Guest Post! Review: Urban Decay Naked 2


Guest post and photos by Chaos!

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Since picking up my Naked palette (the original version) after searching for it in at least four Sephoras across two separate continents, I have not left the house without it. While this shows how much I love the thing, and also helps me justify my purchase of a new $50 friend for it, I am bringing it up because one of the things that really bothers me about the original Naked palette is that it is not really designed for carrying around. For a start, the packaging is velvety and so it picks up all the crap that lurks at the bottom of my bag, and the gold lettering across the front started to wear off pretty quickly. Also, it does not stay closed, meaning that the brush I store in it often comes out, and if the palette ends up too close to papers, they end up with a little more color on them than papers really should have. All this has changed with Naked2 – it is packaged in a metal case which clicks shut meaning it, my brush, and my papers will be safe from the horror that is the inside of my work bag.  This is good.

Speaking of brushes, the Naked2 palette comes with a really nice double-ended shadow and crease brush which, unlike many brushes that come with palettes, is actually usable. I did my whole eye with just the one brush when I was playing with this yesterday, so it should eliminate my need to carry three separate brushes with me. (I think I have re-applied my makeup while out about twice, however I feel… naked… without it in my bag just in case I need it, so I do carry it around slightly unnecessarily at all times.)

The colors (which can be seen in the swatches) are as follows:

Foxy: A beige/slightly yellow matte which is almost exactly the color of my skin

Half-Baked: Metallic gold (this one is also in the original Naked)

Bootycall: Shimmery beige, a little lighter than Foxy

Chopper: Glittery metallic bronze

Tease: Matte light brown

Snakebite: Shimmery dark brown (although this goes on more matte than it looks like it will)

Suspect: Shimmery light brown

Pistol: Shimmery dark brown, a little cooler than Snakebite

Verve: Shimmery greyish brown (this one is my favorite)

YDK (I do not know what this stands for, and that bothers me): Shimmery light copper

Busted: Matte dark brown

Blackout: Very black

Only Half-Baked is a repeat from Naked, and I am actually OK with UD putting that one in again – it goes very nicely with most of the other Naked2 shadows, so it makes sense to have it there ready to use without having to pick up another palette. (Yes, yes, I am lazy.) None of the other colors are so similar to the original Naked that you wouldn’t need want to own both. The shades in Naked2 are a lot cooler than Naked, which works better with my skin tone, and there are also more lighter shades in Naked2 which makes it a nicer palette for looks that are work appropriate.

There are not many bad things to say about this palette, but I would like to point out that I personally think they should have included a deeper brown shade instead of Blackout. Busted, the darkest brown in the palette, does not go on *quite* as nicely as the other shades, and Blackout is really too black to be used as anything other than a liner. While I occasionally do use black eyeshadow as a liner, UD itself makes such awesome liners that I am unlikely to do that on a regular basis, so I probably won’t get much use out of Blackout, and I am more likely to use Darkhorse from the original Naked if I want a dark brown instead of Busted. But 10 great shades out of 12 ain’t bad.

Naked2 also comes with a pink lip gloss which is a ‘meh’ shade on me, but tastes awesome, so if you feel like putting something on your lips just to lick it right off again, that gloss is for you.

Overall, Naked2 is really good value for the price, and you’re getting a great selection of shades. I recommend it especially for those of you who found the original Naked shades too warm – you’ll definitely find these shades easier to work with.

More photos and swatches!

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Urban Decay Naked 2 eyeshadow palette: $50

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Excellent. It costs $50, which I believe is $6 more than the original Naked. Without taking into account that it comes with a brush, that’s just over $4 per shadow. You won’t find $4 shadows this nice elsewhere.

Purchase again? Yes. Not for a while, because they last a long time, but I would definitely buy it again if it ran out.

