August 4, 2015

[Press Release] Zoya Focus & Flair Collections for Fall 2015!

Look at this exciting press release I just received: Zoya's Fall collections!

From Runway to Real Life!
Two exciting new Zoya Nail Polish collections arrive for FALL 2015

FOCUS (creams)

The Zoya Focus Collection features six strong, solid shades that anchor a look for fall as stand-alone shades. The densely pigmented cream formula features a unique, micro-grind pigment that allows for extra-smooth, streak-free application.

  • Charli- a dusty taupe cream with a hint of green, a perfect neutral.
  • Desiree- a classic sable brown cream that has just enough gray to keep it cool in tone.
  • Hannah- a clear, classic red cream with a balanced (neutral) undertone.
  • Janel- a deep red cream with a rich warm undertone.
  • Lidia- a rich eggplant cream with a blackened purple base and just a hint of red resulting in a color that is wearable for most skin tones.
  • Sia- a true, royal blue cream. NOTE: This is a highly pigmented shade - make sure to apply a base coat to prevent staining.

FLAIR (metallics)

Six, jewel toned liquid metal shades. The unique, micro-grind metallic pigment of the Zoya Flair Collection is fully blended into a vibrant base, creating the effect of brilliant colored melted metal!
  • Tris - a blackened, brushed nickel liquid metal.
  • Cinnamon - a classic bronze liquid metal, originally designed for Zang Toi NYFW F/W15.
  • Aggie- a gold holo-flip, liquid metal with bronze micro glitter. Sheer enough for layering with one coat or fully opaque in three coats!
  • Ember- a deep, fiery red liquid metal with enough blue to be wearable for all skin tones.
  • Giada- a purple liquid metal with a hint of fuchsia pearl.
  • Estelle- a blue on blue liquid metal with a blackened base.



$9 (US), Available in top salons, spas and on

* **BIG5FREE, TOXIN FREE: Zoya Nail Polish Formula contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene or camphor.


I'm particularly excited for the metallics- especially Tris, Cinnamon, Aggie, and maybe the blue as well!  Charli from the cremes also looks intriguing!

What do you think?

August 3, 2015

Polished by KPT Don't Be Ranunculus [Swatch] [Nail Art]

Hey everyone, welcome to a new week...eeek!

Today I have a gorgeous thermal polish to share with you: Polished by KPT- Don't Be Ranunculus, which is from 2014's March Into Spring release.

brush shot showing cool thermal state

Don't Be Ranunculus is a warm-sensitive thermal shimmer polish. The starting, cool color is sort of a rich, warm, slightly brown-toned cranberry color (right up my alley!). The warm transition state is a light mauvey-purpley-taupe-pinkish color. So, so pretty!

The shimmer in this is pretty complex! There's a couple different types of glassflecky particles and then there's also green and fuchsia shimmer. I really can't tell if it's color shifting shimmer or if it's two different shimmers...

Also- the name of this polish! Cute and funny! 

Artificial light, two coats:

I realize the flower stamp doesn't actually look like a Ranunculus, but that was the closest thing I had! (It's from Moyou London- Pro XL 11.)

So, a lot of the time while wearing this polish, it stayed in this ^ semi-transitioned state with the cool transition at the nail tips and the warm state on the nail bed itself! I love it so much- like a natural gradient!

This is what it looks like as it starts to get colder:

You can see the nail bed (warm state) color has gone from a very taupey-mauve to a light berry shade.

Cold state:

More of a cranberry color!

Here are the two thermal states separated using warm and cool water:


The halfmoons were done using French tip nail guides with Essie- Penny Talk, and the large floral accents on thumb and middle finger are actually stamping decals. I went with decals because I wanted a very clean stamp with good placement, and there were bits I removed from the design. Basically, I didn't want to overlap the halfmoon on my middle nail, so I decided a decal would be safer. It worked out!

The pinkie is just stamped normally!


You can tell I loved this one because I took way too many photos!

Formula: The viscosity is medium-thick, and it's also fairly pigmented. I had a perfect opacity in two easy, smooth coats, but be sure to wrap the nail tips during both coats to avoid sheerness there.

If you do a thinner first coat, and then thicker second, the shimmer seems more pronounced during the warm transition color (this is what happened on my non-swatching hand- very cool effect!). Either way you apply it, it's going to be gorgeous- so don't worry!

*Disclosure: polishes in this post were provided to me as press samples for honest review, and all opinions are my own.

