Monday, July 18, 2011

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, $9-$10

Seche Vite claims their top coat is the world's finest--and you know what? It just might be. I originally got it from my sister-in-law, who said it's the only top coat that works for Konad nail stamps (i.e., doesn't make them smear everywhere). I liked it so much I started using it all the time.

The brush is a good size, it doesn't smear my polish, dries super fast, and leaves a super glossy shine. It also has helped my nail polish stay on longer, even those cheaper polishes that don't normally last that long. With most top coats, the ends start to chip within a day or so for me. With this top coat, it's extended to 3 or 4 days. I'm serious! And I'm definitely not super careful with my nails.

One downside is the smell; it's super strong. If you're sensitive to that kind of thing, I recommend doing your nails near a fan or open window. Another slight problem is that when it does start to chip, it more peels away than chips. This means that if you start peeling one side, half or the whole layer of polish might come away with it. However, I've found that if you put on a thinner coat, that seems to help with this problem.

Final verdict
Cost: $9-$10 at most drugstores--about the same as an OPI polish. For me, it's worth it because I use it for every manicure.
Fast-drying: It really only takes a few seconds to dry, which is perfect for someone who always messes up her polish right after it's done! While you still should be careful afterward, I can attest that the oh-it's-dry-wait-no-it's-not smudges have decreased.
Long-lasting: My polish looks nicer for longer, even when the polish isn't that durable by itself.
Shiny: The resulting finish is super glossy and shiny.
Repeat offender: Love this! So far, it's the best top coat I've tried. It smells a little strong, but the result is totally worth it.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sally Hansen Salon Effects, $9.99

This is the kind of product that you would expect not to actually work but I promise that once you try it, you will be pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the outcome! I never thought that I needed an alternative to nailpolish, or that one could exist really (these are deep thoughts I'm having don't you think?) but Sally Hansen Salon Effects polish strips really deliver.

The kit comes with a small double-sided nail file/buffer, a wooden cuticle stick, and 16 nailpolish strips. Why 16? Incase you have mistakes, according to the product but if you are careful you can actually use one pack of Salon Effects and get a manicure and pedicure (that is if you don't have super fabulous long nails which clearly I don't).

The first time I tried this product I bought the leopard print strips (you can see all available colors and patterns here). Wanting to do an awesome job I decided I should probably do a quick search on YouTube for a tutorial which turned out to be really helpful. But the package also comes with really detailed (and simple) directions of how to apply the strips to your nails.

Here is a quick rundown:
  • File and buff your nails, make sure to push back your cuticles and that your nails are perfectly buffed out and clean.
  • Select a strip that fits your nail (if it's a little big don't worry because once you smooth it out it usually just takes the shape).
  • Peel the plastic and the backing off the strip and break the silver tab at the end.
  • PROTIP: if you want to get more bang for your buck you can also just trim the polish strips so you don't lose too much.
  • Press the strip down to your nail, using your fingertips just smooth it out over your nails.
  • Smooth over the top of your nail using the nail file to remove the excess strip at the top.

Your outcome will be really awesome nails for up to ten days! This is not an exaggeration, if you are a really careful I bet it can last longer. Your nails will probably outgrow the time the nailstrips stay on. When you are ready to take them off, regular nailpolish remover does the trick.

Final verdict:
Cost: $9.99 for a package of nail strips. Keep in mind you can usually get a manicure and pedicure out of one package and it lasts for days. I would recommend doing this before a vacation so you don't have to worry about reapplying polish midweek.
Any tips?: Be patient when applying the nailstrips. I'll be honest, my first time I was very patient and my nails looked better. This time I was a little rushed and some of them didn't turn out looking as even as they could have. Your patience will be worth it.
Is it worth it?: For me it is worth it for the cool patterns. Since this is something I cannot achieve with my regular old nailpolish it is a nice treat to have a product that can offer a unique nail look.
Repeat offender?: Definitely. There is a fishnet pattern I'm dying to try. Though I'm really hoping the popularity of this product will inspire more patterns! Who knows, maybe Sally Hansen will take the route of many other popular polish brands and come out with seasonal collections (fingers crossed).


Friday, July 1, 2011

Essie Smooth Sailing, $8.00

Essie's Smooth Sailing nail color is a deep blue-gray shade laced with the tiniest silver shimmer that is really only noticeable up close or in the sun. The color appears to be inspired by the ocean and the way it can look blue and gray at the same time and still sparkle in the sunlight. My go-to nail colors this summer have mostly been pastels (these reviews coming soon!) but this lovely shade of blue really stuck out to me and I had to have it.

I've got on a base coat, 2 coats of polish, and a top coat. The formula is on the thicker side so make sure to allow enough time for the first coat to dry before applying the second. The staying power of this polish has been pretty good too, I think I've mentioned on previous Essie reviews that I felt like the polish chipped quicker than other brands but I think either the formula has changed or maybe I'm not being as rough on my own nails.

Final verdict:
Cost: Now that most drugstores carry Essie polishes (Target and CVS definitely do) they are a lot easier to find. I paid full price for this so it was about $8 but if you watch out, these do go on sale at CVS sometimes.
Does the sparkle make it too flashy for everyday?: Not at all, I love that this color can be fun and cool yet still look really sleek and professional too. The sparkle is hardly noticeable so if you are worried about having gaudy nails you won't have a problem.
Repeat offender?: I'd definitely use this polish over and over again. Despite the summery name "Smooth Sailing," I think this polish could also look pretty awesome in the winter with some sort of gray outfit pairing.


