April 1, 2015

Empty, Empty, Empty: January, February, & March

Welcome to April! Can you believe it? I cannot.

You might notice that I've skipped another 2-month Empties post, but with traveling and all of the swatching I did with the ILNP Holo Ultra Chrome Flakies and Spring collections, I needed to postpone the empties review. Another 3-month round-up it is!  It will be a relief to ditch all this beauty garbage afterwards!

I've broken the empty products into general categories, and we'll start with skincare first!


Now Solutions Sweet Almond Oil
This has been my primary carrier oil for the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) for the last six months, at least. I like almond oil a lot for the face! I feel like it's moisturizing enough, but not too heavy for my skin, and does a good job removing makeup around the eyes and on the skin. Sometimes I even use this as a straight facial moisturizer as well, applying at night. Almond oil is supposed to be great for the scalp too! Almond oil is a thicker, more moisturizing oil, and can be comedogenic for some people, so that's something to think about.

More recently, I've been using this as a facial cleanser without adding Castor oil- so it technically hasn't been "carrying" anything. I just find that even the smallest dilutions of Castor oil can be too drying for my skin in Winter. I'd repurchase this, but I'm going to be trying Jojoba oil for this purpose next, which is lighter and supposed to be even better at removing makeup.

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
This was originally a back-up bottle for me, as it's a product I haven't used in a long time- so a bit of a throwback! But, I used to LOVE this stuff. It's such a great drugstore moisturizer. I'm not sure why I ever stopped using it, to be honest. My skin loves it, and always looks nicer in the morning after using it the previous night. The formula is on the thinner side, but not runny, and sinks in pretty well. It doesn't feel heavy, but is somehow able to moisturize my super dry/ dehydrated skin very well. It also has Hyaluronic Acid which has proven benefits for all skin types, so I'm thrilled this product contains it.

I'm already working on a second bottle of this!

Hey! Pinkgo Girl Triple HA Seaweed Collagen Moisturizing Sheet Mask
My first sheet mask ever! I've been intimidated by these, so it's taken me a long time to try them, but I finally picked up a ten-pack of this kind on Amazon.  It was....an experience. I will say that these really are meant for Asian facial features, which I do not have. The cut-outs for the eyes, nose, and mouth really didn't want to align with my own, which was pretty humorous. Once it had a moment to lay on my skin and attach itself, it wasn't a huge problem or anything, and I'm sure I'll get better at applying them now that I know what to expect. Definitely weird, though, and I wouldn't be comfortable trying to use one on a plane or anything like some women do.

This mask also has Hyaluronic Acid, as well as Hydrolyzed Collagen, which is supposed to plump skin "to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pore size. Help to achieve a soft and even complexion." Don't know if it does all that, but sounds nice.

Afterward, I noticed that my skin felt very smooth and did seem to be extra moisturized, which carried over into the next day. Other than that, no major results, but I have nine more of them to try before I can reach a full verdict!

And, um, if anyone can tell me what the hell is going on on the front of the packaging, please do! 


Lypsyl Silky Swedish Beeswax Lip Balm 
Okay, this is one of my favorite, tried-and-true, cheaper drugstore lip balms. It's not too waxy, and feels very nice and moisturizing, and I think it can heal chapped lips if you use it consistently. I like it way better than anything Burt's Bees makes for the lips! It smells vaguely minty. Also, the package design is so cute! It's oval, so fits the shape of your lips very well, and the slider to push up the product is an adorable little bee! Will definitely repurchase.

Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm
Speaking of Burt's Bees! This came in a gift set that someone got me. For the lips, it's just "meh," for me, although it does have a nice honey scent. It's just a waxier texture, and doesn't seem to penetrate my actual skin to moisturize. I'm sure it might protect against future moisture loss, but that's not all I need in a lip balm, personally.

Strangely enough- and don't judge me- I used up the majority of the product in this tube by applying it to my cuticles! It's kind of great for that, especially on the go. The waxiness helps it stick around longer, and cuticle care items in tube packaging like this are so convenient.

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm- Lemon & Chamomile
Hey, it took me forever to use up this guy, which in a way justifies the near-$8 pricetag! I've spoken about Jack Black lip balms before, and they really are great. A lot of times, when a product is popular across beauty blogs, Youtube, or Instagram, you have to wonder if it's all hyped group think. With this product, I really don't think so! It's just super moisturizing, and perfect for extra sunny or windy days when your lips will be exposed to harsh elements. Also great as an overnight treatment! (It's chock full of Lanolin, which is probably why it works so well!)