Review: Bare Minerals Insider’s Kit (with Cheek Tint and Color-Shift Eyeshadow)

A few months ago, a friend and I sat down at ULTA and had little mini-makeovers, just for fun. This particular friend has a very busy telecommuting job and two small children, so she has had neither the time nor the external motivation to keep up her makeup routine, and I think she misses being girly. Anyhoo, she was fine with getting a little eye makeup done, and a little lip gloss, but when the brave ULTA sales associate advanced on her with a fan brush loaded with a startlingly pink neon blush (Smashbox, I think), she suddenly made a valiant effort to climb out of her skin in order to get away from the brush. Her eyes were as big as saucers! Undaunted, the SA flicked the fan brush over the apples of her cheeks and deposited a sheer flush of color that looked simply AH-MAZE-ING. (Even my friend agreed, after she had calmed down and had a martini to get over the shock.) Although at the time I didn’t end up buying that blush, I kept thinking about how good it looked — so when I saw this kit at Sephora with a super-bright pink cheek tint and a new “color-shift” eyeshadow, I grabbed onto it with my grimy little paws and would not let it go.

Sephora has a couple of Bare Minerals kits on offer right now, two of which contain this mysterious “color-shift eyeshadow.” By the way, the Bare Escentuals store that is about 50 yards away from the Sephora in one of my local malls had never heard of the stuff, which is slightly worrisome. As of right now there are two colors available, and each one is only available with purchase of a kit (in other words, you can’t buy just the eyeshadow, more’s the pity). Fortunately this particular kit had some other stuff I was drawn to, so it worked out.

In this particular Insider’s Kit, you get the following: Cheek Tint (Bare Minerals’ first cheek stain, as they call it) in shade Flirt, a color-shift shadow in Panache (a bright peach, which, upon buffing, acquires a lavender duotone), liner shadow in Twilight Violet (a sort of purple-gray with sparkles), Natural Lipgloss in Cherry Bomb, and a dual-ended brush.

The cheek tint is frighteningly bright in the container. And when I say “frightening,” I mean “sleep with the lights on”, “put a baseball bat under your bed”, “have your teddy bear on speed dial” frightening. Please DO NOT drop this on your carpet, as it will stain. Unless, that is, you already have a hot pink neon carpet, in which case I want to come to your house and see it. I admit that I have not tried applying the cheek tint with the provided brush. This is because I am terrified that I will go from zero to Krazy Klown Face in less time than it takes to say “Krazy Klown Face,” which isn’t really very much time at all. Instead, I’ve been using a fan brush, and this has worked so far. Like the blush the ULTA SA put on my friend, it delivers a sheer pop of bright color. Because it is sheer, it’s wearable for pretty much everyone. If I can pull it off, anyone who has darker skin than me (which is to say, almost everyone) can probably also do so.

The color-shift eyeshadow is the surprise winner here. In general I’m a skeptic about these kinds of things, but Oh My Goodness Gracious Me It Looks Fantastic. There are two things I really like about it: 1. the peach shade by itself is a lovely eye brightener, and 2. when you blend it out into purple, the transition is very nice (it passes through a pinky stage) and the two colors both look good together and are surprisingly easily incorporated into an overall look. Just for grins, I tried it wet to see what would happen, and the peach color turned into a neon sort of pink. In general I think dry application is better than wet here. The swatches below don’t do it justice; I found it hard to capture the purple tones on film. (Well, digital film, but whatev.) I’m surprised by how nice it is on my eyes. There is another shade available in another kit, which goes on a kind of dirty greenish-gold and buffs out to a fairly intense sky blue.

The lipgloss is … meh. It doesn’t do anything for me, but it won’t hurt you. I wouldn’t have bought it on its own. The color in the tube is fantastic, but on lips it doesn’t have much of an effect. Maybe this is just my lips.

The shadow liner is best worked with wet rather than dry. If you use it dry, there is a lot of fallout. Wet, it’s a nice shade of gray with hints of purple, and the glitter stays where it’s supposed to stay. And unlike the color-shift eyeshadow, when you wet this one it stays the same color it was originally. I’m not a huge fan of it, but I don’t hate it either, and I’m sure I’ll use it from time to time.

The brush is nice, but as I said earlier I haven’t tried to use it with the cheek tint. YMMV.

So in the kit, the winners are the cheek tint, the color-shift eyeshadow, and the brush. The gloss and liner shadow are OK but I wouldn’t have bought them separately.

