Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Adorned Nails: Catrice London



Eeek! This is new territory for me - yellow nail polish. To be honest, I bought this purely out of curiosity.

The Catrice London nail polish belongs to the Catrice Big City Life Collection. As mentioned before, four cities were represented in this collection: Sydney, Berlin, London and New York. For each city, there is an eyeshadow palette and a nail polish.

You've seen the eyeshadow palette from The Berlin Collection which, in my opinion, had the best combination of eyeshadow shades out of the four palettes. I didn't think the one from The London Collection was that great and that, I believe, is also the general consensus. Stocks of the eyeshadow palette from The London Collection didn't move as swiftly as the others.


The London nail polish is simply a pale yellow with fine shimmers. You would no doubt have noticed the various famous landmarks depicted on the bottle.


Just for fun, I added a barcode-like stamping design. I used a old brown KONAD stamping polish and KONAD plate M44 which has stamping designs for french tips. I decided to stamp it on the cuticle side of the nails.





Further reading:
My review of Catrice The Berlin Collection Eyeshadow Palette
Catrice Big City Life Collection

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Yes To Carrots: Lip Butters Review


I'm obsessed with lipbalms (and you thought it was nail polishes that I was obsessed with, eh?).

The long and the short of it is that I had been addicted to Vaseline since my teens (and let's just say that I'm not a young chick anymore). I didn't switch to natural lipbalms until just under three years ago.

The lovely Jellynat sent me these many months back when she read that I was on a quest for the perfect lipbalm. The Yes To Carrots Lip Butters are her favourite and she thought I would like it too (this was when Yes To Carrots lip products weren't easily available in stores over here). The thing is, she was supposed to send me only the Mint variant to try but bless her, she decided to send me all three that came in a promo pack. In our little swap, I sent her errr....nail polishes in return.


It has taken me a long time to write this review simply because I wanted to go through all three variants first before penning my thoughts on them. On top of that, I had also been interspersing these Lip Butters with lipbalms from other brands, some already purchased before I received these Yes To Carrots ones. Now, now, I'm a good girl and I do finish every lipbalm that I have, right to the stump (except for the one that caused an allergic reaction!), and these Yes To Carrots Lip Butters are no exceptions.

Great Stuff
I can definitely understand why Jellynat loves these Lip Butters. They are made of mostly certified organic ingredients. They go on so smooth and creamy and in my experience, they can repair troubled chapped lips. They are extremely moisturising (one wouldn't expect otherwise!) and they keep the lips soft and protected for hours and hours. I love these!


Flavours
I've tried these three variants/flavours: Berry, Melon and Mint. They all have the same basic list of ingredients with minor differences for the different flavours. The Melon one really smells like honeydew (melon), the Berry variant like strawberry and you've guessed it, the Mint one smells minty and leaves a cool, fresh, tingling sensation on the lips (which lasts no more than fifteen minutes). My favourite of the three is Melon. The scent is spot-on.


By the way, Yes To Carrots has two other Lip Butter flavours - Carrot and Citrus.

According to Yes To Carrots (excerpts)
Yes To Carrots USDA Organic Lip Butters conditions, invigorates, and revitalizes your lips, moisturizing to keep them the smoothest and softest they can be.

• All natural ingredients
• No animal testing
• Paraben, petroleum & phthalate free


Ingredients


Final Words
I can recommend you many good lipbalms but I think you should try the Yes To Carrots Lip Butter if you've been looking for a great lipbalm. In my eyes, it is the perfect lipbalm.

However, for now, I love exploring the big, wondrous world of natural lipbalms too much to stop at Yes To Carrots. I will definitely go back to Yes To Carrots every now and then though - must try out the Carrot and Citrus ones next.

On the Yes To Carrots website, the Lip Butters go for USD12.99 for a set of 5. Unlike before, the Yes To Carrots Lip Butters are now easily available here in the Netherlands in stores like De Tuinen, Sephora and Etos. They're usually priced at €3.99 each (4.25g / 0.15 oz). I've also seen them with a €4.99 pricetag (not in the abovementioned stores) and if you see that too, please be wise and walk away. If you can't find Yes To Carrots products at your local drugstores, try Amazon - I've also seen it on Amazon DE.