Everyday Minerals Matte Base in 'Sunkissed Fair'
You're probably tired of seeing these, as I'm pretty consistent about using them up! Mineral bases are just so easy and non-finicky, that I can't help but wear them almost every single day, especially since I don't need or want much coverage. I used this particular shade for a long time, but felt like recently it'd been reformulated and didn't match as well.  I'm not really sure if that's true- I just noticed that after a slight package redesign 'Sunkissed Fair' didn't look quite the same, and it almost seemed like it would oxidize after a while of wear...which I didn't realize mineral bases could do?

Anyway, I kept this nearly-full as a back-up for months, and then finally pulled it out to finish it when the 'Vanilla' shade ran out. 

Everyday Minerals Jojoba Base in 'Vanilla'
This is the shade I picked up instead of 'Sunkissed Fair.' It seems to match me pretty well, and I think the the Jojoba bases give a nicer finish than the matte bases do- at least for me. They are matte without be overly, super matte. I like that! I'll probably repurchase this!

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara- sample size
I think I got this as an 100-pt. perk from Sephora. I like it. I'm currently using the smaller size of Tarte Gifted, and those two mascaras are extremely similar, formula-wise. The brushes are different, but given the same brush, I'm not sure if I could tell them apart.

I've read that Lights, Camera, Lashes is a wet mascara formula, but for me it was on the drier side! I don't know if that's just this sample size, though. Hmmm... It did give me good results for quite a few applications. I think it's better for length than volume, since it didn't layer on itself too well without becoming spidery. These tiny sample sizes do dry out quickly though, so I found that this started flaking on me after about a couple weeks of use.

-Hand Care-

Nivea Smooth Sensation Body Lotion, 2.5 oz
I used this only as a hand cream, and it's not particularly wonderful. It has that mineral oil feel, which is nice at first, but doesn't feel deeply moisturizing or last throughout the day.  I do find that mineral oil-based lotions are nice to use before swatching, because they smooth the skin without making it look too "wet" or reflective, like a balm would. Wouldn't purchase the full size.

Burt's Bees Milk & Honey Body Lotion, 1 oz
Well, this has got to be 10 years old, I'm not even joking. I remember getting it in a gift set another lifetime ago, so I'm not sure if it can be fairly evaluated. I'd recently re-found it, and decided it needed to be used up.

It does smell like honey, but mine was a little bit separated inside of the bottle, which was mildly gross. It did a good job of lightly moisturizing though, and is definitely suitable for sporadic daytime use. Nothing extremely special, though.

Qtica Smart Spa Exotic Mango Sugar Scrub, 5oz
I love this scrub! It came free with a Zoya order...over two years ago, I think.  This is the old jar packaging, and I think now all of Qtica's smaller sized scrubs come in tubes.

It's slightly less scrubby than the KBShimmer one I will talk about in a minute, and a little more...gelatinous- although I'm not sure that's the word. It smells citrus-y and a little bit like Mangos, very pleasant! I like to use this on my hands while in the shower. If you want extreme exfoliating, you can use it dry, with no water added, to get maximum scrubbing power. If you have moist hands to start, it's a much more gentle exfoliation. I'd purchase this again if it weren't quite as spendy. (Currently a 7oz scrub is $18-eek!)

KBShimmer Raspberry Vanilla Scrub
This sample packet had just enough for one scrub application, and I have to say that I loved it! Are you surprised? Probably not! It smells delightful, and is really a pretty grainy, scrubby scrub. It got my hands very smooth. I also really appreciate that the full list of ingredients is available on these sample sizes.

I'd definitely be tempted to purchase a full size KBShimmer scrub in the future!

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Moisture-Extreme Body Buttercream, .33oz sample sachet 
This felt thick at first, and then thin once you rubbed it in.  But, because it was just a sample packet, I don't really have a well-formed opinion. I do think that Soap & Glory is mostly pretty packaging though! (Also, holy cow the SEO product name! Yikes!)

Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment
Yes, I still love Aquaphor! I keep these .35oz travel tubes in various places so that my skin stands a chance against the dry Chicago Winter! I basically just use this stuff for my cuticles and I really think it makes a difference. It's also nice for an overnight treatment, and can also be put to good use for dry lips. It's basically the best.