Swatches!

Closeup of the color-shift eyeshadow in Panache.

 

This is how Panache goes on…

 

… and this is what happens when you buff it. It was incredibly hard to capture the lavender tone on my camera; this is kind of a fail.

 

Cheek Tint in Flirt.

 

Swatch of cheek tint in Flirt, with a sprinkle of powder on the left and a blended-out bit on the right.

 

Liner shadow closeup

 

Swatch of liner shadow (left) and lipgloss (right).

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Bare Escentuals BareMinerals Insider Introducing Cheek Tint: $36 at Sephora

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good. Would have preferred to purchase products separately.

Purchase again? N/A, but I’d buy other kits if they had what I wanted.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Random Swatches: Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm

Comes in four shades. From top to bottom: Vanilla Glow, Cream Glow, Nude Glow, Beach Glow. For the record, I am an NW20 in MAC and all of these are *far* too yellow for me.

Review: Chanel Blush Horizons Blush Éclat Douceur

I am so glad to see the return of blush for spring. Not that it ever totally disappeared, but the seasonal focus is so often on lips or eyes that poor blush gets the bum’s rush.

It is Land of Blush in the Voxpartment. There are blushes everywhere. Because you never know when you might be, say, watching TV, and suddenly need to put on some blush. Also, they are pretty and I like to have them around. Anyway, I have a couple of gems from the spring collections. (Did you hear that? SPRING COLLECTIONS! YAYAYAYAY!!!!)

 

 

Watch out for that last one. It’s a doozy. I suggest wearing earplugs.

In the grab-it-while-you-still-can department, Chanel’s Blush Horizon compact for Spring 2012 is flying off shelves. Not by itself, obvs. This is the compact for those of us who were too stupid to rush out and buy Guerlain Blush G Serie Noir blush last year. [whacks self on head]

Like the Guerlain product, Chanel’s compact features several different shades of blush arranged in horizontal stripes. While technically I suppose you could try to get a brush in them singly, let’s be realistic. You’re going to mash your brush up in there and mix all the colors together. Right? Because who has time for being soooo finicky with blush?

Besides me, I mean. What? No other hands up? Barbarians.

One of the very first luxe products I ever owned was a Chanel blush, which I now think was probably the wrong shade for me, but which filled me with frissons of indulgent delight whenever I used it. I want to be more in love with the aesthetics of the Blush Horizon compact than I am, but sadly, I’m not. It’s slightly too “Ladies Who Lunch” for me. However — the product inside is one of the best powder blushes I’ve used in a long time. I love cream and liquid blushes so much that a powder blush has basically got to feed Africa, calculate the square root of 2139, and name all fifty state capitals in alphabetical order before it can tempt me. I went several rounds with this blush in the store, visiting it over the course of a couple weeks and testing it. With a lot of effort, I managed to convince myself it wasn’t worth buying. “Too sparkly,” I said, and “remember you don’t like powder blushes anymore,” I said, and “stupid Guerlain Blush G, being so awesome.” Well, only that last one is really true.

It’s not too sparkly, which is nice. It’s a lovely shade of pink, more pigmented than I thought it would be from the swatch, but lighter in pigmentation than most Chanel blushes, which is a good thing. Still, the first time I used it, I almost ended up with Crazy Clown Cheeks. There is a bit of shimmer, but it’s very subtle — and I am paranoid about shimmer on cheeks, so if even I think it’s OK, you are probably good to go. It wore remarkably well all day, much better than some of my other powder blushes.

Color-wise, it is definitely cool (I’m speaking of the color you get when you mix all the stripes together), but not untenable for warm-toned beauties. There is a bit of melon in the bottom stripes, so if you want a slightly peachier tint you can finagle the brush in there accordingly.

If you want it, get it now. Seriously, FLYING off shelves.

Close-up and swatch!

I had to pile it on fairly thickly for the swatch so that it would really show up.

 

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Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel Blush Éclat Douceur: $58

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Poor. Come on, I love Chanel, but $58 for a blush is outrageous.

