I Love Thee: Jane Iredale Eye Gloss

Some of you may still remember that Jane Iredale was my first (makeup) love. I won’t bore you with the whole story again. If you’re interested, please read my Letter to Jane Iredale which not only explains a bit about me, but also tells in a nutshell what the Jane Iredale brand represents.

I’ve been using this eyeshadow quite a lot lately. Truly impressed, I am, and it definitely deserves a spot under the I Love Thee category (which, by the way, also features other Jane Iredale products). Something totally unrelated: The green nail polish will be featured here real soon.

I have a thing for maroons/burgundies, so it was no surprise that I chose to buy this shade called Wine Silk. Here's my review on the Jane Iredale Eye Gloss.

The Basics
The one thing that surprised me when I got the product was its size. Gosh, it’s unobtrusively small! Mind you, what I have here is not a sample size product. It comes in a tube with a short doe-foot applicator. It retails for USD15 and has a net weight of 4.3g / 0.15oz. The Jane Iredale Eye Gloss is available in eight shades.

According to Jane Iredale:
Eight silky shades add sparkle and absolute crease-resistance. There's a reason these are called "silks"! That's the way they go on, and that's the way they look on the lid. Smooth and luxurious, they won't crease or smear and will stay on until you take them off.

The Eyeshadow
The Eye Gloss is basically a creamy liquid eyeshadow. Despite its thick (but smooth) consistency, I’ve found it very easy to manage the colour intensity. As can be seen in the swatches, you can pile it on for a deep, rich burgundy, or you can fade it out for just a touch of colour. Drying time is moderately fast, but I do find that I have enough time to toggle with the colour before it dries on the lid.

Jane Iredale recommends using its various makeup brushes to apply, but I’ve been able to make do with my finger.

I can’t say that the Eye Gloss has a glossy finish, as the name suggests. It just leaves a sheen. In daylight, I can hardly detect the shimmer, but you will be able to see some bits of shimmer in the final image below taken with flash. The gloss remains featherlight on the lids, no matter how much is applied. No stiffness. No caking. No dryness.

Products used: Jane Iredale Eye Gloss in Wine Silk, Jane Iredale Eye Pencil in Basic Black, Majolica Majorca Mascara in Black

Here’s the best part. It does not crease till many, many hours later. I’ve had it on for nine hours before and, hey, it was still intact with no smudging or flaking. After eleven hours, I did however, notice a teeny tiny bit of creasing on the inner corner of my eye, but it's negligible. Again, no flaking, no smudging. Image right taken with flash eleven hours later.

This eyeshadow doesn’t come off easily with normal eye makeup remover. So, an oil-based one is advised.

One more very important and intriguing thing: its list of ingredients.

Dimethicone, Ethyl Macadamiate, Carnauba Wax, Tribehenin. May Contain: Iron Oxides, Carmine.

Short, sweet and simple. No fillers and no chemical preservatives. This product scored just 1 (out of 10) – meaning low hazard - in the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database evaluation. So, if you have sensitive eyes/skin, you really should give this product a try.

Excellent pigmentation, lightweight, no noticeable creasing and no evils. Love, love, love! What an underhyped eyeshadow this is! I truly recommend it, ladies. I do wish though that it came in a slightly larger packaging.

More information can be found in my previous Jane Iredale articles and on the Jane Iredale website.

KOH Experience Shop: A Revisit

It's been a very long time since I last paid a visit to the KOH Experience Shop. I had been told a few months ago that the nail polish heaven had moved to a different location in de Bijenkorf Amsterdam. I finally had the time to drop by the shop a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I bought nail polish (just one!). And of course, just for you, I got permission to take some photos while I was there.

Note: As with my previous visits, this visit was made on my own initiative and at my own cost.

In general, the interior of the shop looks similar to the previous one. There were some minor changes here and there, and while there were two Walls of Joyful Colours before, now there are three.

A selection of KOH products and sets with the new faux-leather cases:

The manicure table looks much like before:

The KOH Experience Shop is located on the second floor of de Bijenkorf in Amsterdam, tucked away in a corner near the coats and jackets section.

