Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Holy Grail Sunscreen: From the Drugstore!!

Just because the weather is starting to get cooler (in my neck of the woods, anyway!) one shouldn't abandon the religious daily application of a good sunscreen. I have always known the importance of sunscreen, but I admit I only started using it daily this past summer.

You see, I can't stand sunscreen. Historically, my skin has been a bit on the oily side and prone to breakouts. Although I have tried sunscreens that are oil-free and all that jazz, my skin always feels like a plastic layer is encasing it, trapping in oils and perspiration. Gross! A truly yucky and unpleasant feeling, not to mention the fear of breakouts.

One's skin needs to breathe!

Thankfully, I have discovered the best freaking sunscreen ever! Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch! At a conference this past May, a colleague was using it, and she let me have a squirt. She said she loved it, and I was impressed by the way it went on and seemed almost powdery-feeling after I had rubbed it on. Well, that feel would be the "dry-touch" aspect.

I have some acne scars that are a bit reddish, and I've idly wondered if I should explore something drastic to get rid of them, e.g. dermabrasion, peels, etc. Then I read this summer that sun exposure makes acne scars redder. Well, DUH! So obvious, but it hit me like a lightning bolt. Somehow, this epiphany was the prodding I needed to start using my new discovery on a daily basis. Why on earth would I be thinking of a procedure for my skin when I'm not even doing the most basic thing to help fade the scars and protect my skin from future damage!

I wear the 45 SPF version of the sunscreen under my makeup every day (I don't use moisturizer), and it works like a dream. One very hot day, however, I slathered on an extra huge amount to go outside and do yard work (no makeup). As I toiled away at some especially recalcitrant weeds, I began to perspire, and my face became a horrible mess. It was so bad and miserable-feeling that I was literally wiping my face with my T-shirt! Yuck!!

Based on that experience, I would recommend keeping the application down to a even, liberal amount without going overboard. It's sheer---but it doesn't disappear. The Ultra-Sheer Dry-Touch sunblock comes in several SPF levels going up to 100.

I give this sunblock a 5 out 0f 5 points, aka a "Euridice YAY!" rating. And, it's available at your good, old local drugstore!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NOTD: Chanel Jade is Jading Me

(The two bottle pictures taken Sunday night in indoor overhead lighting)

Is that title grammatical? I'm jaded by the Chanel Jade polishes, in other words. Last week I was excited to receive both the Chanel Jade (light green) and Chanel Jade Rose (light pink nude). I had planned a few weeks ago to buy them and finally determined the time was right and clicked the button, as it were.

A couple of hours later, I wondered: why did I do that? Do I really want these? They are $25 a pop! Why are these colors being presented for fall?? Am I just following the crowd? Well, better to have buyer's remorse for polish than for a house!!

I do think these colors are very pretty, and if I had followed the fall shows at the time they were originally presented, I might have been dying for Chanel to produce these runway shades. I like to wait until mid-to-late summer before I start poring over the fall fashion shows first, and then the magazines. It's more fun that way. You know: live in the moment.

Anyway, one major theme on this blog is that I am a major nail polish novice, aka "nail noob," so the question is whether the $25 price tag would result in the most ultimate, easy-to-apply polish ever???!! I've already experienced how awesome Wet n Wild Craze polishes are at $1.99.

The answer is...

...Meh! I don't find these easy to apply, but I think perhaps with some practice I'll figure out how to make them work for me. The Jade color goes on kinda streaky. Even when I got on two coats with a smooth surface, I noticed the color was streaky beneath the surface. I am not aware it's supposed to be that way, so I would prefer the color to be even across the nail. You know?

Jade Rose was similar, but for some reason it worked better for me than the Jade. Sunday night I decided to take it for a spin. I was able to apply three coats to be mostly opaque. It looks okay---not professional, but not so bad I was shamed into removing this morning when I awoke (I am a novice. It happens!)

The bottle has a subtle iridescence that I was not able to see when outside....maybe if I do it sheerer next time. At the end of the work day Monday, all the polish was still on (pictures taken at that time, in my office with lots of natural light). That is more than I can say for the China Glaze Dreamsicle I wore on Friday (but that is another story for another day! Still recovering.) Midway through Tuesday, still all there!

Interestingly, I find I really like the Jade Rose a lot. It was kind of an afterthought when I ordered it. "What the heck," I thought, "it's pretty! I'll just get it. I've come this far..." Of course, the Jade is pretty, too; I guess for me the Jade Rose is kind of the sleeper of the two, once you are finished marveling at the light green color of Jade you realize how nice the Rose is.

