old mani, that I forgot to put on here. But this time, I know what I used! (Instead of the sort of fail of a post I did with the ombre mani). 
I've been going through a gray phase. For like a year. I appreciate gray tones much more that I had in the past, and I think it's because it's one of those "you can do anything" colors that I've just not realized until recently. And what do I mean by that? Well you can pair gray with almost anything and it'll work.
My most recent thing though has been doing the sort of all gray-monotone-with a touch of whimsy thing. Which is really specific if you think about it but hey, whatever inspires you, right?
Lol, to get on with it, to satiate my love of gray in the fall, I ended up doing gray with little touches of interest throughout the mani to make it complex but simple at the same time.
For this mani I used Illamasqua Raindrops, which is a cool gray creme with almost translucent shards of white, pearly glitter. The effect is a stormy grey, almost snow flake sort of blizzard look. It's raindrops on your window in the dead of winter. On top of the gray, I had two separate accents. On all of my nails, I added Starlight Polish's Phoenix, which is a shimmery top coat that shifts from gold, to orange, to green, to almost a turquoise. On the middle two nails I used Lynnderella's Connect The Dots, the originally classic black and white glitter top coat. I layered two accents just to give it a little bit more texture and interest.
This mani lasted a good week before I removed it. I really quite liked this look though - it was bold without being in your face, and subtle without being boring. For me it was one of those manis that showcased how un-obnoxious glitter and shimmer can be, depending on how you used it (not to toot my own horn or anything lol.)
Did you guys have any favorite colors or trends that you stuck to in the winter time? Let me know in the comments down below!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum | Progress-Report, Mid-Usage Review

So around the New Year, I decided this would be my year of Skin. Along with the breakout problems I had been having, I noticed that there were pigmentation and uneveness issues that I wanted to address and fix.
For Christmas I always order my mom the Clinique Dark Spot Corrector because it's sort of her favorite thing, skin care wise. As a woman in her 60s (she claims to eternally be 18 lol) she has really nice skin actually, and it's because of the past 8 or 9 years of work she's put into it. She's tried a lot of serums, and I think she always goes back to the Clinique for her dark spot corrector.
Given that I'm only 24, and that I don't really have all that many skin issues, I never really paid attention to what needed to be fixed, let alone prevented. So when I decide this year would be Year of the Skin, I didn't really know where to start.
It's obvious to me now that "anti-aging" routines should start as soon as possible, because when I really take it into perspective, I've been hard on my skin.
I competitively swam for 14 years. It's a lot of time spent outside. A lot of time, admittedly, without sunscreen. A lot of time being sunburnt. A lot of time wearing no hats. A lot of time treating my skin as if it would stay teenage-soft forever. And while evaluating what I need, I've noticed a lot of damage that I had previously done without even realizing it. Moral of this post #1 - always wear a sunscreen.
Going back to the breakouts I've been having, I also noticed a lot of hyperpigmentation due to those healed breakouts. And then going back into the "anti-aging" thing, I just decided that if I'm going to start nourishing my skin, I may as well start preventing future issues as well. Otherwise, other things I target for my skin would be redness, and large pores.
With my little mental checklist, I went onto Sephora's site and started browsing all of their skin care products.
Now, I don't know why I didn't initially look into Clinique, but I basically ended up with only a handful of products that claimed to take care of what I wanted in a skin care item. I had all the nourishing and acne items handled, with my favorite masks and acne solutions. I also had all of my oily skin issues handled with my cleanser, toner and moisturizer. So what I realized I was looking for was an all-in-one anti-aging serum.
Of the handful of products Sephora offered, this Clinique one was the one I decided to try because I've had really good luck in the past with Clinique, and my mother swears by the brand.
Here is what Sephora provides as what the Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum does:
What it is:
A powerful serum that understands your skin’s needs, targeting uneven skintone, lines, and wrinkles for firmer, more radiant skin. 

What it is formulated to do:
Clinique Smart Smart Custom-Repair Serum contains calming ingredients that help deliver targeted repair—as needed, where needed. Recommended for all skin types, ages, and ethnicities, it visibly addresses uneven skintone, lines, and wrinkles for visibly firmer, more radiant, and more youthful-looking skin. 