KOH Experience Shop
2nd Floor, Bijenkorf Amsterdam
Dam 1
1012 Amsterdam

As mentioned before, de Bijenkorf is located within the vicinity of Dam Square and is just a five-minute walk from the Amsterdam Central Train Station.

There is word that a second KOH Experience Shop will be opened in another city in the Netherlands soon (also in de Bijenkorf). Details are not yet available.
Right: One of the Walls of Joyful Colours

More information can be found on the Dutch version of the KOH Cosmetics website.

All images belong to Witoxicity.

Winners of Giveaway: KOH and Co

I know, I know. Chances are, you will just scroll down to check for your name and not read the rest of this post, but I'll say it anyway: Thank you very much to all who took part in the giveaway, for helping to spread the word and for the kind words left in the comments.

I received around three hundred entries for KOH and Co., with those choosing Package 2 - Dark outnumbering those opting for Package 1 - Bright 3:2. I decided to add one more set to the promised two sets of consolation prizes. This set is exactly the same as the existing two sets. They were my own bottles but seeing the number of entries received, I decided to add them to the consolation prizes. Please be assured that these are new, unused and unswatched, just like the rest.

So, here are the winners:

Prize Package 1 - Bright

Prize Package 2 - Dark
Cris Junque

3x Consolation Prizes
Each winner receives two 7ml bottles of HEMA nail polishes, in pink and purple:

Emails will be sent out to the winners shortly. Winners, please respond within 72 hours with your postal details. Otherwise, another winner will be picked.

It's my dearest Aunty Magdalene's birthday today and so, I gave her the honour of choosing the winners of this giveaway (by giving me five random numbers on the telephone). She's the best and sweetest aunty any niece could ever, ever have. Happy Birthday, Aunty!

To those who are fairly new to my blog, my giveaways were and are held in the spirit of sharing the fun and sharing the love for products that I think are fun(ny) and/or products that I love. Ideally, I would call these "Sharing the Fun, Sharing the Love" like I used to, but not surprisingly, readers tend to respond more to the word "giveaway". Ah well, that's human nature.......

I have more fun and love to share with you. One "giveaway" will be coming up quite soon. I lost a lot of time in the empty summer months, so there's a lot of catching up to do!

For nail polish fans, I dropped a big hint on how you may be able to earn brownie points for when I do kick off another nail polish giveaway later. Check it out here.

Later today: KOH Experience Shop: A Revisit

Adorned Nails: HEMA Nailpolishes No. 05 and 06

I do wish they would come up with names for these polishes! Nail polishes with names are memorable. Nail polishes with numbers are not only confusing, but they give the impression of being unremarkable.

In direct sunlight

But of course, it wouldn’t be fair to judge a nail polish by its number! Look at these two glitter polishes I have here from HEMA, a Dutch departmental store: err.....No. 05 (red) and No. 06 (purple). Each of them looks good on its own (well, it is glitter!) but just for the fun of it, I combined the two.

In the shade

L-R: HEMA Nailpolishes No. 06 and No. 05, Essence Nail Art Tip Painter: Purple Boost

On the entire nail, I put on two coats of No. 06 (purple) but as you can see, with only two coats on, it’s just lilac. Then No. 05 (red) was polished on diagonally on the tip half of the nail. For this, I did three coats. Then, I used a purple Essence Nail Art Tip Painter to draw a line at the border between the two shades. I finished it off with a very glossy top coat from Arcancil.

That’s it! A simple two-toned look with a pair of unremarkably numbered glitter polishes!

These two glitter polishes are featured in the KOH and Co. Giveaway which ends today, Friday 26 November. To participate, do submit your entries by 11.59pm Central European Time!

ELLIS FAAS: Red Velvet Holder

News about ELLIS FAAS’ Limited Edition Red Velvet Holder has been circulating for the past month now. Officially, it is due to make its international debut this Saturday, 27 November, but it is actually already available for pre-order through the ELLIS FAAS online shop.

This velvet-flocked Holder is modeled after the original light-weight aluminium Ellis Holder. The long and the short of it is that Ellis took inspiration from the wallpaper of her father’s warm, cosy library when she was young, and modernised the design.

