Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review: Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer

Although the newest launches in makeup are the main attraction for the London Drugs Beauty Event, it's also an awesome opportunity to check out the latest beauty tools too. London Drugs carries a pretty good selection of beauty and grooming tools, especially when it comes to hair removal (it's where I bought my epilator 4+ years ago!) Recently I've added the Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer to my arsenal of de-fuzzers and I quite like it.

Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer review
This super-compact trimmer comes in a hot magenta pink accented with purple. It is intended for facial hair removal, but the London Drugs product page mentions the bikini area as well .The trimmer is shorter than the length of my hand and roughly the thickness of a fat pen, so it (1) doesn't clutter up your drawer and (2) is very travel-friendly. Bonus: it's cordless since it's powered by a AAA battery (not included). Lastly, it fits comfortably in my hand and feels solid (i.e. not flimsy!)

Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer review
Here are all the bits and pieces: a cap to protect the razor, a precision trimming head, precision attachment, and narrow, stiff-bristled brush. The trimmer has a long, oval button that you slide up to turn it on. Once on, it makes a high-pitched whirring kind of sound--not the quietest beauty tool ever, but nowhere near the terrifying buzz of my epilator.

Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer review
Precision Perfect Trimmer with precision attachment
Maybe I'm just easily impressed, but the precision attachment is a pretty smart inclusion. This little piece can be adjusted to go higher or lower on the razor, covering a part of it and essentially adjusting the razor to the width you want. This makes it perfect for navigating tricky, narrow spots like the upper lip or underneath the brow.

Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer review
Precision Perfect Trimmer with precision trimming head
The precision trimming head attachment comes in two lengths to allow you to trim your eyebrows to a desired length rather than shaving it off completely. Personally I am terrified of trimming the length of my already-sparse eyebrows (I prefer eyebrow scissors if I really need to), so I didn't use this. I imagine it could also work for trimming the bikini area if you would prefer to not shave, because the growing-back part really sucks, amirite?

I have a lot of baby hairs that grow just above my brows, and they're very hard to remove with tweezing; the Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer really came in handy here and took it off quickly without the mess of waxing strips. You might not think that some barely-visible baby hairs would make a difference, but the brow area really does look cleaner afterwards. I also frigging love this for removing all the annoying baby hairs that grow close to my hairline. Again, it doesn't seem like a big deal but it looks so much better and cleaner afterwards--even bf said so!

The Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer is a quick and easy tool to clean up your brows and other facial hair, but I prefer to use it only on baby hairs. When I use it on my "normal" brow hairs, they grow back very quickly after a brief period as dark, un-tweezable specks, because you know, shaving. In some cultures it's normal to maintain brows with shaving, but waxing/tweezing/threading is my just my preference. If you are looking for a really convenient tool to take off your peach fuzz/baby hair and/or are okay with the upkeep of shaving your brows, I definitely recommend this trimmer.

Available at London Drugs: $19.99 CAD

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Essie Summer 2014 Too Taboo Neons 2/2

This post is coming up sooo much later than I planned D: I'm having an unexpectedly super-busy August, so thanks for your patience! Finally, here's part 2 of my thoughts and swatches for Essie's Too Taboo summer 2014 collection. Just like in part 1, these bright and punchy shades are perfect for those who want to lounge by a pool or maybe desperately cling to summer as the weather cools down *ahem*

Essie Too Taboo swatch
Essie Too Taboo - natural indirect light
Let's just go ahead and lead with my favourite of the three in this bunch, Too Taboo. Just look at it! Gorgeously bright magenta/fuchsia with a hint of jelly squishiness. It applied okay for me, but generally needs a third coat because the nail line is still visible or the second coat needs to be evened out. Funny enough, this polish lives on my "purples" swatch ring, but when you add a super glossy top coat like Seche Vite and the light hits it, it seems to become brighter and much more pink. Without a top coat, it dries to a semi-matte finish and leans more purple.

Essie Too Taboo swatch
Essie Too Taboo - artificial light
I'm going to Las Vegas soon and was thinking of wearing the insanely bright China Glaze Japanese Koi (see a swatch here on my Instagram), but Too Taboo may beat it out. I usually wear the same nails for 3-4 days before I get bored and take it off, but Too Taboo lasted a whole 6 days (chip-free, at that!) before I decided I needed a change.