I definitely think Jade Rose will work well, once I feel I can apply it better, for nude nails this fall but also in the spring. The big project is to get the Jade itself to go on and look half-decent. I don't mind spending $25 for something special, but I also want the experience of application to be exalted or something. When I received my Barielles, which are $8 (buy two get one free on Barielle site), I was super-amazed both at the colors that Michelle of All Lacquered Up had created with celebrity manicurist Elle, but also at how wonderfully it went on my nails. Because of this experience, I know it's possible: if I spend the big bucks, I certainly want that same exalted experience as with the lower priced polish!!

Action shot! Because I always wear Chanel to do my cleaning:

Yesterday (Monday) Rachel Zoe tweeted that she was obsessed with Chanel Jade, and the Purseblog posted about jade-colored handbags. I'm excited about having these hot-buzz polishes, and again, I do think they are pretty. Just not perfect.

My Rating: Jade Rose = Euridice 4 out of 5 points (not quite "yay!") Jade = Euridice "meh! to okay!" 2.5 (until I can get the applications issues resolved).

Any tips on application??? Please advise!!!

China Glaze and Wet 'n' Wild Dupe!

I posted pics yesterday asking which nail was different. This hand is wearing China Glaze "Free Love" on all but the middle finger, which is adorned with Wet 'n' Wild "Inferno." When I bought my Wet 'n' Wild Craze polishes, I thought the orange did look similar to what I already had. They are very, very similar, and in the inside lighting, I could not tell them apart! I would assume they look similar outside as well, but I would need to test that empirically like the good nail scientist I would like to be.

I also like the way that Wet 'n' Wild applies a bit better than China Glaze, which also goes on well.

If you're interested in this color, and can locate the Craze polishes in your drugstore or other location where Wet 'n' Wild is sold, then I can recommend "Inferno" as a drugstore dupe to "Free Love." Craze polishes sell for around $1.99 each!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Which of These Things is Not Like the Other?

That's right, not every fingernail has the same polish. One of them is different. Which one is the different one? Extra Brownie points if you can guess the different polishes used. Both have been featured or mentioned in my blog so far.

If you think you know, leave the answer in the comments!! Answers will be posted tonight or early tomorrow, Eastern Standard Time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

China Glaze Nova Part Deux: As a Topcoat!

As mentioned in my previous post, I tinkered with using China Glaze "Nova" on top of various colors. The issue with using this glitter on top of other polishes is how thick and dense the glitter is. Even one coat gets you some nice coverage, but it also goes on in kind of a thick, streaky way (at least for me, the ultimate nail noob!!). One coat can leave streaks of thick glitter while the the second coat looks much nicer and is pretty much on its way to being opaque. So wearing Nova atop another polish is a tricky proposition for me.

I concluded that Nova works best over lighter polishes, where you are seeing the sparkle and not the actual glitter. Against a darker background, you see the sparkle but you also can see any pattern of the glitter on the nail.

I loved the way it worked on China Glaze "Twenty-four K," from the Sally Beauty Chromes and Glitters collection. This polish is a yellow gold chrome. I don't have a silver chrome, so I thought I'd experiment with a silver glitter over yellow gold chrome! In real life, one really can't totally see that the background is gold. So pretty! Catching the effect in pictures is difficult for me, though.

The above pic is a bit blurry in an attempt to show some of the sparkle. Below are four of my experimental colors: pinky = over Essie St. Lucia Lilac (very light lavender), ring finger = Essie "Sexy Divide" (dark rich purple metallic), middle = Essie Midnight Cami (navy blue), and index = CG Twenty-Four K, shown also above).

Thumb, below = China Glaze Moonlight (white), which had a little accident so that's why a little gash appears there! The glitter pattern does not show against the white, either, just a sparkliness that blends somewhat into the light background.

My pics of the St. Lucia Lilac on the pinky did not come out very clearly, but it was pretty as well.

Below, Nova over "Sexy Divide" was pretty, and the glitter spread fairly evenly. Still, one could see the glitter pattern against the dark purple.

I did not like Nova over midnight Cami at all, and I had originally thought that this color combo would work beautifully. The glitter came out in streaks and thick gloppiness in places. One will simply not be able to guarantee each nail would be spread even like the Sexy Divide example.I think a sliver glitter that is less dense would be awesome over these two dark colors.

