Saturday, March 26, 2016

Duckish-inspired nail art: colourblock and chevrons

I loved the colourful, graphic patterns on the Duckish skin care packaging, so you know what that means...
Duckish chevron nail art
(This photo was taken in artificial lighting, the others in this post are in natural light)
Inspired nail art time! I picked the pattern in Duckish's lavender-scented products because I knew I had just the shades to fit the bill: Essie Chills and Thrills, Essie I'm Addicted, and Sephora Formula X in Perfection.

Duckish skin care lotion stick review
Here's a closer look at the lavender pattern: the chevron is made from a bright blue zigzag underneath a dark brown zigzag. For some reason, I struggled a lot with wrapping my head around executing the offset chevron look.

Duckish chevron nail art
First, I painted two coats of Sephora Formula X White Matter, which is one of my favourite white polishes--the brush is excellent and the consistency is very smooth, so no streaks or dragging. Next I painted the zigzag lines in Essie I'm Addicted. This shade is a little bit sheer, so I had to paint over the same lines a second time for more opacity. After that, I painted slightly offset zigzag lines over the bright blue in Sephora Formula X Perfection (the website describes it as "smoky violet"; it's not, it's brown.)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel, Physical Fusion UV Defense, Physical Eye UV Defense, + Conclusions

Finally, the last post in my three-part review of SkinCeuticals products! These are the last three of the products I received for review, and I'll also have some final thoughts about my experiences with the brand.

SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel
SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel review
AOX+ Eye Gel is a complementary product to Serum 10 AOX+; they are both intended to provide antioxidant and anti-aging benefits to the skin using ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and ferulic acid. I previously mentioned that Serum 10 AOX+ has a very mild but bitter scent; the same odd scent is stronger in the Eye Gel, though it's not so bad that it's a deal-breaker.

It also contains caffeine, which seems to draw mixed opinions about its efficacy as an eye de-puffing and anti-inflammatory ingredient, and butcher's broom extract, another possible anti-inflammatory ingredient. The presence of denatured alcohol worried me a little, but I didn't have any problems with it; I'm assuming/hoping it's there to help the beneficial ingredients penetrate the skin better.

SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel review
The gel texture absorbs easily and is suitable for daytime use. For night time, I would prefer something a little heavier. I appreciate the pump packaging that helps keep the antioxidant ingredients stable, but aside from hydration, I didn't really notice any difference in using it. Then again, my eye area doesn't have the inflammation or puffiness that the product seems to be targeting. I'm planning to use up my tube but I wouldn't be able to justify the $92 USD pricetag to repurchase.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Little Secret to Neat Nails: Tweezerman Professional Spiral Spring Cuticle Nipper

A common question I get: "how do you get your nails to look so nice?" The answer is actually kind of long and I swear I will get around to writing it out someday, but for now I'll share a little part of it: keeping your cuticles neat.

The cuticle is that annoying dead layer of tissue that sits on your nail plate near where your nail meets your finger, getting in the way of nail polish application if you don't push it back. If there's a lot of it, you might find that you get almost a "wall" of dead skin along your nail after pushing it back. That's where the Tweezerman Professional Spiral Spring Cuticle Nipper comes in.

Tweezerman Professional Spiral Spring Cuticle Nipper review
Note that clipping your cuticles is somewhat controversial: some argue that the cuticle should never be cut, because it can increase the risk of the cut area getting infections and other bacteria in. On the other hand, I've been cutting mine for a while now and have also had pro nail techs nip them, all with no problems. Keep in mind that I'm not a professional and this is just what works for me!

With that out of the way, let's get back to the product. Tweezerman's Cuticle Nipper is stainless steel, with a good weight to it. It comes with a sturdy plastic case to store it in, as well as a small rubbery cover to protect the nipper part when not in use.

Tweezerman Professional Spiral Spring Cuticle Nipper review
The edges of the nipper are super sharp and clip through the dead skin of the cuticle very easily. I think I've been using mine for at least a year and it shows no signs of dulling yet.

Once they do dull, I'll be sending them to get sharpened at Tweezerman HQ. This is a free service Tweezerman offers for their tweezers, nippers, and scissors, though you do have to pay for the shipping to New York.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Body Shop Colour Crush Mint Cream + Pearls

Look, you guys know I can't really resist anything in the green or blue family, especially anything vaguely turquoise or mint. so when The Body Shop's Colour Crush polish in Mint Cream 640 was up for grabs during a certain makeup swap, I was alllllll over it.

The Body Shop Mint Cream and Born Pretty Pearls
It's a cool-toned mint and surprisingly actually relatively unique to my collection, as it's bluer and brighter than other mints I own. It's such a fresh colour for spring, and I thought it would pair perfectly with these flatback pearl studs from Born Pretty for a romantic but not over-the-top-cutesy nail look.

The Body Shop Mint Cream and Born Pretty Pearls
I love this shade. Application-wise, it's average: not too difficult, not jaw-droppingly effortless. Not bad at all for $8 CAD, and TBS often has promotions like buy 2 get one half off.

Speaking of value, $0.99 USD buys you 120 pieces of the flatback, iridescent-finish pearls in 3 different sizes. 4mm, the largest size, doesn't sound very big, but it's massive when you put it on a nail! I'm actually wearing only the 3mm and 2mm sizes on my nails because 4mm was huge.

Initially I applied the pearl studs just by gently pressing them into a thick coat of still-wet Seche Vite top coat. However, it just wasn't enough to hold them in place, and a few actually popped off while I was sleeping. I hadn't even done anything yet, like washing dishes or typing! I got much better wear out of them by putting them on while the top coat was still wet, and then applying a second layer of top coat over everything.