-Nail Care-

Studio 35 Beauty Regular Nail Polish Remover for Natural Nails
This jar-style remover worked pretty nicely for me for regular creme polishes and some shimmers. Anything chunkier, though, and it was just a pain, as you'd expect. Inside, is just a sponge with slots for your fingers, so there's no gritty spikes like the Target brand version. This does have acetone, which I prefer in a remover, since it means you don't have to let the drying stuff linger for as long on your skin and nails. Not sure if I'd repurchase- I like the Target one more, but both Targets near me have stopped carrying it. Wah!

Zoya Remove +, 2oz
I like Remove +! It's really one of the better polish removers, but I only ever end up using it if I can get these small freebies with any Zoya order.

Natrol Biotin Maximum Strength 10,000 mcg, 100 ct.
Do you want your hair and nails to grow at lightning speeds? Take this! Not exaggerating. I've cut back to taking the 10,000 mcg ones every other day or every three days now. That seems to be a sweet spot for me. I still have to file my nails back a couple times per week or they are usually pretty out of control. Biotin really does promote growth if you take it consistently- kind of miraculous!

Premier by Dead Sea Premier Buffing Block
This came a few years ago in a gift set with lotion and cuticle oil. It was a good buffing block, but you can clearly see that it's lived well beyond its glory days! Out it goes!

Swissco Glass Nail File
Like the buffing block, this has seen better days, and is no longer as "sharp" or efficient as it once was at filing nails. It was my primary glass file for a long time, though. This particular file is only one-sided though, which is a bit of a bummer. The other side is just smooth glass.

Zoya Anchor Basecoat
This is a decent base coat, but it's a little bit wasted on me since I typically don't go for manicure longevity. I usually paint my nails, on average, every three days, so I won't repurchase this for that reason. When I did use Anchor as a base and wore polish for longer, I didn't really notice better wear, to be honest. I can't compare it to Orly- Bonder, as I've never tried that. (Bad nail blogger!) I do think it's fairly protective against staining, and I have no major complaints.

NailTek Foundation II Ridge-filling Base Coat
According to the back, this base coat is supposed to strengthen the natural nail, which I definitely did not notice. I remember actually having peelies while using this instead of OPI- Nail Envy. However, it's an excellent ridge filler, and I got a lot of good use out of it for swatching chrome or matte finishes- or any other polishes that needed a really smooth base! (I don't have super noticeable nail ridges though, so YMMV.)

INM Out the Door Super Fast Drying Top Coat
Body Chemistry seems to play a large role in how quick dry top coats work for most people, but Out the Door works well for me! It's really one of my favorite top coats, and I've already reviewed it at length here. It sets the top layer or two of polish very quickly for me, and I never get sheet marks or anything like that when using this immediately before bed. It also never shrinks polish on me, which Poshe and Seche Vite do. (Yes, I wrap my tips.) However, Out the Door is not the best for nail art, since it can smear polish designs such as stamping, for instance, when you apply it. I also wish it had a glossier, shinier finish.  Will repurchase!

That's it!

Did you finish anything exciting or find new beauty product faves last month?

March 30, 2015

Indigo Bananas- Hot Ice Creams for Cold Days [Swatch]

Hey guys! Eeek! Monday! Yuck!

Today I have Indigo Bananas- Hot Ice Creams for Cold Days originally from the Willy Wonka collection (Paradise) to share with you! Another stunning shade I've swatched from the same collection is 2% Butterscotch Ripple, which also made my initial shortlist for top polishes of 2014!

Hot Ice Creams for Cold Days is a purple-leaning fuchsia jelly base with violet colorshifting shimmer, strong holographic shimmer, as well as sparser holo glitters.

Artificial light, two coats:

As you can see, the holographic effect is very strong with this one, and had no problem giving me lots of nice rainbows under even artificial light. Love!

Window-filtered direct daylight:

Outside, shade:

Even in the rare instance when the holo is not lighting up, there's a lot going on in this polish to keep your interest! Pretty!


Up close:

Formula: It is slightly on the sheerer side with a medium-thinner consistency, but smooths over the nail surface well, and is nicely workable. The first coat wasn't streaky- just sheer, especially at the tips (but that's fairly normal for jelly bases). It dries down quickly, and is surprisingly opaque in two coats! Overall, super nice!

I highly suggest, that if you haven't tried this polish, you do! It's really a highlight among my entire indie collection. There, I said it! I can't wait to wear it again soon..

Hot Ice Creams for Cold Days | $12 | indigobananas.com

What do you think?

March 27, 2015

Nailstalgia: Orly- Rage [Swatch] & [Nail Art]

Howdy guys! How is everyone?

