Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Adorned Nails: Herôme W.I.C. Jaipur


One last polish from Magical India and we're done. And it's one of my favourite colours!


Personally, I find Herôme W.I.C. Jaipur more breathtaking than Pune. I mean, Pune is awesome but Jaipur is the one that makes my heart throb. The polish isn't exactly unique but maaaaan, the burgundy shimmer looks magnificent in sunshine! The formula was nice and thick and I've got two coats on.


I'm plainly overwhelmed. I have no more words for this.

This polish was provided by Herôme.


Previous Magical India polish: Herôme W.I.C. Pune

Monday, 24 September 2012

Adorned Nails: Herôme W.I.C. Pune


Remember KOH Fire? My......pet dragon?

Well, meet its blue counterpart.


Herôme W.I.C. Pune has whimsical blue/turqoise/warm silver sparkles in a jelly base of burgundy-purple. It applied without any trouble and I've got three coats on.


Mysterious and beautiful. I love how it perpetually twinkles.

This polish was provided by Herôme.


Previous Magical India polish: Herôme W.I.C. Bangalore
Next and final Magical India polish: Herôme W.I.C. Jaipur

Friday, 21 September 2012

St. Ives: Apricot Scrub Renew & Firm Review


I've mentioned before that the St. Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask is an old favourite of mine. I had been using this clay mask for practically all my adult life, until just a couple of years ago when I began exploring other brands.


I bought this St. Ives Apricot Scrub Renew & Firm on impulse, really. I went to the store to get a new tube of the Mineral Clay Mask but decided to grab this scrub too just to try. Note: I got this on my travels. As far as I know, St. Ives is not easily available in the Netherlands, not in the mainstream stores at least. You may find a limited selection in some independent specialty beauty stores.

St. Ives says:

.....this Apricot Scrub, with gentle alpha hydroxy, visibly tones and firms, revealing younger-looking skin.

Product Claims
• with gentle alphahydroxy
• non-comedogenic
• dermatologist-tested
• 100% natural exfoliants
• 100% natural extracts
• formulated without parabens and phthalates
• no animal-derived ingredients


Ingredients
Water, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Walnut Shell Powder, Glycol Stearate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Corn Kernel Meal, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Jojoba Esters, Glycolic Acid, Ceteareth-20, Urea, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), PEG-12 Dimethicone, Caffeine, Polysorbate 60, Triethanolamine, Fragrance, Carbomer, Arginine, Disodium EDTA, Phenethyl Alcohol, PPG-2 Methyl Ether, Methylisothiazolinone, Apricot Fruit Extract.


The scrub has a very thick consistency and the brown-coloured scrub granules are actually walnut shell powder. It smells fruity-fresh, like apricot but to my nose, very enhanced by the "fragrance".

The size of the granules are just about all right. The granules aren't exactly sparse but at times, I wouldn't mind a higher density of exfoliating particles.

The Apricot Scrub feels creamy and kinda slimey as I work it on my freshly-cleansed, damp face. To get the amount of scrub granules that's right for my preference, I would tend to squeeze out more of the scrub from the tube but as a result, I do need a lot of water to rinse this scrub off and to get rid of the residue slimey feel, if you know what I mean.


On its website, St. Ives says that apricots "are known to contain one of the highest levels of carotenoids (think vitamin A) and super-effective antioxidants.......are actually quite gentle and nourishing and they help make fresher, more nourished skin beautifully possible."

However, did you notice how low the apricot fruit extract figures on the list of ingredients? Yes, it's the very, very last item on the list, which makes me wonder just how much apricot fruit extract this scrub really contains.

My face feels extra clean, fresh and polished after use but I'd attribute that to the crushed walnut shell more than anything else.


All in all, it's a decent scrub. It's a scrub that I can't describe with superlatives. It's not too harsh, not 'wow', not moisturising and yet not drying. One thing though - it's affordably-priced, no more than USD5.00 for 6oz / 170g. I haven't paid much attention to the 'firming' promise as I'm not easily sold on such words. But just so you know, there are some very glowing reviews out there about this scrub, so do read them up to have a balanced view.

I've also read that some ladies use this scrub everyday. St. Ives, on its part, recommends using this scrub 3-4 times a week. I personally find that too frequent and use it no more than twice a week. To each his own.

Do note that St. Ives has three other kinds of Apricot Scrub for different types of skin:

St. Ives Apricot Srub Blemish & Blackhead Control
St. Ives Apricot Scrub Gentle
St. Ives Apricot Scrub Invigorating

St. Ives website


Here are two facial scrubs that I really like:
Avalon Organics Exfoliating Enzyme Scrub
Esse Organic Skincare Cocoa Exfoliator

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Pop Mania



Let's wrap up the KOH Sound collection with this glossy dark blue/petrol blue polish that has been christened KOH Pop Mania.

It's has a jelly-crème formula which made application very easy. I'm wearing two thick coats here.


