Sticker Shock

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]

goldsallyhansen

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:

divinecrocodile

**********REVIEW**********

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:

  1. Apply the sticker to your clean, bare nail [CHECK] with the enclosed plastic “orange” stick [CHECK],
  2. Bend the excess over the tips of your nails [CHECK],
  3. 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.

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The Alligator in NYC

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).

Goshswatches

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).

**************REVIEW**************

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.

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. – See more at: http://www.goshcosmetics.com/uk/gosh-velvet-touch-eye-liner.html#sthash.GqGcY2Ap.dpuf

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!

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. – See more at: http://www.goshcosmetics.com/uk/gosh-velvet-touch-eye-liner.html#sthash.GqGcY2Ap.dpuf

Welcome to the Beauty Jungle!

head shot from NJ in Aug 2012  Welcome to The Beauty Jungle, your new spot for information, reviews, ideas and tips on all things beauty.  I am your guide, the Barbarasaurus Rex (but you can just call me B-Rex for short to keep things friendly) as we travel through the vast landscape of the beauty industry.  As my family’s elected & current ruling Glamazon, I have years of watching, questioning, learning, and noting the beauty rituals, products, procedures and concepts of the generations before me, and of my contemporaries.

I’ve earned a bit of a reputation amongst those I know as being the go-to person to ask about beauty questions, so I wanted to open the proverbial doors to you, the public.  Feel free to pick my brain and ask questions or to comment in my blog.  I can’t promise that time will allow me to answer each & every question or comment immediately and/or personally, but I will try my best to address the pressing issues that are put to me in a timely fashion.

Please let me start off with an important disclaimer:  All of the opinions expressed in my blog will be solely my own, as based upon my personal experiences (*unless I specifically make reference of an anecdote I based from someone else’s personal experience, which would only be done with their authorization, and with the names changed to protect their privacy).   Also:  I’m not endorsed by any companies, nor am I blindly “brand loyal” based on what professional media may say about a specific item, brand, or such.  I’m simply a Gen X American gal who tries to squeeze the absolute most out of every last cent of my “beauty budget”, and wants to share what valuable information I have amassed with others seeking the same information, should you want it.

With this mission in mind, I want to outline what I feel will be my blog format for you.  There should be a good cross-section of price points for products, tools & perhaps even some “dupe” (lower cost duplicates for higher priced products) when it comes to the product reviews.   I’m open to discussing beauty looks, techniques, trends and ideas that are suggested, requested or otherwise come up.  I’ll try anything (*not overtly poisonous, dangerous, permanent or illegal) at least once on the basis of beauty science when it comes to trends.  I believe in humor, and in casual, respectful interactions with my readers.  Honesty is my policy, though, when it comes to reporting my results, and while this might not make everyone happy, my real goal in life is to make myself happy, and to help others also make themselves happy (I could insert a quote from Godfather II in here now about “if you’re happy, I’m happy” but I’ll try to stay on topic.)

In the end, I firmly believe that no one person can dictate what you, the reader, like, love, hate, are neutral towards, or what works/doesn’t work for you.  So, please, exercise your own common sense, personal safety, and do your homework when it comes to all things beauty.  I recommend that perhaps keep your own notebook or journal to record your own results, so that you can build your own reference guide of what works for you from what’s out there (procedure, product and information-wise), and remember, confidence and self-esteem are the most beautiful traits of all.

Love, hugs, and the best of all wishes,

Barbarella the B-Rex