Further reading:
My Lip Treatment Series featuring natural lipbalms I've tried in the past
Yes To Carrots website

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Win: Essence Vampire's Love Nail Polishes


This giveaway is closed. Thank you.
To view all the Essence Vampire's Love polishes, please click on the links given below.



I found these in several stores these past week and a half. I would have loved to include a Vampire's Love Eyeshadow Palette in the main prize but unfortunately, there were none to be found. Zilch!


Anyway, let's give these Vampire's Love nail polishes a good home. Correction - a few good homes. This is how I'm splitting up the lot.

Main Prize
The Main Prize winner gets four Vampire's Love polishes:


L-R
Gold Old Buffy
Into The Dark
Hunt Me If You Can
True Love

Gold Old Buffy is my favourite of the lot. If you've followed my writings long enough, you would know that my giveaways are always done in the spirit of sharing the love (or fun), so I'm very happy to have found a couple more bottles of this gorgeous polish in the stores to give to you.

2 x Consolation Prize


Each consolation prize winner gets one bottle of:
Gold Old Buffy


Here is the giveaway info in quick bites:

1. Open worldwide.

2. Open to all who follow Witoxicity's writings.
Followers on Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin' receive one extra point.

- Google Friend Connect (one extra point)
- Bloglovin' (one extra point)
- RSS feeds
- Regular visitors

3. Fill in the form below (now removed).

4. Answer one simple question:

What is the name of the first Essence nail polish I ever featured here on Witoxicity.com?
Hint: I have featured it twice - once without stamping and a second time with stamping. Use either the top navigation bar or the side bar to find the answer.

5. Optional: Feature this giveaway on your blog with the first photo above - three extra points.

6. Optional: Tweet about this giveaway - one extra point.
For your convenience, you might want to copy this:
Win Essence Vampire's Love nail polishes @Witoxicity http://goo.gl/u13Km

7. Submit your entry by latest 11.59pm (Central European Time) on Sunday, 11th December 2011.

8. The winners will be picked randomly from the list of participants (and their corresponding extra entries) who answer the question correctly.

Good luck, everyone!


Update
To view the five Vampire's Love polishes upclose, here are the links:

Essence Gold Old Buffy



Essence Hunt Me If You Can



Essence The Dawn Is Broken



Essence Into The Dark



Essence True Love

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Adorned Nails: Essence Hunt Me If You Can



This is the second polish I'm wearing from the very popular Essence Vampire's Love collection.

Hmmm, what can I say about Hunt Me If You Can?

It's a black polish with fine silver flakies and micro glitters. It's a view of the galaxy in black and white. Some of you may like it, some of you may not. Personally, it's a nice polish but I think it lacks the wow factor. It's a duller version of the super awesome Essence Gold Old Buffy but of course, we all have different tastes.


I have two coats on. This ring finger has only one coat. I recommend two. It has a thick formula and in my case, it didn't apply as well as Gold Old Buffy did. No, no, I'm not complaining! How can I? If you're new to Essence and if you missed my Gold Old Buffy post, this 10ml bottle of polish cost all of €1.79.




Further reading:
The antique-looking Essence Gold Old Buffy
Essence website

Friday, 25 November 2011

Catrice: The Berlin Collection Palette Eye Look II



Here's another eye look using Catrice's The Berlin Collection Palette from the Big City Life limited edition release. I used these three shades: am Alex, Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie.

The other products used in this look are:

Etos Eyeshadow Underbase (eyeshadow primer)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Lash Mascara - Waterproof Extra Black


The eyeshadows used are indicated with dots in the photo. For eyelining, I used the black mini eyeliner pencil that came in this palette.

