Wednesday, September 21, 2011

GCOCL Nail Stamp Machine (Konad dupe)

I originally planned to purchase Konad's cheapest starter kit from wowwownails. The store is located at Steeles East near Pacific Mall, so I thought I'd peep first and decide whether I like it enough before committing to purchase.  I was this close to getting it but halted coz hubby remineded me there could be something similar in ebay. Lo and behold, ebay never disappoints! This GCOCL nail stamp machine definitely looks more luxurious than the Konad starter kit at only a fraction of the price (approx 15USD with free shipping)!

GCOCL Nail Stamp Machine (ebay)

The kit comes with the nail stamp machine, 6 GCOCL metal plates, and 7 GCOCL nail polishes for stamping.

The nail stamp machine is actually a cool device which scrapes the polish off the metal plate uniformly and the image can be transferred precisely where it's intended.  It takes a little bit of practice to measure the positioning of the nails. But once you master the technique, everything can be done in 5 easy steps.  

1.  apply polish to the plate. 
2.  go over the plate with the pink scapper device to remove excess polish. 
3.  press down the stamp to transfer the image from the plate to the stamp.
4.  reposition the scrapper and press the stamp to transfer image from the stamp to the nails.
5.  clean the scrapper, stamp, and metal plate for next use.

GCOCL Nail Stamp Machine (ebay)

While this is a cool device, I find that it takes more work to use the stamping machine when I want to position the image anywhere other than the middle of the nail.  After the image has been transferred to the stamp, I usually take the stamp out of the machine and manually transfer the image to my nails.  I can rotate the stamp however way I want that way.

GCOCL Nail Stamp Machine (ebay)
The plate that comes with the kit are mostly florals designs.  They are cute and pretty easy to transfer.  But I did find some designs to be too intricate so it does not stamp well on the nails.  I was hoping to get at least one full nail plate, but it doesn't come with the kit.  Other designs can be purchased individually at ebay.

As for the nail polishes that comes with the kit, they are very opaque but dries super fast!  I decided to ditch these after using them once.  Regular polishes works better. Just be sure that the consistency of the polish is opaque enough to show through when stamped.

In case you are interested, the nail stamp machine can be purchased here.

I have ordered image plates from Bundle Master to try... will post them up once I receive the package. Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nail Polish Army

One Happy Nail Polish Family

Wow, I didn't realize I have THIIIIIIS much nail polishes!!!

And the break down according to hues...

Black and Whites
Black and Whites: Sally Hansen Whirlwind White, Art Deco White, Sally Hansen Celeb City, Sally Hansen Gunmetal, Sally Hansen Black Out

Reds Reds: Wet n Wild Blazed, OPI Paint my Moji-toes Red, Wet n Wild Everybody Loves Redmond, The Face Shop RD303

Yellows and Greens Yellows and Greens: Joe Fresh Butter, The Face Shop GR502, Sally Hansen Gentle Blossom, Essie Cool Click

Blues Blues: Essie Coat Azure, OPI Give Me the Moon, China Glaze Sea Spray, OPI What's with the Cattitude?, Sally Hansen Gray by Gray, Orly Sapphire Silk, Joe Fresh Persian Blue

Pinks and Purples
Pinks and Purples: Essie French Affair, Essie Nice is Nice, Revlon Lilac Pastelle, Zoya Harley, Joe Fresh Fig, OPI Tickle me Francey, Sephora OPI Metro Chic

Oranges Oranges: Sally Hansen Petal Pusher, Zoya Alluria, Zoya Dulcinea, The Face Shop GL112

Beiges and Taupes Nudes and Taupes: Essie Topless & Barefoot, Rimmel Crushed Pearl, Orly Powder Puff, Essie Sand Tropez, Orly Country Club Khaki, Sephora OPI Under My Trench Coat

Base and Top Coats
Base and Top Coats: Sally Hansen Base & Top Coat, OPI Base Coat, Seche Vite Top Coat, Out the Door Top Coat, Sally Hansen Strobe Light, Sally Hansen Disco Ball

I'm generally more into nude and beige polishes...
My blue polishes started to accumulate for some reason...
I used to use the Sally Hansen Base & Top coat, but I'm loving the OPI base coat now...
Even though Seche Vite smells more overpowering and turns goopy easily, I still prefer it over Out the door. I use SV on newly painted nails, and OtD every 3-4 days for maintenance...
I have a few red nail polishes in my stash but never actually used them... I love red nails but it's a bit over for work....
Do you buy mini size polishes? I prefer to try the new collections in mini sizes first, but the mini brushes are such a pain to work with...

overflowing nail polishes Everything squeezed into this baby wipes box...


I seriously need to reorganize this...

and stop buying! LOL

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MAC Sheen Supreme Lipsticks

While most people prefer pigmented lipsticks, I find myself gearing towards the sheer and glossy variant.  I don't think my lips are extremely dry but they do chap easily.  I have only recently expanded my MAC lipstick collection.  Most of what I have are in the Luster formula, which I find more comfortable for the lips.  When MAC released their Sheen Supreme lipsticks, I knew I have to try at least one to satisfy my craving.  But alas, the story doesn't end with only one lipstick LOL  I got Bare Again and Gotta Dash from the first collection, then Blossom Culture from the second collection.