This shade reminds me of KOH Casual Blue from the Vintage Jeans collection of early this year. It's a similar one but on closer inspection, Pop Mania is actually richer and a shade darker than Casual Blue.

This polish was provided by KOH Cosmetics.


Previous Sound polish: KOH Soul Sister

Friday, 14 September 2012

Adorned Nails: Herôme W.I.C. Bangalore




The series on the Herôme Magical India collection continues with the opulent Herôme W.I.C. Bangalore. After seeing several grey tones, it's nice to look at a perky, gleaming polish for a change. It's like seeing sunshine after a cloudy day.


Bangalore is a pale golden yellow with an outright metallic finish. As the formula was nice and thick, you'd be able to make do with the usual two coats.

This polish was provided by Herôme.


Previous Magical India polish: Herôme W.I.C. Agra
Next Magical India polish: Herôme W.I.C. Pune

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Soul Sister


So many greys lately! After this one, there probably won't be another grey here for a while.


This is the second last polish from the Sound collection. A foreboding, almost-black grey crème is the best way to describe KOH Soul Sister. It applied fine and you're looking at two thick coats.

This polish was provided by KOH Cosmetics.


Previous Sound polish: KOH Punk Up
Next and final Sound polish: KOH Pop Mania

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Le Couvent des Minimes: Smile Lip Balm Honey Review


I wrote about the Le Couvent des Minimes Nutritive Lip Balm almost two years ago. I didn't hate it then but I wasn't very impressed either. The lip balm was gritty and it didn't last long on the lips. I was stumped as I didn't find its list of ingredients offensive at all.


Well, Le Couvent des Minimes revamped its lipbalm collection early this year. The collection is now an odd composition of three lipbalms in tubes and one lipbalm in a glass jar. The three in tubes come in three different aromas - Mint, Pear and Orange Blossom - and are more like non-sticky clear lipglosses (you can read my review here).

The one in the glass jar, which is what we'll be looking at in this post, is with honey aroma and is actually a slightly reformulated version of its predecessor, the abovementioned Nutritive Lip Balm.

Le Couvent des Minimes Smile Lip Balm, L-R: Honey, Pear, Orange Blossom


The proper full name of this product is Le Couvent des Minimes Smile Lip Balm Honey Aroma, Very Rich Formula.

Le Couvent des Minimes says:

SOS care for dried out and damaged lips.

Thanks to its original recipe with a delicious aroma, the Smile Lip Balm Very Rich Formula :

• softens the lips
• nourishes deeply the lips
• repairs the lips durably

The Smile Very Rich Formula is enriched in repairing ingredients.

Paraben free. Colorant free. Mineral oil free.


Ingredients:
Castor seed oil, coconut oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, shea butter, castor isostearate succinate, octyldodecanol, glyceryl dibehenate, beeswax, tribehenin, glyceryl behenate, honey extract, royal jelly, honey, propolis extract, aroma, hydrogenated vegetable oil, butylene glycol, sodium saccharin, water, tocopherol, glycerin, coco-glucoside, linalool

The brand highlights the following on the box packaging:

• Honey extract: softens
• Shea butter and beeswax: nourish
• Royal Jelly: repairs
• Honey : aroma


A quick comparison with the ingredients list of the previous version shows that there are minor changes in the formula but the goody ingredients remain the same.

Even though the formula hasn't changed all that much, I like this new version for some reason. The lipbalm does look smoother than the previous version. There was no grittiness when I first bought it - the contents were buttery smooth. A few months on though, the lipbalm is starting to look a bit gritty but just a tiny bit. So, I'm not complaining yet.


The lipbalm smells just like the old version i.e. gorgeously of honey and it tastes sweet too (it contains sodium saccharin). This version does seem to last longer on the lips and, with a thick layer, it's good enough for overnight use. Overall, it's a thumbs up.

One more thing. I had a reason for buying this new version, despite my meh experience with the old one. I may have had some complaints about the old one but ironically, this turned out to be a cure for the occasional red, itchy patch on my eye lid. Yeah, eye!

The last time I had this issue, it started on one lid near the brow and then, it spread to the outer corner of the eye. Some days later, the outer corner of the other eye had it too! I tried almost all the natural remedies in my cupboard, including Suvana Paw Paw & Honey Balm and the SheerinO'kho Eye Cream but nothing helped. I got panicky. Out of desperation, I applied the Le Couvent des Minimes Nutritive Lip Balm around my eyes and whatdyaknow, the awkward, red, itchy patches were gone within a couple of days! It could be the propolis and/or the royal jelly that did the trick, I suspect.

So you see, it was only right that I gave this new lipbalm a second chance. If it didn't work as a lipbalm, I could always use it as an SOS eyebalm.

