Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My search for the perfect hot pink lips.

I have to admit it... I am loving hot pink lips right now.  Big fan.

I don't know what possessed me to really like pink lips all of a sudden, but I recently got a hankering to discover my own perfect pair.  Since all the cool kids are talking about lipstains, I decided to give into peer pressure and take on this challenge pairing stains with glosses (I like a little shine in my life).  Here are my findings.

Attempt #1
Maybelline New York COLORsensational Lip Stain in Shade 10 "Wink of Pink" ($7.49) with
Maybelline New York SHINEsensational (what a mouth full) in Shade 20 "Treat Me Sweet". ($5.99)
The stain had a super easy application but it wasn't as exact as I would have liked it to be because it was a little wetter upon application.  It had decent staying power, but man, that color was not what I expected it to be!  I probably wouldn't wear this without the gloss over it.  I totally loved the gloss, times like, a thousand.  It wasn't too shiney with just a touch a sparkle.  Not too sticky compared to some other glosses I've tried and it definitely lasts.  It absolutely redeems the off color of the stain AND smells like pink jelly beans.  (Can I just say, awesome.)
Shade 10 "Wink of Pink"

Shade 20 "Treat Me Sweet
 Overall: Pretty, but not as bold as I'd like.  Think: Work day appropriate

Attempt #2
CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain in Shade 400 "Everbloom Kiss" ($8.99) with CoverGirl Shineblast Lipgloss Shade 840 "Sparkler".  ($8.99)
The stain had very exact application, and the color pretty close to what I expected (always good.).  I LOVE this by itself, but it looks nice with a gloss too.  The color stays for a long time.  The Shineblast Lipgloss is pretty spectacular.  I love its applicator, curves nicely right to the lip.  It has a nice flush of color, a touch of sparkle, and compliments the lipstain nicely.

 Shade 400 "Everbloom Kiss"
 Shade 840 "Sparkler". 

Overall: Very subtle, not exactly the intensity I'm looking for in this study.  Think: Paired with a Smokey Eye

Attempt #3
Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm "Passion" ($8.99) with Revlon Super Lustrous lipgloss Shade 180 "Pink Pop" ($4.99)
Can I just say I'm in love with this pairing?  The stain is a slightly different shade than expected, but I do like it.  I probably wouldn't wear it on its own, but under the gloss is gorgeous.  The balm is a nice touch, as lip stains can be a tad drying.  I will say that the placement of the blam is stupid.  It's just kinda stuck to the end and I'm pretty sure it's just a matter of time before I accidentally break it right off.  I've read a lot of complaints about uneven coverage and such, but I always put it under the Super Lustrous lipgloss so I haven't really noticed.  The Lipgloss is a super glossy formular with a gorgeous color and a hint of sparkle.  It is intensely moisturizing, has a nice texture, and it isn't even really sticky.  Brightens my complexion right up.  Without the stain, it gives you an excellent flash of pink color.

Lipstain + Balm "Passion"
 lipgloss Shade 180 "Pink Pop"

Overall: Perfect bold pink lips.  :) Results were exactly what I wanted, something similar to a Barbie pink.  Beautiful. 

The results:
Revlon For the Win
CoverGirl Runner Up
Maybelline fell a little short

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ode to Black Nail Polish

I love black polish.

Defiant, confident... and it's super hot this fall.

Maybe it's the punk rocker in me that never quite disappeared after high school, but I think that there is something bold and sheek (if done correctly) about the shade that just has this incredible staying power.  Even the people of ancient China recognized that there was something special about the shade.  Jet-black nails signified royality and wealth.
Orly "Liquid Vinyl"

My favorite black polish is called "Liquid Vinyl" from Orly ($6.99 a bottle).  I usually do 2 thin coats and then a coat of Orly's "Top 2 Bottom" clean nail lacquer.  The results are beautiful and shiny, and stay that way till you take it off.  To boot, it doesn't chip the way most black polishes out there do.  I love this polish.  I have so many of Orly's colors at home I could open my own nail salon.

Revlon "Lunar"

I'm going to use this opportunity to express my sincere disappointment over a polish I purchased because it was "on sale".  Revlon's Nail Enamel in "Lunar".  The product is super cheesy.  It retails at a whopping $4.99, which is rediculous considering you could get the same results from a $.99 bottle of Wet'n Wild.  I put this on the same way I always put on my polish, 2 thin coats and a clear top coat.  First of all, the consistency is super thin and watery and had poor coverage.  When I applied the additional coat, it looked alright, but the polish just wouldn't set.  My nails stayed wet forever and when I went to bed 4 hours later, apparently it still wasn't fully dry because I woke up with blanket marks in my manicure.  The color starting chipping as soon as I started working the next day.  I was so mad I bought a cheap bottle of maybelline polish on my lunch break in an attempt to redeem my nails.  What a mess and absolute waste of money...

Black nail polish is one of those things where you get what you pay for.  If you wanna do black nails right, pay the extra couple of bucks and get a polish that looks fabulous and has staying power.

A couple of tips to keep you from looking like an angsty 13 year old:
Keep your nails short.  Black nails (or any super dark color) should be roughly the length of your finger tip.  A rounded off square tip is best.
Keep the jewelry SIMPLE.  Your nails are a bold enough accessory
Keep everthing else neutral.  Dark outfits or dramatic makeup can make you look a little vampy or like a brooding poet (unless that's the look you're going for, in that case, rock on.)

