Drugstore beauty products. Even if you don’t use them, we have all seen them. These products are often a young person’s initiation into the grown up world of makeup artistry, as they can be affordable to one who has limited allowance or part-time job income, and due to their budget pricing, are the wise choice for those who are just starting out in the realm of the 3D art form of painting a human face up. Within the genre, there are higher end brands (like your L’Oreal Paris and Revlon items, for example) and more economic lines as well. Today, I’m going to delve into a comparison & review of a very popular product in a very popular economy brand: Wet N Wild’s blush compact in Pearlescent Pink.
I’ve attached a photo here of both the original packaging of the blush (left, as Pearlescent Pink 831E Rose Nacre) and of the newly released reformulated version (right, as Wet N Wild Color Icon Pearlescent Pink 325B).
OLD VERSION: On first glance between the old formulation and new, the most obvious difference is the size of the product versus the size of the brush in each package. The older version had a wider, angled flat blush brush and a smaller pan of product, labeled as being 0.14 oz. The label on this version also fails to state anything about if the product is cruelty free or not (which to many beauty consumers out there is a very important fact to know for sure, as the answer can determine if one is going to make a purchase of said product or not). The label instead states on the reverse side (back of the blush when you flip the compact over) that it is dermatologist tested. Since it never says if the dermatologist(s) in question conducted human and/or animal trials, I don’t have an honest answer on if this blush hurt any animals before hitting the cosmetics market, so I have a mild amount of animal lover’s guilt over owning it, but it’s not a confirm-able guilt. (No, this doesn’t make me feel any better.) The ingredients are clearly listed in a readable font on the reverse side label, so a consumer can check the list of what the blush contains before purchasing it to prevent anyone from buying something that they know contains an ingredient(s) that breaks them out or causes allergic reaction. I’m glad that Wet N Wild does this, because some companies’ packaging doesn’t allow access to the full ingredient list until after purchase because of the seals, or put the list in a micro-sized font that is pretty hard to near impossible to read. As an eyeglass & contact lens wearer, I appreciate that I don’t have issues reading the label on this blush.
The brush in this older version, as with most compact add-on applicators, doesn’t do much when used to apply the actual product. It appears to be made of natural hair, and is just barely soft to the touch but has a firm, stand up type of bristle. When wiped across a face on its own without any product, it doesn’t scratch, nor did this brush leave any shed hairs behind on my skin. As compared to some blush compact brushes, it’s a hair above average and could be used in a pinch for base product placement (meaning: just tap the powder onto where you want it but don’t wipe the brush across your face), though I would still highly recommend blending the product out on your face/your client’s face with a quality blush or powder brush to help evenly distribute the blush and blend it in for a more natural look. Or, you could use the brush to blend out an eye shadow look if your client or you happen to have larger eyes/lids (I do). Or, just toss it out or give it to a kid to play with. Brush rating: 5 out of 10 as far as throw-away free included makeup applicators go; 1 out of 10 when rated against actual makeup brushes.
The product itself has a raised swirl design to the finish instead of a flat surface. I found that this makes for an uneven surface for your makeup brush to pick up product from until this portion wears down. Not a big issue, but it is just a little bit odd. I know some of the other brands out there, both drugstore & high-end cosmetics companies, tend to do this with some of their compacts, and I’ve never seen a benefit of this other than an artistic finish, but hey, maybe it’s just the borderline of where my artist’s eye stops & my critical thinking kicks in. The blush has a few flecks of what appears to be a gold shimmer, but it’s not a frosty or pearlized finish in any way; perhaps more of a satin look instead. To check color, I have checked the color of this blush in multiple types of light, including sunlight, cloud-light (also known as fading Northeast winter afternoon light), bright indoor halogen light, fluorescent bulb office light, flash from my camera phone and phone photos taken without flash as well. I have found that in some light, it resembles a rose gold, in other light, a peachy-pink with gold shimmer (akin to a very famous French high-end cosmetics company blush with a naughty name you’d think was straight out of “50 Shades of Grey”), yet in other light, it reminds me of a pale berry or wine color. Knowing this, I created swatches on my own arm of both versions of the blush, both over no other makeup or product (the left side of the photo) and over a swipe of face primer (Smashbox Cosmetics’ Original Photo Finish Primer). My skin tone is a medium-to-tan with yellow undertones, similar to a MAC Cosmetics foundation shade NC42 (if this helps give you an idea in makeup-speak). I didn’t have any other human volunteers present to create swatches on to give you perspective on what this product would look like on paler or darker skin tones, or on neutral and pink undertoned complexions. My apologies.
