Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze Agro

To be honest, I never paid attention to Agro when looking at the Hunger Games collection as a whole from China Glaze. It just simply did not stand out to me. I've always gone about saying I dislike green, so there was really no reason for me to pay attention to it.

I started to pay attention when someone I watch on Youtube said it was one of her favorite polishes for fall. Immediately, I googled swatches and I was still a little underwhelmed. Nothing was particularly exciting about Agro, there was nothing to write home about. It was just a sorta metallic-y green, what was the big deal?

Well, lately I've been getting into greens in a big way. Especially greens that are metallic-y. I ended up ordering Agro after looking at more swatches of it and deciding not only was it unlike anything else in my collection, it was a pretty cool color and I thought it was definitely worth giving a shot. And you know me - I have such a hard time resisting the Hunger Games collection.

As always, apologies for the state of my hands. 2 coats, natural light.

Well, surprisingly, I really ended up loving this color. It is an absolutely gorgeous green that looks SO GOOD on your nails. I love how it's a little metallic-ish and how vibrant the color is, even though it's dark. There's even a tiny bit of duochrome to the color surprisingly.

Overall, I've been loving these dark green-y gold-y colors and this is no exception. I really like Agro, and I think it's definitely worth trying if it's the kind of color you think would appeal to you!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze Blue Year's Eve

For a long time, I thought a sort of glittery, deep, navy blue was not for me. I had one by Sinful Colors really early on into when I started using nail polish, and I simply did not like it. I asked myself frequently - why the hell did I buy this? It's terrible, I will never wear it. However, after being gifted a navy, glittery, metallic CRACKLE polish, and getting really excited (before realizing it was a crackle) about owning the color, I decided it was time for me to set out and find one. I hated crackle so I quickly traded that in but now there was this gaping hole I had to fill in my collection.

Around this same time, the lovely ladies on Random Acts of Polish mentioned the fact China Glaze gift sets were on sale. I can't resist a deal (I really, really can't resist it) so when I saw I could buy a set of 4 polishes for around $14 (that's like...about half price!) it was hard to say no, especially when that collection included a glitter I have long wanted and an amazing blue to fill the gap in my collection.

To be honest, when it arrived I had a hard time being excited by Blue Years Eve. I mean..it was just this kinda glittery kinda metallic dark blue...what IS there to be excited about? I don't know if I would have ever gotten around to using it if I hadn't been stuck for a nail color the other day and decided it was about time for me to try out this color.

3 coats, outside. This picture captures the color best. You can see my fingers are still an absolute mess.

I was REALLY pleasantly surprised by how much I love this polish. The color has a duochrome-y-ness to it that doesn't really pick up in the bottle but is GORGEOUS on the nails. The glitter gives the color a nice depth and it's definitely glittery without being overwhelming. A friend described my nails as "looking like the outside of a car" and I would say that's a pretty good description! And it's not just blue - there's a purple twinge to it that every so often flashes through when you look at it just right. I love it - the color is so vibrant and exciting and fun to look at.

This color also looks to me like it could be a dupe for Orly Lunar Eclipse from the hard to find and extremely lovely Orly Cosmic FX collection. I've wanted that color for a long time, so it makes me happy that I potentially stumbled across a dupe! I don't own Lunar Eclipse, so I can't do a comparison, but I would definitely like to see it!

Overall, I love this blue. It made me love a color on my nails I didn't think I ever would really love and I am so glad I got it. I would definitely recommend it to others, especially if they want something glittery without it being a glitter bomb.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Influenster College VoxBox 2012!

When I found out I was qualified for my first VoxBox on Influenster, I was unbearably excited. I've talked about Influenster before on my blog, but for those of you who did not read that post, the short version is that it's a site where you can review products and, in return, they will sometimes send you a box of free shit if you qualify for it so you can test it out and tell them what you think!

Being a college student (Influenster knows this because I have a "badge" saying so), I naturally qualified for the College VoxBox. I was unbearably excited about this - there's few things I love as much as free stuff! Especially stuff that is specifically geared towards my life. The survey I filled out before getting the box had a question asking about what brands of nail polish I use, which only made me more excited. Not only was I getting free stuff - I was getting free nail polish!

The packaging left a bit to be desired. 

Unfortunately, the College VoxBox was one giant disappointment. To be honest, I almost wish I did not qualify it because I'm not sure what to do with most of this shit now. Below are my thoughts on all of the products I got. I will review them on Influenster directly, rather than on here because most are pretty unrelated to this blog.

See my thoughts and what the products are after the jump!

Monday, November 26, 2012

NOTD: Essie Penny Talk

Rose gold has been a hit with beauty-type people for as long as I can remember. Now, I do like rose gold, but not quite with the burning passion that many gurus do. I don't wear jewelry or anything anyways for the most part, so it does not come up that frequently in my life.

