Friday, 30 March 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Seduce



KOH launched another special collection recently. The KOH Sexy collection consists of six new polishes and the first one I've tried out is KOH Seduce.


Seduce is a gorgeous satin polish. There's a certain edginess about this polish that I love. Some might call it a blurple. I'll call it a blue violet and it's a very tricky one. One second, I'm sure it's a rich, deep sapphire blue and the next, I'm convinced it's a violet. Well, look closely and you'll realise that it's not because you can't decide which colour it is, it's because Seduce is both - it's a duochrome. It's easier to make that out in the bottle.


I had to apply three coats as it wasn't opaque in two but the formula was first class. Seduce applied without a hitch.


This polish was kindly provided by KOH Cosmetics.

Anyway, here are the six KOH Sexy polishes. I'd admit that I'm quite taken by this collection. It's so chirpy and multifaceted, very appropriate for the coming warmer months. There is definitely something for everyone here.


The KOH Sexy collection is already available in the KOH Experience Shops. Retail price per bottle: €14.95 (10ml).

By the way, KOH announced earlier this year that it will be releasing six new Limited Edition collections in 2012, which works out to one new collection every two months. So, there's a lot to look forward to! The first was KOH Vintage Jeans, which you've seen. After KOH Sexy, the next Limited Edition collection is called KOH Elements. From the one photo that I've seen, KOH Elements is on the earthy side, definitely a less colourful collection after seeing the vivid shades of KOH Sexy.

Next Sexy polish: KOH Flirt

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Catrice: feMALE Eye Aquarelle Duo Chalks Review


Move over 'eye shadows'. Make way for err, 'eye chalks'??


It's quite a name: Eye Aquarelle Duo Chalks. A manageable mouthful with a certain arty zing.

The Limited Edition feMALE collection was released by Catrice in the Netherlands very recently (and much earlier in its home country, Germany). As always, there's a whole concept behind each collection and as always, I haven't paid much attention to it (well, okay, okay, the gist: feMALE plays on the contrasting masculine looks vs feminine elegance, think androgyny yadda yadda yadda). Frankly, I'm really just interested in the products themselves. The four nail polishes didn't exactly excite me, so I gave them a miss.


These Eye Aquarelle Duo Chalks though were too different and cute to walk away from. Catrice calls them an innovation:

(excerpts)
".....the first chalk for your eyes!......the Eye Aquarelle Duo Chalks are fascinating with their unique chalk-like appearance with intensive color pigments and high coverage."

The Duo Chalks come in three variants and they all have hints of shimmer. As you can see in the swatches below, the pigmentation is fantastic. All swatches are with an eyeshadow base.

01 Love Me Gender
medium brown + peachy orange




02 Tomboy
khaki green grey + cornflower blue




03 Boys Are Back
mauve taupe + black grey



The very fine specks of shimmers are quite hard to make out but that last mentioned shade - black grey - appears to have tiny specks of teal. The following photo was taken with flash photography.


I guess the really interesting bit about these Aquarelle Duo Chalks is that each of the 'chalks' come in the form of a cube, nestled in a plastic cubic container (almost 2cm x 2cm x 1.5cm). If you turned one upside down and shook it, the 'chalk' cube would eventually fall out. The duos are not attached, which can be a good thing if you have more than one set. You can move the cubes around to form a different set of two (or three or four) colours. Cute that may be but I don't find the packaging terribly convenient to handle. They are so small in the hand and the cubes seem so fragile.


The chunky cubes do have a chalk-like appearance (as Catrice says) but the texture is very velvety smooth. I didn't find them that chalky as in, they are not as dry or powdery to the touch as conventional chalk. In fact, I find them quite moist and even though the cubes are on the fragile and slightly crumbly side, there was very little fallout during application.



Catrice also brought out the Eye Aquarelle Applicators that are supposed to be used with the Eye Chalks. At first, I thought they were very special applicators but I wasn't really impressed when I saw the real thing in the store. They looked like normal sponge-tip applicators. Good quality, perhaps, but nothing more. I didn't buy these. I've been able to manage with my own sponge-tip applicators and applying with fingers would work too.


I've been having fun using these Eye Chalks everyday for the past eight days. This is just one of the eye looks that I wore last week. I used:


Etos Eyeshadow Underbase (primer)
Eye Aquarelle Duo Chalks - Tomboy
Eye Aquarelle Duo Chalks - Boys Are Back (only the mauve taupe)
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Purple Stain
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Black Ink
Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Lash Mascara - Waterproof Extra Black

What I did:
• mauve taupe of Boys Are Back in the inner V
• blue of Tomboy on moving lid
• khaki green grey of Tomboy in the outer V
• lined upper and lower lash line with Purple Stain eyeliner pencil
• tightlined with Black Ink eyeliner pencil
• applied two coats of mascara


Last Thoughts
If you have access to the feMALE collection, I'd recommend getting one or two of these Aquarelle Duo Chalks. Yes, they're cute and seem like a novelty, but you should get it because of its great pigmentation and if you happen to like the choice of shades. They are pretty much chunks of pressed eyeshadows with a fancy name, methinks.