Recommended retail price: €9.10 / USD12.50 for 15ml / 0.5oz

Le Couvent des Minimes website


Here are a couple of places where Le Couvent des Minimes products are sold:
Benelux - ICI Paris XL parfumeries stores in Nederland and Belgium
USA - Beauty.com

Friday, 7 September 2012

Adorned Nails: Herôme W.I.C. Agra



I'll have to say, this isn't quite the colour I would expect to be associated with Agra but okay, okay, the press release does say it's a homage with a wink to the iconic Taj Mahal. I wonder what Shah Jahan would have thought of this.

Herôme W.I.C. Agra is a murky medium-dark grey with a teeny tiny tinge of green. The formula was nice and creamy and you're looking at the usual two coats.

If it's not obvious already, this polish belongs to the new Herôme W.I.C. Magical India collection.

This polish was provided by Herôme.


Previous Magical India polish: Herôme W.I.C. Madras
Next Magical India polish: Herôme W.I.C. Bangalore

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Teeez: Glitter Gossip Lash & Liner Review



The Teeez Glitter Gossip Lash & Liners are a real feast for the eyes. I'm tempted to simply shut up and leave you to take in the visuals of these fancy glittery thingies. And as with all things glittery, we seriously need huge close-up shots.

But of course, I will tell you more.

First, here's what Teeez says (excerpts):

........applies a high concentration of micro glitter particles in one stroke, for an immediate shimmer sensation. The unique packaging combines glitter eyeliner and glitter mascara in one single product........The innovative two-in-one packaging has a unique silicon eyeliner brush with a conical shape that applies a sharp line, the brush with micro grooves applies the perfect amount of glitter on your lashes each time you use it. Quick drying and long lasting without losing glitters.

Ingredients:
Water, triethanolamine, glycerin, acrylates copolymer, propylene glycol, polyvinyl alcohol, carbomer, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, phenoxyethanol, butylparaben, polyethylene terephthalate


The three Glitter Gossip Lash & Liner shades that Teeez kindly sent were:

L-R:
At the Park - predominantly neon green and yellow glitters
Take a Taxi - black glitters mixed with specks of green, blue, turqoise, yellow, orange
Ready to Party - silver glitters with specks of blue, pink/lilac


So basically, it's a two-in-one eye product that deposits colourful glitter on your eyelids and on your lashes, and it does it with this bizarre-looking applicator.


Hmm, these applicators remind me of two things: A. Alien tentacles. B. Cactus. I can't decide which one.


Whatever it is, it serves its purpose. The sharp, stiff tip works well enough to line the eyes. The spines bristles are also stiff and fairly sparse, which is fine by me. I really wouldn't want it depositing way too much glitter on my lashes.

The liquid product itself does take quite a while to dry, so in my case (i.e. inward-folding lids), I'd have to be very careful not to open my eyes until the lining is completely dry. I've had some messy mishaps where I opened my eyes too early and the still-wet liner transfered glitter to other parts of my lid. Yikes!

Also, this liner isn't waterproof. On one hand, it's easy to wash off but on the other hand, some glitter would transfer after some time. You'd have lower chances of that happening though if you didn't have my kind of eyelids.

Here are two eye looks using these Glitter Gossip Lash & Liners. For eyeshadows, I used the awesome Catrice Big City Life - The Berlin Collection palette.


At the Park

Other products used:
Catrice Big City Life - The Berlin Collection - am Alex and Ku'damm
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Truly Brown
Catrice Lashes to Kill Mascara - Black Green


Take a Taxi together with Ready to Party

Other products used:
Catrice Big City Life - The Berlin Collection - Tiergarten
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Black Ink
Catrice Lashes to Kill Mascara - Black Green

In this second eye look, I lined the lashline first with the black Take a Taxi and extended it a bit, waited for it to dry and then drew a short line above it with the silver Ready to Party. As you can see in both looks, I went very, very easy with the glitters on the lashes.

The Glitter Gossip Lash & Liner belongs to the Teeez City Trip collection and is available in 10 shades, of which 3 are neons. Price: €4.79

Also from the City Trip collection:
Teeez Love Triangle Lipsticks


Teeez website

Monday, 3 September 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Punk Up



Here's yet another purple polish, this time in the form of KOH Punk Up from the Sound collection.

I'll keep this short and sweet. Punk Up is a deep aubergine purple with an alluringly glossy finish. It's a crème with some jelly characteristics and was opaque in two easy coats. It was a real pleasure to apply.

This polish was provided by KOH Cosmetics.


Previous Sound polish: KOH Holy Hip Hop
Next Sound polish: KOH Soul Sister

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Adorned Nails: Herôme W.I.C. Madras



Polish number 2 from the latest Magical India collection is a warm brick-toned shimmer. I believe the Herôme W.I.C. Madras polish is meant to pay tribute to the 19th century majestic red sandstone complex that is the Madras (Chennai) High Court. If you've never seen it before, do look it up. It's a magnificent building complete with onion domes and graceful minarets.

The polish applied fine and you're looking at two-three coats here.

This polish was provided by Herôme.


Previous Magical India polish: Herôme W.I.C. Goa
Next Magical India polish: Herôme W.I.C. Agra