What else you need to know:
This product features patented technology developed over five years of research. 
Suggested Usage: Apply twice daily, morning and night. Place two pumps into palm of hand. Apply all over your face in an upward motion. Apply remaining serum onto neck. Mornings, follow with sunscreen to maximize results. Pair Clinique Smart with a targeted moisturizer for a double dose of customized repair.
I originally started using it twice a day, along with a new sunscreen (which will be reviewed soon), before my moisturizer and sunscreen, but after my toner and Lush Greased Lightning Spot Treatment. For about two weeks, I used it everyday, twice a day, until I started noticing more clogged pores and blackheads.
In the past, whenever using serums, I've noticed this happening. My pores I guess just tend to get clogged more easily with the addition of serums like this. It's an unfortunate side effect, but I sort of just deal with it.
I cut down to once a day then. However, I noticed a lot of small pimples starting to form in my chin area, which is something irregular for my skin because when I break out, it's usually in larger, cystic breakouts. Because of that, I basically cut out all the new products I had started using. I think the sudden change and addition of a lot of new products sort of freaked my skin out.
I just recently started adding back the serum into my routine, and now I only use it once in the evening, and use about half a pump's worth of product. I've also added in a once a week exfoliating product (again, it will be reviewed soon), and my skin has been faring much better this time around.
After using it for a month, I can't tell you exactly how useful this product is in terms of it's claims, but I have noticed a difference. I have noticed a slightly smoother skin surface, and some of my older acne scars have started to fade. I can't positively attribute the scar fading to this product though because it may have just faded because it was an older scar. However, my skin feels softer to the touch, and makeup has been going on smoother, meaning I need less makeup to cover my face. I don't have all that many wrinkles, so I haven't noticed a difference in that. I have recently gotten more compliments on my bare face though so that's a plus. Redness issues have subsided a little bit as well.
If your skin is prone to clogged pores, then I would be a little bit wary of using this twice a day. I'd also be wary of this if you have sensitive skin, and start using this once a day just so your skin adjusts to this product.
This product retails for $60 for 1 oz, which is pretty pricey, however in line with a lot of products at Sephora, so it's sort of a "you win some, you lose some" situation - I haven't found an all in one product at the drugstore like this one so there really isn't a less expensive alternative as far as I'm concerned.
For me, this product just needs to be monitored in its usage. I don't have really any negatives to say about it because after I adjusted my usage of it, my skin responded fairly well to it.
I'll post a final review of this product once I've finished an entire tube of it. I just wanted to post a mid-way review to make sure that I remembered what I initially had issues with. It's sort of like a progress report :)
Do you guys have any miracle skin savers? Let me know!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Butter London Trustafarian | Swatches & Review

Good afternoon, everybody! Well, afternoon for me anyways.
I shared with you a few days ago, my second to last Butter London polish, and now I have the actual last Butter London polish in my stash, Trustafarian.
Trustafarian is a pale grass green base with a speckling of holo spread through out it. Much like Dodgy Barnett, it's a slightly flakey holo that looks almost linear from far away, but up close you can see the individual holo sparkles in the polish. It too, looks almost chunky up close, but still very pretty from afar and sparkles really nicely in the sunlight.
Color wise, it's a little warmer than Nubar's Reclaim, which was previous to Trustafarian, one of the only other widely available green holos. Reclaim, however, is a linear holo, and Trustafarian is not. Remember, Trustafarian and Dodgy Barnett were mainstream holo releases when holos were still not as easily available as they are now. Although Nubar's Reclaim isn't available now on their site, Trustafarian is still available on Butter London's site for $15. It's pricey, especially now, for a polish that you can find in a lot of indie brands, but at the time it truly was a unique polish to have.
Formula wise I have little to no issues with this polish - it applies really nicely, and was opaque in two coats. I really don't have anything negative to say about this polish, as a product, just that it's a little pricey for what you can get elsewhere at the moment. I've also seen this in store recently, even though they aren't on websites like Ulta and Nordstrom. It's a color you'll have to sort of look out for. if you're somebody that's not totally sold on the idea or look of holos, I do recommend trying this one or Dodgy Barnett out if you can find it in stores, so you can quickly decide on whether or not it's your thing. without having to pay shipping and waiting for a single polish to come in the mail.
Because I'm "well versed" in the world of holos, I actually gave this polish away to a friend after taking this photo - she has been enjoying it though and I'm happy to have sent it to a loving home :)
This wraps up my entire Butter London polish collection - do you guys have a favorite Butter London polish that I don't have? Let me know in the comments and I'll go check it out :D

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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NOTW: Blue Ombre Holo | Inspired by The Polishing Life!

