Monthly Archives: March 2013

Easter Inspired Nail Art - Revlon, Essie, Covergirl, Soo Nails Polish

Easter Manicure - Colorful, Cute Manicure with Essie Van D Go Swatch, Soo Nails Swatch, Revlon Eclectic Swatch, Revlon Sunshine Sparkle Swatch, Covergirl My Papaya Swatch

Pastels, decorated eggs, bunnies and fresh blooms
A fun Easter inspired manicure, complete with found egg

Mackenzie’s Notes: 

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter, surrounded by friends and family, good weather and good spirits! Easter has been one of my favorite holidays since I was a child, and I fully celebrate it by attending church, enjoying a lovely lunch, hunting for eggs, and even painting  my nails in a festive design. I hope you enjoy this fun manicure which was inspired by pastels, bunnies, decorated eggs and blooming flowers! This past week has been sunny in New York City and we can all feel spring and summer slowly arriving.

I used a variety of polishes for this manicure, but if you’re trying to recreate it and don’t own all these colors, try to find something similar, such as pastels.  You can choose to keep the designs different for each finger (as I did) or choose one as an accent, or keep one design on all fingers.  If you are curious about which colors I used, they are Revlon’s Eclectic (pastel green), Revlon’s Sunshine Sparkle (pale yellow), Essie’s Van D Go (pastel coral), Soo Nails Purple and Covergirl’s My Papaya (coral).

Happy Easter!

The Easter Bunny was generous. Polishes used are Essie’s Van D Go (pastel coral),  Soo Nails Purple, Revlon’s Eclectic (pastel green), Revlon’s Sunshine Sparkle (pale yellow), and Covergirl’s My Papaya (coral)
Good thing the eggie is not real or this would be some risky business
Happy Easter from Miranda and Mackenzie!

Pastel Nail Polish and Pastel Nails - Spring Nails Trend Drugstore Pastel Nail Polishes

Drugstore Pastel Nail Polishes Collections
In my first post showing my favorite pastel nail polishes, which you can read here, I mentioned that I would also include drugstore and more easily accessible collections.  So, if you’re looking for something more different and unique but at an affordable price, this seasons’ collections have it all.
I’m visiting my sister this weekend, in fact I’m writing this post as I’m on the bus halfway to New York City, and I’m excited to get our nails done (as our weekend treat!).  And because I’ve been pastel-crazy-craving, I’ll probably opt for the Essie Spring 2013 Madison Ave-Hue Go Ginza.
Essie Spring 2013 Madison Ave-Hue (Photo Credit: Essie Facebook Official Page)

The Essie Spring 2013 Madison Ave-Hue line is inspired by famous streets from around the world - the collection includes three lighter based colors (Go Ginza, Bond with Whomever, and Maximilian Strasse Her) and three brighter colors (Essie Avenue Maintain, Hip-Anema, and Madison Ave-Hue).  I purchased Go Ginza, Maximilian Strasse Her, and Avenue Maintain because these hues were lovely paired together.  The formula was a bit runny but the color was opaque after two coats and lasted several days with a Seche Vite top coat.  Go Ginza reminds me of other Essie pink colors but Go Ginza has a muted light purple undertone that makes this option more unique and sophisticated.  Similarly, Essie Maximilian Strasse Her (what a …strange name hehe) is a combination of grey, white, green, blue, and all kinds of other colors - the color changed depending on the lighting!

