Tuesday, December 16, 2014

LynB Designs Meet Me at the Abbey Collection Swatches and Review Part 2 + Bonus

Today I have swatches of the rest of my polishes from LynBDesigns! These polishes are from the "Meet Me at the Abbey" Collection. They are inspired by Downton Abbey, which I'm sure you all know by now that I am obsessed with. So, when I stumbled upon these Downton inspired beauties, I had to have them. I've been waiting a while to post these in hopes of sunlight to show of the holo/shimmery goodness, but there hasn't been consistent sunlight for a while so please don't mind the lightbox shots. All swatches include Venique Gel-Like Base Coat and Out The Door Top Coat, 4 coats of polish, and a description from LynBDesigns.
No Flash
I am Beyond Impropriety. "Who doesn't love Lady Violet? I know there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of her on liners. Here we have a mauvey purple crelly with intense golden shimmer." I wouldn't say that the golden shimmer is intense, but it is definitely noticeable in strong lighting and it's gorgeous. This polish was a bit hard to apply, but worth it for the lovely color!

Fishing with No Bait. "Lady Edith, what can I say about her? She wasn't my favorite character, but she's starting to grow on me. I've created a peach base with pink shimmer and a strong linear holo effect." One of my favorite lines from Downton Abbey...gotta love Lady Mary's sass. I really liket his polish. The holos are, in my opinion, the definite standouts in this collection. Although it was really thin, this polish was easy to build up and the pink shimmer makes it stand out.
M'Lady's Prerogative. "Lady Mary wear a ton of purple and I love it. This color is a stunning lavender foiled linear holographic. It's unearthly in its beauty." Ahhh this one is my favorite! It's a lovely lilac holographic that looks like a foil with gorgeous shimmer in low light. I'm wearing this one right now, in fact. :)

You can find this the collection on Etsy and swatches from Part 1 here.

Now for the bonuses...

Wild and Sweet. This pink base polish with gold shimmer came with my order. It's a little too bright pink and sheer for me, but it was nice to receive a bonus polish!
And some kitties! Both of my little guys came to see me (read: sleep) while I was swatching, so I thought I'd share. Ghost is pictured above...
And here's Shadow!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

LynB Designs Meet Me at the Abbey Collection Swatches and Review Part 1

Hi all!
Today I have swatches of a couple of polishes from LynBDesigns! These polishes are from the "Meet Me at the Abbey" Collection. They are inspired by Downton Abbey, which I'm sure you all know by now that I am obsessed with. So, when I stumbled upon these Downton inspired beauties, I had to have them. I've been waiting a while to post these in hopes of sunlight to show of the holo/shimmery goodness, but there hasn't been consistent sunlight for a while so please don't mind the lightbox shots. All swatches include Venique Gel-Like Base Coat and Out The Door Top Coat and a description from LynBDesigns.
However, Whatever, Whenever. 4 coats. "It's based on the love that John Bates has for his wife Anna." This is a charcoal foil that has a really beautiful holo effect in the sunlight. This color is gorgeous, but the polish itself was thin and hard to apply evenly. But for a color this awesome, I don't even mind.
In Charge of Fun. 5 coats. "Rose is definitely fun, and this color is just perfect for her." Although I really liked the swatches I saw for this shade, I felt they were a little misleading. They show a lot of pink shimmer and a more pale green...this shade was not as shimmer packed as I had hoped, and it's brighter shade of green that I don't find very flattering on my skin tone. In addition, this polish was very  thin, but applying several layers was a breeze.
Why Meddle? *SPOILER ALERT* "Lady Sybil may she rest in peace was such a great person on the show, and I think we'll miss her forever. I created a bright blue linear holographic with golden shimmer. It's bright and beautiful just like Sybil." 3 coats. This one is definitely my favorite of the bunch! It has a beautiful gold shimmer which unfortunately gets drowned out by how holographic the polish it. This polish is truly lovely, and it was also a breeze to apply.

For those of you interested in picking some of these up, they are 50% off until midnight PST. You can find this the collection here!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Glossybox November 2014 Review

Hi all!

I know this Glossybox review seems late given that it's already December, but I only received this box yesterday. Rather than beguile you with stories of my busy graduate student endeavors, I'll go ahead and show you the box.