I can't believe it's already time for another edition of Nailstalgia, where I'll show you an older, well-known-in-the-blogosphere, commercial shade! March is really flying by, and my trip to Florida has been great so far! I'm a little disappointed to fly back to Chicago tomorrow morning! :sadface:

Anyway, today, I have one of my favorite commercial polishes ever to share with you, and someone has already guessed on Instagram which it is: Orly- Rage! I've loved Rage since I first got into nail polish. It's beautiful, and totally fits the current rose gold trend- one I hope never dies, since it's so flattering to many types of skin tone!

Rage is a rose gold shimmer with a metallic foil finish. It's super light reflecting!

Artificial light, two coats:

The turquoise on the ring accent is Picture Polish- Chillax, and I used a skinny chevron NailVinyl plus a KBShimmer thicker, straight vinyl to create the shape.

Window-filtered daylight:

You can't tell from the bottle shot, because I shook it up too well, but this is one of my most depleted bottles of polish, and the fill line is about to [the bottom of] the top of the 'O' in the label.

Outside, shade:


Up close!

Up close, you can see that the particles are a little more complex than is initially apparent. A lot of silver mixed in with the pinkish gold- pretty!

After wearing this for the swatch, I honestly wanted to bring it on vacation with me and live in it- that's how good it is! In the end, I forced myself to bring a few untried polishes instead!

Formula: It applies like most foils I've tried. It's nicely pigmented, and the viscosity is a medium thickness. Goes on fairly easily, and is opaque in two coats! If you're not careful, you can experience some clumping up of the shimmer particles, since they're so dense, but it wasn't too much of a problem for me. No brushstrokes, either!

What do you think?
Have you tried Rage?
Are you a rose gold fan?

March 20, 2015

Mail-time: Collective Polish Haul, Three Months: Jan-Mar.

Happy Friday, everyone! I don't know about you, but it's been a long week!

Today I just have a mail-time to share with you! But, it's a collective mail-time, and will contain all of the polishes I've acquired in the first three months of 2015...by mail, anyway! The only polishes I've picked up in person have been L'Oreal- Masked Affair & Bad Bad Grey, as well as two Sinful Colors, including Shamrockin' and Love Sprinkles. Is that weird?

I decided to do this as one big mail-time since I had several smaller orders, and I didn't want to create way too many mail-time posts! Hopefully you'll find something you want to see swatched here- just let me know, and I'll take everyone's comments into consideration for upcoming swatches!

Here's Hammers, who was totally not down with this mail-time shoot as it was interfering with his evening nap:

I can't remember if this^ is pre-sneeze or something else, but Ham-unit is not always amazingly photogenic, haha!

And here he has become annoyed with the autofocus-assist light, and is about to flee the scene:

"Peace, I'm out..."

Now I feel slightly guilty for so rudely interrupting his important napping schedule! Let's look at the polishes- I've broken everything down into their separate orders, of course.

First, an order from urbanoutfitters.com:

L to R: Urban Outfitters- Tutu, Tusk, Bandeau, Blue Velvet, Le Bleu; Paul & Joe- Plumes de Paon

I didn't realize Urban Outfitters sold any of their polish online, but I was shopping for pants, so I had to try the house brand, since I never had before! Of course, when I realized that they also carry Paul & Joe polish, I had to pick one up as well! (Some are online exclusives, as well.) You can see a swatch of Paul & Joe- Plumes de Paon here.

Next, an order from kbshimmer.com:

L to R: Sugar Plum Faerie, Funky Cold Patina, I'm So Sweet Pea, Meow or Never, To Peach His Own, Eyes White Open

I definitely had to grab some of the new Spring polishes when they were released! The first from left, KBShimmer- Sugar Plum Faerie, is a long-time lemming of mine, but the rest of these are from the new Spring 2015 collection, which as a whole really spoke to me! Pastel glitter crellies....yes!

I am planning on swatching the Spring polishes, but it won't be for a while! (I'll let you know why at the end of the post!) I have already used KBShimmer- Eyes White Open as a base for nail art, and hello new favorite white! I am totally thrilled about this white- two coats, very nice formula! I have also seen people stamp with it with good results. Totally does not disappoint!

Next, I placed an order with Color4Nails.com:

L to R: A England- Briar Rose, Emily de Molly- Lace Man , Picture Polish- Grace, Picture Polish- Sizzle, Barry M- Pomegranate, Barry M- Blueberry

I decided I really needed Picture Polish- Sizzle after all, and a couple of the Barry M Gelly Hi-Shines had been restocked, so I had to add a couple of those since I've been lusting after all of them forever. The rest of these polishes....fell into my cart?