So like.... a million years ago, I was browsing Instagram and saw the most ridiculously beautiful manicure on A-England's page. She posted a manicure that ThePolishingLife had done, using the most popular A-England polishes including Dragon and St. George (which are personal faves). It was an ombre mani that shifted through each finger to create this awfully beautiful shimmery, holo, green/gold manicure.
Being totally inspired by that, I dug into my stash and lined up a bunch of blues and turquoises and came up with this combo.
The thing is, I did this manicure like... 20 weeks ago. So like 5 months ago. So I don't really remember what polishes I used. However, I can tell you I started with a yellow-green, similar to OPI's Fiercely Fiona (a Shrek color from 5 years ago) and faded into a bright blue, using various turquoises, into a dark blue, into a purple. The purple was probably OPI's Funkey Dunkey, also from the Shrek collection.
On top of all that I added a holo top coat.
Since I can't give you the names of the polishes I actually used, I'll instead give you some tips for creating ombre manis :)

  • Use a white base first, so you don't have to layer so much polish on top. It'll keep things brighter, and less thick on the nail.
  • Cut the sponges (I use square makeup sponges) so they're only as wide as your nail. It'll keep things as clean as possible :D
  • Use a school glue and paint it on your cuticles. Wait for it to dry then sponge on the color. The benefit of this is that you can simply peel away the color that ends up on your finger.
For more info on the school glue thing, I made a video of it! Check it out at the end of this post.
So again, sorry for the sort of lame post - but I just wanted to post this anyways. I personally use this blog as an archive for what I've done nail polish and makeup wise so I like to keep things as updated as possible :)
If you guys have ever done color combos you particularly liked, let me know in the comments! Or if you have a blog link it down below so I can see what you've all done :)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Butter London Dodgy Barnett | Swatches & Review

I totally lied and said I started swatching my collection with Essies. I actually started with Butter London. And I totally lied when I did that and I said I had all of them done. Because I actually have two more. Moral of the story, I'm a bad and forgetful blogger lol :)
Here's the second to last Butter London polish in my collection, which I now recall not originally swatching because I lost sunlight when I did the first batch and wanted to do these polishes justice.
Dodgy Barnett is a wispy silver with a small holo flake running through it. It's not a true linear holo, but from afar it does look almost linear. The holo flake makes it look a little chunky, but is still super fun and rainbow-y like a holo.
I remember when Dodgy Barnett came out that it was one of the first polishes that came out that was in the slightest holographic amongst mainstream and easily available brands. There still aren't holos available in mainstream brands, but indies have got you covered so it's not as big of a deal. When Dodgy Barnett first came out, holos weren't as popular, even in the indie world.
This polish is opaque in 3 coats. It's a very pretty polish, and for people not super familiar with holo polishes, I would totally recommend at least checking it out to see if it's something you'd like.
It's still available on Butter London's website for $15, but I've also seen it in stores like Ulta and Nordstrom.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Origins Clear Improvement Mask | Review

It's absolutely no secret I love my masks. I love them. I live in them. They're my favorite skin care things to splurge on. As a combo-oily big pored skin person, they make the biggest difference. They help regulate my skin and help deep clean without being too harsh. 
About the same time I ran out of my Lush Greased Lightning, I also ran out of my Lush masks, my Glam Glow masks, and my Queen Helene mint mask. I was mask less. And I felt vulnerable and alone lol. 
When I went to Sephora to pick up my Clinique acne gel, I also went to search for a new face mask. I came across the Origins display, and remembered that I had previously tried out the Clear Improvement Mask and really liked it so I put it in my basket, ready to conquer my skin.
The Origins Clear Improvement Mask retails for $25 at Sephora and is an active charcoal mask. It's thinner in consistency - not as heavy as mud masks. It dries very quickly and you can feel your face getting cleaner by the minute. I can typically use a quarter sized amount to cover my whole face in a thin layer of the product. I like to sit with it on my face for about 20 to 30 minutes.
After washing off the product, my skin is always the most soft and the most glowy. There's little to no redness, and for about a day afterwards the oil production on my face isn't as active as it usually is. 
Compared to the Glam Glow masks and the Lush masks, it does a good job clearing out my pores and nourishing my skin. The Glam Glow and Lush masks are more exfoliating than this mask, which really just is clarifying. 
As an overnight treatment, it helps reduce breakouts in the spots you apply it to. If my skin ever gets really really bad, I like to apply a spot treatment, then add just a smudge of a face mask as another spot treatment on top to really reduce swelling and redness in a breakout. This mask also pulls out impurities so it definitely helps clear out a breakout. 
It was a nice and refreshing turn to have this mask in my collection again - it's a great mask and I highly recommend it to other oily skinned, big pored people :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Painted Polish - Drunk In Holo, Painted In Platinum, Painted in Holo Platinum, Trashed In Teal | Swatches & Review!