L’Oreal Spring 2013 Versailles Romance pastels selection (Photo Credit: L’Oreal)
The L’Oreal Spring 2013 Versailles Romance is a collection of pastel nail polishes (and paisley nail lingerie stickers) as well as pastel L’Oreal Balms.  The collection actually has a blue and yellow balm, but alas, the colors simply go on clear. Versailles Romance is the perfect combination of all classic pastels - if you are still undecided on picking some shades (and you shouldn’t be given this handy guide of ours!), I recommend picking these L’Oreal pastels.  The formula is creamy, applies easily, has great shine, and durability.  Some older L’Oreal formulas are not that impressive, but I’ve found some shades that are near perfect! Just as a quick note, I’ve located this limited edition collection at Walgreens and Target.
Hard Candy Candy Sprinkles Pastels  (Photo Credit: Hard Candy Facebook Official Page)
Hard Candy has recently released some interesting nail polishes - the Hard Candy Candy Sprinkles Pastels line is limited to Wal-Mart and online (at least here in the Northeast).  I was intrigued by these colors because they reminded me of the  Illamasqua I’mperfection Spring 2013 speckled nail varnishes, but at a much more affordable price.  The Hard Candy Speckled Pastels contain color coordinated glitters that add a bit of edginess to the spring pastel nail trend.  The Hard Candy formulas vary but these colors are too beautiful to pass up!
Readers’ Recommendations: Whew, that was quite the list to get through! From our reviews in Part 1 and Part 2, which are your favorite picks for pastel nail polish?
Stay Pretty, Miranda M.
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Lush Mask Brazened Honey Review - Honey Mask Review

Lush Brazened Honey Mask Review

Lush Brazened Honey Face Mask Review 

Today’s review is all about skin pampering and relaxing on a at-home-budget.  These past few days I’ve been preparing and applying to the Bar (duh duhh duhhh!) While this may sound like fun, it’s actually a daunting application to officially start practicing law because I’m graduating this May.  So in between gathering documents from ten years ago, trying to figure out obscure dates, and taking “glam” passport photos, my week became hectic and stressful.  I decided to treat myself to a small “time out” - I did my nails, put some oil treatment in my hair, added this Lush face mask, and took a bath. I may have looked like the lagoon monster, but overall, that whole time was helpful in re-charging and getting back to my Bar application.

Brazened Honey - Lush mask application instructions 

I’ve tried several other masks from Lush because I find them affordable and full of natural nutrients - see our review of the Lush Oatifix mask here.  While these Lush masks aren’t the expensive treatments you find in spas, the masks work wonderfully to soothe, brighten, and nourish skin.

Lush masks are priced approximately $6-$8 and contain product for anywhere around 7 to 10 applications, depending on how much you wish to use.  While the pot isn’t that big, this is still a great deal and better than those one time use masks.  While Lush ingredients are all natural, I remind you all to first test the product on your hand or a small spot on your face - I once had a strange reaction to the fragrance added in one of the soaps so I’m always cautious with Lush.

Brazened Honey contains free-range eggs, honey to soften, lime oil, antiseptic rosemary and exfoliating ground almonds.  The Lush Brazened Honey mask is a cleansing mask meant to unclog pores (eww), remove dirt and impurities, and leave skin brighter and fresh.  When you apply the Lush mask, the texture is thick and you have to be careful spreading everything evenly (possibly wet your fingers for even application).  After a few minutes, the mask dries and hardens and you literally feel the dirt being pulled out!   There was no tingling feeling for me, but some reviewers described this - I have semi-sensitive skin and had no reaction, the worst offenders for me are mint masks.

Let’s talk results - wow, did this make my face feel and look amazing! I have dry skin and was worried this would dry it even further but because of the honey and egg in the Lush Brazened Honey, my face felt rather moisturized and nourished after removing the mask.   The Brazened Honey mask also shrinks/minimizes pores and helps in removing blackheads as it takes away impurities and relaxes the skin. This Lush masks balances the skin oils while also exfoliating and brightening.  I recommend trying this on your hand in store and then washing it off, you will absolutely see the difference. Overall, Lush Brazened Honey mask is affordable and extremely effective in revealing a brighter and cleaner complexion.

As a word of caution, I adored the smell of this Lush mask because of all the ayurvedic herbs, but some people may not like it. If you’ve never tried tightening masks, the feeling after the Brazened Honey dries may feel strange, but again, it should not result in a skin reaction (but as a heads up, it’ll be hard to talk, so don’t be planning for a speech with your mask on).

