Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Groovy Dancer



We've seen polishes like this before but I'm in love with this one anyway. Totally, completely, utterly.

A polish like this deserves a better name, one that packs a punch, but since its christening is already set in stone, we will dutifully call it KOH Groovy Dancer. You must know by now that it's from the new KOH Show It collection.


Groovy Dancer is a sexy, plush red shimmer polish that applied beautifully. You're looking at two effortless coats.

What I absolutely love about it is how it looks in sunshine. It seems to subtly glow from within, does it not?



Previous Show It polish: KOH It Girl
Next Show It polish: KOH Super Model

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH It Girl



Here's the second polish from the latest limited edition KOH Show It collection.

KOH It Girl needed at least three coats. It's a lighthearted jelly with a frosty silver look. It does have a slight tint of blue and it's got small bits of pale yellow/golden glitters too. The golden glitters are subtle on the nails. You'll see them better in the bottle.


If anyone's wondering how KOH It Girl compares with the silver of KOH Miracles from the Fantasy collection, I would say that Miracles has a smoother metallic look and it leans more towards violet while It Girl is blue-tinged and has a "rougher" appearance due to its mini-sized yellow/golden glitters.


Previous Show It polish: KOH Movie Star
Next Show It polish: KOH Groovy Dancer

Adorned Nails: KOH Movie Star


They're here!

It's time for another KOH Limited Edition collection, one I believe is the final special collection by KOH for 2012.

This time around, the collection is called KOH Show It and I'm starting off with this uncomplicated metallic shimmer polish named KOH Movie Star.


Movie Star is basically a beigy gold, quite pale but glamorous enough. Two coats were sufficient for opacity.



Here's the KOH Show It collection at a glance:

These polishes were kindly provided by KOH Cosmetics.

L-R
KOH Groovy Dancer
KOH Movie Star
KOH It Girl
KOH Super Model
KOH Cover Girl
KOH Shopping Queen

There are some real gems in this collection, the kind that makes your heart sing. I'll be featuring these polishes in quick succession this week. The collection is expected to be out in Dutch parfumerie stores some time in November but I suspect it's available in the KOH Experience Shops in de Bijenkorf already. Price per 10ml bottle: €14.95.


Next KOH Show It polish: KOH It Girl

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Adorned Nails: Saffron Magnetic Varnish 08



Here's the second Saffron magnetic polish (that I regret buying). You can see the first one, Saffron Magnetic Varnish 03, here.

Saffron Magnetic Varnish 08 is a green-tinged yellow polish with heavy, pretty shimmers. Chartreuse is probably a colour that one wouldn't easily take a liking to on nails but this is a shade that I didn't already have in my collection. I guess that justifies the purchase. Ummm, kinda.

Honestly, I still think it's a cheapo polish (poor quality bottle cap, a magnet that doesn't work and maaaan, it smells bad too) but with a bit too big of a price tag. It's €4.50 for 9ml and I say this in the context of my easy access to quality and super-affordable nail polishes from brands like Catrice and Essence.


Again, I used the magnet from Essence (I repeat: You can trash the Saffron magnet). I had less of a hard time getting the stripes with this polish than I did with 03 but that's only because I knew what to expect this time.




Thursday, 18 October 2012

Topshop: Eyeshadow in Potion Review


Don't you just hate it when a product that you like is discontinued? Okay, it's not the end of the world but it sure is annoying.

There was the discontinuation of Fyrinnae's Lip Lustres back then but thank goodness, the folks at Fyrinnae brought them back after a long hiatus. Alleluia!


With this eyeshadow however, I think the chances of Topshop bringing it back are very slim. So, let me just bluntly spell it out. Potion is my one and only Topshop eyeshadow and it's been discontinued. Gee.

I thought I'd do a post on Potion anyway, just for posterity.


Topshop describes described Potion like this:

High-pigment, blendable, metallic finish eye shadow for intense colour. Smooth onto lids for even colour and coverage. Blend and contour for a variety of looks. Use alongside our matte colours.


I don't get the 'metallic' part. It's satin-ny, really. Potion is a curious dark brown cum plum cum burgundy. It's one of those colours that plays tricks on the eyes. It looks purplundy but look again and it's a broody brown. Applied, it does come out looking slightly more brown though. It's an intense-enough eyeshadow that is easy to work with and is great for smokey eyes.


It offers good coverage but of course, it's better to use an eyeshadow primer to bring out its best. The nicely pressed eyeshadow hardly crumbles in the pan. It's just good quality.

For this eye look, I used:

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Topshop Eyes - Potion
Catrice Made to Stay Long Lasting Eyeshadow - Lord of the Blings
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Black Ink
Majolica Majorca Lash King Mascara - BK999


Oh yes, I must show you a close-up shot of Potion in sunshine. Look carefully and you may be able to see bits of shimmer which twinkle in different colours. They're pretty but subtle, so don't expect them to show up much on the eyes. Anyway, that's not why I like Potion. It's really the brown-that's-not-quite-brown that I like.