MAC Sheen Supreme Lipsticks
Blossom Culture, Bare Again, Gotta Dash!

According to MAC, the Sheen Supreme lipsticks combine the color impact of a lipstick with the shine sheen of a Lipglass. Lightweight, non-sticky, slick to apply and comfortable to wear.  

I have to agree with the description.  The pigmentation is definitely there. The gloss is there too, but not as shiny as your normal lip glosses.  I have a love and hate relationship with its extremely soft texture.  I like it because the product glides on the lips so easily. But I have to be very careful not to apply too much force otherwise the stick gets deformed easily.  Also because of the softness, some shades (Gotta Dash and Blossom Culture in particular) apply very patchy and sinks into the lip lines.  The way to remedy this is to make sure lips are exfoliated well prior to application.  And I also use my own fingertips to smooth out the product on my lips after application.

Packaging wise, I'm not really fond of the sleek tube.  It takes so much effort to pull off the cap as the bottom part is so small and makes gripping a lot more difficult.



MAC Sheen Supreme Lipsticks

MAC Sheen Supreme Lipsticks

I have only tried three shades from the MAC Sheen Supreme lipstick collection.  As expected, they are my usual nude and everyday shade.  I will probably try out fuschia and red shades in the future, as I believe the texture and finish of these will make bolder colors more wearable.

MAC Sheen Supreme Lipsticks
Blossom Culture, Bare Again, Gotta Dash!

Here are the lip swatches.  The cast makes my teeth look so grossly yellow... Eek....
MAC Sheen Supreme Lipsticks - For Litz
Bare Lips, Bare Again
Blossom Culture, Gotta Dash

Overall, I do like the MAC Sheen Supreme lipsticks even with the flaws.  From the three shades I have, my favorite is Bare Again as it doesn't have the patchy problem the other two shades have.  But I still like Blossom Culture and Gotta Dash for it's color. If you want something that's more pigmented and glossy than a tinted lip balm, do try these babies out.


Summary
Pros:
-  pigmented
-  moisturizing
-  hybrid of lipstick and gloss
-  light weight
-  pleasant smell

Cons:
-  annoying packaging
-  some shades sinks into lip lines
-  deforms easily

Rating (1-5 hearts): ♥♥♥♥

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Mousse SPF50+++

Just curious, since when did you learn about the harmful effects of the sun on the skin? As a kid, I've always loved swimming and would literally toast myself to death under the rays. No one ever told me facts about skin cancer and how the skin ages quickly with too much sun exposure. I have never even heard about sunscreen until I reach 20s.  What prompted me to start using sunscreen was my very first freckle mark on my cheek!  But even then, I wasn't using sunscreens regularly as I found most products too sticky and oily for the humid weather back in my home town.  I thought one freckle could just be an accident. But I was so wrong... it mutated like gremlins over the span of 10 years... *sad*

Fast forward to today, I have successfully incorporated sun protection into my daily routine. Actually, I don't feel safe at all without slapping it on before I get out of the door.  I'm glad technology has advanced such that sunscreens that come out of the market these days are so light weight and we have more choices other than the good o'le Coppertone.

I've been loving Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Mousse SPF50+++ since I started using it early this summer.  I got this on my last trip to Taiwan at around 280NTD, which is less than 10USD.  It's the most light weight sunscreen I've ever used to date.  Feels like nothing on the skin!  Moisturizers feel even heavier than this baby!  Most sunscreens have that err... "sunscreen" smell. But this baby has a citrus scent that smells sooo good!  It does leave a white cast when you first apply it on, but fades away quickly once everything is blended well.

Biore UV Aqua Watery Mousse SPF50+++
Sleek packaging

Biore UV Aqua Watery Mousse SPF50+++
Easy to use squeeze tube...

Biore UV Aqua Watery Mousse SPF50+++
Product blended on the skin... feels like nothing!

If there's anything negative to this product, that will be the size. It only comes in 30ml tube which is quite small compared to regular sunscreens. Other products from the Biore Aqua Watery line are mostly 50ml in size.

Overall, this product is definitely holy grail for me at the moment. Super duper highly recommended!  It can be purchased on ebay or adambeauty.com for only 13-14USD.  

Summary
Pros:
-  light weight (feels like nothing)
-  pleasant smell
-  does not make my face oily throughout the day
-  does not leave a white cast

Cons:
- size (only 30ml)

Rating (1-5 hearts): ♥♥♥♥

Monday, August 22, 2011

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette

After Book of Shadows II and Naked Palette, I thought I'm done with Urban Decay. Even when photos, swatches and reviews of the Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette started popping up in each and every blog and youtube channel I'm subscribed to, I was determined to skip this. I don't see the need of adding more to my eye shadow collection as I tend to gravitate towards the same colors over and over again.  With the fiasco on Naked Palette and the pace new products come to Canada, I thought the probability of me caving in to get this palette is very slim.  Well, that's what I thought!

