Monday, August 30, 2021

Nails ~ Guerlain Rose Ribbon with festive iridescent glitter

Before there was even a cellophane nails trend, a dear friend sent me this little pot of glitter. She said it was special and she was not kidding. This looks like it's from a company that used to do nail polish too. I could not find too much on the internet, but I searched for a few minutes because I really want to get something similar in any other shape.

2 coats - Sun

Bar glitter is not really something easy to work with, because it's so difficult to position it to make it look evenly distributed. To apply this one, I used a brush to pick up some of it, and just tapped it over the wet nail polish to sprinkle it on top, just like cupcakes.

2 coats - Shade

It shifts through so many colors. From pink to blue, purple to yellow, and green to orange. It's crazy. I took a video with my phone to try to capture it (view hi-res on my Instargram)..

I wanted to see how it would look over lavender, so I polished my index with an old neon polish from Puerto Rico. As the pictures show, it was not as pretty as it looks over a neutral baby pink.

2 coats - Sun

The only downside was that the glitter was thirsty. I added 4 coats of topcoat to make it look somewhat even. Next time I will have to sandwich this with gel, because I think there was also some shrinkage. It's really difficult to predict what these glitters in pots will do, but I like working with them because they have a mind of their own.

2 coats - Shade

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 Guerlain 060 Rose Ribbon (except index)
2 coats Bettina Flip Flops (index only)
Omega Labs Artist Designs #218 Ocean View (loose bar glitter)
Seche Vite Topcoat


Where to buy in the US:
Both of these nail polishes and the glitter have been 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

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Nails ~ Madam Glam Honeydew

I was looking for a neon seafoam green nail polish when I stumbled upon this. It turned out more Tiffany blue on my nails, but I still like the color a lot. The search continues.

2 coats - Sun

I wanted it to be more mint than aqua, but not faded, just neon. This wore and applied really nice, and it was loud neon, so it still brightened my day.

2 coats - Sun

The way I cure gel cremes like these is usually like this: polish 1 coat on pinky and ring to flash cure 10 seconds, polish 1 coat for middle and index fingers to flash cure for 10 seconds, then polish 1 coat of the thumb to cure all fingers for 30 seconds. The second coat is applied to all and cured for 30 seconds. That way I avoid patchiness and shrinkage. This time I didn't use builder gel, which kind of makes the polish look more plump and smooth.

2 coats - Shade

I like that this polish is very opaque, and I didn't have any complaints in terms of finish and application. I struggled for self-leveling on a couple of nails, but maybe I have to wait a bit longer before I flash cure next time. This is a nice addition to my small gel polish stash.

2 coats - Sun

Layering Order:
Kokoist Mega Stick Base Coat  Gel
2 coats Madam Glam Honeydew
Ultra Glossy Non Wipe Top Coat Gel


Where to buy in the US:
The Madam Glam website has a wide array of creamy gels, and I noticed that they often have good deals and sales. Kokoist products are amazing for sandwiching gels.

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

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Nails ~ Cirque Colors Halcyon

Halcyon is a rose-gold-lover's dream. The formula is very dense and it dried super fast. I had been looking for the perfect rose gold for a while, and I think the search is over. This did not look too orange or too pink on my skin tone. I thought the shade was very balanced. The formula can be tricky for some people, and even after 1 coat of topcoat there were a few bumps. Overall, I am happy that this is a core color, and not an LE. It is really pretty IRL, but I sincerely believe it looks better in photos.

I am unsure if the polish can stay on for more than 2 days, because I removed it after a day. Lately, I have been polishing like crazy. I think I just fell back in love with it. Especially, when it comes to indies like these. I would recommend this one, because to me it is unique.

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Indoors

2 coats - Shade

2 coats - Sun


Check out my youtube channel: https://youtu.be/oCmeP_IM7ZE

Layering Order:
Essie Smooth-E Base Coat
Cirque Colors Halcyon
Seche Vite Top Coat

Where to buy in the US:
https://www.cirquecolors.com/

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

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Nails ~ China Glaze Holee Shift! and She's So Extra Terrestrial

China Glaze has a new Halloween collection called Xtra Stellar. I picked up the two I liked. Holee Shift is one of those nail polishes that looks better indoors.

2 coats - Sun

The shift is great in the sun, but in low lighting it's just better. OPI attempted to make a similar polish years ago, called Charcoal, but I think this China Glaze is a better execution of the gunmetal-to-purple duochrome.

2 coats - Sun

The formula was a bit thick for me. I don't know if the finish is memorable, although the green flash at certain angles makes it a bit more interesting. I tried to capture it on camera, but it only showed up on video.