The limited edition Red Velvet Holder retails for the same price as that of the original version: €25 / £21 / USD35.

Basically, the holder has space for six ELLIS FAAS pens (eye and lip products), one ELLIS FAAS foundation pen and a pressed powder compact. I would love to show you some close-up images of the holder but, unfortunately, I haven’t got one myself.

So, who better to show you the workings of the original holder than Ellis Faas herself! Watch her video here to see how she loads the bullets pens into the chambers of the revolver's cylinder holder.

If you haven’t already, check out the other how-to videos by Ellis on the ELLIS FAAS website.

All images used with permission of ELLIS FAAS Cosmetics.

Jelly Pong Pong: Shoe Palette Review

I love shoes, but this ain’t a review on a shoe polish kit. If you know Jelly Pong Pong, you’d know it’s about makeup in kawaii packaging. This is the last of the three Jelly Pong Pong items that I purchased sometime back.

The Basics
This Shoe Palette from Jelly Pong Pong has a hardcover paperboard clamshell case that shuts with a magnet. It measures approximately 9 x 4cm with a net weight of 3g / 0.16oz and it comes complete with a handy mirror. It seems innocently small but it has a moderately cheeky poem on the cover to make up for its frail appearance.

There are two variants of this Shoe Palette. The one I have is called Vertigo Stiletto while the other one is called Plush Pumps. Each palette has two pans – a cream eyeshadow and a “lip jelly”. Vertigo Stiletto contains a Bronze Cream eyeshadow and a Pearl Gloss lip jelly.

Jelly Pong Pong says:

Dedicated to shoe fanatics, Shoe Palette is a quirky twist to the classic lip-and-eye kit. We love that it comes in 2 wearable combinations to be layered, and a mirror in silent testament to women on the go. This shoe-themed palette, printed with a witty poem, contains complimenting cream shadow, lip shimmer and heaps of glamour.
Bonus : Long-lasting product gives a luminous & brilliant finish, without the stickiness.

The ingredients:

My Thoughts
Cream Eyeshadow
This eyeshadow has such a lovely rich shade of bronze and, of course, there is some shimmer. It glides smoothly on the lids. Apply using your finger or a sponge-tip applicator, take your pick.
Other products used in image right: GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner in Metallic Brass and Maybelline Volum' Express Turbo Boost Waterproof mascara.

However, as is the curse of most cream eyeshadows, Bronze Cream creases. I tried using it over the eyeshadow primer that came in Jelly Pong Pong’s own Cherry Pie Eyeshadow Palette and still it creased within an hour. Ditto with Too Faced Shadow Insurance. So, sadly, I’d have to give this a thumbs down. I love your colour, Bronze Cream, but you gotta de-crease, man.

Lip Jelly
A fancy name for what seems like a lipbalm-cum-lipgloss. A darned sticky one at that! The one in my palette, Pearl Gloss, is exactly that, a white pearl, which does no favour to my lips. After a couple of hours, most of it is gone, leaving my lips dry and exposed. Or sometimes, I even see a ghastly white layer still sitting on my lips. Using it alone is not an option for me as I end up looking very pale. If anything, it’s better used over a lipstick whose colour you’d like to tone down. Another disappointment.

For some reason, my Shoe Palette started to ‘leak’ and I think the Lip Jelly is the culprit. The palette has oily stains all over and mind you, this isn’t something that started appearing only recently. These stains were already present half a year ago and I know I have never left the palette in a hot place. So, check out my lovely oil-stained Shoe Palette, ladies.

Final Words
The Shoe Palette retails for £10 but you can get it for less if you bought the £13 Deluxe Gift Bag which contains two full-sized Jelly Pong Pong products. Whatever it is, I’m neither impressed nor amused with this Shoe Palette. "Long-lasting" - not true. "...without the stickiness" - not true. Into the 'waste of money' bin it goes! You’d be much better off spending your money on a........kebab!

More information:
If you're still interested, Jelly Pong Pong can be purchased in Europe through websites such as BeautyBoxx and Zalando: UK, Nederland, Germany, Austria.

