Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 2011 Favourites

This is my first monthly fave post. I'm not sure if I'll devote myself each month to such a post, but since one of the purposes of this blog is to discover holy grail products worthy of stopping the constant testing and searching, it's worth pointing out what some of those products may be.

1.  Benefit Hollywood Glo Complexion Highlighter - Unfortunately this is a discontinued product. Benefit is constantly discontinuing gimmicky old faves and putting forth new gimmicky things. I can barely keep up with them. If you have a favourite product from Benefit, you had better stock up on them because they do tend to disappear off the shelves quickly without notice. Hollywood Glo is a few years old but I never used it despite having had it in my stash all that time. I had bought it for the fun of it but had no idea how to use luminizers, highlighters and complexion enhancers then. After watching Lisa Eldridge videos recently, I was inspired to pull it out from deep within the train case and give it a whirl. And the result is a subtle glow that never fails to garner compliments! I've avoided highlighters in the past because I have oily skin and I could not imagine being any shinier or "glow-ier" than I am already by mid-afternoon, but the very subtle shimmer is quite distinguishable from and not to be confused with a shiny T-zone as long as I blot faithfully. Though this product is no longer available in stores, it can still be found in various retailers online.

2.  Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 - BEST.PRIMER.EVER. I do believe I've found my HG primer and it took a long time to work up the nerve to cough up the money for it. First I took home a sample from Sephora and wore it faithfully for two weeks to ensure that it would not make me break out nor prove false to its claims. According to the Sephora website:

A mineral-based, water-resistant primer with SPF 15 that neutralizes the skin, minimizes shine, and creates a smooth, uniform canvas for flawless makeup application.

It was the water-resistant part that sold me, as well as a rave review by Beauty Editor and this Zuneta video (the MUA is hilariously over the top, leaning heavily towards spastic and annoying/enthusiastic and passionate). I'm looking forward to seeing how this performs in the hot summer months. This primer mattifies my oily skin so well that I don't have to blot until noon or mid-afternoon, when normally I find myself having blot at 9am after the subway commute to work. Yet it isn't drying and provides a smooth canvas for foundation application. It's well worth the horrifying CAD$70 spent at Sephora. I'm not sure how this will work on dry skin, but if you have oily skin and haven't found your perfect primer, try a sample of this immediately. It will change your life.

3.  Vasanti Conquer 3-in-1 Stick - I already reviewed this once in my chapstick/lip balm inventory (and Vasanti was kind enough to quote me on it on their website - surprise!) but it's worth another mention. I really really like this balm. I keep my almost-empty tin of Rosebud Salve by my bed, but this Vasanti stick was a constant fixture on my desk during the crazy study bouts before finals. I sat for hours and days at my desk, pulling all nighters and picking at my chapped lips until they bled (terrible habit since childhood), and this Vasanti lip balm was a lifesaver through it all. It's smooth and soothing without being greasy or heavy. It does moisturize and last through the night so long as you're not licking your lips during your sleep. It's about CAD$15-17 at Pharma Plus/Rexall, so it's not the cheapest option out there, but I like it so much that it has overthrown the Burt's Bees Pomegranate Oil Lip Balm as my favourite lip balm/chapstick.

4.  Benefit Coralista - I received this as a 500 points perk at Sephora over the winter. I had tried Dandelion and Dallas in the past and generally like what's dubbed the "Benefit Box of Blushes" but felt in  recent years that I had outgrown them or possibly even the brand. However, considering that 3 of the 7 featured products today are from Benefit, that's not the case at all, is it? I have a fondness for coral which I chose not to indulge in for the longest time, for whatever reason, and I was glad for a chance to experience the greatness of Coralista without having to pay for it. Initially, I was disappointed by what I thought was the lack of vibrancy or pigment. Coralista isn't a pure coral but a coral-pink, and it applies very subtly at first. However, after trying it a few more times, it has become one of my favourite blushes of all time. There's a pretty shimmer that's surprisingly wearable, the shade balances wonderfully between both warm and cool somehow and seems to actually be a universal colour for all skin tones. I know there are mixed reviews of Coralista out there, but currently it ranks right beside my other favourite blush, TheBalm's Hot Mama.