NEW VERSION: To start, the newer package clearly has both the logo (cute little smiling bunny!) and verbal notice that the product is cruelty-free right on the front of the compact in a very visible size. [Side note on this: To the marketing department staff at Wet N Wild: bravo to creating a smart packaging design, as this is an example of winning logo placement.]
Next, you’ll notice that the newer version of this blush has a much more narrow, straight-edged flat blush brush and a larger pan of product, labeled as being 0.20 oz. The rear label on this version also reminds one that the product is cruelty free but doesn’t make any mention of if the blush is dermatologist tested or not. It’s a trade-off that I can live with, though. The ingredients (some of which are the same as in the older blush version, some of which are new to this formulation) are still clearly listed in a readable font on the reverse side label, so a consumer can check the list of what the blush contains before purchasing it to prevent anyone from buying something that they know contains an ingredient(s) that breaks them out or causes allergic reaction. I’m glad that Wet N Wild didn’t change this.
The brush in this newer version, as with most compact add-on applicators, still doesn’t do much when used to apply the actual product. It appears to be made of natural hair, and appears to still be made of some sort of natural hair. When wiped across a face on its own without any product, it was scratchier than the original version’s brush was, and I did experience some micro-shedding with this brush as it shed tiny bits of its hairs behind on my skin. As compared to some blush compact brushes, it’s a hair below average and l honestly feel this one is only good for going into the recycle bin. Wet N Wild would have been better served just tossing the brush concept completely, and not adding one to the compact at all. There are enough powder blush products on the market that do not include a brush that the customer base would not have complained about this new blush coming without a brush. Brush rating: 0 out of 10 as far as throw-away free included makeup applicators go; 0 out of 10 when rated against actual makeup brushes.
The product itself has a flat surface. This surface can better showcase the slightly more pearlized finish than the original version had. I’d still say that in some light and at some angles this blush appears more of a satin finish than a pearlized one, but when you directly compare it to its prior incarnation, it’s definitely more pearly. To check color, I have again checked the color of this blush in multiple types of light, including sunlight, cloud-light (also known as fading Northeast winter afternoon light), bright indoor halogen light, fluorescent bulb office light, flash from my camera phone and phone photos taken without flash as well. I have found that in some light, it resembles a rose gold, in other light, a peachy-pink with gold shimmer (akin to a very famous French high-end cosmetics company blush with a naughty name you’d think was straight out of “50 Shades of Grey”), yet in other light, it reminds me of a pale berry or wine color. Knowing this, I created swatches on my own arm of both versions of the blush, both over no other makeup or product (the left side of the photo) and over a swipe of face primer (Smashbox Cosmetics’ Original Photo Finish Primer). My skin tone is a medium-to-tan with yellow undertones, similar to a MAC Cosmetics foundation shade NC42 (if this helps give you an idea in makeup-speak). I didn’t have any other human volunteers present to create swatches on to give you perspective on what this product would look like on paler or darker skin tones, or on neutral and pink undertoned complexions. My apologies.
USER TESTING: I am wearing both blushes (old on one side of my face, new on the other side of my face) as part of my full daily face of makeup to compare the wear over foundation, primer, and SPF 15 moisturizer today to test the actual wear. I only received these 2 blushes 4 days ago (as a gift from my Mom, as she knows I beauty blog) so the only information I can give you so far is that they both go on well, without any streaking or unevenness. However, I feel that the newer version seems to have more of a glow to the finish. This could have something to do with where the mica is on the ingredient list of the blush (higher up on the list = more of it in the product). So far, both feel nice on the skin and look almost identical on (according to me). The second opinion that was available feels that the old formula goes on a bit more red/wine colored while the newer one looks a bi peachier (according to my husband). I’ll upload photos of each here and let you be the judge.
Outside of today, though, I’ve only worn swatches of both blushes on my arm and on my the back of my hand. The swatches felt light, with no oilyness that some of the cheaper quality drugstore makeup sometimes degrades down to on my combination/oily skin. The surface powders up quickly on both blushes when you swipe a makeup brush across it, so it’s easy to get enough product on your brush to apply. The pigment load appears so far to be a bit above average for a drugstore item: not bad, as a little bit on my blush brushes really did go a long way.
Do you have either or both of these blushes? If you do, add your comments below on what you like or dislike about either formula so we all know.
Ok, so I’m a sucker for trying new things. I’ve tried hair colors never before meant in nature for someone of my skin tone, colored contacts in colors that look more reptillian than human, and even lipsticks that looked as if they were rescued from the makeup kit for “The Walking Dead”. Therefore, when Influenster wanted to send me a Unilever Dry Spray & Walgreens VoxBox to try a few new products for review (Official line is: “received these products complimentary for testing purposes” per the fine print at Influenster), I said “SURE! Sign me up!”.