I was in such a hurry that I had to take cell phone pictures...sorry! The contents of my Glossybox. 
OPI Pink Outside the Glossybox. Five coats. OPI and Glossybox collaborated to create this light pink shade. I was really excited about it, but I'm not sure how much I appreciated the texture of this polish. It was really watery, streaky, and hard to work with. It was almost extremely sheer, but the formula was too streaky to pull of a sort of OPI NYC Ballet collection type of sheer beauty. I doubt I'll be reaching for this polish in the future, so that's a shame. 
Full size: $9.50 / .5 FL OZ
I got: Full size 
 So Susan Cosmetics Universal Blush. According to my Glossybox handout, this blush adapts to the wearer's skin tone. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think the technology/sorcery exists to have skin-tone adapting blush. I detest false advertising and grandiose claims such as these, so I hesitate to admit that this blush is actually really pretty. It has quite a bit of shimmer, so I wouldn't say it's an every day blush, but I'd love to wear it for more formal events.
Full size: $23.29 / .14 oz
I got: Full size

Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer. A quick CosDNA input of the ingredients showed nothing particularly alarming. Though considering this thing is mostly composed of various fruit juices, it seems a bit expensive. It also does not smell that good. It contains some antioxidants, which is (I'm guessing here) where they conclude that it is an "Age Defying" moisturizer. I wonder if there was a reason that they weren't able to refer to it as Anti Aging. Considering there are completely effective moisturizers for a quarter of this price, I'd skip this.
Full size: $45.00 / 2 oz
I got: $11.25 / .5 oz 
Kneipp Herbal Bath Balancing Lavender. This is probably the most ridiculous thing I received in this box. This mix of aromatic oils is supposedly helping to fight fatigue. In fact, "this concentrated bath treatment with natural essential oils [is used] to calm nervousness and combat mental fatigue." I'm sorry, but no. And if there ever was a fragranced bath ingredient that could naturopathically (their word, not mine) alleviate my fatigue, this would not be it. I tried this out in my bath, and it turned my bath tub bright blue. You know, like toilet bowl cleaner. The smell also closely resembled toilet bowl cleaner. Not a fan. The cost also comes out to $2 per bath!
Full size: $20 / 3.38 fl oz
I got: $4 / .67 fl oz
12 Benefits Instant  Healthy Hair Treatment. This product has a lot of hype. It contains a few moisturizing ingredients and a sunscreen. I like it because it's silicone free, so I'll be using it these next few days to see how it tames my frizz. I used it this morning and really disliked the smell, so these 12 benefits better outweigh the odor!
Full size: $20.00 / 6 oz
I got: $5.00 / 1.5 oz 

Total Box Worth: $53 
Personal Worth: $28.29

I've defined my personal worth as those products which I will actually use. That would be the 12 Benefits Hair Treatment and the So Susan Blush. I disliked everything else. At $21 dollars a box, I've had to bid Glossybox farewell. But what really sealed the deal for me was the poor customer service (November boxes should arrive in November, no?). I can get into it if anyone is interested, but for the price, quality of products received, poor CS, plus availability of other great beauty boxes, I see no reason to give Glossybox my loyalty anymore.

On that note, I'm looking for a replacement beauty box subscription service. If anyone has any suggestions (I'm already an Ipsy subscriber) please let me know!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Nails featuring Pacifica Nail Color

Hi all!

Sorry again for lack of posts - being sick makes it really hard to motivate yourself to paint your nails! At least for me, anyway. Today I have my Thanksgiving Nails, which kind of look like Christmas nails. I figure that's okay, since every retailer/radio station is basically acting like it's Christmas anyway.

This is one coat of Venique Gel-Like Base Coat, followed by two coats of Pacifica Red Red Wine. This polish is a really deep, vampy red which is coming off a little bit too brightly in my photos. In reality, it's more of a dark red wine color. This is my first experience with this brand, and I wasn't entirely pleased with its application. The polish was a bit watery and hard to control, which means flooding cuticles for me. :'( On the other hand, the longevity of this polish is pretty impressive. I've been wearing this manicure for 3 days now, and there's not a single chip in sight! It's also 7 Free (whatever that means) and 100% Vegan, if you're into that kind of thing. To finish off the manicure, I used Nicole by OPI On a Gilt Trip and BM-323 to stamp on the gold roses.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of (and Embrace) Using Mineral Oil for Skin Care

Hi all,

Sorry I couldn't make any review posts; I've been sick this weekend and haven't felt like taking pictures of myself in such a sad state. But today I'll be telling you about one of my favorite skin care ingredients that is unjustly surrounded in controversy...mineral oil!