5.  Clarins Instant Sun Light Summer Glow Palette SPF 15 - I didn't even know that this had SPF 15 until I just looked it up for a URL to link to. Unfortunately this was a limited edition item from last summer, which I had no idea about when I picked it up for 50% off at Sephora. Here's a great blog post on the collection with a nice pic of the palette. I use it as a bronzer/blush, depending on what I feel like. I'm not a huge bronzer user, but right now I am at my most pastiest and feel like a light touch of the bronzer makes a whole lot of difference in the complexion. The palette is also so pretty that looking at it has the instant effect of cheering me up. The quality is also fabulous and makes me look twice at the brand Clarins in general.

6.  Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner - I've seen mixed reviews on this. Some hate it because it doesn't stay put without a primer and some love it because the shades are pretty and they don't mind priming the lids since everything else now seems to require a primer anyway. I'm with the latter group. I've developed a love for little glass pots full of delightful colours and this Benefit line of cream shadows are just that. I have four of them (R.S.V.P., Birthday Suit, Skinny Jeans and Get Figgy) and feel such a thrill every time I open up the lid and dip my finger into the smooth, creamy texture and pat over my lid. I find that they last best with either the Urban Decay Primer Potion or the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow layered beneath. (It doesn't seem to blend as well over a MAC Paint Pot.)

7.  Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil - This is the Zero/Whiskey duo that came in the Naked Palette which I dedicated an epic post to some time ago. The best thing about the Naked Palette, for me, was the discovery of these 24/7 pencils. I could not keep an eyeliner on for anything until this pencil. Urban Decay is riding a huge hype wave right now over many of their products and I stubbornly resisted until I tried it first-hand, and now also am a huge fan of these liners. My search for the perfect pencil liners has now ended. These pencils will remain even on the tricky waterline for a goodly amount of time, not budging until I remove with a good quality eye makeup remover at the end of the night. Well done, Urban Decay. Well done.

What are your faves of the month? Have you tried and loved any of these products?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nail Polish: Bourjois So Lacque! in 37 Bleu Asphalt (and an attempt at duping Essie Smokin' Hot)

I didn't mean to do a series of nail polish posts, but here we are again. Everyone recall when Bourjois was in Sephora some 4-5 years ago? And how sad many people were when they disappeared completely from North America for a while? Well, we Canadians are lucky enough to have them back, but in Shoppers Drug Mart instead of at Sephora. (Sorry, Americans - I hear you're still waiting for their return.)

To be honest, though, I'm not a huge Bourjois fan or expert. I have their waterproof eye makeup remover which I'm feeling just okay about. Other than that, I've only tried their nail polish. The selection of colours in their nail polish line is either very small or released in limited quantity where I shop, so I usually don't pay much attention to Bourjois in general. However, I was waiting for a sales associate to help me with some Lise Watier products and tapping my foot impatiently when this particular polish caught my ever-roaming eyes.

It's a dark stormy colour that I'm naturally drawn to, but what really caught my attention was its similarity to Essie's Smokin' Hot which I reviewed back in December. Hang on tight, because this post is about to get lengthy.

Beauty Reductionista is a relatively new blog (started late October). I don't advertise or promote the blog aside from yapping on Twitter, and have 69 public followers as of today. So my stats aren't exactly stellar and I don't pay much attention to the numbers. What I do pay attention to are primarily comments and questions. Secondarily, I browse for (a) where the blog traffic is coming from, (b) which posts are read most often and (c) what search terms lead people to my little corner of the internet. (Meaning what interests people and what they're looking for.)

By far, the most popular searched term is "Essie Smokin' Hot." Thousands of people have looked at my Smokin' Hot post, and when it first started happening, I was quite baffled. I was even a little (lot) flattered. But I was new and naive. Today I know better.

Smokin' Hot was/is supposedly a dupe for Chanel Paradoxal. Paradoxal is GONE. Smokin' Hot, too, is now long gone. But people keep searching because Essie is less than half the price of Chanel. (Though, that is no longer the going rate according to this!) I grabbed Smokin' Hot when it was released, not because I went out looking for it, but because I came across it and liked it. I got lucky. I have not seen it on a store shelf since.