Again, a comparison between three of the examples. I think another logical use for Nova and Cleopatra would be for using them opaquely to do a stripe or some shape over the nail (see the most awesome mani ever from Getcha Nails Did). If using as a sparkly topcoat, though, I do recommend over the lighter colors!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

China Glaze "Nova" Blings On the Glitter!

This look is fit for a baton twirler wearing silver sequins. Or perhaps the finishing touch for a spectacularly festive New Year's Eve outfit. Any festive winter celebration will do, but best with fireworks and strings of holidays lights to take extra advantage of the high voltage of this nail polish.

At any rate, "Nova" is a spectacular polish with a clear base and gobs of silvery glitter reflecting all different colors. Ooo wee!!

This is what I'm TALKING about! Pure glitter goodness!! A crust of bling on the nails, as it were. No wussy shimmer or polish with a little glitter in it. Hee, hee! I achieved this look with two to three coats, dabbing glitter into areas where I didn't get even coverage.

Please excuse my increasingly raggedy cuticles! As more acetone goes on, the more the hangnails form in front of my very eyes.

This glitter has at least two sizes to it. I also experimented with using it as a topcoat, the results of which will be a second part to this post. Stay tuned! Glitter week is continuing throughout the weekend!

China Glaze Glacier: It's Like Opals For Your Nails!

All of the new China Glitters are great, and Atlantis may well be the most beautiful, but I have to admit my favorite is "Glacier," a sheer, milky white polish containing fine pastel glitter. Since getting this polish, I have been playing around with different combinations. My favorite was a coat or two of Glacier over China Glaze's "For Audrey," a pretty pale robin's egg blue.

Glacier reminds me of an opal ring I used to have; the opal was white, smooth and oval with pretty pastel flashes twinkling up through the white surface. I have become obsessed with creating nails that each look just like that opal! Which means: trying Glacier over a pure white, and this week I grabbed China Glaze "Moonlight."

Ta Da!

Awesome! Well, the concept is great, but the execution does need a little work. To get the white to be opaque, I ended up putting THREE coats of the Moonlight on, then a coat of Glacier. While the effect on the surface was exactly right, the polish itself was way THICK. Like globs of glue!! Ha ha!

Ack! But look at that pretty, tiny multi-colored pastel glitter against the opaque white! Perfection! In person, it gives off subtle flashes of color, just like a lovely opal. Just in time for October!!

When my fingers were shaded from the light I was able to capture the opal-like sparkle with my camera.

Perhaps I can get away with just one or two coats of Moonlight, or perhaps I need to find a white that goes on opaque to begin with. In the meantime, I just LOVE Glacier, both as a topcoat over white or a light color, or as a coating of sheer opalescence over a bare nail. On a 1 to 5 scale this polish is a Euridice YAY 5 points!! Keep those glitters coming, China Glaze!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Goldie Glitter Nails: China Glaze "Cleopatra"

Next up on the China Glaze glitter train is "Cleopatra," which features fine yellow gold glitter in a clear base. Let's get down to it!

Two coats plus some extra touch-ups with just Cleopatra and Seche Vite top coat = a fine crust of shiny sparkly golden goodness.

This glitter reflects some colors but otherwise gives off mostly gold sparkle. It goes on with fairly good coverage, and I was able to bling out solid glitter coverage with two to three coats. I wanted to see how it worked as a topcoat, since I won't necessarily be wanting to wear a crust of gold glitter all the time---always good to have multiple uses, don't you know!

The issue with this glitter, though, is that the glitter is packed in densely and thickly, so I wouldn't want to just put a crust of glitter over another color and cover it completely. I used it over Essie's "Wrapped in Rubies," a red with some warm golden shimmer to it. My thumbnail, below, shows pretty dense coverage but one can still tell it has the dark red underneath.

With a deft hand, I thought that one could skim the brush quickly and gently to make a more sprinkled look, as shown on my index finger, below.

I like this gold, sparkly Cleopatra, particularly that it sparkles mostly gold and is a finer glitter. I give it, on a scale of 1 (No!) to 5 (Yay!), a Euridice Yay! 5 whole points, along with its collection-mate reviewed yesterday, gorgey dark blue-green Atlantis.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

China Glaze Semi-Update: Glazed and Confused

I've been getting soooo confused about the China Glaze glitter polishes, especially since I can't find information on the China Glaze website. Well, why didn't I think of Twitter? I discovered through a search that China Glaze is there tweeting like mad, and in turn I'm following links to blogs that are sharing information on all this. AND, China Glaze did tweet at me that the Glitters and Chromes was indeed a Sally Beauty Exclusive (but I don't know why you can get some of them at online stores I've seen...?).