The major reason I placed the color4nails order, though, is this:

The Creative Shop stamper! I'm really into squishier stampers, so I absolutely had to see this one for myself! I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but soon! I'm thinking about doing a review/ comparison with this new stamper, but I am not a stamping expert, so I'm kind of on the fence about it.

From amazon.com, I also purchased these brushes:

These are actually Winstonia brushes, and the Amazon order was fulfilled through the Winstonia Store (winstonia.com). It's just a set of 5 nail art brushes of different sizes! I only had one before this that I hated, so these are filling a nice void in my arsenal!

Next, this came in the mail!

I actually won this baby, Julep- Hartleigh, in Mrs Mosh's Valentine's Day giveaway! I've never won anything in a blog giveaway before, and never tried Julep at all, so this was pretty exciting! It's prettier than my photo captures too: it has all kinds of sparkly microglitter that isn't picking up! Thanks, Jeanatte!

Next, from hautelook.com:

L to R: Boosh, Faux Pas, Kink, Perfuzzi, Blizzard, Faithful

This is the first time I've seen Illamasqua on Hautelook! Praise the nail polish gods! Since they are so hard to get in the US at the moment, I had to take advantage! Not to mention that they were $7.50ea, which is less than a third the price of the original retail! These sold out quickly, but I was able to grab a few I didn't own already! (Shamefully, there aren't really that many!)

I can't believe it but I forgot to include Illamasqua- Loella in this photo, and it's my favorite one from the order!! I actually had to be patient because the last Loella was in someone's cart, but I was finally able to snag it! Can't believe I forgot to include it!

The polish on the end there is still in its box because it was labelled as "Coppered" on the site, and I'd never heard of it before. Well, it turned out to be mis-labelled! That's actually Illamasqua- Faithful, one of my very favorite Illas ever! I should have known! So, now I am saving it for a blog giveaway! (Polish Hound's 3-year blogiversary is in August, so I'm thinking that's when it'll be- I have a ton of lovely stuff saved up for it!!)

(PS: If you haven't noticed, Illamasqua- Boosh is my new favorite, amazing black! It's a stellar one-coater, and just amazingly creamy and perfect! I've used it as the base for nail art, and as the base for my ILNP Holo Ultra Chrome Flakies swatches! A new fave white and black in the same post- my life is complete!)

Next, I had to participate in the Scofflaw re-stock:

L to R: Jackalope, Rain Dogs

I had to get Rain Dogs, swatched here, and Jackalope I have wanted for quite a while. There were a few more I was having indecision about, but at this point in the year I was trying to "low buy," so two it was!

From serumno5.com:

L to R: Dark Matter, Work Hard Play Hard, Galactic Rainbow

Serum No. 5 had a 30% off deal to celebrate the Chinese New Year, so I thought it would be a good time to pick up a couple I'd been meaning to try! I've worn and photographed Serum No. 5- Galactic Rainbow (actually still on my right hand, atm!), and it is stunning! Swatches at some point in the future!

Finally, an order from elevationpolish.com:

L to R: Mill City Ruins, Storms of Marmolada, Devil's Cauldron

Elevation Polish- Devil's Cauldron was a huge lemming of mine, and I picked Mill City Ruins up because I still have not tried a single thermal polish. Can you believe that?! I'm torn on which of these to swatch next...was thinking maybe Storms of Marmolada. Ideas?

That's it!

Now, I'd love to know what you'd prefer to see swatched next! Serum No. 5- Galactic Rainbow is coming, and I'm intending to do the Spring 2015 KBShimmer polishes, but haven't begun swatching them yet.

What do you think?
What else should be prioritized?

Blog Housekeeping:
I wanted to let you guys know that I'll be taking a mini-hiatus, as I'll be going out of town all of next week. I'm traveling home to Florida for a bit of a vacation, and to hang out with family! I didn't really have the spare time necessary to pre-schedule posts for the week, so I'm planning to just resume where I've left off on March 30th. I needed a break, anyway! The boyfriend has been calling it "nail slavery." So.... *ahem.*  I didn't forget about Nailstalgia, so you will have that post on Fri., the 27th! (And, it's a good one!!)

Anyway, I'll still be reading blogs, and I will probably be around on Instagram as well, although I probably won't post trip photos until after the fact. Take care until the 30th, everyone!