When Essie released their new mirror metallics collection (this was a while ago) I was truly blown away by the pictures I saw in swatches. Somehow, Essie managed to make these polishes achieve the foil-like finish that I had seen pictures of and wanted but wasn't sure was possible for me to do with polish alone. They were absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, I already had a silver and gold nail polish so those were right now. Penny Talk, on the other hand, was unlike anything I had in my collection and was a gorgeous rose gold color.

I was very hesitant about buying this polish. I had heard many people say that the color does not look good with some skin types and I wasn't sure if I even really liked rose gold in general. This is why I chose to "buy" it for 1 cent on Copious. Copious used to run a promotion where if you signed up, you got $10 credit on the site. I used one of those credits on this polish, one I wasn't sure I was going to like but knew I needed to try.

It's worth noting my new injury on my ring finger here. I work in a scene shop and had an accident with a tape measure. Shit happens, my hands are abused. My nail on my pointer finger also broke a little bit ago, hence its lack of length. Also I did a kind of bad painting these, apologies again...

I was very pleasantly surprised with this. I don't think it looks bad on my skin type and the color is mindblowingly pretty. I absolutely love it. The thing that blows me away most with it though is the finish. It really DOES look like foil on your nails which I've never really seen with other polishes. There is a downside to that - the polish is very good at highlighting any imperfections in your nail, like ridges or bumps. But, I've found as  they dry this effect tends to minimize.

There's something about wearing rose gold on my fingers that makes me feel unbearably classy too. I chose to wear this color when I knew I was meeting my boyfriend's parents for the first time over Thanksgiving. I wanted something that would last long (metallics don't chip as easily, generally) and would be classy enough that his parents would respect me (IE not wearing neon this time) but cool enough that his younger sisters would think I'm awesome. I think this color does a good job of doing just that - and being a bit festive for the holiday season.

I highly recommend this line of polishes, but this one is my favorite. I also have No Place Like Chrome from the collection which I found to be so much better than the other silver I had, that I just gave my friend the other.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NOTD: Essie Lapis of Luxury

Lapis of Luxury was one of those polishes that I had my eye on a long time before I ended up getting it. It was another perfect blue - kind of purple, light, bright and all around gorgeous. I finally got it thanks to the generosity of another user on Random Acts of Polish and I could not have been happier to receive it. It was one I knew I wanted for so long that finally adding it to my collection was a sort of unbearably satisfying.

Essie has also been a favorite brand of mine for a while. Before I even wore nail polish, I couldn't help but have a special sort of affection in my heart for their pretty little bottles and vibrant cremes they so masterfully put out. My collection of Essie polishes can always do to grow, as far as I'm concerned. I can't get enough of them.

A quick note as you're starting to look at the picture below - you'll notice I had a breakage recently with my pointer finger. I mentioned this briefly in a previous post, but this mani is actually from before that one so it is even shorter here. I woke up one morning and my nail was RIPPED off. It was so short and weird and sad looking. So just thought I'd update you on that. Also, apologies for any messiness. I can't be arsed to clean up and if I don't take a picture of my mani while it's fresh, I usually don't take any picture.

3 coats, natural light, topcoat and everything as usual. Apolgies for mess.
I was very happy with this polish. I do think you need three coats, even though I tend to avoid three at all costs. It helps make the polish fully opaque and bright considering it does have a bit of a sheer consistency. I love the color a lot - I wasn't sure how much I'd actually like it on my nails and I have to say...I love it a whole lot.

My hands are kind of tiny and weird looking....
I went outside right after painting my nails and noticed it was the EXACT same color as the sky so I thought I'd share with you the pic I took when I realized this. The color is gorgeous and I highly recommend this one to anyone who may be interested. I don't think I've ever seen another color quite like it, either.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NOTD: Orly Glowstick

I really hated neon nails for the longest time. I didn't see why it was appealing - the color was often so tacky and disgusting. That all changed when a beauty guru I love on youtube, missglamorazzi, showed an incredible neon creme in one of her favorites videos. As soon as I saw it in the video, I knew I just needed to have it in my life. The color was gorgeous.

I was gifted this polish as part of the makeup/nail exchange on Reddit a couple months ago and when I saw the polish in the bottle I nearly died of excitement. The color was simply obnoxious - so bright, so neon. It hurt a little to look at. I immediately fell in love.