Very dark nail polish attracts attention and requires a bit of confidence. If you don't wanna be noticed, this shade isn't for you. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Two hands come in handy, it's the way of the world"

Fing'rs Flirt Color Crush #02087
Your hands and nails reflect your personality... "press on" or "fake" nails are an inexpensive way to enhance your look.  Press ons are easily available at any drug store and can be conveniently applied at your leisure at home.  The concept is simple... you glue them over your natural nails.  There are tons of styles, colors, and sizes to choose from.

I prefer "real short" or "short" lengths when it comes to my press ons.  They tend to look more natural, and are way more functional for me.  (It's seriously not reasonable for me in my line of work to be walking around with Wolverine claws.)  The shorter lengths also tend to stay on better and are less likely to crack.

Nailene nails are super strong and long lasting, they used to make an 'unfinished' nail you could paint over that was fantastic, but I think they discontinued it as I am unable to find it anymore.  :(  They do make a rockin' French tip, but don't try to paint over it.  Their finish rejects polish (especially at the ends) and chip and scratch even with a clear laquer top coat. ($6.49 a box)

Fing'rs Flirt Color Crush are my absolute favorite.  They are a little thinner, but they don't break or crack.  They go through the wear and tear of my days and by the end of the week, look almost as good as when I put them on.  Although they are already "painted", I do typically paint over them.  Polish stays nicely and they look like they were professionally done.  They seem to be the least expensive for some reason, but I find them to be the best.  Also, I usually get two sets from one box, talk about bang for your buck.  ($4.49 a box)

$3.29 a bottle
Before applying nails, clean all traces of any polish or glue that may be on your nails with a high quality nail polish remover.  WASH YOUR HANDS with soap and what.  Then gently buff your nails.  Buffing your nails to hard can damage them, which is never any good.  Rinse the residue and with water and make sure they are thoroughly dry before your apply nails (mositure under the nail can lead to fungus, yuck!)  Do a dry run first to make sure the nails fit and arrange the sizes for easier application.  I always, always, always, apply glue to my actual nail and then the inside of the press on.  Firmly press the nail for about 20-30 seconds, you can do more if you feel it's a little loose.  You can use the glue they supply in the package, or buy your own.  I prefer the brush on glues as the application is way easier, less messy, and more exact.  (I've glued my fingers together once or twice in my day)  I've been applying these babies for years, and I've found this to be the more effective application method.

 Broadway Nails are pretty good too, but their white tips tend to chip.  Also, like the Nailene, you can't paint over them.  Stay away from Revlon nails, I was pursuaded by their cute colors but the nails were TERRIBLE.  Splint right down the middle... during application.  UG.  I tried them again months later thinking it was a fluke.  Their nails are bogus, thin, weak, brittle... total disappointment.  AND they cost $8.49 a box.  Don't waste your money.

As far as polishing goes, it's important you coat your nails evenly.  Too heavy a coat of polish can lead to cracks and chips.  There's ons of colors for your taste or preference... neutrals, neons, bold shades, pastels...   Wear what suits you best.  (Keep in mind skin tone!  The wrong color can totally offset your look, just like makeup.)  When you frist apply your polish, remove the excess from the brush.  Apply a thin, even coat in 3 strokes.  Once this has set, apply a second coat the same way.  Two thin coats is better than one heavy one.   When the coats dry, you can add a transparent lacquer to add shine and help prevent chipping.  Make sure that you have at least 20-30 minutes after applying polish before you really have to do anything... Think:  during an episode of your favorite show.

Removal: DO NOT try to pull, peel, or break off.  Clip the nail down to the approximate length of the natural nail and then soak in acetone polish remover until soft.  You can buff your nails to get the rest off.

I LOVE Orly polish.  You can grab a bottle from CVS for about 7 bucks.  It's a little pricier than some of the other drug store available brands but it's totally worth it.  They have a great selection of colors, and it LASTS.  No chipping, no scratching, just shiny perfect color.

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Press on nails are more of a short term option; they have a short lifespan in comparison to their salon 'acrylic' counterpart.  (7 to 10 days)  I usually wear mine for about 7 days and then I let my natural nails breathe for a day or two.  In the long run, still way cheaper than a full set at a salon (depending on the salon it can cost you 25-35 bucks and then you'll need a fill after a few weeks).  A box of Fing'rs gets me through 2 weeks or so, running me about 10 bucks a month for nails as oppposed to 40!  Also, the constant change gives me ample opportunity to update my look.  ;)

Tip:  Carry the little bottle of glue that comes with your nails in your purse in cases of "woopses"  Air bubbles under the nail can occasionally cause the nails to pop off, and if that happens, you'll be ready.  Over time, you'll get used to the application and this will happen less and less.

Variety of colors and styles, solid colors, french tips, designs
Variety of lengths to suit the lifestyle of anybody
Can cover up short and brittle nails
Don’t break easily, pretty durable
Prevent nail biting
Poli lasts longer
More affordable as salon acrylics can get expensive

Chemicals in the glue may cause allergic reactions
Accidental gluing of fingers...
If not removed properly, they can damage your natural nails
Possible nail fungus without proper care