From our past post, I noticed some people searched for the Lush expiration date on face masks.  Lush face masks do expire fairly soon so you’ll have to be mindful of that - Lush masks expire approximately in one to two weeks from purchase date (see the sticker on the pot).  I have used some Lush masks quite a few days after the expiration date and had no issues, but the potency of the ingredients may not be as strong.  Because of the natural ingredients, you’ll be able to tell whether there is mold, a funny smell, or the product has separated (signs that the Lush mask has expired). Just as with milk, when it’s expired, you know! So exercise your reasonable judgment when using past the Lush expiration date.

Lush face mask texture and color - easy to apply and sticks to skin 
Granulated almonds exfoliate skin while the egg and honey soothe the skin 
Lush Brazened Honey ingredients - check the Lush website for more information 
   
Stay Pretty, Miranda M. 

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Catwalk Glamour 21 Piece Professional Makeup Brush Set Review

Red leather pouch with Catwalk Glamour, Make Your Mark! logo
I took the plastic off for the photo, but the brushes come well sealed in plastic, and the bigger and more precise brushes get a hard plastic protector
Catwalk Glamour is a company based in the UK which was kind enough to send my sister and I some products to review, specifically the 21 Professional Makeup Brush Set and a Hearts Charm Necklace (which I will review soon!). Catwalk Glamour is a family business (since 2011) that specializes in beauty accessories, jewelry, scarves and hair styling accessories. Their mission is “to design and make high quality products at an affordable price”, thus an affordable luxury, all while providing great customer service.  Having received their products, I can vouch for the very high quality products (yes, even the jewelry ladies!); the shipping was relatively fast for an international shipment (don’t forget we live across the pond in NY) and the products had sturdy shipping packaging and invoices included.
Now to get more into these lovely brushes! They retail for 19.99 UK pounds or US $30.31, and are now on sale from a whopping $200, so I recommend you grab them soon if you’re interested in them.  I recently purchased another set off Amazon (from another company) for half the price, and boy do those not even compare to how nice the Catwalk Glamour ones are -  I definitely recommend investing in these as the product and the value are a steal. These brushes and other items are available on their website.  The set includes a presentation case and everything is wrapped in plastic with protectors.  The ferrules are aluminum and the handles are birch wood.  There is a variety of hair used in this set such as goat hair (for the face brushes), natural hair (eyeshadow brushes) and synthetic hair - a well curated variety of hair types for different applications and necessities.  They do not shed a lot, have dense hair, useful shapes, comfortable to hold and easy to store.  I will include a description of each of the brushes and how I use them with brief pros and cons per brush, as well as a look I created using them.
To conclude, this is a great set of brushes, great quality and designed with all the glamorous beauties in mind.  Angled contouring brush, massive fan brush, flat top concealer brush and many eyeshadow brushes - yes, please!  In case you’re wondering, this brush set overall gets the Grade 5/5. 
Close up of the goat hair face brushes; also love the color combination of these, you can see product on the black tips well
 (L) Big Fan Brush, Big Blush Brush, Medium Blush brush, Small Blush brush, Angled contour/blush brush (R)
(L) Close up of Big blush Brush, from front and side (R) Fan brush, front and top view
 Face Brushes: (all made out of goat hair)
1. Fan Brush - A large sized, fluffy fan brush. This is one of my favorites in the set, as it is so versatile; I use it to precisely apply and diffuse bright blush, to apply highlighter powder or to clean up any fall out eyeshadow.