Purchase again? Hopefully I will never hit pan.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

 

Bang Your Head On Your Desk: China Glaze’s Hunger Games Nail Polishes

Did you hear a giant sort of WHOOSH-BOOOOOM!!!! sound just now?

That was the sound of irony flying over the collective heads of China Glaze and sixteen million teenage fangirls. Some of whom are probably our own students.

I didn’t comment on this before because it seemed like circumstances were conspiring against the release of this collection, rendering commentary unnecessary. Sadly, those circs turned out to be based not on common sense, but on a lawsuit, now resolved. So it’s back on.

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games, let me give you the basic backstory. In a kind of unholy union between “The Lottery” and Survivor, two teenagers (a boy and a girl, natch, as required since the days of the Minotaur) from each of twelve districts are chosen by lottery each year to participate as “tributes” in a fight-to-the-death survival game, which is forcibly televised live to every TV screen in Panem (the dystopian future version of America). The yearly ritual is a reminder to the outlying districts of Panem that the Capitol, against which they had at one time revolted in civil war, is their master and can not only take their people on a whim and have them kill one another, but require them by law to watch and celebrate it. Katniss Everdeen, our heroine, is one of the tributes from District 12, a mining community in what is currently the general region of Appalachia, and the first book of the trilogy describes her selection, grooming for the Games, and experience in the Game arena.

Here is where the head-banging comes in.

One of the main themes of the book is that people killing one another is presented as reality “entertainment.” Before they go into the arena, all of the candidates have to make appearances on TV for interviews and processions and ceremonies. This is partly because the Games are a media sensation (that people are forced to watch, remember) and partially because the wealthy people of the Capitol might want to either a) wager on, or b) invest in, some of the tributes. If, during day 3 of the games, a tribute is suffering from a wound that has become infected, a wealthy outsider watching at home might be moved to spend some exorbitant amount of money to provide that tribute with antibiotics. Anyway, in order to present the tributes in ways that will be most likely to get people to bet on or invest in them, there is a whole flock of stylists and coaches whose job it is to dress, groom, style, and coach the tributes as they participate in a week’s worth of pageantry (which will, of course, end in bloody death for 23 of the 24 participants, but oh, let’s not let that tiresome little detail stop us from ooohing! and aaaahing! over the dresses! and the hair! and oh! did you hear her story, so sad!).

Let me summarize that as follows: There is a whole industry that exists to prettify the calves for slaughter. The tributes are forcibly taken, fattened up and made beautiful, and then shoved into a wilderness in which they must kill one another, and the whole thing is required “entertainment” viewing for the citizens of Panem. What the tributes wear, and how they look, makes or breaks the careers of stylists, who devise elaborate gowns and/or costumes for the various events of the pre-Games pageantry. The elements of those styles — products used, cuts of gowns, etc. — are, presumably, made available for purchase so that wealthy Capitol clients can have “the same gown that Katniss wore in the interview.” So, in effect, the products used to make the fatted calves ready for slaughter are available for purchase — which serves as a monetary endorsement of the whole endeavor.

Does anyone see the irony in China Glaze then putting out a line of nail polishes associated with the film? So now we too can endorse the slaughter by oohing! and aahing! over nail polishes that symbolize the adornment of the fatted calf, while we pay for movie tickets that target our own sense of the macabre-as-entertainment. How is this NOT life imitating art? Am I the only one who is incredulous, appalled, and horrified? How can they have missed THE ENTIRE POINT?!!?!??!?!

Says the press release (according to hollywoodreporter.com):

“China Glaze has developed 12 shades of nail polish, each associated with a respective district and ‘allowing citizens to show their solidarity and support for a favorite tribute.’

‘What will you be wearing to the opening ceremonies?’ the ad reads.”

No, no, NO! “Allowing citizens to show their solidarity and support for a favorite tribute”? “What will you be wearing to the opening ceremonies”? Do you not see, people, that you are becoming citizens of the Capitol, who adorn themselves in commercially-available colors representing the tributes from subservient districts who are about to be made to kill one another?