Last month, we went on a shopping spree in the U.S. I wasn't expecting to get anything make-up related as the main purpose of the trip was to get presents for our family.  I did list the nearest Ulta location from Warden Galleria though, just in case we pass by (I haven't been to Ulta prior to our last trip).  And so, we did spot Ulta and went shopping.  I had my mind set on Real Techniques brushes but didn't expect I would lay my eyes on the UD 15th Anniversary Palette... take note: the last item on the rack.  Just imagine the angel and demon debating on my mind that time. Anyhow, the angel lost and so this baby came home with me... *evil grin*

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette

I normally don't fuss over product packaging but the intricate detail of this eye shadow case is just too pretty! It makes the product so much more luxurious than it already is!

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette

This palette comes with 15 new shades that are very crazy pigmented... even more pigmented than pure pigments.  It comes with a variety of neutral colors and a few brights. The finishes are all metallic... UD could have thrown a few matte shades to make it even more versatile.  

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette

The swatches above were all done with one swipe of each shade, starting from the column on the left towards the right.  See how intense the shadows are on the last column?  My God!

Texture wise, these shadows glides so smoothly... they are even more buttery than the Naked Palette. However, I do find them quite loosely pressed as grabbing the product using a brush causes some powder mess on the palette.  I was expecting fall outs due to this, but it applies amazingly well on the lid.

For those who haven't tried any of the Urban Decay palettes, this is a must have. But for those who already got Naked Palette or any of the Book of Shadows, there are some shades in this palette that look similar to the older palettes.  I got it just because... just because :)

Overall, this palette is really worth the purchase and is such a steal at 55USD. I'm glad I got it in the U.S. so I save a few more bucks on conversion to Canadian.  

Summary
Pros:
- texture is very buttery and applies well on the lids
- extremely pigmented
- this palette contains all new shades
- nice mix of neutrals and brights
- very good value

Cons:
- pressed very loosely
- less versatile as all shades have metallic/shimmery finish
- I wonder why it didn't come with any shadow primer? oh, am I asking too much? :D

Rating (1-5 hearts): ♥♥♥♥

EOTD using UD 15th Anniv Palette

Now for the actually look, I decided to give my usual neutrals a pop of color.  For this look, I applied Deep End on the center of the lid, Chase on the crease, M.I.A. on the outer V, Flow on the inner corner, and Vanilla on the brow bone.  I've never tried teal eye shadows and this look, although not too bold, really pushes me away from my comfort zone.  Even wore this to work!  I usually don't put any color on my lower lash line or line my lower water line as I find it to be overpowering for a day look.  But for night outs and parties, this can be intensified further and will make a nice smokey look!

So, are you hauling the Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette now?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Nails of the week - Nail Stamping

GCOCL nail stamp

First experience using GCOCL nail stamp machine I got through ebay.  I would love to get Konad but this is so much cheaper!  I will do a full review of the GCOCL machine to show the items that comes with the kit. 

Started with OPI's base coat and then used Orly's Country Club Khaki as a base.  For the flower stamps, I used Sally Hansen's Insa-Dri in Whirlwind White and Xtreme Wear in Celeb City.  Everything's topped off by Seche Vite top coat.  

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Peaceful

I got my first Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy not so long ago and instantly fell in love with the product. So upon receiving the Tarte QVC set, I was more than excited to try out Peaceful.

12 Hour Wear Amazonian Clay Blush in Peaceful

12 Hour Wear Amazonian Clay Blush in Peaceful

I have to say, I love Tarte's Amazonian Clay blushes for it's texture and lasting power. Pigmentation is superb so a stippling brush might be need for light application. This, I would say, is even more pigmented than Nars blushes. On my cheeks, it lasts the entire work day without need for touch ups.  The product is very finely milled but pressed very firmly. Swirling the brush on the product doesn't loosen the powder so I don't end up with scattered mess on my vanity table.

As much as I love Tarte's Amazonian Clay blushes, I'm not particularly fond of Peaceful in terms of shade. I was expecting a light baby pink shade but it shows up pretty orange on my cheeks. I would say it looks pretty much like MAC's Warm Soul on me... probably less orange, but definitely not light pink. It's got some fine shimmers which isn't overpowering. Well, it's still a good blush, just not what I was expecting base on the product photos.

I'm still a little bit luke-warm to this blush, but who knows, I might like it one day if I'm up for something warmer.

Summary
Pros:
- very long lasting (I can see traces of blush after 12 hours of wear)
- very finely milled
- no gritty shimmers
- compact and comes with a mirror which is great for touch ups (if you ever need it)

Cons:
- Peaceful appears orange on my cheeks

Rating (1-5 hearts): ♥♥♥♥


Note: I deducted 1 star purely because of the shade. Otherwise, the product is definitely top notch. I need to do a separate review for Tipsy, to be fair.


Tarte Glow Your Way to Gorgeous - Swatches