Adorned Nails: HEMA Longlasting Nailpolish No. 83

I have a simple nail colour on this weekend, a lovely lilac that so calms me. You remember HEMA from my previous article about departmental stores in the Netherlands, don’t you? HEMA, a budget-friendly Dutch brand that also has nail polishes in its product offering.

This soothing crème polish comes in a large bottle of 11ml. The polish went on beautifully and what you see here is three coats, the third coat was just for good measure since polishing with it was incredibly easy.

And then, typical me just had to break the calmness because my itchy fingers wanted to try out the gradation sponge that I bought from Etude House months ago. I used KOH Purple Darkness and then, applied a matte top coat, also from HEMA.

Be gentle with me. This is my first ever, ever attempt at gradation. I intended to do just the tip, one-third of the nail. Dab, dab, dab and the more I dabbed, the more ‘faults’ I had to cover! Sheesh! So, here’s lovely lilac smeered two-thirds with polluting purple. This doesn't really look like gradation, does it? Call me weird but I thought the effect looks strangely like fleece.

Oh, and that's the thumb!

This lilac nail polish and the matte top coat from HEMA are up for grabs in the KOH and Co. Giveaway. They are in the Bright package which also includes KOH Neon Roze.

Beauty Shopping In The Netherlands: Departmental Stores

This is a long overdue continuation of the Beauty Shopping In The Netherlands series that I started a while back. I have already covered the drugstores, the parfumerie stores and the branded stores. It’s now the turn of the departmental stores. I will name three here, all home-grown stores which were at one point under the same (Dutch) owners (well, not anymore!).

Pronounced hay-ma
Aah, our beloved HEMA. Find me a Dutch who has never heard of HEMA and I will show you a pig that can fly. HEMA began life in the grim period leading up to The Great Depression. Arthur Isaac and Leo Meyer, who were directors of de upmarket departmental store, de Bijenkorf, came up with the idea of starting a store targeted at the less privileged, just a store offering simple, ordinary products of high quality but at low prices. And so, with the support of the management team of de Bijenkorf, HEMA opened its doors to the man in the street in 1926. It was a price-point retailer, not unlike the dollar stores and the 100-yen stores of today. HEMA offered products at standard prices of 10, 25 and 50 cents, hence the name Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam (Dutch Standard Prices Company Amsterdam).

The standard pricing system has long been abandoned in line with changes in the economic climate but the core values of HEMA – making life easier and more pleasant by offering quality products at low prices – remain. What I find most interesting about HEMA is that right from Day One, all the products sold at HEMA are from its house-brand (in HEMA’s words: long before this term was invented, HEMA created and manufactured her own products). All its products are internally developed and they undergo stringent testing before making their debut on the store shelves.

Believe you me, they sell all kinds of merchandise. From sausages to undergarments, from bicycles to cooking pots, from baby socks to stationery, all in simple, utilitarian (but not necessarily ugly) packaging. Even plaster bandages (I had my doubts at first, but my gosh, they had them too!). Many HEMA stores also have a cafe where you can rest and relax with a cup of coffee.

Of course, HEMA also sells house-brand beauty and makeup products at budget-friendly prices. They’ve got their body scrubs, masks and lotions for your home-spa experience and they’ve got a whole range of eyeshadows, lipsticks and whatever else you would need to doll your face up. That includes about five different types of mascaras too and an eyeshadow base that has been enjoying rave reviews (I’ve yet to try that myself, but I’m tempted). Oh yes, HEMA sells nail polishes too!

There are now around 530 HEMA stores of various sizes, the majority of which are in the Netherlands, and the rest in Belgium, Luxemberg, Germany and France. I woudn’t advise turning your nose up at HEMA just because it is a budget-friendly store. It is a force to be reckoned with.

2. V&D
Pronounced vay-en-day
The name is short for Vroom & Dreesman (vrom & drays-man). This departmental store was started in 1887 by two successful businessmen in Amsterdam. You guessed it, Mr. (Willem) Vroom and Mr. (Anton) Dreesman who were brothers-in-law (they married two sisters). Their strategy was simple and unusual for that time: to offer merchandise at fixed low prices in exchange for cash payment. The store was a success and in the next eleven years, another six stores in other cities were opened.