The box arrived in the mail late last week, and to my surprise, there was a Dove Anti-Persperant & Deoderant spray for Women in the box, along with a similar product labeled Dove for Men. How cool! I have a husband, so now I can recruit him to try stuff alongside me (I figured that we’ll either both love the product or hate it, or split 50-50 in the review). His bottle hasn’t gotten a review from him yet (but stay posted, I plan on hitting him up for an opinion this week), but I have tried mine. So, on to the review.
Review: The product smells pleasant, with a light semi-fruity/semi-floral and fresh fragrance to it. Bonus: it truly does apply in a dry fashion. There was no visible marks where I sprayed (so no white stuff in my arm pits. Yeah, great visual. Sorry about that). In addition, when I got dressed after applying, my clothes remained remarkably deoderant residue free. This is a big deal for me, as most deoderant and antiperspirant products labeled “invisible” end up being anything but that on my clothes. I found that I still smell of the product by the end of the day instead of a mix of sweat and deoderant perfume. I would buy this product again, and would be willing to try different scents if available. So, the handy dandy Walgreens $1.50 off coupon that was included will definitely be put to good use in my household.
Hello again everyone.
This week I stopped to check my calendar and came to the realization that I’m stumped. I have a total of 4 weddings this year between June and October (one of which is my own!) and am at the point that I’ve gone from confident and assured for what I wanted to do with my “beauty look” for each event, to somewhat overwhelmed and frankly pissed off at the overabundance of “options” and trends out there.
Now, for the wedding I’m just going to be attending (Wedding 1): no problemo. I can whip up a look that coordinates the airbrushed looking skin, bold, exotic eye makeup and defined lip (probably a bit more towards the bold vs the nude that I usually do) looks that I’m known for, but in a way that says “special event” and works with the lovely saffron gown & jewelry I end up matching up for this fall New England wedding. And, knowing me, I’ll probably do some sort of updo or half-up/half-down do. Blah blah blah. Whatever. It’s not a day that I am supposed to be in the spotlight; I’m merely a witness to my girlfriend’s limelight moment. So, this lack of pressure gives me a much more relaxed atmosphere in which to ruminate through my multitude of shade options, and numerous treasure chests of makeup and cosmetics to figure out, through trial & error, what looks best with that gown. Relaxing to a degree, but still nagging at the back of my mind. Stress rating: a 2 to 3 on the scale of 1 to 10 (only so rated because it’s not a casual event, but a more black tie event, and is being held at a country club).
For the next wedding up in the stress scale (Wedding 2), there’s a new added dilemma…this one is a theme wedding, which is an instant upping of the stress factor, as the bridal couple has made a request that the attendees dress according to their theme if at all possible. Now, I’ve already picked out the gown & accessories down to the shoes, and am hella confident that even though I’m just attending this one (again, this lessens the stress factor) I can pull this one off, and transform a regular event gown into their theme with just a few tweaks on the accessories side. This is bitchin, as I love a good challenge every now & then, and have my own horde of accessories that I love to try to use in different ways. And their theme should be easy enough for me to work with and still retain savings in the bank. I’m feeling like I’ve got this one in the bag, and have even mocked up the final product (minus the hair & makeup) to a place where I’m feeling pretty good about it all. Yeah, baby, this is right up my alley, and I am gonna pull this one off **so long as none of the themed accessories suffer a fatal wardrobe malfunction, since I am not budgeted for replacing any theme items with my own wedding looming this year. When you average out the themed dress code vs the attendee only factor, I’m getting a bit more of an overall stress level when preparing for this one. But, with the theme, I feel a bit more freedom to play with the makeup on this one, so I’m going to rate this wedding’s stress level as: a 3 to 4 on the scale of 1 to 10.