I paid £6.50 for this 2.4g pan. We haven't got Topshop shops here (it came with some pomp last year but then went away very quietly!), so it's all via its website. I see that Topshop now has a couple of smokey eye palettes called Smokey Eyes Quad. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is something similar to Potion amongst these eyeshadows.


Topshop website

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Dr. Woods: Pure Black Soap With Organic Shea Butter Review


My first Dr. Woods product and my first ever black soap!

The full name of this product is Dr. Woods Shea Vision - Pure Black Soap with Organic Shea Butter and from what I've gleaned, Dr. Woods' forte seems to be in making castile soaps as well as black soaps. In addition to that, the US-based Dr. Woods also has a small range of lipbalms and facial cleansers.


Black Soap
If you're new to black soaps, this is how Dr. Woods explains it (excerpts from packaging and website):

"Black Soap is made from a drying and roasting process using the skin of the plaintain, and is a natural source of anti-oxidant vitamins A and E.

The roasted plantain skin is mixed with palm oil, palm kernel oil to form the soap. The roasting of the plantains determines the brownish-black color of the soap. The longer the plantains are roasted, the darker the soap."


In general, black soaps, which originate from West Africa, can also be made from the ash of other harvested plants like the leaves of palm trees and the bark of shea trees.

While Dr. Woods has a plain version of Pure Black Soap in its range, I decided to give the combi-version of black soap plus shea butter a shot first. Dr. Woods refers to this range as Shea Vision.

Ingredients
Purified water, saponified coconut, hemp & olive oils (with retained glycerin), black soap concentrate, organic shea butter*, natural fragrance oil blend, Vitamin E, sea salt, citric acid, Pro Vitamin B5, rosemary extract, natural caramel.
* certified organic by Lacon GmbH


Contents
I've enjoyed using up this bottle of black soap. Housed in a basic HDPE plastic bottle, this liquid black soap with organic shea butter is translucent and dark brown in colour. The liquid is on the runny side and it lathers okay (not a great deal of suds, yet it's not terribly disappointing either). If you're used to using run-of-the-mill SLS-containing body washes, you will find yourself reaching for the bottle more often to get more lather.

Scent
What really catches one's attention is the smell of this thing. You either love it or hate it, I think. To me, it smells earthy medicinal, like a camphor-eucalyptus mix that has been left to mellow. Frankly, the smell of this liquid soap reminds me of my late grandmother. It smells.....matronly and comforting in a strange way.


Uses
The Pure Black Soap with Organic Shea Butter is gentle, cleanses well and I found it neither drying nor moisturising on the skin. It was all right. I used it mainly in the shower but as black soaps are multipurpose, this one can also be used as a facial cleanser, for in the bath and for washing the hair. I liked it as a facial cleanser - the face feels very clean and not dried out. However, I hated it as a shampoo - my hair felt dry and was tangly after a wash.

For all-natural cleaning, Dr. Woods also recommends using "4 parts water to 1 part Dr. Woods" for dishes and floors and I am aware that many ladies do use Dr. Woods for cleaning many things at home, including washing clothes. I haven't used it for household cleaning myself but this should be interesting for those thinking of going natural all the way.


It also says on the bottle that this black soap "helps clear skin blemishes and prevent premature facial lines". In the reviews I've read, it seems to have helped people with problem skin. As a former acne-sufferer who thought she had tried everything under the sun for her acne, sigh, I just wish I had heard of black soap years ago!

Oh, I've also used it several times to clean my makeup brushes. It works fine.

Conclusion
Overall, I would rate this an above-average multi-purpose personal cleanser (and you know I love multi-purpose products!). It's pretty good but do bear in mind that there are still many other all-natural soaps and cleansers out there on the market.

It's worth noting that this Dr. Woods product:

• contains no animal ingredients
• contains no artificial ingredients
• contains no petroleum derivatives
• is paraben and phthalate free
• is lauryl/laureth sulfate free

Price/Where To Buy
Dr. Woods products aren't that easy to get hold of here in the Netherlands. You'll probably find it in certain ethnic shops.

These Dr. Woods liquid soaps are available in various bottle sizes. For a 16 fl oz / 473ml bottle like mine, the recommended retail price is US$8.19 but there are many online stores that offer it for less.

I bought mine from iHerb for US$5.89 (use coupon code QOJ683 for a US$10 discount on orders of US$40 or more, or a US$5 discount on orders less than US$40).

On Amazon, I see it going for US$5.97.


Dr. Woods website

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

SheerinO'kho: Uptown/Downtown Wintertime Face Cream Review


This the second face cream I've used from the SheerinO'kho line. I loved the first one - SheerinO'kho Outdoor Meetings Wintertime Face Cream - so, naturally, my expectations were high when I started on this second bottle.