Is such a point lost on the vast majority of idiots and fangirls who will flock to buy this collection, squeeing about how much they love the film while tripping along, tra-la-la, with nary a thought about the irony and incongruity of such a pairing? Based on the squeeing I’ve already seen on beauty blogs, the answer to that is an unqualified “yes.” Honestly, it is one of those far-too-frequent events that make me lose my faith in the human race.

Shame on you, China Glaze. What’s next — Hunger Games Barbie?

Oh, and a note about the lawsuit: while the details are hard to uncover (no doubt due to nondisclosure agreements), the colors that first appeared in preview images last fall are the same colors that appear now, but the names have been changed. I hope that this is a result of the author, Suzanne Collins, trying her damnedest to prevent her works about marketing suffering as beauty/entertainment being marketed as vehicles for beauty/entertainment.

Original colors/names, as seen all over the interwebz a few months ago:

New colors/names:

There’s more to say, especially about the changing of the names, but I’ll end here. Otherwise I’d go on for pages, and no one wants that.

 

 

Review: Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter

OMG, you guys, I have picked up so many unexpectedly fabulous products lately that I can’t stop squeeing as I put on my makeup in the morning. If you hear a sound like a stuck pig coming from somewhere in the Midwest, that’s me.

I also feel a little bit guilty about it because I’ve bought a couple of things from brands I’ve previously decried — and what’s worse, I like them. Oh, bad Voxy. Hopefully you will be able to forgive me. And by the way, that doesn’t mean these brands are back in my good graces. It’s the “even a stopped clock is right twice a day” phenomenon. One of these is Benefit. I KNOW! I hate Benefit. Hate ’em. Except for a couple of products — and not their famous ones, either. Here is one of those stopped-clock products: their Watt’s Up! highlighter.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: no matter how you slice it, this product name is improperly punctuated. It’s either a question (“What’s up?” -> “Watt’s up?”), in which case it should have a question mark, or it’s an exclamation (implying that “watts” may be used in the same way “volume” is used: turn up the volume -> turn up the watts -> watts up!), in which case it shouldn’t have an apostrophe. Of course, you don’t say “turn up the decibels,” which are units of loudness, so I don’t know why you would say “turn up the watts” either. I have a feeling that they were going for the first option, a play on “what’s up?”, but that their marketing people told them that exclamation! points! are! more! exciting! than! question! marks!!!!!! — and they probably figured no one would notice. Or care. Which is pretty much true, except for those of us here in this corner of the interwebz. Stay strong, ladies. Don’t let the haters bring you down.

Watt’s Up (I refuse to put in the exclamation point) is a cream highlighter, a type of product which up until now I have had zero use for. I couldn’t figure out why, if we spend money and energy on products that are supposed to make our faces less shiny, we would then want to turn around and buy another product to make them shiny again. And I don’t really understand the whole “it’s not shine, it’s GLOW” euphemism. There are plenty of celebrities whose skin in photos is described by the media as “glowy” and by me as “a giant sweaty oil slick.”

So why I ever picked this up in the store and tested it on my hand is kind of a mystery. But I did — and it was a lovely shade somewhere between peach and champagne, and not terribly shiny glowy. I am fair-skinned and highlighters have, in the past, given me something of a Tin Man look, which is frankly unappealing except as a Halloween getup. This looked like it actually might work on my skin. Maybe now I would be able to enter the Elysian Fields of highlighter love, in which lissome models scamper about with glowy skin, frolicking with butterflies. (I think this is also where they film perfume commercials.)

Alas, no Elysian Fields guest pass included. BUT this has turned out to be a really nice product, especially once I figured out how to apply it. Often, People Who Know About Makeup will say that highlighter should be applied last, but this inevitably leads to Shiny Tin Man Face for me. What has worked nicely for me with this product is to put it on over my foundation (cream/liquid/stick) but before my setting powder. This way I can blend it into the foundation, and then the setting powder takes the edge off the shine. One end of the applicator is a little round sponge, which you can use for blending. The other end of the applicator is the highlighter itself, which is a creamy stick of product the same diameter as the small/deluxe-sample Tarte cheek stains.