The third wedding (Wedding 3) is one that’s a big family wedding, and while I’m not in the actual wedding party, I have been tapped to be a reader in the ceremony. This is a big honor, and as such, is stressing me out the closer we get to this couple’s BIG DAY. I think it’s the fact that I love these folks that’s making me a nervous wreck, as I don’t want to screw up their wedding photos in any way (the level of relation I am to them dictates that other than doing a reading, I will probably end up in at least 1 official wedding album photo). I have the gown, and most of the accessories picked out, but due to the worry & stress, I have “options” (*translation: I can’t pick between certain items of jewelry to wear, and am now finding myself randomly worrying over things as stupid as to wear stand out studs vs chandelier earrings with this strapless gown…I mean, talk about #FirstWorldProblems, right). And as those who know me well can tell you, sometimes I just shouldn’t have options, as I’ll make myself nuts over trying to pick the PERFECT ones, even though I know damn well that there is no such thing as perfect, and that sometimes the varieties can work either way. So, of course, with my constant checking the dress with Option A vs Option B, I’ve somehow managed to save some of my accessories in a VERY SAFE PLACE (translation: misplaced) now with T minus less than a week to find them. And did I mention that I volunteered to engineer the Bridal Emergency Kit? Add another stress factor. I mean, I did all the research on beauty blogs, bridal blogs, Pinterest, Amazon.com, The Knot, etc. to see what was listed in all to spark my brain, and then cross reference the possibilities against the folks who’ll actually be at the wedding so that I don’t end up carting stuff no one would ever use. And now, of course, I sit here and say: overall, I think I’m more worried about screwing something up at this wedding than I will be at my own! (ok, so in my mind, perhaps I’m mentally using this wedding as my “bridal trial” to see what the front-runner bridal makeup ideas that I have in the hopper as a possibility for my own day actually look like in professional photographs, so I don’t screw up my own photos on my own Big Day). Stress factor: 7 out of 10.
Oddly enough, perhaps because I still have months to go before my own Big Day (Wedding # 4), I’m actually pretty calm about most of this same fashion & beauty stuff when it comes to my own walk down the aisle. So far, this is where I stand in my own prep:
Gown: check (*so long as the alterations go flawlessly so I fit the daggone thing come the Big Day).
Shoes: check (but do I customize them with “I Do” stickers that are so popular right now? Do I write a message on the soles? Do I do a design in blue glitter on the soles for my “something blue” like I saw on Pinterest? How about unique shoe clips? AHHH!!! TOO MANY OPTIONS!)
Veils: check. (Though I have 2 that I can layer together or wear solo. Not the biggest worry)
Jewelry: again, I have options waiting in the wings from blingy with stones to traditional with pearls, and of course, options that fall in the mid ranges between the 2.
Headpieces: well, I have 2. Love them both, but it depends on how my hair is done, and that’s a bunch of possibilities still, so back to Option Stress.
Makeup: here, I wanted to go more neutral, but everyone I know’s voting for more of a bold smoky eye look, and surprisingly enough, with my go-to green shadows. I mean, my wedding colors are red & ivory…to add green makes my brain go right to Jolly Old Saint Nick and the Christmas Holidays (a big old CON). But, I LOVE to do my eyes up with various shades of green, and I could do this look in the dark, no mirror, one arm tied behind my back (giant PRO). Conversely, I don’t want to look back at my wedding album in 10 years and go “OMG! What the hell was I smoking??? Who let me put that dated looking makeup on for my Big Day? These photos TOTALLY scream “2000-teens” now! WAAHHH!!!!” (so, again, another big CON). See where I’m headed?
Stress factor: today, at a 5, but as we inch closer to the actual event date, probably going to jump up the scale to a 9 before I stop, breathe, mentally tell myself off & slap myself, and get a grip! Then, it’ll go back to being a 2 to a 3, as it should be.
And do you know why I say this?
Here’s why: Because I know that in the end, none of this crap really matters, for any of these weddings. Weddings should really, deep down at the root of it all, just be about celebrating the love of those getting married, whether they’re friends, family, co-workers or even yourself. The rest is just window dressing, pomp & circumstance, and fluff to stress one out about. For all the perfectly drawn eyeliner and glamorous high heels, for all the rhinestones and veils, for all of the bobby pins and blush, if that’s all that one is REALLY focusing on, then there’s a way deeper problem.
So, now that I’ve vented and once again (since I do repeat daily whenever I feel the stress thoughts start trying to creep in) remembered that all this primping is all for show, not for keeps, and that the real stuff is the love I have for all of those in these weddings, I am back on Planet Common Sense. I’ve put the Type A OCD Detail-Oriented Fashion & Beauty Ninny back in the box (where it should stay & come out no more!) and moved on.
Anyone here have any comments? Thoughts? Funnies to contribute to the topic of Wedding Beauty & Fashion prep? Feel free to leave it below.
Sometimes you get what you pay for. I know it’s total cliche, but I have now remembered that it’s totally true.
Over the past year I have won 4 minor contests/giveaways from different cosmetics manufacturers. Mind you, I didn’t win the “grand prizes” of trips, years worth of free products, money or appearances at any events or on any shows. Instead, I won a total of 1 lone free product each time. Still, a win’s a win, right?