I had wondered if any of the shades were similar to the eyeshadows in The Berlin Collection Palette from Catrice's Big City Life collection. Fortunately, there weren't any dupes (I'd rather not have doubles of the same shade). A couple seemed similar at first glance but the nuances could be noticed by comparing their swatches. For example, the taupes: one is more grey, another has more mauve and yet another is more brown. Anyway, my favourite of the three duos is Boys Are Back.

The price won't hurt your wallet much: only €2.99 per box/duo. The net weight of each cube: 0.12oz / 3.5g.


More information:
The list of ingredients for these Duo Chalks can be found here.
The feMALE collection on the Catrice website

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Nearly Bronze


It's time for another feature on a KOH polish from its permanent collection.

I remember seeing bottles of KOH Nearly Bronze and KOH Bananas prominently displayed in the brand's Experience Shop in Amsterdam a couple of months ago. It was quite a sight, to say the least: bottles of the two yellows juxtaposed against rows and rows of blues (from the KOH Vintage Jeans collection).


This bottle of Nearly Bronze was kindly provided by KOH and I figured I would wear it this warm, spring weekend. Nearly Bronze is nowhere near bronze. It's a much more subdued cousin of the unshy extrovert that is Bananas (which will be featured later).

Natural lighting

KOH Nearly Bronze is a dulled mustard yellow or you could perhaps call it a beige-yellow. It has specks of warm silver shimmers floating in the polish and these very same specks also give the polish a rather sooty look when the bottle is viewed at an angle. The first and the last photos were taking in strong sunshine.

I could see a slight trace of my nail lines after two coats and even though it didn't really matter, I added another coat anyway for the photos. Nearly Bronze applied beautifully.



KOH Rush Brush
When I was at the shop, I also saw that KOH had brought out the KOH Rush Brush, which are basically extra-wide nail polish brushes. I haven't got this new brush myself to show you but I can imagine extra-wide brushes are favoured by many of us. At that time, KOH was giving the Rush Brush out free to customers purchasing KOH nail polishes, i.e. customers walk away with the usual brush that comes with the bottle of polish bought, plus the Rush Brush screwed onto an empty KOH bottle.


KOH Cosmetics website

Friday, 23 March 2012

MuLondon: Organic Rose / Lavender Foaming Face Wash Review


Back in November last year, you had read my introductory post on the then newly-launched MuLondon Organic Foaming Face Cleansers. For the past few months, I've been religiously using the two sample bottles that I had received from Boris (of MuLondon) and I think it's time that I shared my thoughts on them.


Before I get on with my review, I should let you know how significant it is that I'm using these MuLondon cleansers. You see, other than having tried little samples of two new facial cleansers from another brand (only 10ml each), I had been a faithful user of the Sebamed Liquid Face & Body Wash. And when I say faithful, I'm talking about a period spanning 11 years. As some of you may already know, I have a bad history with acne. So, this change of facial cleansers is, in my books, major.

My Experience

Patch Test
I didn't switch cleansers from Sebamed to MuLondon overnight. Although I had a lot of confidence in MuLondon products, I still spent two weeks doing patch tests with these cleansers first - I just don't trust my skin. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: Always, always, always do a patch test first with any new skincare product, especially if you have problem/sensitive skin.

Scent
I was very pleased that my skin showed no bad reactions to the MuLondon cleansers. Sebamed gradually became a thing of the past. After using the same green liquid for more than a decade (mundane it may be but the Sebamed Liquid Face & Body Wash will always have a special place in my heart), my early experience with the MuLondon cleansers was like a breath of fresh air. Quite literally. Where it says Organic Rose Foaming Face Wash, it really smells of roses. Where it says Organic Lavender Foaming Face Wash, yes, it smells truly of lavender. Unadulterated. During lathering, I love cupping my hands over my nose for a few seconds just to take in the lovely scent. You should try it yourself.

Contents

150ml

The liquid inside is caramel-coloured but we never get to see the liquid in our palms. The bottle - made of recyclable HDPE plastic, free from phthalates, bisphenol-A and PVC - comes with a foam pump dispenser, so what you pump out will always be fluffy, pre-lathered cleanser. That took some getting used to at first but, as was probably one of the intentions of the inventor of the foam pump dispenser, it's a time-saver. Just pump and slap the foam on your face.