So, I was missing one polish, according to a September 17 post on Sparkled Beauty, from the Sally Beauty collection: Millennium, a silver chrome. Oops! At this point I don't know if I am trying to collect items to have full sets of things (I think that's my mindset!), or if I really want all of them. So, to make sure, best to get all of them!! Uh, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it, as they say. :-P

I have seen a wonderful selection of this China Glaze collection on Victoria Nail Supply, and today Body and Soul did an amazing spring "Skittles" swatch of "Trophy Wife" (pink), "Blue Hawaiian," "Sunshine," and "Sour Apple" (bright green). All of the colors were at VNS, and I had been really curious to see them!! Very springy and colorful!! I'm curious how much like Dream Sicle (orange cream glitter) they are. I got the Dream Sicle, but it doesn't look like it is an official part of Chromes and Glitters at Sally....who knows!

Well, I have upcoming posts on Cleopatra and Nova, and more to come on "Glitter Week" at Euridice-Beauty! All I can do is just keep on buying and swatching!!!

China Glaze Atlantis and Sally Beauty Glitter Haul!!

The other evening, I found myself in the area of a shopping center that has a Sally Beauty Supply. Well, time to check out the China Glaze glitters I had been reading about!

The shop had a display of China Glaze glitters and chromes, and I just decided, in my new-found glitter frenzy, to just say yes---to all of them!! I also picked up China Glaze "All About Audrey" (a robin egg blue I was on the lookout for), "Watermelon Rind" (an intense dark teal green shimmer I fell for on the spot), and "Shower Together" (a turquoise creme).

The China Glaze glitters are:

Atlantis: a teal green base choked with multicolor glitter
Nova: shiny silver glitter reflecting in multicolors
Dreamsicle: A bright, orange creme containing some multicolor glitter
Cleopatra: fine yellow gold glitter reflecting mostly gold and some colors like green and blue
Medallion: a green-tone gold (I've also seen it called titanium) glitter reflecting flashes of multi colors
Glacier: liquid opal. A cloudy white base with some multicolor glitter


Twenty-four K: Yellow-gold metallic
In Awe of Amber: Coppery metallic

Atlantis is easily the stand-out of this subset of China Glaze glitters.

The base color is sheer and is close in color to China Glaze "Watermelon Rind." The first coat is sheer and streaky, but looks great on the second coat. I needed to give my index finger a third coat.

Look at that glittery goodness!

The glitter seems to just sit on top of the nail surface and bling out like there's no tomorrow! The surface is fairly smooth but with just a little roughness from the glitter. The sparkle against the darker green background is just craziness!!!! It's fabulous. I'm considering whether, with the darker overall color, wearing it with matching clothing....even with the bling and the multicolor sparkle, can this be part of my envisioned neutral glitter polish with work-casual look?

When inside and not getting direct light, one doesn't see the sparkle, just the green with tiny speckles. My pictures do not begin to capture the bling of when light is hitting it, though!

I also found that outside out of the direct sunlight, you can see the sheerness of the base color, and the glitter is like raised speckles. A very interesting perspective on this blingy, colorful glitter!

Finally, I put a coat of Essie's Matte About You to see what the polish looks like when mattified. Basically, it was smoothed out and dark green with white speckles. I didn't think it was very interesting, since the sparkle and color were muted at this point.

So, it seems a dark sheer color can really rock its glitter, whereas thick, opaque colors can't? Case in point, the glitter not showing through on "Gaudy Yellow" Milani and the "Sparkling Blue" Milani (the sparkle did look good on the darker surface, though). I'm on the lookout for other China Glaze glitters that feature the darker, sheerer colors. I know I want to try "Ginger" as showcased by Body and Soul.

I have read of 50 glitters, although some accounts say 50 polishes, many of which are glitters, in this China Glaze collection. I can't find much comprehensive information on the Web, and the online stores don't seem to have a lot of description. I want a list of all of them with descriptions. Please feel free to point me to the general information! I would love to see some metallic brown glitter, or some more polishes in darker colors formulated just like Atlantis.
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