My total winning beauty haul is comprised of 2 mascaras, a makeup (foundation) primer, and an eyeshadow palette. Decent beauty haul, each and every one, and most if not all were accompanied on their maiden voyage to my mailing address with a lovely note about my win.
Here’s where my luck turns a bit odd, though (but fortunate for you, the reader, as you’ll now benefit by getting 4 reviews in one!):
WIN 1: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
The make up primer was the original Smashbox Foundation Primer, clear and translucent in its silicone-based glory. It’s a nice product, which I have both purchased & used before, and which I will probably continue to use when I have it on hand. However, I’m not a slave to this specific primer, nor would I sob uncontrollably if it were to suddenly be discontinued, as lucky enough for me, there are several formulations of this product even within this same cosmetics line, not to mention a slew of similar products from brands from Ulta & Sephora’s house brands to ELF Cosmetics to Maybelline New York to L’Oreal Paris to MakeUp Forever and Hourglass. So, the market’s pretty saturated, and I have more than enough full size containers, samples and travel sizes of primer away in a makeup bag to supplement the multiple bottles of different brands of makeup primer I’ve become the proud owner of over the years.
WIN 2: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner in Natural Nude
The eyeshadow palette was one of the Shimmer Strips from Physicians Formula. I must admit, I’ve been slowly collecting all of these palettes that I could, and have most of the green eye ones, the smoky eye ones, a hazel eye one, and even one named Fashionista (with a cute chartreuse button glued to the front of the purple reptile textured palette. It was as if it were MADE FOR ME). This Shimmer Strip was one of the Nudes (Warm Nude? Neutral Nude? Smoky Nude? I can’t even remember since I have them all – wait, found the photo; it’s Natural Nude). But again, needless to say, the product performed well and has found a home in my collection & kit, in good standing with regular use in the rotation (just like the foundation primer has). The different shades of beiges, browns, golds, taupes and peaches are all frosty, so if you’re looking for a matte finish, this is not the product for you. However, if serious shimmer is your thing, then this product line is made for you. I find some of the colors layer well over darker matte shades in the same family, if you wish to mix things up a bit, and they also “set” nicely cream and gel shadows & liners. Very handy in a pinch, and fun to experiment with. Plus, in the nudes shades, one could also use a large fluffy bronzer brush over the strip & use it for a gentle all-over glow, or use a smaller fluffy brush for more direct & shade specific highlight & contouring if one wants some shimmer in their makeup.
My luck ran out when I got to the 2 mascaras I won, though.
WIN 3: L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara
The L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes was an item I had seen in the store aisle at Target and wanted to try, but had not yet purchased. And while waiting to see if I could find a coupon or sale somewhere to justify me buying yet another mascara before my current ones (notice I said ONES. not ONE. As in I use multiple mascaras all at the same time, like some sort of lash neurotic) were ready to go on their one-way trip to the recycle bin, I received this one in the mail.
So, fast forward a few weeks after receiving my prize in the mail. I cracked open the package, opened the tube, and tried using this mascara on its own. On first inspection, I liked the brush shape, the bristles (not too hard, not too soft), and the shape of the tube as far as being a bit outside the norm (it has a defined shape to prevent me from over-tightening the package when I’m done & cracking the tube).
For my initial trial/first use of the product, I used it on its own, without cocktailing it with any other mascara or lash primers. I found the consistency to be a bit lacking, unfortunately.
I had used several versions of the Voluminous mascara before, and liked the formulation and some of the brushes, though not all of them. I even have a few tubes of the L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Pro Extra Volume Collagen Hydra Plumping Mascara in my collection, which to me is the first mascara that came to my mind when I opened this new one up. I found that visually, the formulas appear very similar on the brushes. But, that’s where the comparison ended.
This Million Lashes formula seems wetter and clumpier, with some issues in drying without sticking to neighboring lashes. While the Collagen Plumping one at first is just as wet, it goes on evenly and allows one to comb it over a lengthening formula mascara without any problems. The Million Lashes does not work as well alone or in combination with other mascaras.
I have tried it several times since that first use. I have tried wiping down the wand prior to application (My tip: use a blotting paper for this unless you like to add a good layer of lint to your lashes from your tissues or cotton pads). I have tried cocktailing it, meaning I used either a lash primer or a lengthening mascara first, and then added a coat of this mascara. I have re- tried wearing it alone. I have even tried several comb-throughs with lash combs, spoolies, and even using other cleaned off mascara wands that were plastic or rubber. No dice. It seems that at least for this tube of Million Lashes (I will give L’Oreal Paris the benefit of the doubt that this might be a dud tube of product) all it wanted to create on me was a Million Clumps. I was able to save the nice rubber-bristled wand, though, and after washing it off & drying it, I do like using it to run through my eyebrows after I wash my makeup off to ensure I get any residual makeup off successfully & to groom my brows before bed.
