Friday, 27 July 2012

Catrice: Coolibri Eye Shadow Pens Review



I didn't get these the first time I saw them in the store. The colours seemed too ra-ra for me.

A week later at another Kruidvat store, I decided to swatch the testers on my hand. Still ra-ra but it was a Hey, I-can-make-it-work! ra-ra. I was very taken by the swatches and bought all four shades:

L-R:
01 Precious Nectar - beige gold
02 Birds Flying High - turquoise blue
03 Virgin Forest - dark spring green
04 Exotica - orange with a hint of coral

The composition of these pens is similar to that of the Catrice Made To Stay Highlighter Pen. The pens also remind me of GOSH's Mineral Waterproof Eyeshadow (sticks), only cheaper.

Coolibri is the latest Limited Edition collection by Catrice. It was released in June in some countries and here in the Netherlands, the collection made its appearance only in July. It's a cheerful collection, with many vivid, eye-catching colours reminiscent of the flora and fauna of the Amazon/rainforest. The nail polishes sold well (most of them were gone by the time I got to the stores) but sales of the eyeshadow pens were slower, it seems.


Well, I think the Catrice Coolibri Eye Shadow Pens are awesome! In a nutshell, they:

• come in retractable pens.
• have a silky soft, creamy texture.
• glide on nicely on the eyelids.
• are very pigmented.
• don't dry too quickly, allowing time to fade out any hard edges with the fingers.
• are waterproof.

Catrice doesn't claim that the Eye Shadow Pens are waterproof, preferring to call them "extremely long-lasting" instead. In reality though, they are waterproof and are fairly crease-resistant. On me, I see the beginnings of a crease only after about seven hours. In fact, last weekend, I wore the turquoise blue one under a powder eyeshadow and when I came home around eight hours later, there was surprisingly no creasing. Very impressive.

Ingredients:
Cyclopentasiloxane, Mica, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Polyethylene, Lauroyl lysine, Ozokerite, Octyldodecanol, Synthetic beeswax, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl palmitate, Citric acid, Silica, Tin oxide.
May contain: CI 15850 (Red 6), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 77400 (Bronze powder), CI 77491, CI 77499 (Iron oxides), CI 77510 (Ferric ferrocyanide/Ferric ammonium ferrocyanide), CI 77891 (Titanium dioxide).


Now, back to the ra-ra colours. Great for colour-blocking but neh, that ain't for me.

Here are the Coolibri eyeshadow swatches:

L-R: Coolibri 01 Precious Nectar, 02 Birds Flying High, 03 Virgin Forest, 04 Exotica


Used On Its Own
Yes, the eyeshadow shades are bright and intense but the turqoise blue or the green one would work well if used alone. Just stay close to the lash line.

Products used:
Catrice Coolibri Eye Shadow Pen - 02 Birds Flying High
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Black Ink
Catrice Lashes to Kill Mascara - Black Green


Layering
Note: In the next three eye looks, I've used the following powder eyeshadows to supplement the Coolibri ones:

L-R: Catrice feMALE Eye Aquarelle Duo Chalks (Boys Are Back);
No7 Stay Perfect Mini Trio Eyeshadow Palette (Cappuccino);
Stage Five-Shade Shadow Palette (Gossip)


Actually, I like the Coolibri pens even more when used as a sticky eyeshadow base. You've probably got a few poorly pigmented eyeshadows lurking somewhere in your drawer. You know, those that you wish you never bought. Well, if you have the Coolibri Eye Shadow Pens, this is the perfect time to get those lousy eyeshadows out.

However, this layering won't work so well with highly pigmented powder eyeshadows. They have such good coverage that they tend to overwhelm the Coolibri eyeshadows. The eye look below demonstrates just that.

Layered on top of the orangey Exotica is the mauve taupe shade of Boys Are Back, one of the Catrice feMALE Eye Aquarelle Duo Chalks. The orange here is hardly discernible.

Products used:
Catrice Coolibri Eye Shadow Pen - 04 Exotica and 01 Precious Nectar
Catrice feMALE Eye Aquarelle Duo Chalks - Boys Are Back
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Truly Brown and Black Ink
Catrice Lashes to Kill Mascara - Black Green


On the other hand, those eyeshadows with poor colour pay-off look so much better applied over these Coolibri shades. Experiment with different colour combinations. The Coolibri eyeshadows give the powder eyeshadows a lovely undertone and conversely, the powder eyeshadows give the Coolibri shades a different look.

Here, I applied a pale taupey brown powder eyeshadow on the green of Virgin Forest above the lid fold and left the green exposed close to the lash line.