2 coats - Shade

I think the brush strokes on the surface plus a couple of bubbles here an there make me want to put this one in the destash pile. But, I am going to give it another go, before I make up my mind.

2 coats - Sun, this angle shows the purple shift

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 China Glaze Holee Shift!
Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Top Coat

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

She's So Extra Terrestrial was a bit more exciting for me, because China Glaze rarely makes holos. Scattered, but still pretty good for the Summer months. Not sure how this is a Halloween nail polish though.

2 coats - Sun

I don't have anything like this in my stash, and I have a lot of teal holographics. This has some interesting pigment that leans cyan, which I love.

2 coats - Sun

I really hope they make a linear holo version of this, maybe for the holidays. The formula for this one was way better, a couple of effortless coats, and it dried fast and smooth for me.

2 coats - Shade

I don't think these are duds, I am trying to look at it in a positive light. I mean a holo and a duochrome in the same collection is a big deal for a mainstream brand. Now that so many indies are disappearing, hopefully these bigger companies will step up, and bring us something cool this year.

2 coats - 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 China Glaze She's So Extra Terrestrial
No Top Coat in these pictures

Where to buy in the US:
Sally and Rite Aid have it, but I bought mine from What's Up Nails, they ship super fast. China Glaze also sells their nail polishes online, but I have never purchased from them.

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, August 6, 2021

Nails ~ China Glaze Having a Crystal Ball

This is nail polish is from the Halloween 2020 Collection. Although Halloween was kind of canceled last year, but oh well.

I didn't care for the name. To be honest, this sounds like something OPI would try to pull off. The only reason I got this is because I had a CVS coupon, and it looked like it was a duochrome. Sadly, the shift did not translate at all onto the nails, plus I really struggled with the formula. The first coat was really patchy. The good thing is I was able to even it out with a thickish second coat.

The color was great. Even though IRL it seemed streaky, the pictures turned out pretty good. I agree that this is a Halloween color, especially paired with some black and orange glitters.

Last year was seriously underwhelming for nail polish. I believe I bought like 4 polishes all year. That is crazy for someone like me. The other 3 were Color Club Lucky Charm, OPI Pile on the Sprinkles, which was disappointing, and Chanel Chaine D'or, which was actually decent. I did purchase several gels from Kokoist and Riccagel, because I want to keep practicing my gel technique. They never disappoint, so I guess things evened out.

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Shade

2 coats - Sun

Layering Order:
Essie Smooth-E Base Coat
2 coats China Glaze Having A Crystal Ball
No Top Coat

Where to buy in the US:
https://www.chinaglaze.com/
https://www.ulta.com/
Physical stores include CVS, Ulta, and Sally's

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, August 4, 2021

Skincare ~ 23 Years Old Cocoon Silk Mask

This mask is one of my HG beauty items. I am unsure if this type of product has penetrated the US market broadly enough, so I will explain. This type of mask is a one-time, low-preservative or preservative free facial serum, soaked onto a sheet of various materials (cloth, jelly, paper, etc.). The purpose is to provide the skin with a boost, using specific ingredients targeted for different skin concerns. So for example, if your routine mostly consist of hydrating products, you might get a mask for brightening dull skin. Conversely, if your routine has too many resurfacing products, you might get masks for moisturizing and calming the skin. Most regular masks do this, but the difference is that this type of mask creates a spa-like experience at home.

23 Years Old Mask packaging

The purpose of this one is to provide moisture and youth. I went ahead and copy/pasted the google translation (please note: I do not know the accuracy of this, and I do not read/speak Korean). I've placed question marks next to the words that were suspicious.

Description and Ingredients, taken from google translate from the picture of the back of the package

It really is strange when thinking about the ingredient that makes this mask special: silk. The source is from the cocoon of the caterpillar. So this is definitely not for vegans or for people who do not like using animal products on their face. Insects, no less. I have to admit that I was shocked when I first googled what it was. Funny story, but when I bought it for the first time I had no idea, because google picture translation was not available at the time (circa 2017 or so). I simply thought: well this is white and that word looks like coconut, maybe this is a typo. I love this mask so much that I have back ups at hand almost always.

23 Years Old Mask taken out of the package (it looks like a Halloween item)

The mask looks really weird when it's on, because it doesn't even have a hole for the mouth. If I don't cut one, I cannot talk for 15-20 minutes. I usually keep my mouth shut, because I am not interested in tasting the butterfly-wannabe's old blanket! When I took off the first mask that I tried years ago, I was immediately in love with what it did for my skin. So much so that I got over the 'yuck' and spooky factors right away. I have repurchased it many times ever since. This makes my skin supple and recharged. I have very picky, sensitive skin, and when it likes something to this level, I know it is good. I am not the only one who thinks so, I have seen other reviews and raves about this mask. I use it about once a month. Lunlun or Haba masks smell a bit better, and are more enjoyable and accessible for me, so I use those a bit more frequently; roughly once a week. Compared to its cream counterpart (Cocoon TT Cream) this mask has a very faint scent.