Essie Serial Shopper swatch
Essie Serial Shopper - natural light
Essie Serial Shopper is a tangerine orange creme. It photographed super orange, but when I compare this to my swatch stick in person, I think it's more of an orange-leaning coral. I also feel like for some reason, my glossy top coat messed a bit with the colour, like Too Taboo above. Applying a top coat seemed to soften the brightness and also made it appear less coral. Like the others in this collection, the formula is a bit thin and will need three coats.

Essie Sittin' Pretty + comparisons swatches
Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Winning Streak / Essie Sittin' Pretty / China Glaze Lotus Begin - natural light
Essie Sittin' Pretty totally set off my dupe alarm, but the comparison swatches here show it was a false alarm--I got a neat unintentional ombre effect instead! This is a brightened orchid purple creme (ring and middle fingers), compared with Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy in Winning Streak (little finger; deeper, more muted) and China Glaze Lotus Begin (index; way lighter). I really like this one and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't too similar to my other purples.

Overall, I really liked the fun colours in the Too Taboo collection. However, neons and brights have a habit of being tricky to apply, and these six are no exception. The formula here is generally thin and a little unforgiving, so use as few strokes as possible and very light pressure. I tried the trick of using a base layer of white polish underneath I'm Addicted to make it look brighter/more neon but didn't notice any difference; it might work better with the other shades, such as Vices Versa which is especially sheer.

Which one is your favourite? Have you had a top coat dramatically change the colour of your polish? (I would like to confirm that it's not all in my head, thx.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Essie Summer 2014 Too Taboo Neons 1/2

Essie comes out with a collection of poolside-perfect neon polishes every summer, and 2014's release Too Taboo is no exception. With playful names like Vices Versa and I'm Addicted, this collection is inspired by the thrill and excitement of shopping and finding the perfect item. I received all six and will be covering my soft spot, blues and greens, in this post. I was a bit slow to publish this time because I went back and re-swatched for photos I wasn't happy with (perfectionist spoiler alert: I'm still not 100% happy)--so that's why all the different nail lengths and shapes.

Essie Chills & Thrills swatch
Essie Chills & Thrills - direct sunlight
Essie Chills & Thrills is the closest thing in my collection to a blurple (blue-purple) polish. It reminds me a lot of Nails Inc Baker Street, but dustier and with just a hint of purple/violet. Of all six polishes in the Too Taboo collection, this one is the least neon due to the muted blue tones, and could fit in with a fall collection. It applied smoothly in two coats.

It's not quite a neon, and yet looks pretty at home next to one of my new favourite summer drinks, a Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade >:)

Essie I'm Addicted swatch
Essie I'm Addicted - indirect sunlight
Essie I'm Addicted is a gorgeous cyan blue, and unmistakably neon. Although it can look a bit patchy on the first coat, the second coat evens everything out well. I put down a coat of white polish on my ring finger first to see if it could punch up the neon-ness; although it looks a bit brighter in this photo, in real life the difference is not noticeable at all, meaning I'm Addicted is a pretty opaque neon! This is easily one of the brightest polishes in my collection and dries to a semi-matte finish (swatched here with Seche Vite top coat on top.)

Essie I'm Addicted swatch
Essie I'm Addicted - indirect sunlight
*sigh* Isn't it so pretty? (Side note, I wish all my swatch photos turned out like this D:)

Essie Vices Versa swatch
Essie Vices Versa - direct sunlight (no top coat)
Essie Vices Versa is a neon yellow-leaning green that screams summer. Unfortunately, unlike I'm Addicted, it is a bit sheer and more difficult to work with than its sisters; it was pretty challenging for me to get the swatches to look even. For best results, apply coats in as few strokes as possible and with very little pressure on the brush. I swatched three thinner coats on the middle and index fingers and three thicker coats on the ring and little fingers, and there are still visible nail lines. The photo above is swatched without top coat to show the semi-matte finish (I'm Addicted also looks like this sans top coat.)

I'm thinking this polish's colour is hard to capture correctly, because I've seen very saturated, deeper greens in other swatches. This polish approaches chartreuse territory and is very yellow-based. (See this swatched on Temptalia, which I consider the best source for colour-correct swatches out there.)