Products used:
Catrice Coolibri Eye Shadow Pen - 03 Virgin Forest
No7 Stay Perfect Mini Trio Eyeshadow Palette - Cappuccino (middle shade)
Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner - Bronze
Catrice Lashes to Kill Mascara - Black Green


I call this final eye look a purple sunset. Over the orange Exotica, I applied a purple eyeshadow on the lid fold and then, let it 'radiate' orange.

Products used:
Catrice Coolibri Eye Shadow Pen - 04 Exotica and 01 Precious Nectar
Stage Five-Shade Shadow Palette - Gossip (purple shade)
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Black Ink
Catrice Lashes to Kill Mascara - Black Green


Great eyeshadow pens and affordable too! Price: €3.49 each (1.64g / 0.057oz). If you haven't got access to Catrice, you could try the eyeshadow sticks by GOSH.


Catrice website

Adorned Nails: KOH Dutch


I've been saving this for the London Olympics. I could have done this for Queen's Day or for the Euro 2012 but I deferred. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't for the latter - our football team was an utter national disgrace. There was no team work and certainly no team spirit. Bah! Great footballers they may be but many of them have become selfish individuals with oversized egos.


On the other hand, it's definitely worthwhile to cheer on the Dutch Olympic team. At least, I know the athletes will give their all. Go Holland!!

Anyway, back to the polish. KOH Dutch is an old one from the permanent range. I think it came out in the initial lot of KOH Colours nail polishes a few years ago.

The colour is pretty self-explanatory. Dutch = orange. It has a great consistency, a jelly-crème that went on effortlessly. I have two coats on.

A Dutch-themed manicure needs a Dutch flag, correct? It's a good thing that the Dutch flag is a simple one to re-create: colour-blocking with three polishes.


I used:
KOH Brilliant Red
KOH Cloudy
KOH Rock Chick
The links will lead you to my old posts featuring the individual polishes.


Polishes were provided by KOH over the course of the year.


On a different note, KOH's next Limited Edition collection is due to be released in September. The collection is called KOH Sound and from the picture I've seen in the press release I received, it's a fairly broody collection. At a glance, the collection looks almost monochromatic but I'm sure there's more to it. Well, I can't do much with a piece of paper for now. We'll have to wait and see.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Styx: Potato Hand Balm Review


I will start by saying that this is more a cream than a balm and frankly, I don't see why you should restrict its use to only the hands.


Styx is an Austrian natural skincare brand and from what I've read, it's quite a big commercial concern in its home country and is also active in Germany and Switzerland. According to its literature, it also has many retail points in Russia and has been making inroads in the US and the Far East too.

Styx is now run by Wolfgang Stix, whose grandfather, Florian Stix, began experimenting and making tinctures and ointments using new and traditional recipes in 1915. The Goat Butter Cream which Styx still sells today can be traced back to those early days. However, it was Erwin Stix (Wolfgang's father) who formally established Styx and, with his medical background, he was able to take a scientific and economic approach in steering his company.

Today, Styx produces more than 750 different types of natural skincare products under various brand names. The following are just some points of interest about Styx:

• makes use of only natural raw materials - organic or wildcrafted
• uses cold-pressed vegetable oils
• emulsifiers, preservatives and surfectants used are derived from natural raw materials
• does not use paraffin oils
• does not test on animals


The Potato Hand Balm that Styx makes is based on a traditional farmer's recipe from a region in Lower Austria called Waldviertel (Forest Quarter), where potatoes and poppies are the main crops. It is said that Austrian farmers used the juice of raw potatoes on their hands after a hard day's work in the field at the turn of the 19th century. Skincare in its simplest form!


The Potato Hand Balm is packaged in a 7-inch long aluminium tube. The cream inside is off-white in colour and is not greasy. It has a smooth and moderately thick consistency and is absorbed into the skin within a couple of minutes. The skin feels just a bit tacky (just like with most hand creams) and smelling like dessert. Pudding, I reckon. The cream smells like very sweet almond pudding. It's not indicated but I hope the added fragrance is natural.


I don't have anything bad to say about this hand cream. It keeps the hands sufficiently moisturised. I use it during the day and sometimes at bedtime together with my Essence Nail & Hand Care Gloves. If you wish, you can use it as a body cream too.

Besides potato extract, the Potato Hand Balm contains goodies like macadamia oil (great for aging skin - mine!), shea butter, marigold oil, jojoba oil, chamomile extract and sunflower seed oil.