So people are looking for Smokin' Hot. Like, non-stop. They just keep searching month after month, and I feel bad for them. Essie is affordable and Smokin' Hot is a nice colour. It's too bad that it's not out there anymore. So when I see something that resembles Smokin' Hot, I'm going to pay attention.

Bleu Asphalt, as you can see, is not a dupe.

Unless I carry a bag of nail polish around, there is no way that I am able to tell apart shades by memory. I bet some of you nail polish bloggers are amazing at it, but I get a little upset when I come home with something similar to what's already in my collection. My nail polish purchases are aimed to close the gaps between colours, so I'll often try to pick up something different and distinct. But I bought Bleu Asphalt on purpose, thinking that I would do the hunters of Smokin' Hot a big favour. The "bleu" part of the name did not deter me from thinking that it wasn't a dupe of Smokin' Hot which is very much a purple.

Bleu Asphalt is a smoked out cream navy. Maybe a cross between Dior Gris Montaigne and Dior Blue Label or a possible dupe for Dior Bond Street. It's a great colour on its own and covers nicely in one coat. Even for a dark colour that's almost unheard of. I think it's a nice deal all by itself, without being a dupe or a comparison for something else. I love Bleu Asphalt!

But it doesn't solve the Smokin' Hot dilemma. There are great blog posts out there that has information on dupes or possible dupes. Unfortunately I haven't come across those dupes in any of the retailers I frequent.

Then it hit me. Duh - what is a Dior Rock Coat good for if not to recreate everything to a smoked out darker version of itself?

Immediately I thought the best candidates for this experiment from my collection are OPI for Sephora Metro Chic and Rimmel Steel Grey (Steel Grey being a dupe of Metro Chic; Sally Hansen's Commander in Chic might also work. This vicious cycle of duping is craaaazy).

Everybody all together (left out Rimmel, doh):


THUMB: Rimmel Steel Grey + 2 coats of Dior Rock
INDEX: OPI for Sephora Metro Chic + 2 coats of Dior Rock
MIDDLE: Essie Smokin' Hot (2 coats)
RING: Bourjois Bleu Asphalt (1 coat)

THUMB: Rimmel Steel Grey + 2 coats of Dior Rock
INDEX: OPI for Sephora Metro Chic + 2 coats of Dior Rock
MIDDLE: Essie Smokin' Hot (2 coats)
RING: Bourjois Bleu Asphalt (1 coat)

Not entirely a success. I'm still having trouble with Dior Rock applications. It continues to be streaky on first try and goes on too dark on the second. If you've got the secret to a one-coat application of Dior Rock, the result might be close enough to Smokin' Hot if you're at my level of nail polish fanaticism. If the combination of these greyed out purple shades + Dior Rock were a solo nail polish of its own, I wouldn't buy it because it's too close to Smokin' Hot which I already have.

So, there you go. The option is out there. At CAD$22, perhaps Dior Rock is more than what some are willing to pay, especially in addition to another purple polish you may or may not have to purchase. The total adds up to what you would have paid for in the first place for Paradoxal. But considering that Paradoxal and Smokin' Hot are off the shelves and being sold on eBay and the likes for even more outrageous prices, this is your best bet unless you have a way of getting hold of the other dupes mentioned in fantastic posts such as the one here by The Daily Varnish.

And here ends the longest beauty public service announcement ever issued. Bleu Asphalt sells for CAD$10 at Shoppers Drug Mart. It might not make up for missing out on Essie Smokin' Hot, but it just might ease the hurt for those who favour blue over purple.

[EDITED November 2011: Essie is bringing back Smokin' Hot as a part of the permanent collection!!!]

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nail Polish: Dior Underground

Please pardon the awful pictures. I'm not sure if you can tell the difference from my usual pics which aren't that great to begin with, but I just could not for the life of me capture what I thought was the true colour of Underground. Frustrating!