Second half of this collection is coming up soon! Which of these three would you want to wear on the beach?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Empties #2: Tea and Conditioner

Because tea and hair stuff go together.. ? No, this is just the non-makeup part 2 to last week's Empties post, which was originally intended to be all one big post. I test out a lot of teas from David's Tea by buying only 20-30g first, and decided early on to keep the empty bags for mini-reviews in empties posts. If you are a David's Tea or general tea fan, you'll like this one :>

David's Tea Kiwi's Big Adventure - This was one of my David's Tea firsts--how do you resist a green tea with bits of kiwi in it? This is probably my most frequent recommendation to friends, who end up loving it too.

David's Tea Organic La La Lemon - I bought this while experimenting to make my own version of Starbucks' black tea lemonade, but it's tasty on its own too. The lemon flavour in this tea gives my homemade black tea lemonade an extra citrusy nomfulness.

David's Tea Cheeky Lychee - So good hot or cold-brewed! The black tea leaves are suspended over lychee fruits as they simmer in a big pot, absorbing that unique, juicy lychee flavour. Last year, I caught wind it was getting discontinued and promptly went out and bought three full tins (300g). It's not available anymore (sorry) but I'm still sipping away happily.

David's Tea Goji Pop - There's definitely a goji berry (wolfberry) taste to this tea, but after sampling so many hibiscus-based David's Tea herbal teas, they all kind of start tasting the same.

David's Tea Alpine Punch - One of my favourites! Rooibos, coconut, apple, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, with a bit of almond makes a very cozy, winter-appropriate tea. Hopefully they'll bring this seasonal tea back.

David's Tea Sleigh Ride - Eh. This is another hibiscus-based tea with apple, candied pineapple, candied papaya, beetroot, cinnamon, raisins, coconut, and almonds. I wasn't in love and prefer Alpine Punch much more.

Live Clean Clean Air Volumizing Conditioner - I'm going to be honest, I bought this mainly because it smelled really pretty. It's hard to describe but it's very light and inoffensive, kind of fresh and herbal (I remember seeing rosemary in the ingredients list.) It's fine for detangling and smoothing out my hair after shampooing, but I noticed zero difference in volume or anything else. While I was using LUSH Soak & Float shampoo bar, I realized this conditioner wasn't hydrating enough to combat the drying effects of the shampoo, so I had to switch to something else. It works okay if shampooing with gentler surfactants but it's nothing amazing.

Dove Nutritive Solutions Volume Boost Conditioner - This is the conditioner I switched to after realizing that LUSH Soak & Float made my hair very dry. The packaging indicated it was for fine, lifeless hair, so I picked it in hopes it wouldn't weigh down my hair too much. I have to say that the difference was immediate! From the first use, there was a huge difference in how smooth and soft my hair felt compared to when I was using Soak & Float with the Live Clean conditioner. I don't feel like it boosts volume, but it doesn't weigh hair down either. I've recommended it to fine-haired friends and am currently testing another Dove conditioner.

What have you emptied lately? Are you a tea lover? I'd love to hear any tea recommendations (David's Tea or otherwise!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer watermelon nails

I love watermelon. It's the quintessential summer fruit. I love watermelon blended into my bubble tea, in cocktails, and sliced up with a sprinkle of salt. I had the idea to do watermelon-inspired nail art some time ago--unfortunately it was in the dead of winter back then, so I had to wait all the way until now to pull off this summery nail art!

Clinique Hula Skirt / Essie Going Incognito / Essie Watermelon / OPI Funny Bunny / black liquid acrylic paint
I tried doing two nails with a watermelon cross-section with a hint of marshmallow white from OPI Funny Bunny in between the pink fruit part and the green rind, but the results were sadly very messy-looking. Those two nails drove me nuts--I think a big part of that was the way the rind came so far up the nail; it reminded me of those awful acrylic French tip manicures where the white tip comes way too far down the nail plate to look natural. (If you can't picture it, try a Google search of "bad acrylic French tips".)

Smudged seeds aside, much better, amirite? Sometimes simple is best. I used Clinique Hula Skirt for the light green, and Essie Going Incognito for the darker green stripes. In the future, I'd rather use another dark green polish or acrylic paint because Going Incognito is not opaque enough to give bold stripes I wanted. As for the fruit part, Essie Watermelon is aptly named and creates a perfectly juicy watermelon pink. I complain a lot about the application on Essie polishes, but Watermelon has an excellent formula and applies very smoothly. Finishing touch: black teardrop-shaped seeds using black liquid acrylic paint.

Direct natural light
This is a fun look that even nail art beginners can pull off with ease. A real watermelon's rind doesn't have perfectly straight stripes, so it works even if you don't have a very steady hand. Play around a bit with wavy lines and varying thicknesses!