Let me start off with a brief introduction to what mineral oil is. Mineral oil is simply oil produced from a mineral source. I'll let a research scientist in the field explain this better... "Mineral oil is a complex mixture of highly refined saturated branched-chain and napthenic hydrocarbons. Poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are known carcinogens are not present in mineral oil [1]." I'll be completely honest when I say that I have no idea what the first sentence means (I'm a biologist, not a biochemist!), but the meaning of the second sentence is very clear. Yet, if you take a look at the American Cancer Society's list of Known and Probable Carcinogens, you will find mineral oil on the list of Group 1 Carcinogens [2]. Scary, right?! Not really though, because there is an important distinction between the mineral oil found on this list and the one found in my beloved baby oil. The mineral oil suspected to be carcinogenic is untreated or mildly treated oil. Cosmetic grade mineral oil (the kind that is actually sold for use on your face/body), is highly refined mineral oil. Highly refined oils are Group 3 Carcinogens, meaning that they are unclassifiable in regards to their carcinogenicity. This essentially means that there is no evidence to confirm or deny that they are carcinogens, but that of course does not mean that you have any reason to assume that they are. If you still find this Group 3 classification disturbing, then you may also want to avoid caffeine (sorry coffee lovers) and dermatologist recommended benzoyl peroxide acne treatments, because they are also classified as Group 3 [3].

Now that you know that cosmetic grade mineral oil is not any more likely to give you cancer than your morning latte, we can discuss some of the benefits of using mineral oil.

1. Mineral oil is both and occlusive and an emollient [1]. Occlusive moisturizers coat the skin and prevent water loss. Emollients soften the skin. By moisturizing the skin and retaining water, mineral oil is effective in treating dry skin and improving skin softness [1]. Mineral oil DOES NOT dry out your skin. Anyone who tells you this is completely misinformed on the chemistry of mineral oil and moisturizers.

2. Mineral oil is noncomedogenic [4]. This means that it will not cause breakouts (or at least, it is extremely unlikely). Therefore, if you have had issues in the past with moisturizers that break you out, mineral oil may be the solution. 

3. Mineral oil can be used as a cheap and effective make-up remover and cleanser. No scientific source on this one, just an anecdote from yours truly. I slather this stuff on my face to remove my make-up. I'll massage it over my skin for about a minute, then wipe it off with a couple of cotton pads. I remove any excess oil with a cleansing anti-fungal soap. Then I work a little bit more oil into my skin before applying another moisturizer on top. If you have a make-up remover that you're happy with, then ignore my little story. 

Myths abound regarding the dangers of mineral oil. I would be more than happy to evaluate any skepticism anyone has, so please let me know if there are any remaining concerns. For those of you interested in trying out mineral oil, the easiest way to try this is to purchase some baby oil. Do not use baby oil on your face if you are sensitive to fragrance; there is fragrance free 100% mineral oil available online. In addition, DO NOT use mineral oil intended for use as a laxative on your face. These can sometimes contain ingredients that can lead to breakouts. On that same note, you may want to avoid baby oils with Vitamin E and Coconut Oil for the same comedogenic concern. 

1. Rawlings, A. V. and Lombard, K. J. (2012), A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 34: 511–518. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00752.x
2. American Cancer Society. Known and Probable Human Carcinogens. Last revised 11/11/2014.
3. IARC Monographs for Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks in Humans. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Last revised 10/23/2014.
4. J. C. DiNardo, “Is mineral oil comedogenic?” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 2–3, 2005.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Venique 'Tis the Season Holiday 2014 Swatches, Review, and Nail Art

Hi all!

Today I have some swatches and a nail look from Venique's newest Holiday collection. I'll start with the nail art because I like the look of combining the polishes! All nails in this post were primed for painting with one coat of Venique Gel-Like Base Coat and the nail design has one coat Venique Gel-Like Top Coat on top.
This is two coats of Venique #Holidays with a design from PUEEN15 stamped on using Venique You Kiss 1 Mall Santa You've Kissed Them All.

Here are these two polishes on their own.
First we have my favorite of the collection, Venique #Holidays. Two coats. The formula on this one was amazing, espeically for a really dense glitter. I wish I could capture how much holo-glittery goodness is in this polish, but I haven't been home to see any sunlight in quite some time...thanks, grad school!
Venique You Kiss 1 Mall Santa You've Kissed Them All. One coat. This may just be the longest nail polish name I've ever seen. Regardless, this polish is a one-coat wonder, which is the kind of polish Venique is famous for. It's perfectly opaque in one seemless coat. Although it leans a big pink hear, it's actually slightly more purple than it appears above. On my ring finger is one coat of Venique Selfies with Santa over You Kiss 1 Mall Santa You've Kissed Them All. This is a mix of small silver, pink, and light blue glitter. Glitter polish isn't my favorite to apply, wear, or remove so I hope it's okay that I've allocated to the accent nail only. :)

These polishes are all great holiday colors, and they complement each other very well. If you're interested in picking up a few for yourself, you can find them here. If you'd like to know more about Venique, feel free to check out their website!

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to check out the two giveaways going on this week!

*The nail polish discussed in this post were sent for review. To see my disclosure policy, please click here.