Here's a quick reminder of what the eyeshadows are:


am Alex - dark brown, matte
Berlin Wall - dusty rose/copper, shimmer
Checkpoint Charlie - yellow beige, shimmer

Swatches of these eyeshadows can be found in my review of The Berlin Collection.

The look:


• Dark brown (am Alex) on lid fold and in outer corner
• Dusty rose/copper (Berlin Wall) above dark brown
• Beige (Checkpoint Charlie) above dusty rose/copper and in inner corner
• Line and tightline with the black mini eyeliner pencil
• One coat of mascara

I've left the bottom lid bare except for some mascara.



Further reading:

My review of Catrice The Berlin Collection Palette (includes the first eye look)

Catrice website

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Esse Organic Skincare: Clay Mask Review


Till about half a year ago, the only clay mask that I ever had in my beauty shelf was the cult favourite, St. Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask. It's my very, very old friend (I'm so not kidding!) and so, I will use it as a point of reference here.


This Esse Clay Mask is a new friend but I'm not saying that I've abandoned my old one - I still visit it now and then. This is the last of the products that Esse Netherlands sent me back in June and since receiving it, I've been using it averagely once in 10-14 days. Esse recommends using it weekly.

According to Esse
This purifying and nourishing clay mask will not leave the skin feeling dry.

Kaolin and Bentonite clays gently draw out impurities and heavy metal toxins associated with environmental and dietary pollution. Olive leaf extract improves elasticity and hydrates tired skin.

• 100% of the total ingredients are from Natural Origin
• 75.5% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming


Price: €24.70 for 50ml (housed in an amber glass jar)


Ingredients
Water, Rooibos Leaf Extract*, Glycerin*, Kaolin, Coconut Oil*, Bentonite, Shea Fruit Oil*, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Olive Fruit Oil, Olive Fruit Oil Unsaponifiables, Olive Leaf Extract, Aloe Ferox Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Lavender Oil*, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil*, Citric Acid, Cape Chamomile Leaf Oil, Spearmint Leaf Oil*

* from organic farming


My Thoughts
Scent
Let's just say the smell has more character than that of the clay mask from St. Ives. It smells faintly raw and earthy but for the most part, the clay mask smells strangely nice. It's sweet, it's minty and almost medicinal in a pleasant way.


Colour and Texture
The clay mask has a lovely colour, a fashionable shade, if I may say so. It's not your average grey, it's not light blue. It's a light taupe. I know this is of no consequence but it does make a refreshing change for me after years and years of baby blue.

The feel and texture isn't that different from the one from St. Ives - smooth, thick, heavy paste.


Application
Esse says: Apply a generous layer to the face and décolleté. Be careful not to incorporate water into the jar. Allow to set in for 5-10 minutes. Gently wipe away with a wrung out warm face towel. Rinse with warm water.

I don't apply a very thick layer (thinner than in the photo below). I apply it on slightly damp skin and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. There is a cool sensation upon application but that doesn't last long.


This Esse Clay Mask dries slowly and it does not dry to a crust like the one from St. Ives. On the contrary. It feels like soap lather that has been left to dry on the skin. The skin feels only marginally tight. It's nothing like the tight feeling that you get when the St. Ives mask dries.

Efficacy
With all the natural oils in the formula, it does leave the skin a bit oily after the mask is rinsed off (but not as oily as with the Esse Cocoa Exfoliator). After towelling off, the skin feels just right - clean, plump and moisturised. However, I don't see it as a mask that will remove blackheads and reduce pore size. I haven't noticed any difference in those aspects but to be fair, Esse never made such promises in the product blurb. It deep-cleanses the skin. As Esse says, it's a detoxifying and nourishing clay mask.

Final Words
I like this Esse Clay Mask but in a different way from how I like the St. Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask. These two are different creatures. The one from St. Ives is like a straight-talking friend, one who will tell it like it is. The clay mask from Esse is like a caring and nurturing friend, one who is always looking out for you.

Well, I'm keeping both friends.