Monday, June 27, 2011

The Body Shop Camomile Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover, $14.50

I have very sensitive eyes, so I've had trouble finding a makeup remover that doesn't irritate them. I've also had trouble finding a remover that doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy (yuck!). So, I had resorted to using lotion as a make-shift remover--that is, until I tried The Body Shop's Camomile Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover.

The Body Shop's makeup remover is a thin, water-like formula with barely any scent.
(Almost invisible!)
Using a cotton ball, I've been able to remove all kinds of makeup quickly and easily. I'm talking full-on primer, eyeshadow, liner, and mascara, all without irritating my eyes or the skin around them. (Keep in mind that I don't use waterproof mascara, so I can't judge how well it works on that!) Though I usually just wash the rest of my face to remove my blush, bronzer, and concealer, I could totally remove those with this as well. It leaves a dry, squeaky-clean finish--not greasy or oily at all. That being said, I like to use my Clinique All About Eyes directly after using the makeup remover to re-hydrate the delicate skin around my eyes, because it can leave it feeling a little dry.

While it doesn't irritate my eyes, it might irritate my contact lenses--though I'm not entirely sure. I had some trouble with my contacts bothering me, and when I stopped using this for a few days (and changed my lenses), they felt better. This was during allergy season, so I'm not ruling that out either. I think, as a contacts-wearer, you could still use this, but perhaps use it after you take them out at night or before you put them in in the morning. I'm still not sure if it bothers them, but I've been careful not to get it on my contacts, just to be safe.

Final verdict
Cost: $14.50 is reasonable for the regular 8.4 oz. bottle. You can also try the mini size for $4 if you're unsure, or if you need to carry it in an overnight bag.
Effective: So far, the remover has worked on everything I've worn. I don't wear waterproof mascara, though, so I can't judge its effectiveness on that.
Formula: It's thin, water-like, and nearly scent-free, perfect for those more sensitive to perfumes and greasy textures.
Repeat offender: I will buy this again. I've had great results and love how it leaves my skin feeling clean. Even though I use it almost every day, it seems to last a long time.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clinique All About Eyes, $29

The best way to get the skin around your eyes looking lovely is to moisturize and get a good night's sleep. Well, we can't always sleep how we want (or, you know, how we feel we should--I, for one, love staying up late), so sometimes we need a little help. I have undereyes prone to blue circles, and a job (and hobby!) that involves staring at a glowing rectangle for hours. I felt like the perfect candidate for a cream that promises to "reduce circles and puffs."

I got a small size (0.21 oz.) of Clinique's All About Eyes in their High Impact Lashes Set ($20) that comes with mascara and makeup remover (reviews to come!). The regular size (0.5 oz.) is $29.

The first thing I noticed was its texture--it's very thin but super soft and lightweight. It immediately soaked into my skin and left it velvety, not oily at all (I hate that oily feeling some creams leave, especially eye creams). I used a tiny bit before bed and woke up with considerably less puff under my eyes. I put it on again in the morning and my eyes felt and looked even smoother throughout the day. I've been using it twice a day and I'm loving the results.

That being said, I still have darkness under my eyes, for which my genetics and skin tone might be to blame. I still feel the need to wear concealer, but All About Eyes does help that concealer work better by leaving a smooth, moisturized base.

Final verdict
$29 for 0.5 oz., $47.50 for 1 oz., or for $20 you can get a set with a small-sized cream, mascara, and makeup remover.
Texture: Lightweight, incredibly soft, not oily at all.
Effectiveness: I found that it moisturized my skin and reduced puffiness, but didn't really lighten my darkness as much as I hoped.
Repeat offender: This is my favorite eye cream I've tried. I love the feeling it leaves behind, its lightweight texture, and how it diminishes my puffiness, even if I need a little concealer, too.

Psst, like my nails? Konad Nail Art--will show more later!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sephora Collection Peach Beige 13 Eyeshadow, $12

First off, Happy New Year to everyone! After a little blogging break we are back and ready to review a whole bunch of new products.

I received this sample eyeshadow from a fairly recent Sephora purchase and wasn't too thrilled with it initially. I just thought it was a boring neutral that I probably wouldn't want to use much. But lately I've really been into wearing a neutral yet blended eye with a simple black cat eye so I thought I'd give this a go.

On its own, this shadow is pretty basic as you can see, a nice simple peach/beige color, true to its name. But when you blend the crease of your eye with a nice brown or shade in another darker color, this shadow is the perfect base color.

Final verdict:
Cost: $12 for a full size eye shadow. The size pictured here is smaller than the actual product but if you'd like to see what the full-size looks like you can see another Sephora Collection Eyeshadow I reviewed a few months ago, Tango Night.
Texture: The shadow is a nice soft texture which makes it perfect for blending.
Quality: I was very impressed with the quality and the lasting power of this eyeshadow. I wear it with a primer underneath and it doesn't budge. I usually use a YSL brown eyeshadow to shade my crease and the Sephora Collection shadow matches up perfectly to the high-end shadow.
Repeat offender? I will definitely be buying other Sephora Collection eyeshadows in the future.