Leading up to me wearing the polish, I told everyone I knew that I was going to paint my nails the most disgusting and obnoxious neon color of all time. I was unbelievably excited. When my roommate came back to the room the day I got in the mail, I eagerly ran over saying "Tomoyo, you won't believe how obnoxious a color this is, I love it so much". Needless to say, I was infatuated with the color.
Two coats over one coat of white, top coat, natural light. It was a rainy day.
My expectations were more than exceeded. When I painted the yellow over a white coat, it was like liquid highlighter on my nails. I wish pictures could do it justice, but they simply can't. The picture above was the closes I could get to capture the real glowy-ness off the polish. It really did hurt to look at. It really does glow, especially in sort of blue-tinted light outside. You couldn't ignore the color if you tried. My friend called it "tennis ball color", which I would say is a pretty accurate description. When I went to the post office, the guy asked me if I was going to a rave tonight because of my nails.

I love this neon. It's wonderful, it makes me immensely happy to wear and see. I highly recommend it to everyone, especially if you want a little attention because of your nails (this one definitely gets attention!). 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Seche Plus

My nails are tricky.

I started biting my nails at a very young age, probably around age 5. I only stopped the habit within the past year - meaning my nails have been chewed on the majority of my life. But more on THAT story later, the only part that matters now is the state my nails are in because of that habit.

My nails are very weak. This usually manifests by them being kind of bendy when they get too long. I remember a time when I quit biting my nails for a month and they grew and grew but eventually, my nails just ended up almost folding and bending and breaking. My nails are also dry and flaky from my unbeatable habit of picking off polish.

Because of my nails rather weak state, I look for a basecoat that will strengthen them. I've tried many base coats (more on that later too), but all of the strengthening ones I've tried chip like crazy. However, I quite love the one I currently use as it doesn't chip AND it strengthens. A lovely lady on the RandomActsOfPolish subreddit bought it for me after I told her what sort of nails I had and she said this would work wonders. The base coat I am talking about is Seche Plus.

I had never heard of Seche Plus before, so I didn't know what to expect. It wasn't one of those basecoats people talk on and on about and it wasn't one people say is horrible. Hell, I didn't even know it existed. I didn't really expect for it to be wonderful, but I figured I would give it a shot, considering my discontent with my current basecoat.

Well, I have to say I will probably never use another basecoat again. This is REALLY good at strenthening. As I type, my nails have been unpainted for 2-3 days and they are STILL really strong and not bendy at all. It has made a noticeable difference. I am really hard on my hands (I work building things and my hands get beat up. I also work a shift in my co-op kitchen twice a week which equates to TONS of handwashing) so I'm surprised when anything lasts. My color consistently lasts about 3-5 days before chipping with this basecoat, meaning I can usually get away with only painting my nails twice a week or so. This isn't quite as longlasting as other basecoats I've tried, but it's still pretty damn good. It also takes very little time to try (first nail is always dry after painting the last).

I have two things that I find weird about this basecoat. First off is consistency. Unlike others I've tried, it's not thick like the consistency of other nail polishes. Instead, it's kind of watery and like a thin liquid. Application is fine, it's just...strange. It also smells kind of strange. It's a weird, sort of sweet, almost vanilla scent. I kinda like this about Seche Plus but it is so freaking bizarre.

Overall, I love this basecoat, and I think I will continue to buy it over and over again. I have no intentions of trying any more anytime soon considering how well this one works for me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze Dress Me Up

Anyone who knows me knows that I love neutrals. And by love I mean hopelessly and completely love them. I have a lot of neutrals in my collection. Two of my favorite polishes of all time are neutrals. In case you haven't guessed: I REALLY love them! Now, this isn't to say I don't love bright colors (I really do love those as well...) but nothing quite tempts me like a gorgeous neutral creme.

The other thing that I have a hard time resisting is polishes based off fandoms I love. Having recently finished the second book in the series, my appreciation for the Hunger Games and, by extension, the China Glaze Hunger Games collection is absolutely immense. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I own about half of the collection. Hell, the first salon brand polishes I ever bought were from the Hunger Games collection! That was back when I only owned about 5 polishes too!

When Cherry Culture was having the aforementioned sale, I found myself being tempted yet again by the Hunger Games collection. And after seeing swatches of Dress Me Up, I couldn't help but love it. It's a gorgeous creme neutral, somewhere between pink and mauve and a light brown. I decided it was a must needed addition to my collection and immediately added it to my cart.

2 coats, natural light. Excuse the messy-ness/chippy-ness, I didn't get a chance to take pictures until after doing a lot of dishes...And you know, wouldn't be a post if I didn't apologize for the state of my nails
Well, I was a little disappointed by this polish. Yeah, it's a good neutral but it's not nearly as exciting as some of the others in my collection. My friend commented that it looks like something a grandmother would wear, and I can't help but agree with it. The formula is great as expected, but the color is kinda meh. I have a hard time seeing myself reaching for this polish over and over again. It's just not nearly as gorgeous as I would hope to be. I do see it as a great color for work/professional life though. Unfortunately, I'm a college kid who doesn't have to worry about those things.