Unless you're in direct sunlight or some other type of brilliant lighting, Underground comes across as an almost black brown. I found that the complexity of the shade is almost lost once applied on the nails. I thought I might like it better than Blue Label but it was not the case.

with flash

As you can see in the pic with the flash, there's a purple-plum-taupe dimension to the shade that just does not translate under regular lighting in person.

This looks more accurate. (Freshly applied manicure.)

As you can see in this second pic, it looks more like a very dark chocolate brown, which doesn't look as special as the first pic. I do love a nice dark brown but Underground was purchased with the expectation of being a complex and interesting shade. It is but it doesn't always look like it.

However, again as stated in the other Dior posts, the polish formula is excellent and it went on smoothly without trouble in two medium coats. The lasting power was also formidable. Combined with a Sally Hansen base coat and the Seche Vite top coat, this mani lasted an entire week with minimal wear and tear.

One week later!

Granted this is a pic of my left hand and I'm a righty, so the right hand did have some chips, but those chips only occurred after I spent an entire day in the kitchen preparing a feast for my mom's birthday dinner. I was really impressed by how well this manicure lasted. I know some people have had issues with Seche Vite chipping quickly, but as far as I can tell, it dries down super quickly and keeps the manicure fresh for a very long time.

Final verdict on Underground: Worth wearing to a picnic. Not worth wearing to the movie theatre.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

OPI Top Coat + OPI Drip Dry vs. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Some time ago, I ditched my China Glaze top coat and repurchased the OPI Top Coat which I had used once and loved. I gave the CG top coat a fair chance but did not love it. The consistency became stickier and goopier as time went on, and once it hit the halfway mark, I did not want to spend any more time fussing with it, especially as nail polish change became a weekly (or tri-weekly) event.

Trade Secrets sells a combo pack of the OPI Top Coat with the OPI Drip Dry for $19.99, so I thought I'd save a few dollars by getting that instead of the individual products, which would have been closer to $25. I had also never used drying drops before, so I was eager to test it out.

WARNING: This duo package does NOT come with a dropper for the drying drop. (The one in the bottle is the one I replaced it with from another package, sigh.) It originally came with a flat cap with no dropper beneath or attached to it. There is no way to use the drying drop without a dropper, as pouring it straight from the bottle is just begging for trouble. I was pissed. The saleswomen or the box itself should have told me that. Maybe the box did, but I didn't read it too carefully. I purchased this based on my past experience with the OPI Top Coat.

Box not pictured.

Some weeks later when I saw the individual package of the OPI Drip Dry, I picked it up just for the dropper alone. It was too late for me to return the original packaging as I had tossed the box and receipt weeks before I actually tried the products. Stupid me, I will never do that again. I hate box-hoarding but sometimes it's wise to do so temporarily. But I mean, where would you buy a tiny little dropper just the size of this Drip Dry, anyway? (Seriously, leave a comment or message me if you know.)

Note: "FREE Dropper"! So generous of them. *eyeroll*

Having tried the Drip Dry at last, I was so pleased that it warranted a tweet. If I used to wait 30 minutes to an hour for my nails to dry, this shaved the time down by at least half or even more. Plus, using a dropper is so much fun. I don't really get to handle one except for the giant turkey baster come Thanksgiving. Not quite the same feel.

Dropper, yay! Flat cap lid, hisssss! boooo!

It takes one drop over the smaller nails and 2-3 drops over the thumbs. I raved about this to anyone who would listen, as if no one else had even heard of drying drops before.

But it wasn't long before my wandering eye caught the sight of a discounted Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat while I was out looking for waterproof flat shoes (not wellies). $7.99 at Winners, y'all. Having heard so much about it, my curiosity was aroused. Of course I should have tried it sooner, but sometimes the stubborn part of me resists a hyped product just for the sake of resisting. Plus I believe it costs more than other top coats, though, now as I know, it's for damn good reason.

Behold -- a miracle!

O.M.G. people. Why did it take me so long to try this? This is the ultimate time saver. It's a top coat and a speedy dryer. Why spend time taking two steps when you can take one? It's glossy, protectant and dries down in 10-15 minutes. Nothing more to say, except that it is THE BEST top coat ever. You can bet that I'll be going back for this, discounted price or not.