Ingredients:
Water, Macadamia Oil, Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides, Glycerin, Shea Butter*, Marigold Flower Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Fragrance, Jojoba Oil, Potato Extract*, Chamomile Extract*, Gluconolactone, Sunflower Seed Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Beta-Carotene/ CI 75130

* from controlled organic cultivation - raw materials checked by LACON (a certification institute)

Price: €6.95 for 50ml

I bought my tube from Dille & Kamille, a Dutch chain of delightful stores selling kitchen, gardening and household utensils and necessities (my other shopping heaven). This seems to be the only Styx product sold there and Dille & Kamille is the only place in the Netherlands where I've ever seen the Potato Hand Balm being sold. I don't know if there may be other stores here selling a wider range of Styx skincare and if there are, I would guess that they are located close to the border with Germany.

I have also found the Potato Hand Balm on Amazon.


Styx website

Monday, 16 July 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Funky


We've been looking at many polishes from KOH's special collections. For a change, here's something from its permanent range.


At first glance, KOH Funky looks unassuming, does it not? It's a jelly-crème (three coats here) and the colour is a slate grey with a tinge of lilac.

However, there's more to it than meets the eye.


Look at them pretty shimmery bits! Deep pink, they are. Funky is really a slate grey-lilac that glows pink. Well, well, it's a somber polish with a girly vibe.



For more KOH polishes: KOH Nail Polish Gallery

Friday, 13 July 2012

Etos: Serum Lipstick Review



These dual-formula composition lipsticks certainly remind me of the L'Oreal Colour Riche® Anti-aging Serum Lipstick. The Etos packaging looks humbler but the lipsticks inside are visually similar.


Dutch drugstore chain Etos released a small collection of Serum Lipsticks in May. I bought two, more because of the crème shades than the anti-aging promise and I must say, they're pretty good lip colours. I've even been able to put them on without a lipbalm base.

These lipsticks have no scent. They're pigmented and moisturising, and the texture is rich and creamy, all making the Etos Serum Lipstick a breeze to apply.


The shades that I have are simply named 002 (left) and 004 (right).



002 (burnt red):



004 (copper):


We've been seeing more and more of these built-in skincare cores in beauty products, including in concealers. They are convenient two-in-ones by providing colour with the outer bullet and delivering anti-aging goodness with extra moisturisation through the inner bullet. The inner core shrinks in my lipsticks after a while though. This is how my 004 looks after two months' use:


As I said, I didn't really buy it for the anti-aging properties and I won't comment on its effectiveness as that is something for the long, long term. I don't know if I'm imagining it but my lips feel slightly plumped when I'm wearing these lipsticks. The colours last about three hours on the lips.

Combined ingredients:
Pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate, aqua, octyldodecanol, hydrogenated polydecene, octyldodecyl/PPG-3 myristyl ether dimer dilinoleate, cera microcristallina, PVP/Hexadecene copolymer, synthetic beeswax, polyethylene, Acacia decurrens/jojoba/sunflower seed wax/polyglyceryl-3 esthers, isononyl isononanoate, bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, sodium hyaluronate, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, tocopherol.
May contain: Mica, CI 77891, CI 15850, CI 77491, CI 19140, CI 42090, CI 73015, tin oxide


Overall, it's a good buy, if anyone's interested and will be dropping by Holland in the near future. The Etos Serum Lipstick is available in five shades. Price: €3.99 each.


Etos website (in Dutch)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Adorned Nails: Saffron Magnetic Varnish 03



The truth: I got this in a moment of stupor. I had never heard of this brand before and yet, I bought five of these magnetic polishes.


Saffron London is the brand and the magnetic polish range is just one of the collections that it carries. It seems to be a UK-based brand but the man at the store where I got my bottles from told me with stolid indifference that the polishes were made in China, which wasn't indicated on the box packaging. Nice, he told me that after I had paid for them.


Well, okay, this is Saffron Magnetic Varnish No. 03, an emerald green metallic shimmer. The colour itself is fantastic but alas, its magnetic powers aren't. The bottle comes with its own magnet but it's a useless one. Trash it and forget that promising picture on the box! It literally did nothing to the polish, so I had to use the Essence magnet (which you can read more about here).


This was a true test of one's patience. What you see here is the result after many attempts on each nail (and try doing that on ten nails!). To get this result, you'd have to hold the magnet just 1mm away from the nails and I can tell you, there were many 'touching' accidents.

That's the long story anyway. You wouldn't know about the fandango that went on just from looking at the photos, would you? Okay, the colour is gorgeous but I can't believe I paid €4.50 for this 9ml bottle of semi-crap. And, hey, I've got four more to show you too!




My first magnetic polish:
Essence Spell Bound

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

SheerinO'kho: Eye Cream Review


SheerinO'kho. Love the name. The more I read about SheerinO'kho, the more it comes across to me as an intelligent skincare range. The French natural skincare brand oozes charm and intellectual elegance, if one can call it that. It has a relatively small collection of ten products (though one is a kit) and interestingly, six of them are face creams.