OK, that's over-dramatised. Once in a while, you really should take the time to massage the face and simultaneously enjoy the gorgeous natural fragrance.




Cleansing
The cleansers do a good job of cleaning the face of dirt, grime and makeup, but don't expect it to work for waterproof makeup. That's what you have waterproof makeup removers for. After towelling off, the skin feels soft, fresh and clean.

The MuLondon facial cleansers come in two sizes: 150ml and 50ml. Based on my own experience, the following is all you need to pump out for each cleansing:

150ml bottle: three-quarters of a pump (I find one full pump to be too much)
50ml bottle: one full pump

Warning
I don't actually have anything bad to say about these MuLondon cleansers except this one thing: maaaan, it stings the eyes! To be fair, Boris does offer some advice on the label, which includes a warning:

"Work the foam between hands. Apply to damp skin. Rinse. Avoid contact with eyes."

However, you have to understand that, for 11 years, I had been using a face wash that never irritated the eyes, so out of habit, I often opened my eyes while working the MuLondon lather on my face/eye area. Oops.

Consider yourself warned.

Other Uses
Boris mentions on the website that the cleansers can also be used on the body. I did try it as a body wash once but it took around ten pumps to get the whole body lathered. I think I'll stick to using these cleansers on the face.

Boris also says that it can be used for shaving.

Basics
Just like the MuLondon Natural Organic Moisturisers, the MuLondon Foaming Face Washes are handmade by Boris with just a short list of ingredients. They are based on certified organic castile soap and contain

• no SLS
• no detergents
• no alcohol
• no mineral oils
• no parabens
• no sorbates
• no silicones
• no emulsifiers
• no artificial fragrance
• no man-made chemicals
• no palm oil

Boris vehemently refuses to use palm oil in his products. The reason is explained here.

Here is some basic information about the two cleansers that I've been using (gleaned from the MuLondon website):


Organic Rose Foaming Face Wash


• key ingredients: Jojoba oil, Rose Otto essential oil, Rosehip extract, Rosemary extract
• good for dry, irritated, sensitive skin
• the precious Rose Otto essential oil used is steam-distilled, not solvent-extracted
• goes well with the MuLondon Organic Rose Moisturiser (but of course!)

Ingredients
Water, Saponified Sunflower Oil*, Saponified Coconut Oil*, Glycerin (vegetable, naturally occurring)*, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate (Potassium Salts), Jojoba Oil*, Rose Otto Essential Oil*, Rosehip Extract* , Rosemary Extract*
* certified organic

Price
£15 for 150ml
£7 for 50ml
(it's a great travel size)

Updated pricing
£16 for 150ml
£8 for 50ml

Organic Lavender Foaming Face Wash


• key ingredients: Jojoba oil, Rosemary extract, Lavender essential oil
• good for dry, sensitive skin, great for relaxation
• to complete the experience, try pairing it with the MuLondon Organic Lavender Moisturiser

50ml

Ingredients
Water, Saponified Sunflower Oil*, Saponified Coconut Oil*, Glycerin (vegetable, naturally occurring)*, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate (Potassium Salts), Jojoba Oil*, Rosemary Extract*, Lavender Essential Oil*
* certified organic

Price
£12 for 150ml
£5 for 50ml


Updated pricing
£13 for 150ml
£6 for 50ml

Note:
For those who have extremely sensitive skin and/or who are allergic to essential oils, there is the MuLondon Organic Fragrance-free Foaming Face Wash. It retails for the same price as the Organic Lavender version.


Conclusion
Another great range of products by Boris! They smell good, they work well and they contain simple, good ingredients. I consider these MuLondon cleansers good value for your money too. I've used the Organic Rose Foaming Face Wash (150ml) for three months and I've still a third left. I've used the Organic Lavender Foaming Face Wash (50ml) twice a day for four solid weeks and I've got a little under half left in the 50ml bottle.


MuLondon is registered by The Vegan Society and PETA. Its products do not contain animal ingredients and it does not test on our furry friends. If you're looking for another responsible, ethical brand to support, try MuLondon!


Further reading:
Other general information on the MuLondon Organic Foaming Face Cleansers
All my posts on MuLondon (including its Natural Organic Moisturisers): Brand: MuLondon

MuLondon website
It ships internationally and its shipping rates are, in my opinion, very reasonable.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Adorned Nails: Douglas Elena


Here's another polish from the Absolute Nails range by Douglas - Elena 12. I doubt very much I will be doing a side-by-side comparison on nails but I'd say it's a possible dupe of Chanel Black Pearl.