The other big problem with highlighter is where to apply. Conventional wisdom says some combination of the following: above the cheekbones, above the brows, below the brows, on the temple, on the forehead, on your nose, on your Cupid’s bow, and under the lip. I usually use it in only three of these places: above the cheekbone, below the brows, and either on my Cupid’s bow or below my lips. One or the other, not both. If my face were more angular, and my forehead and nose smaller, I might try it other places, but as it is, highlighting those areas doesn’t do much for me. But above the cheekbone at the end of the orbital socket, it’s very nice.

If you’ve been curious about highlighters, but don’t really know where or how to use them, this is a good product for experimenting with. I was really surprised by how much I liked it.

Swatch!

See? Subtle. Nice!

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Benefit Watt’s Up! (!) highlighter: $30

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair. $30 is $30, and a highlighter is really an optional product. I wish it were cheaper.

Purchase again? Probably won’t need to.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Guest Post! Review: Nails, Inc. Magnetic Polish in Trafalgar Square and Whitehall

Guest post by Chaos!

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This is the fastest-drying nail polish in the world.

OK, so I haven’t figured out the drying time of all the nail polishes in the world, because a nail polish review needn’t be so scientific, but this stuff dries very quickly. This is awesome, and definitely contributes to how easy it is to use. I didn’t think it was super-easy to apply the first time I used it, but having since re-applied it many times (to experiment with different colors underneath, not because it chips easily – it lasted up to six days on my nails before it chipped, and I was working in the lab, which usually means I have to touch up my nails every other day), I have changed my mind. Once you get used to handling the magnet, this is a look you can create in under fifteen minutes.

Instructions for use are as follows:

“Firstly, remove any oil from your nails by cleaning your nails with nail polish remover. Then take off the over-cap which contains the magnet. You will find that there is an inner cap that you can use to apply the magnetic polish. Then apply one coat of your selected nails inc base coat. Follow with one coat of your chosen magnetic polish on all 10 nails and leave to dry for a few minutes. Then create the magnetic effect, one nail at a time. Apply a generous coat of magnetic polish to the nail and immediately hold the cap that contains the magnet, over the nail.

There is a small lip on the cap which should be placed just below your cuticle allowing the magnet to be positioned perfectly over your nail. Hold very close to the nail but take care not to touch the nail with the magnet. Hold the magnet for 10-15 seconds and move away to reveal the stunning effect. Repeat on all 10 nails. After a few minutes, apply one coat of nails inc Kensington Caviar Top Coat to seal in your nail design and to create an ultra-glossy, salon finish”

I find that it is best to sit on the floor with my hand on a table to apply the magnet, so I have my nail and the magnet at eye-level. Otherwise, it is very easy to hold the magnet too close to the nail (even if you do not touch your nail with the magnet, if you hold it too close, the magnet is strong enough to lift the polish off a bit and messes up the design). For me, holding it about 4mm above the nail produces a nice even design, which does appear immediately after magnetizing your nail, but is more defined if you hold the magnet in position for 10-15 seconds as per the instructions. You can also vary the intensity of the design by changing the thickness of the top layer of polish – more polish tends to create a darker design. I did use a Nails Inc. base coat and top coat the first time I applied this nail polish, but I imagine that any other base coat and top coat would work just as well. Since the first application, however, I have just used top coat; not using a base coat has made no difference to how long the polish lasts without chipping (4-6 days). I’m also not patient enough to really clean and buff my nails before applying new nail polish, so it might last even longer if you take the time to do that first as well. I would not recommend skipping the top coat; along with increasing the wear length of the polish, it also enhances the metallic shine of this particular nail polish. It’s difficult to visualize in pictures, but when you move your nails in the light, the polish has an almost holographic effect.