Sheerin'Okho has been around since 2005 and I think the best and most succinct way to describe it would be this phrase borrowed from its own website: "Pioneering environment responsive skin care".

With its products, SheerinO'kho aims to address the effects that the environment has on the skin. Think air pollution, long exposure to the sun, drastic temperature changes (going from outdoors to indoors and vice versa), air-conditioning, etc. Like it or not, these factors have a negative impact on our skin and SheerinO'kho products are meant to provide a response to whatever skin imbalances these environmental factors have caused.

Note: SheerinO'kho very kindly sent me some products last year. As I don't take the task of writing skincare reviews lightly, I have chosen to start writing my SheerinO'kho reviews only now, after having used SheerinO'kho on my face for more than a year.

This review focuses on the SheerinO'kho Eye Cream. In time, I will do features on a few of their other products and write more about SheerinO'kho the brand.

Sealed bottle


The following is what SheerinO'kho says about the Eye Cream (excerpts):

This skincare gives long-lasting vivacity to eyes tired by hyperactivity and downtown pollution. Active tripeptid ingredients, a product of bio-technology, work powerfully and instantaneously on wrinkles, smoothing the skin and restoring its elasticity. Marks of tiredness, pouches and shadows are attenuated by draining toxins and reinvigorating microcirculation.

Developed from medical research and advanced formulation techniques.


Ingredients


It's a long list, so this is the summary that SheerinO'kho gives on the packaging:

Anti-ageing: tripeptids, Indian senna, Chrondus crispus (Irish moss)
Moisturising: Mourera fluviatilis, Vitamin E
Detoxifying: grape polyphenols, aescin (from horse chestnut)

Contains 12.5% active ingredients.


SheerinO'kho says it uses no paraben, PEG, colouring or artificial fragrance and its products are naturally scented with essential oils.


Packaging
SheerinO'kho uses recyclable packaging. The eye cream as well as its other face creams come presented in gorgeous boxes and chic glass bottles, each fitted with a lockable dispenser.

This is indeed a quality dispenser. With it, it is easy to control just how much product you want each time, even if it's just a small drop.


Eye Cream
This drop that you see on my finger is just about what I need for both eyes. You really don't need much as the eye cream has a very light texture and it spreads easily. It is not sticky and it has a herbal, earthy scent.

Any tightness felt on the outer corners of my eyes after facial cleansing quickly diminishes when I pat on the eye cream. Once absorbed, this gentle and non-irritating cream leaves the skin around the eyes a bit tacky, warm, nourished and ever so slightly plumped. I won't tell you that the fine lines that have been developing under my eyes have voila! disappeared. I am convinced though that the cream has helped, to a certain extent, to stave off the deterioration of the skin around my eyes.

I am unable to comment on its ability to reduce puffiness and dark circles as I don't have major issues with these (I've been cursed with acne-scarred skin instead, thank you very much!).

Other Observations
This has happened before: Once in a blue moon, I get a red, itchy patch on my eye lid close to my eyebrow. For the life of me, I don't know why it's always my right eye lid. This time around, I had so hoped that this eye cream would get rid of it but sadly, it didn't.

Another thing I've noticed is that little flakes develop on my lid when I apply my eyeshadow primer over the eye cream (I use the Too Faced Shadow Insurance). Do note that after applying the eye cream, there is always a time gap of at least fifteen minutes before I use the primer. It seems to me that the flaky bits form when the primer gets in contact with whatever SheerinO'kho Eye Cream that is left on the skin. Anyway, there isn't a lot of the flaky bits, so it's easy to just wipe them away.


Final Words
A miracle eye cream it isn't but I will say it's a good eye cream. I'll tell you what I like even more: SheerinO'kho face creams.

SheerinO'kho is a premium brand and its products are made in Provence, France. According to its website, the SheerinO'kho Eye Cream is priced at €49 for 15ml / 0.50 fl oz. SheerinO'kho recommends using it up within 6 months after opening but in reality, this little bottle lasted 10 to 11 months (used twice a day). I just made sure to always keep it in a cool, dark place.

The brand offers international shipping directly from its website. The shipping rates are reasonable, from what I've checked, capped at €10. In the Netherlands, SheerinO'kho products can also be purchased in Amsterdam from C. Cosmetics & Care (prices vary), where I came across SheerinO'kho for the first time back in 2010.


More information:
SheerinO'kho website
There, you can also view its short list of authorised SheerinO'kho retailers worldwide.