As for the OPI Top Coat and Drip Dry (which I now have TWO of), they'll be going into the swap pile. They're not bad products on their own, but they're not the best, and I'm especially irritated over the dropper business. I don't buy foundations or lotions that make you buy extra pumps (NARS, Clinique) and I don't like having been tricked into doing so with this Drip Dry. OPI, take note. All of your Drip Dry bottles need to come with a "free" dropper. You don't have to have a pump or special equipment to dole out foundation or lotion, but you certainly need one for an item called a "drip" or a "drop." Seriously, it's the least you can do.

Have you tried Seche Vite? Do it! Have you been tricked into buying products without the proper equipment needed to apply the product? Tell me!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

DIY Tinted Moisturizer

Back in January I solved my foundation dilemma by mixing Cargo Lightweight with L'Oreal True Match. Since then I have noticed that the formula needed adjusting because it was still too dark and I kept getting pastier with the lack of sun during the last stretch of winter. But with the weather warming up, it's probably a good idea to "lighten up" on the foundation and opt for a tinted moisturizer instead.

I am nearly finished with my trusty Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer but cannot use it anymore due to the warm weather. My oily skin finds it too heavy during this time of the year and I've been using the remainder of my Aveda Outer Peace Acne Relief Lotion lately. So I turn into a faux-chemist again and decided to add the Cetaphil to my custom-mixed foundation.

The bottle of foundation is only half-full (looks full because I shook up the mixture) and I added about a dozen pumps of the moisturizer into the foundation. At that point it's still more foundation than a tinted moisturizer, which is good for me because I need the coverage, but it did lighten the foundation colour so that I could use it again. I'm thinking of adding more lotion to the foundation to make it a truer tinted moisturizer, hoping to get away with using that minus an actual moisturizer on hot and humid mornings.

Personally I really like Cetaphil and L'Oreal True Match, and combined, they yield great result. Do you mix your own tinted moisturizer? If so, what is the best combination that you've come up with?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Alternate Uses for Products You Hate

I haven't been very good at reducing my stash of products as promised, and it was tempting for a while to think of gathering all the products I hate and throwing them out en masse into the trash. However, the part of me that was raised to be thrifty and unwasteful cannot bear to part with even crap products that do me no good. And with the mass of specific products out there micromanaging and marketing every tiny unit of the human body into being shaved, groomed, slathered and massaged "properly," it's difficult to think outside of the box.

Then one day it occurred to me. What can scrub the face can also scrub the feet. And what can moisturize the face can also moisturize the decolletage. And what can cleanse the makeup off your face can cleanse the makeup off the brushes!

Take the St. Ives Apricot Scrub, which I don't actually hate, but will be using until 2025 at the rate I dab my fingers into the pot. Some complain that it's too harsh for the face. Well, if it's too harsh on your delicate parts, how about using it on the not-so-delicate areas, like the soles of your feet? Making it do double duty is the only way that I am going to get rid of it.

And how about this Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser that does nothing for my face (except to possibly aid it in breaking out)? It's been gathering dust in my bathroom cabinet for months and no one will take it off my hands. I used it to clean my concealer brush and it worked like a charm. That brush is clean without being stripped, just like your face is supposed to be after using this. At around $7 in the drugstore, it's also much less expensive than the MAC Brush Cleanser or other cosmetics company brush cleansers that typically sell for more than $20.

And this Marcelle Essentials Night Cream - it's actually not mine. I got it for my sister on a whim one day and she said she didn't like it. So there it sits on her vanity, all lonely and dusty and neglected. I suggested she use it to slather it on her decolletage and arms and hands like a body butter, where it won't have a chance to break her out. She thought it was a good idea.

Though it seems she hasn't actually put the idea into execution yet.

So, it's not like the idea is genius, and I'm sure a lot of practical-minded women out there are already doing the same thing or even more creative things with disliked products. Like I said earlier, it's difficult to train the mind to resist the labels that are pre-applied for us. At least, I do.

How about you? Are you already using certain products in ways that they're not really meant to? Is there something you hate in your stash that can double as something else that you need?

Nail Polish: Dior Blue Label

I think Dior is going to be my new go-to for nail polish. Love the colours they come out with, love the sleek design of the bottles, and love the formula and the brush.