Here's what SheerinO'kho says about the Uptown/Downtown Wintertime Face Cream:

Pollution, intense cold, radical temperature change, dry air, overwork, undernourishment and fragility associated with seasonal change....the skin has complex needs in confronting specific aggressions of the urban autumn and winter.

Up/Downtown Wintertime fuses the finest revitalizing and antioxidant plant extracts to protect, moisturize, restore balance, energy and glow when skin needs it most. Regular daily applications bring a real feeling of wholeness and well-being while effectively rejuvenating skin cells, counteracting loss of tissue elasticity and hyper-pigmentation.


Ingredients:
Water, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, pea extract, tamanu oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, cupuaçu butter, shea butter extract, sucrose, faex, alcohol, parfum, tucuma kernel oil, pca, serine, arginine, benzyl alcohol, potassium palmitoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein, undecylenoyl glycine, edelweiss extract, proline, xanthan gum, alanine, baobab oil, maltitol, capryloyl glycine, indian senna seed polysaccharide, green and white tea leaf extract, threonine, tocopherol, cassia alata leaf extract, glycogen, panax ginseng root extract, dehydroacetic acid, maltodextrin, larch wood extract, mourera fluviatilis extract, sodium hydroxide, rooibos leaf extract, apple fruit extract, raspberry fruit extract, peach leaf extract, horse chestnut seed extract, linden extract, acerola fruit extract, hydrolyzed wheat protein, rose hybrid flower extract, biotin, citric acid, linalool, citronellol, geraniol, isoeugenol, limonene, benzyl salicylate, eugenol, citral.

Concentration in active ingredients of 19.03%.


Personally, I find the whole list of ingredients terribly tedious to go through (and I do read every item on the list), so it's good that SheerinO'kho has an easy-to-understand list on the box packaging, showing a breakdown of the important ingredients and highlighting what they do:


• 7 anti-pollution ingredients: white tea, green tea, rooibos, horse chestnut, small linden leaves, edelweiss, rose

• 5 nourishing and moisturising ingredients for the upper layers of the epidermis: indian senna, mourera fluviatilis, baobab, tamanu, jojoba

• 6 anti-cold ingredients: larch, pea peptides, sea glycogen, shea, cupuaçu, tucuma

• 2 revitalising ingredients: acerola, ginseng

• 3 healthy glow ingredients: peach leaves, raspberry, apple

• 1 invigorating aromatic formula: essential jasmine, shiu and rose oils


Lockable dispenser, sealed


To the senses, the Uptown/Downtown Wintertime Face Cream is similar to the Outdoor Meetings Wintertime Face Cream. The scent is similar (sweet-herbal-earthy) and the consistency is light and neither sticky nor greasy. It is the colour of Uptown/Downtown that is different - the cream is a darker shade than the yellow-beige shade of Outdoor Meetings.


Just like with the first bottle, you'll only need about four drops for each use and again, with the premium quality pump, it's easy to control how much is dispensed.

I finished this bottle a few months ago. One 40ml bottle should last about six months. I started on Uptown/Downtown Wintertime as soon as I finished Outdoor Meetings Wintertime, so in total, I had used SheerinO'kho face creams for twelve consecutive months. I quite suspect that my skin didn't notice any difference between the two. It just lapped up all the goodness and as was with the first cream, my skin remained calm, hydrated and there were still no signs of rosacea.


Even though it's meant for cold climate, I continued using Uptown/Downtown Wintertime when I was in hot and humid Kuala Lumpur. I saw no point in starting a different facial moisturiser just for a short period and fortunately, my skin was all right with this. One other thing I noticed was that my skin coped much better in long-haul flights - it wasn't as dehydrated as before in my pre-SheerinO'kho days.

This is another great facial moisturiser from SheerinO'kho but if I may be honest, I had a hard time remembering the names of the two abovementioned face creams and telling the difference between them (which one does what).

As I said, many aspects are similar and I didn't think my skin could tell the difference. Both creams are for autumn/winter and function to moisturise and protect the skin from the elements. Even though the two lists of ingredients aren't exactly the same, they do have many items in common.

If you followed what's said in the product blurps, then this is how I would put it very briefly: Outdoor Meetings Wintertime is meant for those who are often active outdoors and Uptown/Downtown Wintertime is for tired, dull skin (or for the prevention thereof). Take your pick. They're both great for the skin in the cold seasons.

Glass bottle snug inside cloth sheath


According to its website, the SheerinO'kho Uptown/Downtown Wintertime Face Cream (sometimes a.k.a. Up/Downtown Wintertime) is priced at €58 for 40ml / 1.35 fl oz. Again, the dispenser bottle comes with a matching protective cloth sheath.

I don't mean to confuse anyone further but just so you know, SheerinO'kho has two other face creams for warmer seasons: Outdoor Meetings Summertime and Uptown/Downtown Summertime.


Further reading:
Disclosure and my review of the SheerinO'kho Eye Cream
SheerinO'kho website