It is really important that you do the magnet stage on all of your nails individually. The magnet only works when the polish is wet, and because it dries so quickly, if you add your second layer to all your nails at once your second nail will be dry before you’ve finished creating the design on the first one. There are some instructions, however, that you can ignore if you want to change the look a bit. The instructions mention that you should hold the magnet with the lip on the cap just behind the cuticle, but if you want to change the design, you can also hold the magnet sideways across the nail. In addition, you can hold the magnet with the lip at the tip of your finger to create an inverted design. I have also tried this nail polish over different base colors instead of just using the polish itself as a base color, and although this takes slightly longer as regular nail polishes do not dry as quickly as this one – and the base has to be really dry before applying the layer you are going to create the design with, otherwise it kind of peels off – this also works very well. The base color is visible through the design, allowing you to create different colored looks with just the one magnetic polish if you don’t want to purchase it in all the available colors.

Overall, I highly recommend the magnetic polish if you are looking for a ‘special effects’ nail design that you can achieve with minimal effort. If you’re anything like me, the ‘minimal effort’ thing is one of the biggest advantages. Some of the other special effects polishes (Sephora by OPI “Shatter”, I’m looking at you) tend to require a whole lot more removing and reapplying before you get all your nails looking nice, never mind all looking the same. I didn’t have that problem at all with the magnetic polish, and also people have asked if I had my nails done by a professional, which is definitely a sign of a good nail polish. I will add, though, that the design is definitely better on long nails as you get more ‘bands’ from the magnet, so if you have short nails or want to paint your toenails, the design might not come out quite as well. I did try it on my toes and while it did work, it wasn’t as nice as it is on my fingernails.

This comes in four different colors on the Nails Inc. website; Trafalgar Square and Whitehall (pictured), Houses of Parliament (which is a deep purple shade; I also own this one) and Big Ben (gold) for £13. Trafalgar Square, Houses of Parliament and Whitehall are also available at Sephora (both in-store and online) for $16, however Sephora does not have Big Ben and, unfortunately, Nails Inc. does not ship to the US (though this product is available on eBay). A new raspberry shade, Kensington Palace, will be available for purchase from nailsinc.com starting next week (23rd January) and I suspect that it will also be available in Sephora stores shortly afterwards. Layla Cosmetics, an Italian company, also produces metallic polishes in a wider range of colors, but I have not tried any of these so I can’t say anything about their quality. The Layla polishes are also around $16 on Amazon and eBay.

Photos!

Trafalgar Square (magnet used sideways):

Trafalgar Square (magnet used not-sideways):

Trafalgar Square, again:

Whitehall:

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Nails, Inc. Magnetic Polish: $16 at Sephora

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair. It’s quite expensive for a nail polish at $16 (although this works out cheaper in the US than if you buy in the UK for £13) but it is really, really good nail polish and you would spend a lot more to get an equivalent look in a salon.

Purchase again? Well, I bought three, so I think that answers this question.  

Have you tried this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a shout-out in the comments!

People’s Choice Awards Beauty: You’re Kidding Me, Right?

I swear to God, I must have been born on some other planet.

I don’t know which planet that was, of course. I don’t even know if it was in our solar system. All I know about it — and this is purely inductive reasoning here — is that its inhabitants are probably generally human-shaped, drink martinis (possibly for breakfast), and have a deep and abiding love for all things girly, pink, and/or covered with rhinestones.

Where I apparently differ from Earthlings (in particular, mass media) is in my understanding of beauty. To wit: the following pictures, which are part of a BellaSugar slideshow on the 2012 People’s Choice Awards entitled “2012 People’s Choice Awards: See the Coolest Beauty Details Up Close,” under the general category of “Prettiest Hair and Makeup.” BellaSugar is a hefty presence in the beauty blogosphere, straddling (or attempting to straddle, anyway) the divide between “corporate/magazine PR site” and “individual beauty blogger.” I always read their posts with skepticism, but this time I’m just plain flummoxed at what they are choosing to laud as “prettiest.” Is it just me? It’s OK if it is, really. I’m used to it.

Images by Getty, via BellaSugar.