2. Big Blush Brush - (can you say that 10 times fast sheesh) A large fluffy brush, good for applying blush,  or diffuse bronzer all over the face.  It is big, but it is not a round brush, but flatter on one side, which makes it perfect for applying blush (see detail shot).  My con for these larger goat brushes are that they are too coarse to use for an overall powder application, as I like to use very soft synthetic brushes for that.
3. Medium Blush Brush - A medium fluffy brush, flatter on one side as well.  For blush application, bronzer, and highlighter, but again, a bit too scratchy for an overall powder application. My con for the larger brushes, including the larger eyeshadow brushes, is that they shed hairs - not a lot, but enough to notice.  However, this shedding is considerably less than other brands I’ve tried.
4. Small Blush Brush - A smaller brush, flatter on one side.  For blush, highlighting or contouring.
5.  Angled Contour/Blush Brush - A smaller angled brush, perfect for contouring. Size is small enough to get that precise contouring and the goat hair is soft yet stiff enough to pick up and apply product with precision. Love this one!
 Assortment of eyeshadow brushes, made from natural hair
Eyeshadow Brushes: Natural Hair (Top to bottom order)
1. Large Eyeshadow Brush - Flat fluffy eyeshadow brush. I use it to apply one shadow over the entire lid quickly, or to blend shadows together. Also great for setting your under eye concealer.
2. Round Eyeshadow Brush/ Small Stippling Brush - A flat top, round brush. I use this to apply my under eye concealer as it is great for delicate and hard to reach areas. I use this daily to also pat in my concealer on any blemish spots, as it blends them in flawlessly and hygienically.  Could be used in nose contouring as well.  One of my favorites!
3. Eyeshadow Brush - Flat eyeshadow brush, use to apply eyeshadow all over lid or in crease, or to blend. Versatile brush.
4.  Angled eyeshadow brush - Slanted flat eyeshadow brush, fluffy. I use this to blend my eyeshadows together.  Another favorite!
5. Medium Eyeshadow Brush
6. Small Eyeshadow Brush - Flat eyeshadow brush, perfect to apply make up in crease, easy to control.
7. Small Eyeshadow Brush 2
8. Concealer Brush/Small Eyeshadow Brush - Very small, flat brush. I use it to apply shadow in the inner corners or to smoke out shadow on my lash line; you can also use this as a concealer brush for your blemishes.
9.  Concealer Brush/Small Eyeshadow Brush - Very small, much flatter brush than the one above. Even more precise! I use this to apply gel liner or shadow in my waterline, but can be used for blemish concealing.
Useful brushes that I didn’t see any other large sets include : cue the lip brush.
Miscellaneous brushes: Natural hair and synthetic (Top to bottom order)
1. Eye brow comb - Standard eyebrow comb, has a comb on one side and stiff bristles on the other.  I use the comb pretty often to comb through my eyelashes, when I applied too much mascara and my lashes are getting clumped together.
2. Eye lash Wand - Classic spooley brush, could be used to remove extra mascara you applied.
3. Eye shadow sponge - Nice, sturdy sponge in a classical shape.  Can be used to apply eyeshadow, or do nail art.
4. Medium Eye liner Brush - Small and fine eyeliner brush, great for liquid eyeliner or even gel liner.  I know I will use this a lot during Halloween when free handing and painting intricate designs and lines.
5. Small Eye liner Brush
6. Eye brow Brush - Slanted, medium thickness brush made of synthetic hair.  I originally thought this was for eyeliner but it proved too thick to use for the cat flick at the end.  Very comfortable in the eye area, packs lots of pigment and precise.  Could be used for concealer to define the eyebrows and to fill them in with shadow.
7.  Lipstick Brush - I was so excited for this one! It’s something I would never purchase separately as it is a luxury but this brush is perfect for applying saturated or dark lipstick colors.  Great if you’re working on a client as well.  Made from natural hair, small/medium size, tapered and flat. Love it!

Whew, that was quite the number of brushes - which is defineteley a good thing for avid make-up lovers.  We recommend you visit Catwalk Glamour here as they have more purchase options (plus they have a sale on chiffon scarves that look lovely for spring!).

A smokey, gun metal look using the brushes- I was quite happy with how it turned out!