WIN 4: Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin CC Curl + Care Mascara.
This is my most recent win. All I can say is wow. Great packaging, great brush. I like the bristles & the curve (not too curved, not straight). The package is easy to hold when using a hand mirror (like I do to apply my eye makeup) without taking up too much space in your hand & dropping, and it’s easy to open (I’ve been known to tighten my mascara tubes & lipgloss tubes till I crack the necks. This bottle, with the flat design, prevents this).
My only complaint, however is the drying time and resilience of the formula. Now, to be completely fair & honest, I’m not one who is often suckered into purchases by the word “ORGANIC” being used in the marketing for the item. I also understand that without many of the standard cosmetic ingredients for standard mascaras that the consistency, drying times, etc. can and will be affected.
I do expect that once applied, my mascara won’t run to the hills at the slightest dampness on my face. I work out on my lunch hours. And due to this, I tend to sweat (no, not glow, not perspire, but sweat). I also do not use any waterproofing products on my makeup for the regular work days, nor will I ever use waterproof mascara (tried it once and HATED it, so I avoid it like the plague).
I have never before experienced any form of running mascara in my entire life, which is a lot to say, since I’ve been playing with makeup since I was a little kid of at least 4 years old. Even in all that time, through all the decades, and from all the price points I have tried, from $1 store brands to department store brands, I have never before experienced mascara that stayed damp and runny for its entire wear period, as this one did. I called & spoke with a customer service representative on their Customer Relations Department line listed in the prize insert. She informed me that this mascara is supposed to be more of a “conditioning coat” or “cream” that doesn’t have harsh drying solvents in it, and therefore takes several MINUTES to dry between coats, and can still remain “moist” while on so that it treats the lashes. Knowing this now, I’m not quite sure how I would properly wear a perpetually damp mascara, and because of this, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be wearing this one again (outside of if I need smeary eye makeup for Halloween). Which is a sad discovery for me because I really did enjoy the brush on this one.
But, don’t you just take my word for it, dear readers…feel free to add your comments & personal experiences below for discussion.
I recently celebrated a birthday, and as such, tried to “treat” myself to something fun & exciting in the beauty realm the night before. Instead of spending money on something new, I decided to shop my expansive beauty horde to see what ideas popped up.
I soon realized that I was desperately in need of an update to my current home manicure (Note: just so you’re all aware going into this review, about 99.9% of my manicures, pedicures & facials are home ones; I try to be frugal when possible), since my existing one was finally starting to show its age after almost 2 weeks of hardcore wear & tear. Plus, I was tiring of the glittering gold with flower nail art stickers.
[Below is how the existing manicure looked when it first stepped onto the scene; shade is a Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure color called Goldie Frocks; if you want more info on what I did to create this manicure, leave me a comment & I’ll get that to you in a future post]
AHA! Why not do a “distinctive manicure” for my birthday? GREAT IDEA!! (Plus, a gal pal had left me a Facebook message stating she couldn’t wait to see what I did for my “birthday nails”, so yeah, it made sense).
Since I’m always so busy that I never even really get to do my manicures until bedtime, I decided to try to cheat by using some of the nail polish stickers from Maybelline New York that I had picked up oh, I’d say at least last fall (2012? 2013? Who keeps track of these things anymore??) and hadn’t felt inspired enough to use yet. I mean, what else says “Birthday” other than metallic green reptile print nails on a gal?
The color is #70, and is called Divine Crocodile in their Color Show Fashion Prints nail stickers/lacquer strips. Here’s a shot of how they look on my naked nails (as per their application instructions) at the end of the application process:
Here’s my personal experience with these nail stickers.
I found these to be a bit trickier to work with than the Sally Hansen nail lacquer strips I’ve used in the past (both the prints and the plain color ones), or than the Essence brand printed nail polish strips I’ve used before as well (I got the Essence brand ones at my local Ulta for like $2.49 and they were pretty cool!)
I followed the application instructions to a T:
- Apply the sticker to your clean, bare nail [CHECK] with the enclosed plastic “orange” stick [CHECK],
- Bend the excess over the tips of your nails [CHECK],
- and then using the miniature 2 sided emery board file, gently file your nails so that the sticker cuts off at the tips & the excess falls off. […UMM, not check??]