Elena 12 is gunmetal grey with blue-green tones. The formula is fine and I've got two coats on here. It does however look streaky due to its metallic finish. Elena looks for the most part gunmetal but the longer you stare at it, the more blue-green-grey it looks. It's quite fascinating when you can't decide.


Douglas Elena 12 costs just €4.95 (11ml)......which is why I won't be getting me a Black Pearl.



If you missed them, here are the other two copies polishes by Douglas already featured:
Douglas Fireworks
Douglas Maria


To view the range on Douglas websites:
Douglas Nederland
Douglas Germany
Douglas France

Sunday, 18 March 2012

KOH: KOH To Go Kit



This cute little manicure set has been available at the KOH Experience Shops for the past month or so. KOH has been giving out the KOH To Go Kit as a free gift for purchases of €125.00 and above made in their Shops.


The set is presented in the by-now familiar faux patent leather KOH case and it consists of three items in mini sizes:

• KOH Crystal Nail File To Go
• KOH Nourishing Cuticle Brush To Go
• KOH Nail Pusher And Cleaning Stick To Go
Note: This kit was kindly provided by KOH Cosmetics.


Two of the items have been briefly mentioned before when I featured the KOH Collection L Box, but for the convenience of those who are new to the KOH range, I've included some information here as well.


KOH Crystal Nail File To Go


At 9cm, this nail file is the smallest in the whole range of Crystal Nail Files by KOH. This mini version has been and still is available for sale individually at KOH retail points.

• comes in an elegant velvet slide-in pouch
• made of glass, be careful not to drop it on hard surfaces
• washable with soap - by hand or in the dishwasher


KOH Nourishing Cuticle Brush To Go


This is a mini version of the KOH Nourishing Cuticle Brush. The pen is about three-quarters the size of the regular version and it contains 1.6ml of product. While the regular-size version is a press-click pen, this To Go version is a click-turn pen.

• clear emulsion
• contains inter alia Jojoba Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Sesame Oil, Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera
• features a brush for convenient application around the nails/cuticles
• can also be used to soften the cuticles before pushing them back with the cuticle pusher (the next item)


KOH Nail Pusher And Cleaning Stick To Go


Measuring just 9cm long, it is about three-quarters the size of its bigger sibling. It comes in a chic custom-size stainless steel protective casing.

• feels heavy in the hand
• made of stainless steel, has a black rubber grip
• one end has a rounded tip, ideal for pushing back cuticles
• the other end is rounded with a sharper tip, good for cleaning under the nails





The KOH To Go Kit is worth €29.95 and I've been told that it is now also available for sale at the KOH Shops (€29.95). At the moment, it is still uncertain if this mini set will eventually be included in KOH's permanent range of products.


As far as I've been informed, it is still being given away free by KOH for purchases of at least €125.00 made in their Shops. The minimum purchase amount may change, so please check with the KOH staff on your next visit there.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Adorned Nails: Teeez Fireworks


Well, it looks like Douglas isn't the only one with Fireworks. Teeez has one of its own too. They are very different creatures though.


While the one from Douglas is a duo- (tri-)chrome nail polish, Teeez Fireworks is a multi-glitter polish - warm silver, turqoise/blue and pink/fuchsia - in a clear base, which makes it ideal as a top coat to give other nail polishes a new look.

Here, I will be combining Teeez Fireworks with two different Teeez polishes which the brand sent me a while back along with Teeez Gutsy 05. Perhaps you would recognise from the design on the bottles that these two polishes belong to the Boudoir Secrets collection.


I figured it would be nice to give these two polishes a different look and so, I bought a bottle of Teeez Fireworks a couple of months ago. Fireworks belongs to a later collection called City Trip. The range of nail polishes that was released under City Trip is called Scandalous Nail Lacquer. According to the website, there are eight polishes under this range, one of which is Fireworks. Teeez intended Fireworks to be layered on the other seven polishes (which are bright, intense shades, by the way), but of course, one can layer it on any polish.

Teeez Cool 04
The first is Cool 04, a very cold, sheer icy blue with a hint of mint green and faint shimmers. I have on four coats here.



I wore this the other day and applied Teeez Fireworks on it. You could pile on the glitters but I did just one modest coat.




Teeez Femme Fatale 09
The second one, Femme Fatale 09, is a dark red crème with a tinge of blue. It's a pretty straightforward polish that applied well. You're looking at two coats.


Using Fireworks, I painted on two coats to give it glitter French tips.



Teeez Fireworks retails for €4.90 (8.5ml).


More information:
Teeez Cosmetics website