If you are thinking of picking up some of these new Dior varnishes, I suggest you be quick and get yourself to a Dior counter ASAP. This was the last Blue Label I picked up from The Bay (Yonge/Bloor location) and I don't think that they're restocking.

This required two coats for perfect application. It also dried fairly quickly, which is a huge plus. Blue Label is a deep, rich, creamy navy which I have been longing for for a while. It looks almost black under dim lighting, but you can definitely see the blue under natural lights.

All the pics display two coats without top coat. I'm so pleased with this and glad that I have Underground as well to look forward to. Since the shade is quite dark on its own, I didn't see the need to test it with the Rock Coat.

For those who are wondering how this compares with Dior Bond Street or Chanel Blue Satin, see this great comparison post by The Beauty Look Book.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nail Polish: Dior Rock Coat (and Underground and Blue Label)

The Dior Rock Coat. A nice alternative for those who love the dark, the smokey and the murky. Also a more elegant alternative for those who abhor the shatter top coat. I enjoyed my shatter polish for three days, then promptly sold it on Craigslist, knowing that I was never going to put it on again. I loved watching the shatter happen but it's really not my style. I won't be participating in the new shatter shades that are starting to hit the shelves. (Frankly, the red one just looks like bloody cracks to me and not at all attractive.)


I do crazy things when I'm stressed. I had written three tests and four essays in two weeks. I still have one more exam to go before the semester finally ends. My brain is nearly broken. I had been planning to look out for Dior Rock but I hadn't planned on getting the other limited edition shades that come along with it. I ended up with Underground and Blue Label as well, and if Nirvana had been at the counter I stopped at, I would have scooped that up as well.


Now sigh with me. Aren't they gorgeous?

According to the Dior website, this is what the Rock Coat is and does:

Rock Coat, the ultimate smoky top coat

Rock Coat adds depth to the Diorvernis shades with a smoky veil of lacquer for a seductive rock effect.

The key: when used as a classic top coat, its semi-transparent black formula, coats the varnish with a veil of smoky lacquer extending wear and increasing shine.

The nail varnish takes on a rock look, becoming sensual and enigmatic.

- Apply one coat over dry nail varnish
- For best results, use Rock Coat with darker shades

I didn't take the advice and used it over a bright shade. I still had Chanel Pulsion on, and I hadn't looked up the Rock Coat instructions. Frankly I still don't know why it's best over darker shades, but here's how it turned out with Pulsion.

Chanel Pulsion over the biography of Romantic poet L.E.L.

I tried to be methodical and took pains to record how the Rock Coat affects the nail polish with one, two, and three coats.

One coat over index, two coats over middle, three coats over ring finger.

You can see that one coat ends in a rather streaky finish. I wonder if that's why Dior advises us to apply it over darker colours? Frankly even two (thin) coats ended up streaky, which is why I applied the third. The consistency is rather watery/milky, not as thick and syrupy as a regular top coat. I love the concept of the Rock Coat but am not sure if I'm loving it in execution. As the three-coated nail dried down to something resembling Essie Wicked, I realized that I have a ton of dark smokey shades that don't really require the addition of the Rock Coat.

I still need to play around with it a lot more and figure out what the best combinations are, and see if the Rock Coat can transform any duds into scores. But if you already have a collection of beautiful dark colours that you love and don't want to change, I would advise you to save your money and energy by passing on the Dior Rock Coat. If you have a collection of mostly light and bright colours, and don't want to spend a lot of money on dark colours but want to experiment with them temporarily, the Rock Coat is your new best friend. I think that it can be used strategically and creatively. But I'll never be putting this over Chanel Pulsion again, because together they amount to a lot of wasted money. If I wanted this dark, sultry wine colour, I'd have just put on Essie Wicked and saved the extra application time, right?

As for Underground and Blue Label, I am super super stoked. I don't have a creamy navy or a true brown in my collection, and these two give me the same excited feeling and vibe as the Gris Montaigne, which I still so very much love.

Are you interested in the Dior Rock Coat and planning to purchase any of its accompanying varnishes?