August 2, 2015

Empty Empty Empty: June & July!

Howdy everyone! How is your weekend progressing? I have been successfully avoiding the heat by swatching and doing blog stuff like mad!

Today I have another two months' worth of empty product goodies* to review and share with you!

*A note on the prices as I've listed them: I've tried to source the lowest and most easily accessible options for purchasing these products, although please take my price quotes with a grain of salt as things do tend to fluctuate, and shopping around can be helpful finding better deals! All prices are for full-sized items, whereas a lot of my reviews are for sample or deluxe sample sizes, as noted!

Let's get started! As always, I've grouped the products into broad categories:


Batiste Dry Shampoo (dark & deep brown) 
I've reviewed this before, but my opinion of it is evolving. I still like it- mostly for the fact that it doesn't create a huge problem with "white cast" for people with dark hair. I feel that it adequately absorbs oil and refreshes hair for at least twelve hours, but after that point, I think it makes my scalp and hair feel dirtier than before! So it's a bit of a love/hate relationship I have with this product! You can see I got it for a decent price at Marshalls, though! 

Something that nobody mentions is that prolonged, regular use of dry shampoo does dry out your hair situation, since it is absorbing all of the natural oils. I definitely have to be careful with dry shampoos since I have color-treated hair prone to dryness. 

I really wish more dry shampoo brands came in dark-colored shades! Might or might not repurchase!  $8.99 (Ulta)

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo  
I'd been seeing rave reviews of this shampoo for quite a while before I finally decided to give it a shot. It's way pricier than I'd normally pay for a shampoo, but it is very concentrated, and if you use the recommended amount (quarter-sized), it actually does seem to be fairly economical. This bottle lasted me almost four months and I wash my hair every three days normally.

Upon doing some research, it turns out that the new version (which I have) of this shampoo contains a few different ingredients, including benzyl alcohol which can be irritating to the skin. Many people who have tried both versions say that the new one is far inferior to the original formulation. (The new version also has water added, which means the product is less concentrated.) That said, I still enjoyed this shampoo! It lathers, cleanses well, is technically sulfate-free, and didn't dry out my scalp (although it does contain silicones). It does smell very herbal-medicinal, though, and I can see some people not liking that. Probably will not repurchase! $19.26 (Amazon)


Now Solutions 100% Pure Organic Jojoba Oil  
I've been using this as an eye-makeup remover and in the Oil Cleansing Method! It's a thinner-textured oil, and works very, very well to dissolve eye makeup- although I don't normally wear waterproof products. It works better than almond, coconut, or olive oil for me though! I'm a fan, and I think this particular brand is priced pretty well! Will repurchase!  $10.50 (Amazon)

Pangea Organics Facial Cream- Nigerian ginger with Lavender & Thyme  
I liked this, and it smells delicious! It's good for a daytime moisturizer for me, but not heavy enough for night time. It sets to a tacky finish at first, but does eventually absorb into the skin well.
I don't love it enough to pay full price though!  $40 (

Clinique Turnaround Overnight Revitalizing Moisturizer 
This came is a deluxe sample size trio with a promo code from Sephora. Love it- but what else is new with Cliique skincare? It felt great on the skin, and moisturized super well! Smells like nothing since it's fragrance-free.  $39.50 (Sephora)

Clinique Turnaround Daytime Daytime Revitalizing Moisturizer 
This is the accompanying daytime moisturizer that came in the trio. (The other item is a serum which I haven't gotten to yet.) I really like this too- more than the Pangea moisturizer! I think these samples are too small to see any "revitalizing" effects, but it does function well as a moisturizer. My skin liked it! Might purchase!  $38 (Sephora)

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Creme 
This is good, I think, but it's way too small of a sample to accurately judge! I got two applications out of the satchet. Pricey, though, huh?  $50 (Sephora)

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Anti-aging Mattifying Lotion 
This came in an Ipsy bag, and let me just say how little product was inside this tube! Kind of cheap, and I know I was not the only one who thought so! Sort of one of the reasons I left Ipsy, to be honest!