More information:
Esse has a second type of mask in its range, the Esse Cream Mask (right), which happens to be the first ever Esse product I tried last year. The Cream Mask is meant for mature, dehydrated skin (it's seriously hydrating, great for skin SOS situations too) while the Clay Mask detoxifies and is suitable for all skin types.

To read more about this South African brand (practices, ethos, etc), please check my previous posts on Brand: Esse Organic Skincare

Esse Organic Skincare website
Esse Netherlands

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

KOH Red


Time flies! It's been a long time since that first feature on KOH Red.


We're taking another look at it this time around for three reasons:

1. Bigger pictures.
2. The KOH Holiday Spirits collection includes KOH Red.
3. The lipstick and nail polish set called KOH Red Seduction.

The KOH Red nail polish is a straightforward classic red that you can never ever go wrong with. Although it's nothing fancy (no shimmer, no glitter, no flakies), it's one of those shades that can make a heck of a lot of difference to any look with just a quick lick of paint.


Here, I've used my own bottle of Red that I got during a promotion that KOH had two years ago in my first ever visit to the KOH Experience Shop in Amsterdam. It's a jelly-crème and the polish from this old bottle still went on very smoothly, even after all this time. I didn't need to use a thinner either.


This is a polish that would be opaque in one coat but I would advise doing two to get a richer effect.


KOH Red Seduction


You should know by now that KOH loves box/giftsets and KOH Red Seduction is precisely that. This boxset has been in stores for many months, so this isn't a new release. The Red Seduction boxset is provided by KOH.



The boxset consists of two main items - KOH Red Lipstick and KOH Red nail polish - and a sleek black retractable lip brush.



I'm sure the black nail polish bottle with a KOH charm and an orchid flower on top haven't escaped your notice. It's really the standard KOH nail polish bottle, only opaque black and with embellishment. KOH had also issued these limited edition bottles for its Calcium Nail Whitener. The unusual bottle is a pretty thing for sure but I see it as purely ornamental. Of course, you can polish your nails with it but you do need to remove the KOH charm first and the orchid does get in the way when you hold the bottle cap during polishing. Well, in any case, it's a great adornment for your vanity table.


The colours for the lipstick and the nail polish are similar (obviously!) but when swatched and worn on the lips, the KOH Red lipstick reveals some blue tones. The lipstick is very pigmented. I do need to use a lipbalm as a base though.

List of ingredients for the lipstick (please click to enlarge):



The KOH Red Seduction boxset retails for €24.95 but if you happen to be in the neighbourhood, there may be special deals to be had in the KOH Experience Shop in Amsterdam and also the one in Eindhoven (there are never newsletters on such special offers). This item is currently still available in the KOH online shop.



The Other Holiday Spirits Polishes
Limited Edition:
KOH Romantic Silver
KOH Loving Bronze
KOH Dreamy Gold

From the permanent collection:
KOH Red Wine
KOH Brilliant Red

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Adorned Nails: Essence Gold Old Buffy


If you thought Catrice Welcome To The Jungle from the limited edition Papagena collection was cool, then you might find this one from Essence a hundred times more awesome.


This is Gold Old Buffy from Essence's latest and very popular trend edition, Vampire's Love. You've seen the Vampire's Love Eyeshadow Palette. Gold Old Buffy probably has some association with the khaki green-brass eyeshadow in that palette. Price: only €1.79 (10ml).


Note: With the exception of the second one, all photos were shot in strong sunshine.

Gold Old Buffy applied superbly and I have two coats on here. The polish is a black or black-brown jelly filled to the brim with brassy gold micro-glitters and small, curious, irregular-shaped brassy gold flakies. It's like a manifestation of my all-time favourite eyeliner pencil, GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Metallic Brass, in a nail polish, only meaner and grittier (in appearance).

It's a polish that befits a gargoyle (if it wore nail polish) and I absolutely love it!





Update
The other Essence Vampire's Love polishes now featured:
Hunt Me If You Can
The Dawn Is Broken
Into The Dark


More information:
Essence website