Friday, December 31, 2021

Nails ~ Purple snowflakes

Ok the snowflakes are not really purple. That's just a song stuck in my head. But yes, purple nail polish and snowflakes go great together.

2 coats - Sun

I made a newbie mistake and applied the stickers when the polish was not fully dry. Some corners got wrinkles. Luckily, it wasn't too obvious on the pics. This is why I had to take off the whole thing from the index and pinky. The good thing is that this purple circle glitter looks like baubles to me, and the whole thing matches the NYE look.

2 coats - Sun

However, this Anna Sui nail polish has a really weird applicator in place of a brush. I understand what they were trying to do, and this makes it easier to pick up single glitter pieces and place them in specifics parts of the nail, but I liked this polish enough to wear it on its own on the whole nail, and without the brush it was very challenging. Anyway, I had never encountered something like this, when you open it there's no brush, just a plastic applicator that has a bulb at the end. They call it a "drop-shaped chip applicator". Reinventing the wheel here.

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Shade

I'm loving the contrast between the silver holo and the metallic sheen of this polish, as well as the added purple metallic glitter. I was really excited to see that they made a purple version of Anna Sui 300, which is one of my all-time favorites.

2 coats - Sun

This combo is going to be my go-to for many years to come, especially because using stickers is such a time saver. I think this would look great with gold snowflakes over a navy foil or a dark violet multichrome, while making the other two nails have a gold holo glitter gradient.

2 coats - Sun close-up

Layering Order:
Kokoist Mega Stick Base Coat  Gel
Kokoist Excel Builder Gel
Essie Smooth-E Base Coat
2 coats China Glaze Holee Shift!
1 coat Color Club Alter Ego (middle and ring)
2 coats Anna Sui 210 Purple Punch and dotted on the sides of the snowflakes
Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Top Coat

💜--------------------------------------------------💜

This is what the polish looks like without the stickers.

2 coats - Sun

I like Alter Ego at 3 coats or over a gunmetal polish to make it look really dark. At two coats, it still looks patchy to me.

2 coats - Sun

I love this oldie but goodie nail polish. I think I purchased it at a Bed Bath and Beyond that used to sell the whole range of Color Clubs many years ago. They used to have such amazing colors, and I believe their main brand, Forsythe Cosmetic Group, made amazing polishes for other companies like Urban Outfitters. But don't quote me on that.

2 coats - Shade

I like to wear metallics and chromes in the Winter, especially on New Year's.

2 coats - Sun

Layering Order:
Kokoist Mega Stick Base Coat  Gel
Kokoist Excel Builder Gel
Essie Smooth-E Base Coat
2 coats China Glaze Holee Shift!
1 coat Color Club Alter Ego
Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Top Coat


Where to buy in the US:

Sally and Rite Aid sell China Glaze, but I bought mine from What's Up Nails. I purchased the Anna Sui directly from their US website, the shipping was ok. Color club can be purchased directly through their website, although I think this one is discontinued. The snowflakes are still available at Daily Charme, they have a wide range of stickers for the holidays.

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Makeup ~ Decorte Marcel Wanders Face Powder 2018

A while back, I was on the quest to find a good setting powder that didn't dry my skin at the end of the day. I was using a lot of acids (BHA, AHA) to tame some stress-related acne, and I realized that skincare alone was not cutting it.

The 2018 Decorte MW Face Powder cover is made with the designer's signature blue ming, and it resembles Italian brocato art in a mosaic-like pattern

At the time, I was really into makeup, and I was always looking for stuff that had skincare in it, or mild ingredients that wouldn't irritate my skin. I found a couple of hybrid (skincare within makeup) brands that I love up to this day, such as 100% Pure and Rituel de Fille.  At the time, I was still using the staple face powder that everyone uses by Laura Mercier. Then, I bought the Jill Stuart loose powder and immediately made the switch. I was really happy with it, but I wanted something pressed that I could use on the go. The Marcel Wanders 2018 was not it, as it proved to be too heavy for my makeup bag. Nevertheless, I really liked it, and I plan to repurchase it when I run out. It seems to be a recurring theme, as I noticed that most years the packaging is rather bulky. This is a collectors piece, and meant to be sturdy and long-lasting, I guess. As an example, this is this year's powder (2021):

source

I had to do a lot of research before narrowing it down to this. The price was a bit over the top (~$250) and the packaging seemed almost too pretty to use. Luckily, I stumbled upon Everglow Cosmetics, a legit website that delivers items from Japan in a timely manner. This was back at the end of 2018, beginning of 2019. I literally had to stalk the website, because this is a limited, highly coveted item, that apparently they make few sets of every year.