Anyway, this is fine, but its performance completely does not justify the pricepoint for me! It's expensive, and I didn't really see any mattifying effects! Actually, my Paula's Choice sunscreen mattifies more than this product. As a super light moisturizer, it's fine, but I'd never pay $60 for something like that, so I think this is overrated!
Would not purchase! $60 (Sephora)

Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm 
I used my final accumulation of Ipsy points on this product since it has rave reviews across the internet! Let me be the first to say that I hate it! I only managed to use up about half of this .20oz tube. It seems like there is an ingredient in this, (and I don't know which one), that I'm allergic to! My lips felt drier the hour after using it, and prolonged use began a cycle of peeling lips that had to be completely and utterly exfoliated every day- moreso than I'd ever experienced! It finally occurred to me that, no, I wasn't dehydrated, and that this product was responsible! I discontinued use, and my lips went back to normal. So, if you have sensitive skin or lips, I'd recommend against this!

Another thing is that I actually don't like the texture, which is pretty important! I found it overly sticky, like a lipgloss! Would not purchase! $17.99 (Amazon)


Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in 'Auburn' 
I've reviewed Brow Wiz before, but I don't love it as much as I originally did! It's still pretty great, but very overpriced for the amount of product it contains! Despite the thin tip, I'm not actually able to draw realistic-looking hairs; for me, it's still a bit too thick for that purpose. I currently only use it to softly outline the area which I would like to fill in with powder, and then blend everything together with a spoolie at the end. Might not repurchase now that Nyx has a similar product on the market!  $21 (Sephora)

LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Shadow Primer  
My favorite eye primer! The labeling on the tubes does manage to wear away nearly-completely by the time I'm done with one, though! I think this primer is great for oily lids or hooded eyes- I have both. It's a neutral, light skin-toned color, and also subtly enhances whatever eyeshadow you put on top of it.

To make bright colors pop though, you really need something more akin to a white, opaque cream base- like the famous Nyx Jumbo Pencil in 'Milk,' for example. Would repurchase!  $21 (Amazon)

Everyday Minerals Semi Matte Base in 'Ivory'  
Just a baby sample size! I like this as much as I like pretty much any mineral base I try from Everyday Minerals, which is a lot! 'Ivory' matches my skin very well, and because it's less pink-toned that many of the other EM fair shades, it does a little to neutralize redness on me. I do remember these being $12, though, so there's been a slight price increase. Would purchase! $14 (

NYX HD Studio Photogenic Finishing Powder (SFP01) 
This is just 100% silica, but it's very finely milled and at a decent price point! I love it to finish a look when I feel like taking that extra step. It definitely makes the skin look nice! I also think that it can keep me looking matte longer- even in high heat and humidity! 

One negative is that the sifter in this is completely worthless. The holes are massive, and you can sift out the entire contents in one go if you're not careful! Nyx really needs to refine that, but in the meantime you can tape over most of the sifter holes to limit product spillage. Already repurchased!  $9.99 (Ulta)

-Hand/Cuticle Care-

Burt's Bees Honey & Grapeseed Hand Cream 
I believe this came in a gift set, and it's just OK. It does feel a bit sticky- even after it seems to have completely absorbed. The smell is foody, like honey, and that's actually bad for my day job working with dogs because, well, they all want to lick my hands to death! Wouldn't purchase. $6.30 (Amazon)

Dionis Goat Milk Hand Cream in 'Vanilla Bean' 
I got this as a souvenir of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida simply because I needed a hand creme for my bag and it smells fantastic! It's actually a very sweet type of vanilla smell, and just delicious! The texture was on the thinner side, and it's actually pretty moisturizing. Dionis seems to be a boutique brand, so I don't know how available it is, but I might purchase this again as a treat!  $2.99 (

Polished by KPT Unscented Cuticle Oil  
This was sent to me as a PR sample. First, I love the massive size of this oil! It contains 3.85 mL, which is almost twice as much as most cuticle pens contain! The mechanics of the pen are great- never encountered any issue- and the actual brush tip is very soft, allowing you to swipe oil under the nail (important), and into the cuticle areas. I love that it's vegan, and has awesome ingredients! (Argan oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, shea butter, and tea tree oil to name a few! Would purchase! $6-$10 (

Bliss Kiss Simply Pure Hydrating Oil  
I love this cuticle pen as well, and this is the second Bliss Kiss one I've demolished! The brush seems slightly shorter and stiffer than the KPT pen, which could be a bonus or drawback, depending on what you prefer. The main oils in this pen are jojoba, grape seed oil, and olive oil, but I wouldn't be able to discern a difference between the feel of these two pens if I did it blind. Would purchase!  $6.23 (

Fake "OPI brand" Cuticle Oil Pen from NIPOO 
This is the first I've depleted, but I got these in a set of five on Amazon, and they were actually not marketed as OPI.  Nowhere in the pictures or descriptions did it say OPI, which I just find kind of strange! They are obviously fake, but why bother if you're not going to show off the brand?? The text on the pen is full of spelling and diction errors, and out of the five, I have one pen that has a failed mechanic where it won't advance the oil.