Ginnifer Goodwin

OK, look, I love Ginnifer Goodwin. And I am a sucker for ABC’s Once Upon a Time. It’s a guilty pleasure. HOWEVER — I do not think that the shape of your eyeliner should mimic the shape of your hair. On Planet Voxy, you can either have a flip in your hair or a flip in your eyeliner. NOT BOTH. Also, while it’s nice to see that even perky pixie Ginnifer Goodwin has undereye circles, isn’t this the reason that you have $1,000-an-hour stylists in the first place? Also, WOW, those brows are close to her eyes. And noticeably a different color than her hair. Yes, brows should be a little lighter than your hair color, but this much difference definitely implies that one or the other is dyed.

Kelly Osbourne

Aaaaaaaaah! OH MY GOD. This is terrifying. Seriously, I will have very un-foxalicious nightmares tonight on account of this.

I get that she likes to experiment with hair color. Really I do. But this looks horrible. Horrible! And when paired with red lips and orange eyeshadow — and you will remember that I am a surprise fan of orange eyeshadow — it’s just hideous. Her stylist is doing her no favors.

 

Lea Michele

More Aaaaaaaaaah! If I ever find out who was behind the “Let’s Make Opaque Lipstick in Candy-Cotton Pink and Convince People It Looks AWESOME” movement, I will shoot him. Or  her. Either way. Good Lord, this looks terrible. Also, wow, look at those lashes. They look like the stuff you put on buildings to keep birds from sitting on them.

Kat Denning

Holy drawing-outside-your-lip-line, Batman! Conventional wisdom: People don’t actually notice this. Real life wisdom: They do.

Jennifer Morrison

Ow. That hair looks hurty. And it makes her look hard. Also, please please please go back to being a brunette. It was so much more attractive!

Kaley Cuoco

I think we’re supposed to be looking at the nails. But I can’t tear my gaze away from the eyes. Those terrible, terrifying eyes. And the brows, which are not quite as terrible, but that is like saying that Kim Jong Il was not quite as bad of a tyrant as Pol Pot.

 

Now, lest you think I’m a complete snark (too late, right?), here is a picture I actually liked. You know, just to show that I’m fair and balanced.

Jennifer Lawrence

See?

Fenomenally Phunny Philm

In the phew short hours since this waltzed into my Phacebook inbox via a phriend-of-a-phriend (thanks, Rob Rogers [not the phamous famous one]), it appears to have gone viral, as I am now seeing it everywhere! Well, good phor it, I say, and good phor its creator, Jesse Rosten.

LOVE.

“It’s Like There Is an Intoxicating Flower Coming Out of Her Mouth”

Via style.com’s Beauty Counter blog:

“If you’re unfamiliar with Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki’s work, the retina-burning ombré pink lips at Prabal Gurung were likely a bit of a jarring site [sic]. But put in the context of the photographer’s vivid images of exotic blooms, the mouths made perfect sense. ‘It’s like there is an intoxicating flower coming out of her mouth,’ makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury said of the different shades of MAC Lipmix she applied in gradation from deep purple to magenta to fuchsia. ‘Its [sic] a play on darkness and light.’ Pouts were kept matte to contrast with dewy, highlighted skin and purposely overdrawn at the corners “as though she’s been snogging,” said Tilbury, pointing out that the key to coloring outside the lines is to use a soft, melted pencil without a sharp tip so you ‘keep from looking like a drag queen.’ To further acheive [sic] that delicate balance between looking ‘sensual, but strong and powerful’ at the same time, Tilbury swept an elongated stroke of silver gray cream eye shadow across the crease of models’ lids.”

First of all, I had to use [sic] three times in that one-paragraph quote. Hey Beauty Counter people — were you all getting drunk on mouth flowers over there?

OK, so remember I said I was intrigued by the two-tone lips from the Maybelline calendar? Yeah, uh … I take it back. These models are going to be coming at me in my nightmares, droning “BRAAAAAAIIIINNNSS” while hibiscus blossoms fall from their mouths. And I guess Tilbury thought that the whole “keeping them from looking like drag queens” bit was successful?

It’s like Georgia O’Keefe meets Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Nope, no thanks, that’s quite all right, I’ll stick with a boring, single-color, flower-free mouth, if you don’t mind.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri of GoRunway.com, via http://www.style.com/beauty/beautycounter/2011/09/flower-power-backstage-at-prabal-gurung/