The box comes with 2 powders, one is inside the case, and the other one (left) is the refill

I was already familiar with Decorte, since I had tried some of their eye shadows (reviewed here), so I trusted the brand. I was not familiar with the designer, Marcel Wanders, but I fell in love with the packaging and the ingredients.

Ingredients in English for the Decorte Marcel Wanders Face Powder 2018

Luckily, the quality of the powder met the quality of the gorgeous case. The performance was better than the Laura Mercier one, but not entirely perfect. I still prefer the Jill Stuart for my eye area, as it is more seamless. This Decorte powder is finely milled, but for some reason, it looks cakey when I apply it on my eye lids and under the eyes. I have to use a special brush, and make sure to use it very lightly. Aside from the SPF 15, I like that it is very moisturizing, meaning that my face feels soft throughout the day, and after a long day, I wash it and it feels like I wasn't wearing any makeup at all.

The powder also comes with a puff applicator and a velvet pouch

The color is not very inclusive, in that it is pale, and there are no other options for purchasing a different shade. I am unsure if this was meant to be a setting powder or a finishing powder, but to me it performs as both. If I pack it on too heavily with the puff that is included with it, I do look somewhat ghostly. So again, I have to tread carefully. My favorite way to use it is with a wide tapered Hakuhodo powder brush; just a few taps and gentle swipes over my sunscreen. It acts as a great setting powder over my 100% Pure foundation, but sometimes I have to add a bronzer in some areas afterwards. I mean, it depends, because if I'm going out at night, it looks flawless, but for using it during the day, here in the California sun, it may look really white sometimes.

The texture is a finely milled whiteish powder

I think that would be my only complaint: the color, Other than that, this piece of art is worth every penny. It is as soft as silk, and it just looks magical in pictures. It really lasts all day, so I don't really need to carry it around for retouch, and my skin does not feel or look oily after many hours. It sets the concealer, suncscreen, or foundation, and does not transfer, etc. The flowery scent is wonderful, sort of like lilies, but not quite like Anna Sui roses or loud violets a la Guerlain. I wear it all day and never get bored of the scent.

Arm swatch indoor lighting, top is bare forearm, while bottom is with the powder

The dent I made on the powder after a couple of years, I have not even started the refill yet

It won't cover the bigger pores, but it does a great job at evening out the skin tone. The finish is not shimmery whatsoever, it is actually on the matte side, without looking dull or overdone. The texture is velvety, and it imparts a glow from within, which looks really natural. The coverage is what I would expect from any translucent powder. Once in a while, I layer it over other setting powders to use it as a finishing powder, and it does make a tiny enough difference on the surface of my face. It kind of makes it all look put together. When I do this, I use a different brush that is not as dense as the Hakuhodo, or I lightly tap with the puff that is included in the set. Overall, I believe this was a good investment for me.

Where to buy in the US:
Best bet is Everglow around Christmas time.

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3

Friday, December 24, 2021

Nails ~ Teal, Gold, and Red

Well, now that Thanksgiving and Halloween are a distant memory, it's time to start doing my nails with Holiday themes :) love this time of the year.

2 coats - Sun

I first realized that teal and red go well together when I did a valentines day mani with Dior Nymphea. I wanted to try to capture that here. Seems romantic and girly.

2 coats - Sun

Dare To Wear glitters have lived in my stash for as long as I can remember. Although they do get a little bit thick, thinner revives them. I think it's been 10 years or so. I am always amazed at the longevity of some of my nail polishes. The trick is to check them often, shake them from time to time, and store them away from the light.

2 coats - Sun/Shade

I like rearranging my polishes, it seems to bring me a new perspective every time I do it, and it stirs up nostalgia, since each one has a story. I am definitely one of those nuts with a polish spreadsheet. It's the only way I avoid buying dupes.

2 coats - Sun flare

I have to keep practicing nail art. I think I had like a two year hiatus, and now I'm feeling like an amateur with this mani (compared to this one from 2019). Baby steps, and I know practice makes perfect.

2 coats - Sun

Layering Order:
Kokoist Mega Stick Base Coat  Gel
Kokoist Excel Builder Gel
Essie Smooth-E Base Coat
2 coats China Glaze She's So Extra Terrestrial
2 coats Dare To Wear Strobe Lights (middle and ring only)
Gold trees, green tree, red star, and red candy cane decals (glitter in pots)
Teal medium hexagons (ring only)
Seche Vite Top Coat


Where to buy in the US:
This Dare To Wear glitter has been discontinued, but they have very nice colors on their website. Sally and Rite Aid sell China Glaze, but I bought mine from What's Up Nails, because they ship super fast. The decals can be found at some Nail Supply stores, Etsy, or Glitter Unique.