This particular pen is fine, though! It kept my cuticles adequately moisturized, but does have a strong, chemical/ cleanser lemon scent. Would not repurchase.  $5.39 (5) (Amazon)

-Nail Care-

Up & Up Nail Polish Remover Advanced Formula  
This is Target's house brand, acetone-based remover and it's awesome! It's mostly acetone (96%), so is quite strong. I actually like that because it means you don't have to expose your skin and nails for as long as you would with a non-acetone remover (or one with less acetone). It's pretty cheap, too! Will repurchase!  $2.19 (Target)

Kleancolor Nail Lacquer in 'Metallic Mango' 
Oh no! My first nail polish casualty in recent memory! I'm not sure what happened, but this Kleancolor has completely dried out to the point that more than half of the bottle contents have evaporated! The remainder is beyond revival with thinner.  It's just super gooey and glue-like. So sad! I think some polish must have been around the neck of the bottle and prevented a perfect seal. All of my other Kleancolors of the same age are just fine!  The metallics from this line are great for stamping, by the way! Would repurchase!  $3.72 (Amazon)

That's it!

Have you tried any of these products?

*Disclosure: polishes in this post were provided to me as press samples for honest review, and all opinions are my own.

July 31, 2015

Kickass Manicures of the Month! [Feature] [Nail Art]

It's time for another Kickass Manicures of the Month- where did the time go?!

As always, I had waaaay too much awesome nail art to choose from! It's a little excruciating narrowing down to just five, but here they are in no particular order:

Minnie from Nailbees puts out incredible nail art constantly, but I particularly loved these Cockatoo-inspired nails! Just look how wonderful and detailed the hand-drawn birdie is on the thumb! I love the skittlette too, and the gradients are awesome!  PS: there's also a step-by-step on her blog for this design, so check it out!

I loved these nails from Lexa of Glitterfingersss as soon as I saw them on IG! They are part of the 'Flower Power' Picture Polish Nail Art Quarterly challenge, and my favorite I've seen so far! I just love how bold the black outlines are and how graphic the flowers become with just two bright colors emphasized!

Traci of Newsie Nail Novice has created one of my favorite colorful, seamless gradients I've seen in a long time with this manicure...and then topped it with perfect bold, black stamping! Oh yes, and the beautiful shimmery holo topper Yeti the Stone Warrior from Elevation Polish layered in between! Love!

I love graphic patterned nails, and this ikat design from Lisa of The Polish Playground fits that category to a T! I just love her color choices and consistency between nails! I would totally rock these nails any day, and it makes me want to try ikat again!

PiggieLuv's nail art is always pretty jaw-dropping and inspiring, but I particularly adored these rainbow vertical gradient nails with a soft, overlaid watermarble! It's like pattern-on-pattern but it's cohesive and non-clashing! The translucent watermarble is so perfect over top of all the glittery bling! Plus they glow! This manicure basically has everything!

That's it! Don't forget to follow the links back to give these nail art creators some love!

Nailstalgia: Barielle Falling Star [Swatch] [Nail Art]

Hey guys, happy Friday!

Can you believe it's already the end of the month? This time, Nailstalgia falls on the final day of the month for a change! I really wanted to use one of my 'untried' polishes for this series this time, so I decided to show you Barielle- Falling Star!  I've had this sucker for maybe two years and never gotten to it. Gah!

Falling Star was originally released as part of the Fall 2009 All Lacquered Up collection!

Falling Star has a purple-leaning blue base (Is it periwinkle? Mmmm, not quite, IMO!) with copper-orange hex and square glitters. Pretty simple!

I actually didn't realize there were two shapes of glitter in this polish until I started looking at the photos on the computer! The squares seem to be more numerous...

Artificial light, two coats:

A little closer:

The design on ring, pinkie, and thumb is from MoYou London- Sailor 05, and I used Kleancolor- Metallic Orange to stamp!

I wore this for a few days on both hands and really enjoyed it!

Formula: It's workable, but has a very strange viscosity that feels a bit runny, but then tends to clump up on itself and almost drag or pull if you're overzealous. Very hard to describe, but basically it could self-level a little better. It does build nicely to opacity in two coats, though, and wasn't difficult or anything- just not perfect!