Recently, I attended a summer party by Olive + Piper (and organized by my awesome friends at Lychee Productions) showcasing Olive + Piper jewelry/accessories and stumbled across this awesome matching watermelon pouch! Totally a coincidence and made for a great photo.

What kind of fruit would inspire a nail art look for you? I'm planning grapefruit and lemon slices next.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Empties #1

Although I've been reading "empties posts" for a while through empties pros like Liz, I've been putting off one of my own for typical procrastination-related reasons. As someone that's always testing out new things, the fact that I can completely use a product up is a legit achievement; there's a weird sense of accomplishment and pride. Of course, not everything in this post is technically empty.. some were just duds and I needed to let go. My designated empties bag, a small David's Tea bag, became so overly full that I finally had to get around to this post just so I could actually toss out/recycle the containers @__@ I'm a bit embarrassed to say that some of these products have been sitting around in my drawers for years, unused and un-tossed, until I did a recent purge of my stash.

Physician's Formula Powder Palette Multi-Colored Highlighter (2) - I used these palettes for years in my earlier blogging days; I'm sure I went through at least four of them. I swirled a fluffy powder brush into the mix of beige, pink, green, white, yellow, and purple shades and applied all over the face as a quick and lazy way to even and brighten up my complexion when I didn't have time to put on proper foundation. It comes with a mirror and very crappy brush in a hidden compartment for touch-ups, but I've always wished they just made refill pans because tossing the compact felt wasteful considering I used up palettes so quickly.

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm in Natural Mint - Jack Black lip balms were at one time an HG product for me (it was one of my first reviewed products, see it here) but after my eczema, my lips became very sensitive to minty products, so I wasn't able to finish this. I still have two sealed non-mint versions of this balm in my stash.

Clinique Acne Solutions Spot Treatment Gel - I bought this on recommendation from an older cousin a million years ago and this tiny tube lasted me so long that the label has mostly worn off. If I applied it to a blemish in its early stages before it could really rear its ugly head, it usually went down before it got worse. I had to finally give up on this tube when the dispensing part became super clogged: I squeezed hard to get product out and the tip popped off violently, sending it and most of the contents flying across the room.

Wet n Wild Mega Liner Liquid Liner in 864 and 862 - Because I was so impressed by the Turquoise version of this liquid liner (review here), I went and bought two more in an eggplant purple and cornflower blue. They both lacked the smooth application and opacity of Turquoise, so they were promptly forgotten about.

GOSH X-Ceptional Wear Foundation in 14 Sand - My go-to foundation for a while, this is a long-wearing formula from a little-known Danish brand. I used it up faithfully and ventured out to explore other foundations rather than buying another one.

CoverGirl NatureLuxe Foundation in 315 Bamboo - I remember buying this foundation on a cross-border shopping trip to Washington state, but must've felt "meh" about it because I set it aside and forgot about it. It's been a few years so it needed to be tossed.

Revlon Colorstay Brow Enhancer in Light Brown/Champagne - I loved this dual-ended brow crayon and highlighter combo and used both until there was absolutely nothing left. I brought this into a MAC store to have an SA match the colour exactly in an eyeshadow and have been filling my brows with powder since then.

Maybelline Age Rewind Double Face Perfector - A creamy liquid concealer/highlighter combination. I liked it but decided to try other concealers after this was used up.

Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark-Circle Roller - Convenient and the metal roller felt nice on my skin, but again decided to try other products afterwards.

Menard One Touch Lip Treatment - An aunt gave me this since I was struggling a lot with my eczema at the time. I used it on my lips and all over the surrounding atopic area, but had to re-apply often (or maybe it was just the dry Edmonton climate.) I found out later a tube of this stuff is pretty frigging expensive, like $30-40, so I felt a bit bad that I used it up so quickly.

Yes To Carrots C Me Smile Lip Butter in Berry - A lip balm I actually finished! Appropriately emollient and the berry scent was mild.

Carmex Cherry Lip Ointment - I hated the round applicator which made no sense and hated the offensive, medicinal cherry scent even more. Used it probably once or twice before it got tossed to the back of the drawer.

Arg what a long post! I actually have more empties to share but will have to split this into two posts now. If you read all of this, thanks for hanging in there! Now it's your turn to tell me what you've used up or tossed lately :>

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