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Nails ~ Spooky Cats

Happy Halloween!

Sunlight

Sunlight

Sunlight


Layering Order:
Kokoist Mega Stick Base Coat  Gel (I cure it for 90 sec. with Kokoist Le Blanc in low heat)
Kokoist Excel Builder Gel (I cure it for 30 sec. with Kokoist Le Blanc)
Daily Charme Spooky Treats Stickers (these will not work with regular top coat)
Kokoist Ultra Glossy Non Wipe Top Coat Gel


Where to buy in the US:
Daily Charme Stickers here and Kokoist products here.

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3

Friday, October 1, 2021

Nails ~ Fall Skittles with Flakies

Nothing says 'October is here' like Fall themed nails. I have been meaning to do something like this for the longest time, but I lacked the perfect green for it. Most of the greens are muted or muddy. I needed something crisp.

2 coats of the cremes - Sun

I don't have too many Autumn colors in my stash. Most of my stuff is cool toned. Even this orange is borderline neon, but I used flakies to conceal it. I will have to add warm-toned yellow to my wish list as well.

2 coats of the cremes - Fall Afternoon Sun

I started with cremes, but I immediately wanted sparkles. How could I not? I looked for all the flakies that would match the base colors, and I added five different ones; one coat of each. The sun was setting that day, so I decided to wait until the next day to take good pics.

3 coats - Shade

This mani received lots of compliments. Luckily, no one questioned why I have 10 different nail polishes on. I think the normies are too busy with current affairs nowadays. I usually get asked "how many nail polishes do you have?" when I change my mani too frequently during the week.

3 coats - Sun

I tend to change the subject when such questioning ensues or brush it off using the old "I don't know, like half a drawer?" response. We all know my top coats alone occupy that space [insert shifty eyes]... My favorite is to stare blankly and disassociate for a couple of seconds, kind of like Elaine in that Seinfeld episode where she is asked what is wrong with Kramer.

3 coats - Sun

Anyhow, I think this will become a staple mani come next October. It's easy to do, and it goes well with most outfits. I wouldn't mind adding some Fall leaves to it, but then I would risk it being too over the top.

3 coats - Shade

This last pic shows the gorgeous shift of each of the flakies.

Layering Order:
Kokoist Mega Stick Base Coat  Gel (I cure it for 90 sec. with Kokoist Le Blanc in low heat)
Kokoist Excel Builder Gel (I cure it for 30 sec. with Kokoist Le Blanc)
Essie Smooth-E Base Coat
2 coats Urban Outfitters Red 1 (pinky only)
2 coats Urban Outfitters Yellow 1 (ring only)
2 coats Chanel Giallo Napoli (middle only)
2 coats Enchanted Polish Grass Stain (index only)
2 coats Dare To Wear Fabulous Boot Camp (thumb only)
1 coat Lorena Sindy (pinky only)
1 coat L'Apogee Rubi (ring only)
1 coat Inglot 205 (middle only)
1 coat Inglot 203 (index only)
1 coat Make Up Store Lava (thumb only)
OPI DS Topcoat


Where to buy in the US:
Aside from the DTW brown, they are all discontinued.

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3

Nails ~ Purple shimmers

I wanted to incorporate three of my favorite finishes into one mani: holo, duochrome, and color-shifting shimmer. I liked the end result, but it was difficult to capture the beauty in pictures.

Sun

Although I used a purple at the very end of the tips, it came out looking darker than I wanted.

Sun

When I went through my nail art stash, I noticed that I really didn't have too many stickers left from my nail-art-obsessed days. This really needs to change, especially since the holidays are coming up. There is so many things I still have to learn, and there's so much out there to explore. This is what I love about polishing my nails: the possibilities are endless.

Sun

I think I wore this mani for a whole week. Regardless of the stickers, I was quite pleased with it. I think some geometric patterns would have looked nicer, something like diamonds or stars.

Sun
knuckle rings by S.A. Treasures

As a side note, and totally unrelated, I really like this new chapter in my life and my blog. I think I am ok with going a while without posting. Gone are the days where I stressed about "making content". Quality over quantity is my motto.