Have you tried this shade?

July 29, 2015

Bottle Spam: 31 Saturated Summer Shades to be Excited About!

Hey nail people! Happy Wednesday!

Here is a long overdue Bottle Spam post for you: my picks for Summer 2015! Yes, It is almost August, but the heat here is killer, and I think there's plenty of time left for playing up Summer hues!

Here is a little Summer rainbow army:

I don't know about you, but Summer for me is mostly all about bright, saturated color- even neon (although I've shown a lot of that recently, so I omitted polishes I've previously shared.)  This time, I've grouped everything by color family.

Let's get started! 

Red/ Orange/ Coral:

China Glaze- Let the Beat Drop, Indigo Bananas- Rhubidium Rhod, Picture Polish- Paris, Glam Polish- Hibiscus, Illamasqua- Shrapnel

Indigo Bananas- Rhubidium Rhod is an orange-leaning neon red, and the only one I haven't tried yet from the Neon, the 10th Element collection! It looks super hot! Glam Polish- Hibiscus has multichrome flakies, various shimmers, and a holo shimmer base- need I say more?!  Picture Polish- Paris is the most beautiful coral, and I'm really itching to wear it! Illamasqua- Shrapnel is a very strange metallic. Is it bronze? Orange? I'm not really sure, but I'm intrigued!

Pinks/ Fuchsias:

NYX Advanced Salon Formula- Delectable, OPI- Hotter than You Pink, Essie- Watermelon, Zoya- Dita, Zoya- Lo

OPI- Hotter then You Pink is from last year's neon set, and it looks amazing! I love the blue flash that it has! Essie- Watermelon is a classic, and actually looks very close to Zoya- Dita when they're next to each other like that! NYX Advanced Salon Formula- Delectable has the most amazing gold shimmer!

Magentas/ Purples:

Formula X- Dazed, SUPER BLACK- Drunk Dial, KBShimmer- Sugar Plum Faerie, Glam Polish- BOING!, Smitten Polish- Aer Opal (v2)

SUPER BLACK- Drunk Dial is such a Summer color combo to me with the yellow and orange glitters. Glam Polish- BOING! is uber-sparkly- seriously, the holo in this polish is incredible, and I can't stop looking at it in the bottle! I think that Formula X- Dazed (from the new Technicolor Silks line) is a very unusual metallic shade, and I'm interested to see if it'll stamp!

Deeper Purples/ Blues:

OPI- Do You Have this Color in Stock-holm?, Zoya- Jo, Essie- Stroke of Brilliance, Illamasqua- Regal, Smitten Polish- Aqua Opal

OPI- Do You Have this Color in Stock-holm? is a perfect purple creme for nail art, and Smitten Polish- Aqua Opal is so incredibly saturated that my camera fails to capture it correctly!  Zoya-Jo is actually a recent acquisition of mine (I got it during the Earth Day promo), and it's a pretty well-known shade. Very beautiful in the bottle!

Teals/ Aquas/ Turquoise:

Emily de Molly- Serenity, Cirque Colors- Thicker than Water, ILNP- Rehab, Illamasqua- Strike, Priti NYC Polish- Midnight Blue Gerbera

I've had ILNP- Rehab for a while, and haven't worn it! It's the perfect green-leaning teal holo!  Priti NYC Polish- Midnight Blue Gerbera has a jellyish base with prominent green/ teal shimmer, which is right up my alley! Cirque Colors- Thicker than Water has the most amazing green/gold shimmer, mmm!

Yellows/ Greens:

Zoya- Solange, Cirque Colors- Electric Circus, Priti NYC Polish- Castle Cactus, NYX Advanced Salon Formula- Enchanted Forest, Smitten Polish- Not Your Mama's Easter Grass, Color Club- Under the Blacklight

I have to be in a very specific mood to wear vibrant greens, but these are certainly some gorgeous ones! Zoya- Solange is a Pixie Dust texture, and those are so easy to wear- I'm thinking of trying it on my toes. I've been meaning to try Smitten Polish- Not Your Mama's Easter Grass forever! It's a super saturated green chunky holo finish! Cirque Colors- Electric Circus is a topper full of matte, neon glitters, and I think it'll be really cute over a solid color- maybe even Color Club- Under the Blacklight!

That's it!

What say you?
Have you tried any of these shades?
Any specific swatch requests?

*Disclosure: some polishes in this post were provided to me as press samples for honest review, and all opinions are my own.