Friday, November 9, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze Man Hunt

We all know what it feels like to be completely lusting after a polish for months. For me, that polish was (for the longest time) China Glaze Man Hunt. I had been looking for a blue exactly that color forEVER so when I finally saw it, it was true love. When Cherry Culture had a sale on China Glaze nail polishes, and this polish was on the site, I knew now was the time to buy it.

2 coats, with top coat and base coat, natural light. Excuse the length/state of my nails, as always. And how shittily I painted them.
This is the single best blue I have ever seen. It exceeded my expectations. It's totally vibrant and saturated but still a dark color, which isn't something you see very often. The color is GORGEOUS. As it's China Glaze, formula was lovely as always and it was perfectly opaque in two coats. I absolutely love it.

It's not often that I get compliments on nail color, but this color yielded MANY, many from people who weren't into nail polish at all. This included my boyfriend, who occasionally will note my nail color when it's one he really likes. So, if it passed the boyfriend test, it must be a great color!

I highly recommend this color. I think everyone should own it. The picture really doesn't do it justice fully. Go buy it! Right now! It's the GREATEST.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NOTD: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Gunmetal

I've heard nothing but glowing reviews for ages about the Xtreme Wear line of polishes. From beauty gurus, amateurs, friends...everyone had only good things to say about the line. Now, considering my passion for reasonably priced nail polish, this meant my ownership of my own Xtreme Wears was pretty much inevitable.

When Walgreens had a B2G1 free sale on Xtreme Wear, I knew now was my time. There were a couple shades in the line that I had been eyeing and I have a really hard time saying no to a good deal on nail polish. Gunmetal was the one I designated as my "free" polish. The other two I knew I wanted, but Gunmetal was a color I saw in the store and thought look interested and decided, of the available options, that was the one I liked best for my third. I thought it would be a great color for fall/winter (at the time, it was still summer and waaaay too nice outside for dark colored nails).

Well, ironically, Gunmetal was the first I got around to wearing. I brought the polish with me as one of two choices while visiting home over fall break. I decided to only bring drugstore polishes, lest something go horribly wrong and any of my polishes break in transport. It ended up being the first of the two that I used. My expectations were really low - the color wasn't that exciting and neither was what I expected the finish to be. However, my expectations were beyond exceeded.

Please excuse how bad I am at painting my nails. the sad state of my cuticles and the fact I can't stop myself from biting my nails long enough for them to reach a respectable length. Oh and the ring finger - I don't know what happened there.

I LOVE this color. The color looks sort of duochrome-y on the nails, which isn't portrayed at all in the bottle. It's a really cool color too - a very complex dark grey that for some reason I can not stop looking at. There's elements of blue and green to it that make it a pretty unique color on the nails. Application was great, and it was 2 coats easy (you could probably get away with 1 thick coat if you tried). Although I never really appreciated it before, I'm really glad that Gunmetal is part of my collection now. I think I'll definitely wear it again before the weather gets warm. The color exceeded my expectations immensely.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On Influenster

I heard about this awesome site called Influenster a long time ago from some unknown beauty guru on Youtube. As far as I was concerned, it was a service that sends me free stuff, so sign me up! I looked further into the site until one day, it disappeared and a new influenster appeared.

Now, I've never been the one to care much about getting achievements, but Influenster makes it fun. Your badges are a representation of things you love - be they gaming or be they fashion. The newer site has an even larger array of things you can review and identify as liking which I really like because my life is not filled with only a love of beauty products, it's also filled with a love of electronics. I look forward to seeing where these badges go in the future. 

However, considering the title and nature of this blog, I should talk to you about the girly bits. 

Now, I don't care much for makeup samples, and Influenster doesn't deliver you just that. They deliver you what I like to think of as lifestyle samples - things you can really use. Unlike subscriptions services like Birchbox which send you miniature perfumes each month and a "deluxe sample" of some face product you probably will never use, Influenster sends things that are really useful. Like great hand creams, granola bars, inserts for your shoes, artificial sweeteners...the list goes on. I love this because I feel like these samples are things I really do want to try out and Influenster gives me this ability to do it. 

But the thing I love most about Influenster is the boxes are not filled with high end products. Instead, they're filled with things you can get at the grocery store or drugstore. This means that when I fall in love with the hand cream they send me, I can go out and buy it for a couple bucks instead of $30 like some other boxes. I love this because it's introducing me to things I will love and use frequently.

Overall, highly suggest the site. You have to put in some work if you want to get samples, but I think it's well worth it considering they're samples you'll use and love very easily.