Texture of the serum in the mask

If you're a nerd like me, you will go to google scholar and type "silk cocoon skin", where you can find all sorts of articles about skin regeneration and repair thanks to this ingredient. I sometimes sleep with a silk pillow case for the same reason, because it is good for the hair and the skin. My hair is less frizzy in the morning for sure. Back to this mask, there are many benefits that I've experienced, and I have never been disappointed after removing the sheet. This is almost comparable to the SKII masks and it's half the price. For me, this is a "rescue" mask, hence the back ups. This will make my skin 'normal' again when I overdo the acids (AHA, BHA, or Vitamin C), or when I have been exposed to the sun without sunscreen, or exposed for too long past the time when it is effective, after a long trip, and after I accidentally physically overexfoliate. I also use it as a "pick me up" if I have dull looking skin. Mostly, I like it because of the moisturizing qualities. The claim about the wrinkles is not something that I can attest to, because I am a firm believer that genetics, age, and a good routine play much bigger roles in appearance of wrinkles than a one-time-use skincare product.

Important, when buying Korean skincare, one must look at the expiration date. This was new to me when I started getting into Asian beauty products. I used to get my stuff at Sephora and Nordstrom, and neither American nor European products had the exact expiration date nor the manufacturing date on the labels. However, South Korean products all have it. Even lipsticks. Here is a guide:

Characters to look for in packaging labels

One last note about masks. I think they are a bit controversial. To be honest, I don't know where half of my stuff comes from. I wish I did. All I know is that this company is well regarded in South Korea. I hope these are made by robots. I really do. I've read stories (mostly on Reddit) about how some of these masks are made. Allegedly, they are produced by extremely-low income families in extremely-poor housing (not even factories), and they are severely underpaid. Meaning less than 1 cent for folding a mask. So I always suggest that people do their research before purchasing a product (this applies for anything). I do not know if any of this is true, as the people who talk about this never show receipts, but every time I crack open one of these masks I think of this:

just a meme from the movie Parasite

Where to buy in the US:

Physically, they used to be available at Riley Rose, which was a short-lived Asian beauty supply store a la Ulta, and I used to buy it from Image before the pandemic. Online, they used to carry it at RoseRoseShop, but not anymore (they have a cocoon mask by JMsolution but I did not like that one as much). It is on YesStyle (where I got this one), and Jolse, so I am assuming that when my back ups run low I will purchase it from them. I don't buy things like this on Amazon because of fakes.

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

Monday, August 2, 2021

Nails ~ Color Club Lucky Charm

Lately, I've been into Fall colors like this one. I must say that when I purchased this I thought it was going to be along the lines of Clarins 230. The way that they marketed this made it seem that it was going to be a Unicorn-pee dupe. Sadly, it was far from it.

I literally did not know about this polish until one July morning I got a text from my friend in the UK with the link. At the time, I have to confess I was more worried about the pandemic and the deaths than shopping. But a side of me was like, you know what? this is going to sell out and when the pandemic is over, I am going to scramble to try to find this. Although another part of me was like "there are no swatches, so why bother?". I pulled the trigger because my friend found a 20% off coupon and it seemed like a bargain, and sealed the deal for me.

I am actually glad that I got it, because not only is it nice, but the smell was kind of ok, and it did not linger on me too much. I am sensitive to heavy perfumes. Ok so the smell is great and the formula is outstanding, but what about the color? Well, I honestly like it. The shift is very evident, and the glitter is not too bumpy. I only needed 1 coat of Seche Vite Top Coat to make everything smooth.

This is very dense. I think I could have gotten away with 1 coat of Lucky Charm. The color is a Fall/Winter color so I don't understand why it was originally set to be released in the Spring/Summer. At any rate, I think I would recommend it, because I don't own anything exactly like this, and to me it seems unique. Did I get a lot of compliments on it? not really. It is not a head-turner. However, it does look good and put together, so I am using it for nights out...when this is all over.

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Shade

2 coats - Sun

2 coats - Sun

See the video for this post: https://youtu.be/b5njv-wZ7bo


Layering Order:

Essie Smooth-E Base Coat
2 coats Color Club Lucky Charm
Seche Vite Top Coat

Where to buy in the US:
https://colorclub.com/ (this is an LE color and it is currently sold out).

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