I tried both sides of the enclosed emery board, and even a different emery board style of nail file (a Sephora one), and I had nothing but problems in trying to get the excess bits off of the tips of the nails. The sticker texture is somewhat rubbery, and it doesn’t want to stay put on those “clean, bare, dry nail beds” as much as some of the other brands of nail strips I’ve used have. The stickers kept sliding around, and no matter how much I went back again & again with the plastic stick to smooth them back into place & remove the puckers & wrinkles, once I returned to continue trying to file the tips off of the stickers, the section that was actually on my nails would slide about again, creating yet MORE puckers, wrinkles and annoyances. This extended the simple act of trimming the stickers down to sizes that matched my natural nails (yes, I don’t do fake nails, sorry folks) from what should have been around 10 minutes to over an hour. I was highly disgruntled at this fact, and was tempted to scrap the whole project and just go with naked nails.
Another annoyance: The sticker design itself, which appears to be a silver-backed foil of sorts that’s bonded to the acrylate strips in stamped out sections, shredded a bit during the process, creating a less than professional look. Plus, I was left with ragged edges, which have been snagging bits of dust & fuzz since I did the “manicure”. Annoyance rating: high In fact, I’m still finding either entire or bits of green “scales” floating around my room here & there. Not fun.
My summation is this:
Of the 3 brands of nail polish stickers [Sally Hansen, Maybelline, and Essence], from across 2 different price points [young teen cheapies to average mass market retailer priced], that I have tried thus far, I am disappointed.
Bluntly put, this specific print from Maybelline New York, though gorgeous, is a total pain in the rear. Mind you, I don’t have any other shades or prints from this line of nail stickers, to compare to confirm if it’s just the way this print was made that caused me so much frustration when applying, or to know for sure if it appears that ALL of the Maybelline New York nail stickers will give a person the same application difficulties.
I do have other brands of nail strips/stickers that I’ve bought but just haven’t applied; when their turns come along for me to try them, I’ll give you reviews & photos of them as well. Until then, I’d vote these suckers off the island for wearing them as a full nail covering.
Perhaps I can repurpose some of the remaining stickers (you get a total of 18 stickers of various sizes, for use in manicures or pedicures, plus the 2 application tools for around $8.99 from what I can vaguely recall paying at my local CVS pharmacy) into the more traditional nail art stickers that you put on over nail polish & then seal with top coat? or perhaps I’ll just do 1 accent nail (better to struggle with 2 versus 10 nail stickers) and coordinate the rest of the manicure with a complimentary or matching color?
The ideas are endless. If you have any of your own to add to the list, feel free to comment below.
For those of you who may not know me, I live in the greater New York City metro area. I’m a transplanted New Yorker, born & raised, and after a decade-plus stint in another time zone, I’ve been back in my “home turf” in the Northeast for almost 4 years. During this time, I’ve had the ability to grow my group of friends to include some very, very awesome & talented “twenty-somethings”, and we as such tend to gather in what we call our “Limited Engagements” to spend our gal pal time across the area, including in New York City proper.
This past Saturday (4/26/14), I had the pleasure of gathering with my Limited Engagement pals Daring Danielle & Becca to see an amazing 2 woman show (which one of the ladies, Harmony Joy was part of) in the West Village area of New York City. During this girls night out, I was able to elaborate to the other gals my blog goals, and to try to brainstorm with them for ideas for the first “content laden” blog post. Here’s what we came up with.
On the drive down to the City, we chatted about makeup in general. Topics such as brands, brushes, application procedures and how to achieve the same finished effect on your own that you received when you pay for a pro makeup artist (either outright pay them to do your makeup or buy products so they’ll do your makeup) were popular. I realized that no matter what background you have, and no matter what industry you get into, a uniting topic for most women & some men (hey, I have a good deal of LGBT friends and don’t exclude) is grooming & beauty, and that since much of what’s on the market about this topic is mostly geared to sell a person stuff, it’s hard to get at the nitty-gritty of what’s real information in order to learn what works for you & how to get your money’s worth from a product.
After traipsing down West 14th Street, from 9th Avenue down to 7th Avenue & after a fun window shopping expedition to a vintage clothing store called Rags A-GoGo (website: http://rags-a-gogo.com/Rags_A_GoGo/Home.html in case anyone needs to desperately find a pale peach double-knit 1970’s jump suit for the reasonable price of $28), our group had a pit stop at a 24 Hour Duane Reade pharmacy & drugstore for an ATM run.