(For more swatches, see Fashion Polish's post on her experience with the Rock Coat.)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nail Polish: Chanel Pulsion

It looks like I get an A+ for blogging and F for essaying. I am so distracted, it's not funny!

I can't stand it when I wear a nail colour that I don't like looking at. It was the case with the NYX Mango Cafe, so I found myself rummaging through my stash for a good replacement. Nothing seemed to suit, and I remembered that I hadn't even taken Pulsion out of the box.

There was a lot of hype over Riva but Pulsion received little attention in comparison. I grabbed both at the same time. Now ordinarily this kind of pink-fuschia shade doesn't call to me, but I think Chanel's masterful packaging somehow makes what looks trashy or ordinary in other bottles look refined and vibrant in theirs. Here's the promotional pic:

And here's how it turned out on me. Unlike Riva, it applied like a dream, almost fully in one coat. (I applied two just in case.) Very smooth, not runny or watery or goopy - the consistency is perfect. I also have Blue Satin but have not tried it for a long time so I can't really compare them and determine whether Chanel polishes are as great as some people claim they are. I'm going mostly by colour - the more unique it is, the more likely I am to pick it up. (No to Mimosa, yes to Graphite!)

It's very juicy and vibrant and perfect for toes in the summer. I don't dislike it on my nails and I might even love it with a cleaner manicure, but for some reason I'm picturing this lovely fuschia peeping out from clean white sandals. It looks like my mind is on a vacation already... one more week to go before the academic torture ends! I'm sure there will be a few more polish change-ups before then. Afterwards I'll do a quick review on OPI Drying Drops, then it's a dive back into the inventories and a review of how I'm progressing.

It's raining a lot here today and of course today is the day I have to hit the campus library to research. I hope you're all having a much more fun and relaxing weekend than I am!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nail Polish: NYX Mango Cafe

Hello, I'm alive!

In my restlessness, I had to change my nail polish. And having changed it, I can't help but to want to blog about it. So I'll make this super quick as Henry James and Jacques Derrida are still waiting for me to do them justice.

NYX Nail Polish in Mango Cafe

This is the only NYX product I own/have tried. I'm not fond of NYX, Wet n' Wild or ELF. I can't explain the weird prejudice I have against them but having tried out Mango Cafe here, I am not eager to work with NYX again. It's streaky and gloppy and took three coats to achieve this effect.

Without flash (Sorry for the dim lighting!)
With flash (Sorry for the reflection! lol)

I'd say the true colour lies somewhere between the with flash and without flash. It's not quite pink, it's not quite mango, apricot or coral. It's a weirdly indistinguishable colour that clashes with my warm skin tone. It might look lovely on the fair-skin types with pink undertones. I bought it one day while longing for something in the coral family. The bottle looked cute on the shelf and I wanted to be adventurous. Oh well, didn't work out. I didn't bother with a top coat since I won't be keeping it on for too long.

P.S. I just discovered the wonders of drying drops. (OPI in particular.) Super late to that party, but at least now I know how to speed up the manicure process.

What are you wearing on your nails lately?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nail Polish: Gosh 571 Wild Lilac

Just a quick one to say that I'm alive but uncertain whether I will continue to remain alive throughout the next 3 weeks of exams and essay deadlines! Maybe I'll sneak online at 3am and do another post to release some stress (isn't it odd how blogging helps with that sort of stuff?) but it may also be that I'll be MIA for a few weeks even. We shall see!

Anyway, what you do want to see is my new nail polish, yes? Behold GOSH Wild Lilac:

I know the dim shots make it look similar to Metro Chic and other murky purples, but the brighter shots are more accurate. This is the brightest and most vibrant purple that I own. I'll try to update this post with comparisons with the other purples in my collection, but I don't have the time or energy right now.

GOSH Cosmetics is sold in Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada and available online at I got this for $5 on sale and am very happy with the price and quality. It went on smoothly in two coats (you might get away with even one but I like to make sure it's completely opaque) and dried very quickly. I wish I had explored this brand sooner, because it's decent stuff at a very affordable price. I hope they come out with more exciting colours and collections in the future!

What are you wearing on your nails today?