Shade

Especially, because my life has always been so busy with juggling everything. I think I am happy now with my little blog. I write when I can, when I want, without pressure. Last weekend I was decorating for Fall, and I was just enjoying the new season, and thinking about the holidays, etc. Of course, I wanted to do my nails and blog, but I am now living with a focus on prioritization.

Sun

Layering Order:
Kokoist Mega Stick Base Coat  Gel (I cure it for 90 sec. with Kokoist Le Blanc in low heat)
Kokoist Excel Builder Gel (I cure it for 30 sec. with Kokoist Le Blanc)
Essie Smooth-E Base Coat
2 coats Color Club Eternal Beauty
1 coat Dare To Wear Eternal (tips only)
1 coat Colors by Llarowe Love Me Some Blurple (tips only)
1 coat Enchanted Snowflake Syrup (tips only)
OPI Designer Series Topcoat


Where to buy in the US:
The Dare to Wear Duochrome is on their website. Color Club Holos are available on their website. CbL and EP are discontinued brands. Sterling Silver rings by S.A. Treasures.

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3

Friday, September 17, 2021

Makeup ~ Decorte Eye Shadows

I stumbled upon these eye shadows, when I was on my quest to get a good icy lavender shadow that I would use on the go without a brush or meticulous planning. These captured my attention after I purchased Decorte PU 120, a limited edition eye crayon.

My first Decorte purchase

This is a Japanese brand that is well rounded, they have makeup, skincare, nail polish, and perfume. It kind of reminds me of Dior for some reason. I can find a few items that I love, but others that seem overpriced. I use their cotton, their toners, the MW powder, and the Phytotune Foaming Wash at the moment. When I used to wear more makeup (pre-covid) I reached for these eye shadows a lot. Their emulsions and lotions are ok, but I like to buy them during sales. Their lipsticks are creamy, but nothing memorable for me. I like their sales a lot, and their gift with purchase offers is what pushed me to get more eye colors from this type.

The lids are clear, which make it easy to see the colors;
they each come in beautiful boxes

Containers are acrylic (plastic) but look like glass

These are not supposed to be super pigmented, I think of it like the subtle glistening tops of pastel macaroons.
Summer selection at Honey & Butter

In fact, they look like macaroons when they're brand new. These are the first 4 I purchased. I was so fascinated by these little pots.

dome-shaped tops

These are shimmery, there is no way to sugar coat it (pun intended). I know some will probably say that they are glittery, but being a nail polish blogger, I am able to make that distinction. Trust me, these are frosty and shimmery, but the pigments are so fine and elegant that they could never be categorized as glitter. at most, I would describe it as grown up microglitter. Would I use these on my brow bone? probably not.

current stash - swatches in the sun

current stash - containers

Application wise, I like to pick up a smidge with a Q-tip or an applicator or my pinky nail, and spread it across the eyelid. I think these are meant to be used by rubbing the top directly with the fingertips. I would use that method as a last resort. As a second option, I would use a cream shadow brush. I used a ruler in this pic for scale, to show the approximate amount that is required for one eye. At this rate, these will last me a long time.

on the left is the amount required for the swatches on the right

The good thing is that they are very forgiving. If I accidentally take it too far past the outer edge, I can use a clean finger and erase it. Which brings me to the removal process, these are quite easy to remove with any facial soap, no need to do double cleanser or use any special oil-based remover.

swatches in the shade
Top to bottom: GR 781, PK 884, GD 082, PK 885, BR 383, BL 981, BL 980, and PU 981

They are really convenient for me. Of course the staying power is not as good as powder shadows or waterproof cream shadows, but I like the way they fade. On me, they do not crease at all. The color range is pretty good, although there are too many neutrals that look alike. That being said, I plan to get a few more colors soon.

Color range - Image source

Ingredients listed on their website are as follows:

CYCLOMETHICONE・ DIPHENYL DIMETHICONE・ SYNTHETIC FLUORPHLOGOPITE・ DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER・ ISODODECANE・ TRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE・ DIMETHICONE・ CALCIUM ALUMINUM BOROSILICATE・ CITRUS LIMON (LEMON) FRUIT EXTRACT・ JASMINUM SAMBAC (JASMINE) FLOWER EXTRACT・ ROSA DAMASCENA FLOWER EXTRACT・ TOCOPHEROL・ ALCOHOL・ ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE・ BUTYLENE GLYCOL・ CELLULOSE・ CETYL ETHYLHEXANOATE・ DEXTRIN ISOSTEARATE・ HYDROGEN DIMETHICONE・ HYDROGENATED LECITHIN・ ISOPROPYL TITANIUM TRIISOSTEARATE・ MINERAL OIL/PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM/HUILE MINÉRALE・ PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRA-DI-T-BUTYL HYDROXYHYDROCINNAMATE・ POLYETHYLENE・ POLYPROPYLENE・ SILICA・ SQUALANE・ STEAROYL INULIN・ TIN OXIDE・ TRIETHANOLAMINE・ TRIETHYLHEXANOIN・ WATER/AQUA/EAU・ PHENOXYETHANOL・ FRAGRANCE (PARFUM)・ MAY CONTAIN (+/-):BISMUTH OXYCHLORIDE (CI 77163)・ IRON OXIDES (CI 77491)・ IRON OXIDES (CI 77492)・ IRON OXIDES (CI 77499)・ MICA・ TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891)・ ULTRAMARINES (CI 77007)・ YELLOW 5 LAKE (CI 19140)

The thing I like about these eye shadows is the smoothing effect. For some reason, they make the eyelids look younger and rested. Maybe it's because they have some sort of silicone. I hope my swatches are helpful. Michele Wang has a great video review of the shadows at minute 7. There are a few swatches with descriptions in English here and here. And a swatch review in Japanese here.

swatches in the sun with descriptions

GR 781 is a peridot, leaning lime. This has gold undertones, but also silver, so it somehow ends up looking cooler on the arm swatch. However, on my lids, since they are sometimes tired and darkened, all it does is neutralize the redness, and make me look more awake. The golden tones are pulled in and it just makes for a great base color, which blends well with the natural browned edges. PK 884 is a light pink with gold undertones. This one is my go to, because I love baby pink eye shadow and I equally love gold, and sometimes I cannot make up my mind on which one to wear, so I reach for this one. It is definitely warmer than PK 885, but the shimmer is so similar that they both end up looking cool toned on me.

Top to bottom: GR 781 and PK 884

GD 082 is a neutral cool toned gold. Nothing too over the top, and it performs as expected. Just by looking at the color on the pot, that is what will translate onto the eye. It is sheer, just like most of them, but it provides a really nice smoothing effect. It can be used to enhance corners too. PK 885 is super girly and loud. Even though the pictures here don't do it justice, I think this one is very buildable. Depending on skin tone it can look a bit 80s, I mean it will lean bubblegum pink on me some days, depending on lighting. So I try to not over do it. This is not one that I use as a monoshadow, I feel like I have to add something to deepen it.

Top to bottom: GD 082 and PK 885

BR 383 is a golden brown, and it leans really dark on me, so I have to be careful not to use too much of it. I mainly got it for the crease, as it gives a nice depth, but if I'm using my fingers, this is kind of a task. My favorite way to use it is as a thick smudged liner over the other shadows. I love that this brown is not muddy, it just looks like an expensive copper eyeshadow that brightens the eyes. BL 981 was a disappointment for me, because this blue is so silvery on me. It's very metallic, so I have to tread carefully, again, to avoid that frosty 80s look. I wanted it to be purple, but it was just a basic medium denim color. Moreover, worn by itself, it tends to look patchy on my tired skin. I like it only on one third of my eye, blended with a lighter shadow, like PK 885. I will have to try it with a primer or over concealer. I think it will look better for someone with naturally fair eyelids or perhaps with heavy black eyeliner and some falsies.

Top to bottom: BR 383 and BL 981

BL 980 is a navy dark blue with some violet undertones. This one looks stunning, but I am not sure if I can use it for a mono look either. Again, outer corner for me, just to be safe. I do love the color, and this one leans more purple in certain lighting situations. It almost has like a duochrome effect going on, which is rather unique. This is the most pigmented of the bunch, and it doesn't really fit that macaroon description I was talking about earlier. Last but not least, PU 981. This one is stunning, it has a grey, blue-toned pink microshimmer throughout, which reminds me of my favorite MAC pigment, called Lark About. It's quite a stunner. Think of it like an iridescent nail polish topper. It's very white so I definitely need to wear an eyeliner when I use this. 

Top to bottom: BL 980 and PU 981


Where to buy in the US:
Decorte Makeup online here or here. Physical stores that I know where you can find it would be Saks 5th Avenue in Beverly Hills, CA.

Fine Print: If you find something wrong with this post, please let me know, broken links, typos, different opinions, etc. These items were purchased by me or sent to me by a friend. The above are not affiliated links. The opinions on this post are mine. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor a nail tech, nor an aesthetician, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Actually, take anything found on the internet with a grain of salt <3