New polishes! New polishes! New Polishes!
I'm super tempted to just let the photos do the talking, and just posting a picspam. But I like you guys more than that ;)
I find out about new (or new to me) Indie Brands mostly on Instagram. Painted Polish is one of those brands that I discovered a while back and kept tabs on it because I knew I needed to purchase from them eventually. And "eventually" turned into this past Sunday when I was at work and browsing indies online. 100%, I purchased these because Holly (MissHollyBerries) posted her little receipt on Instagram and I thought "yeah, it's happening" and within like 10 minutes I had 4 in my cart and then I was filling out my credit card info. I have no self control lol.
The four polishes I bought were:
  • Drunk In Holo - $10 - clear base with a square silver holo microglitter. It layers really nicely. The base isn't too thick so when you layer it, it doesn't get goopy or thick. It layers pretty perfectly in 3 coats, and is super reflective and holo and fun. 
  • Painted In Platinum - $13 - clear base with shards of platinum glitter flakes. The result when you layer it is this mega reflective, mirror like coverage of platinum foil on your nails. It's insane. I included photos of one coat, then two coats, then three, so you can see how it builds. I doesn't feel thick at all on the nails either! So SO SO pretty! And it's easy to remove :)
  • Painted In Holo Platinum - $13 - it's Painted In Platinum with added pieces of holo square glitter. And it's the best. The formula is identical to Painted In Platinum. Easy to layer, feels thin on the nails even though you layer it 3 times. With full coverage it's super reflective and has speckles of holo. I mean, it's the best :D
  • Trashed In Teal - $10 - teal jelly base with square pieces of holo glitter. This one is very similar in idea to Colors By Llarowe (and effectively Essie's Starry Starry Night) Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It's a deep jelly that layers really nicely so the glitter sits sandwiched in between and sparkles through really prettily. The depth it creates is ocean like and glass like. Painted Polish makes this in blue, purple and green (as far as I can remember) and I'm definitely adding those to my wishlist!
Painted Polish is available on their website, which you can get to here. I completely recommend ALL of these. Seriously, just look at the pictures :)
For me, the turnaround from ordering to at my doorstep was 4 days. I purchased them on Sunday the 18th, and got the shipping notice that evening. It arrived this morning, which is the 22nd. Granted, I live in Northern California and they ship out of Northern California so I'm geographically in a great place to receive them. However, you can't deny awesome service when they're packed and ready to go on a Sunday evening, especially during a holiday weekend!
Also, the packaging was just the cutest! I opened the box and found a glittery note, a satchel that contained the polishes as well as some decals and Lexi's (the creater/owner) business card. It was really a wonderful touch and I love that attention to detail.



Anyways, I'm hoping all of you really enjoy this post because I really love these polishes! They're awesome, unique to my collection, and are of great quality. They were so good that I went from opening the box to swatching to posting all in one day.

Plus, there's a restock TOMORROW (1/23/14, 11am PST) - so make sure you go check out PaintedPolish.com!

All of these photos were taken indoors with artificial light. The photos that used flash are noted in the captions. I'll be able to take outdoor photos with sunlight (weather permitting) tomorrow so I'll post those after they're done :)
And without further ado, here they are:

Drunk In Holo

Drunk In Holo

Drunk In Holo

Drunk In Holo

Drunk In Holo, 1 coat, with flash

Drunk In Holo, 1 coat

Drunk In Holo, 2 coats

Drunk In Holo, 2 coats

Drunk In Holo, 2 coats, with flash

Drunk In Holo, 3 coats, with flash

Drunk In Holo, 3 coats

Drunk In Holo, 3 coats

Drunk In Holo

Drunk In Holo

Painted In Platinum

Painted In Platinum

Painted In Platinum

Painted In Platinum, 1 coat

Painted In Platinum, 1 coat

Painted In Platinum, 1 coat, with flash


Painted In Platinum, 3 coats

Painted In Platinum, 3 coats

Painted In Platinum, 3 coats

Painted In Platinum, 3 coats, with flash

Painted In Platinum, 3 coats

Painted In Platinum, 3 coats

Painted In Platinum

Painted In Holo Platinum

Painted In Holo Platinum

Painted In Holo Platinum

Painted In Holo Platinum

Painted In Holo Platinum, 3 coats with flash

Painted In Holo Platinum, 3 coats

Painted In Holo Platinum, 3 coats


Painted In Holo Platinum, 3 coats with flash

Painted In Holo Platinum, 3 coats with flash

Painted In Holo Platinum

Painted In Holo Platinum

Trashed In Teal

Trashed In Teal

Trashed In Teal

Trashed In Teal, 3 coats

Trashed In Teal, 3 coats


Trashed In Teal, 3 coats with flash

Trashed In Teal, with flash

Trashed In Teal