Lo & behold, what greeted our eyes when we first walked into the drugstore was this: A HUGE display, all glossy & black in color [to portray a slick, sophisticated & urban image, the marketing classes in my educational history tell me] screaming “GOSH COSMETICS” (homepage is http://www.goshcosmetics.com/). We all looked at each other & asked “have you ever heard of this line?” Honestly, none of us could say yes. This display, with its wares in it, was completely foreign to us. Yes, it had its line of “required” products that it seems any current cosmetics line needs to carry in order to catch our consumer eyes as of late: a line of BB cream, funky colored nail polishes, sleekly packaged and chromed out lip gloss tubes. But, what did it have to justify its price point of between $10 & $28 for a product? Hmmm…
We decided to leave it be, and if we passed by again on our rounds that evening, perhaps we’d vote on a product communally to buy & try for the blog. After all, it’s a Beauty Jungle out there, and it’s my job to try to answer the kinds of questions the 3 of us ladies had come up against in our brief run-in with that new cosmetics wall.
Fast forward to later that night. We’re headed back to the car, again on West 7th Avenue, and pass by the same Duane Reade. We decide, let’s do this. After a brief review of the items and how we’d figure out what to test, we selected a waterproof eyeliner pencil in a deep emerald shade of green with some slight gold shimmer named “Aligator”. How perfect! It keeps with the urban theme of the night (anyone hear the old urban legend about aligators in the New York City sewer system?) and yet is an “it” enough shade that it’s something any of us 3 ladies would gravitate towards in our normal make-up shopping.
I’ve taken a photo of Aligator for posterity, and it’s below, next to the photo of the swatches of the color on each of our hands (please excuse the poor lighting results from my phone camera). I did this in order to showcase how it looks on different skin tones & shades so that you, the reader, can know what to expect (since I don’t have a decent video setup yet for this kind of blogging). The swatches are on 2 warm undertones (one is on my deeper golden medium to olive tan skin, and the other on Daring Danielle, who has a golden fair skin tone) while one is on a neutral to cool fair skin tone (Becca).
OK, so here’s the actual review portion of the post (thank you for your patience & for suffering through my babbling of a story to get where we now are, at the meat & potatoes of the post).
I want to first start with the basics on the company (here’s the summary of who they are from their site): “GOSH Cosmetics is a young and innovative cosmetics, bath & body and fragrance company based in Denmark. Founded in 1945 as a pharmaceutical company, GOSH quickly moved into the cosmetics industry. GOSH Cosmetics products are currently sold in more than 75 countries throughout the world.” Huh. 75 countries. I’ve traveled a little, and know a bunch of international students, friends, family friends, etc. from a bunch of places. Never heard of them before. Maybe their Duane Reade stand is their breakout American debut? I mean, their website later goes on to clarify that they didn’t start out with cosmetics, but instead grew to branch out to include cosmetics. Perhaps this is why I first heard of GOSH this past Saturday.
I found this product detail information on the Gosh Cosmetics company page about the eyeliner: “GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner Waterproof is soft and easy to apply with an amazing colour pay-off, can easily be toned out with a brush or an applicator. Contains Vitamin-E and Jojoba oil. Perfume free. Comes in 19 colours.” Aside from the European-style English description, this is a fairly accurate description of the texture of the eye liner.
The eyeliner is smooth, creamy, and has a light, comfortable texture to it. There’s no tugging, skipping, or pulling when applying to the eye area or when we swatched the liner on ourselves. The pigment load is intense, and it even goes on smoothly over eye shadow (I line my eyes as the next to last step in my eye makeup routine, just before the mascara stage). It stays damp and workable for a few seconds, which allows you to blend it out (if you tend to do the smudgy liner look) or to set the liner with a powder of your choice (colorless or a matching color shadow) if you, like I, prefer to lock your makeup like this. I found the liner has great staying power too; I washed my hands & it still stayed on. However, a cotton pad with eye makeup remover took it off without a problem. I n fact, this liner reminds me of a smoother version of the Urban Decay liners, but for less money ($12 versus $20). Overall, I give this product & formula of liner an A letter grade. I will now feel free to seek the line out from other retailers & get more colors.
As far as the company website goes, this is my review: While they have a comprehensive list of the products they offer, they didn’t have a list of shades for each product, color swatches, or much on the site. Also, you can’t shop directly from this site. This is a B grade to me. The website should suck you in! You should want to seek this product out, even if you have to eBay it, and buy it! BUY IT NOW! But, maybe they teach marketing in a different way in Northern Europe? Oh well. However, this site offers links to YouTube videos of instructions, ideas and trends that make up for the inability to shop directly from their website. So, when this is factored in, I have to give their site an A minus.
So, try it for yourself & leave me comments. Do you agree with my findings? Disagree? Have new ideas on how to use this product? Want to show off looks you created with it? Then don’t forget to comment this post!
Love & beauty to all!