Removing everything with nail polish tends to eat off the iridescent coating on the pearls. I actually don't mind this, as it leaves me with matte white pearl studs to re-use for next time.

The Body Shop Mint Cream and Born Pretty Pearls
Ahhhh I loved how these turned out. I totally felt like a mermaid princess with them *‿*

What's a colour in makeup that you can't resist?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Bridesmaid Makeup: product breakdown and a little advice

I haven't had a makeup post for a few weeks now and thought it was about time for another one. I've been fighting an eczema flare-up on my face (not a great look tbh), so I had to dig back into my backlog for this one.

Last year I had the special honour of being a part of MizzJ's wedding as a bridesmaid. Sheila and I opted to do our own makeup, and despite me being absolute shit at putting on falsies, I have to say that we made a pretty good looking wedding party ;)

I can't remember if this picture was taken before or after the bridal party serenaded the room with Boyz II Men's I'll Make Love To You...
This was my first time as a bridesmaid, so I was really worried about the possibility of the professional photos turning out badly because of my makeup, or my makeup looking out of place compared to the bride's professionally-done makeup. Thankfully I think I did an okay job. Of course I didn't have time to take photos for this post on the day of the wedding, so I recreated the (simple) look a few weeks later at home.

Us girls stayed hydrated and ate well for the days leading up to the wedding. We all planned activities with a lot of sun exposure like swimming and hiking for after the wedding, in case we got sunburned or tanned significantly. We also got the rowdy girls' night out stuff out of the way long before Hawaii, so we were bright-eyed and well-rested for the morning of the wedding.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Duckish Skin Care

Hello, hello! I have a cool new, independent, Canadian (!!!) brand to introduce you folks to today. Duckish is handmade in Canada and proud of it--products are made in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the word "duckish" is a Newfoundlander term for dusk, the perfect time for a little self care with some seriously hydrating body products.

Duckish skin care review
Duckish's first product was the Diaper Rash Stick, a convenient, mess-free alternative to those thick diaper rash creams. Since then, they've branched out into bath salts, lip balms, and lotion sticks.

Duckish skin care review
Like these! The Lotion Stick is available in the large 2.65 oz size. The mini size is ridiculously adorable at 0.35 oz, and fits perfectly in a purse or desk drawer. The colourful label indicates the essential oil added to the product: orange for unscented (shea/no essential oil added), blurple for lavender, and magenta for pink grapefruit. There are also mint and tea tree oil varieties.

Friday, March 4, 2016

SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture, MetaCell B3, Antioxidant Lip Repair

I'm (finally) back with more on SkinCeuticals! Today's post features products that could be broadly described as moisturizers that would be applied after using Serum 10 AOX+ or Retexturing Activator.

SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture
SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture
Daily Moisture is an oil-free moisturizer intended for normal/oily skin. The texture is light and easily absorbed, and the lotion-cream has a very, very mild scent, though I can't quite describe it. While the lotion has a pretty, pearly look in the frosted glass jar, I don't think it imparts any kind of pearlescent effect to the skin. It leaves a smooth finish to the skin, so makeup applies well over top.

High on the ingredients list are glycerin (humectant), sorbitol (humectant), and cetyl palmitate (emollient). Other ingredients worth noting are sodium hyaluronate, licorice root extract (anti-irritant), and retinyl palmitate (antioxidant). Despite a pretty spiffy-looking ingredients list, I worry that the benefits of any antioxidants or plant extracts are not stable in this jar packaging. It's a nice moisturizer, but I don't consider it superior to other moisturizers I've tried that are at a similar or lower price point.

SkinCeuticals MetaCell B3
SkinCeuticals MetaCell B3 review
MetaCell Renewal B3 is a recent-ish addition to SkinCeuticals' "Correct" line-up of products intended to address issues such as slower cell turnover, environmental damage, and fine lines, all in an airless pump tube. This product boasts 5% vitamin B3, aka niacinamide, which has tons of benefits including improving skin elasticity and barrier function. Note that using a product with niacinamide together with acidic products can cause some flushing; I've tried it on separate occasions after Serum 10 AOX+ (vitamin C) and AHA products and had a little bit of flushing but it calmed down within a minute.

SkinCeuticals MetaCell B3 review

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Nail swatch collection update

Four years ago, I posted about how I finally figured out a pretty good system to keep track of all the shades, finishes, etc in my nail polish collection. To date, it is still one of my most popular blog posts. It has been a super convenient resource when I'm picking out polishes and comparing one similar shade to another.

Every time I got a new polish (press sample or personal purchase), I swatched it on a nail stick right away. Then I ran out of nail swatch sticks and had THE WORST luck ever buying more sticks that exactly matched the ones I already had: eBay sellers I purchased from before didn't carry them anymore, I was getting product that didn't match the listing, etc. After about a year or two of running out of swatch sticks, I caved and settled on these swatch sticks that were close, but very slightly shorter than the originals /sigh

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to share what my swatch system looks like now (hint: it's gotten a lot bigger). There are a lot of photos because I had way too much fun photographing this.

nail swatch stick collection
I have 7 rings right now, organized by colour: pinks/reds, oranges/yellows, greens, blues, purples, glittery top coats, and neutrals. Neutrals is the biggest ring because it encompasses colours like black, white, beige, grey, metallic foils, etc, but my blues and greens also need to be upgraded to bigger rings.

This is what my blues ring looked like, circa 2012 (20-22 polishes)...

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