Over the next century or so, more and more stores were opened all over the country but, unfortunately, there were also store closures. Today, there are 62 V&D stores in the Netherlands. V&D also runs a very successful chain of sister-restaurants called La Place.

Frankly, V&D is a store that I least get in terms of its identity. It’s.....all over the place. It tries to be hip and chic but oftentimes, it ends up seeming mediocre, like it’s been trying too hard. Don’t get me wrong. I do purchase things from V&D once in a while but I’m just not feeling what it represents. It's just confusing.

These days, V&D is big on the shop-in-shop formula which they introduced in 2007, with names like MANGO, Desigual and New Look. To their credit, their biggest score has got to be Sephora. As far as I know, there are Sephora stores in thirteen of the V&D outlets (but not in the V&D in Amsterdam).

Also to be found in some V&D stores, following the shop-in-shop formula: Rituals, ICI Paris XL and Sabon. The links will lead you to my previous articles on these stores.

3. de Bijenkorf
Pronounced de by-en-korof
Simon Philip Goudsmit started Magazijn de Bijenkorf in 1870. Back then, it was just a small haberdashery in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, Mr Goudsmit passed away in 1889 and as his son was still a little boy of no older than three, his widow and his nephew, Arthur Isaac (that same man from HEMA above) took over the business.

In 1912, Mr. Isaac moved the business to another location in Amsterdam: De Dam. Here, business flourished and a decision was made to build a full-blown departmental store there. de Bijenkorf, the departmental store, opened for business in 1915. The building that you see in this photo below is the said Bijenkorf building.

The upmarket Bijenkorf is known for its pizzazz. It’s classy, stylish and strong in its branding. Its shop window displays are works of art and it often hosts cool literary and arts events. Every year in October, it holds a three-day sale that is a much anticipated event (well, technically, it’s four days – the final day is an ‘All Must Go’ day). A few years ago, de Bijenkorf introduced a similar sale in March that runs for a longer period.

De Bijenkorf has lots to offer in the beauty and makeup department. It’s got many of the cosmetic brands like Dior, YSL, Chanel, Guerlain, Lancôme, Estée Lauder, Clarins, MAC and Bobbi Brown, just to name a few.

Some points of interest:

• Products from Dutch brand Rituals Cosmetics are also available in de Bijenkorf.

• There is a Skins Cosmetics shop-in-shop in de Bijenkorf in Rotterdam. Skins Cosmetics is a sophisticated Dutch parfumerie store with an impressive offering of products from inter alia Creed, REN, ELLIS FAAS, Laura Mercier, Diptyque and Rodial.

• In de Bijenkorf in Amsterdam, you will find the flagship store of KOH Cosmetics. Some of you may remember my post from earlier this year about the KOH Experience Shop a.k.a. the Nail Polish Heaven. A few months after publication of that post, KOH moved the shop to a different location, but remaining on the second floor. I finally had the time to visit it recently and this is what it looks like now. More photos to come later.

There are a total of twelve Bijenkorf stores in the Netherlands.

The Beauty Shopping In The Netherlands series can be found here. More to follow in this series.

Adorned Nails: Etos Effect Nails No. 18

Here's an electric blue polish for you. With its fine shimmers and its jelly finish, how can you not be drawn to it?

The colour in the bottle looks like the colour of Bristol Blue Glass.....or so I thought. It was close but on the nails, it looks more like Bristol Blue Glass held against strong sunlight. I have here three coats on. Two was OK, but I could still see faint traces of my nail tips. This polish was rather fragile. Drying time took ages and I had a couple of little accidental dents and fingerprint marks on the surface. So, a good top coat is advised.

I love tribal designs. This one's from the old Essence Nail Art Stampy Set 2 Have Fun. As mentioned before, I have only one full-nail stamping image which I used previously on Sparitual Epicurean. So, this time around, I stamped the tribal design multiple times to fill up each nail. A stamping frenzy.....umm, would that make it a stampede?

I used an old silver nail polish from Catrice called Silver Moon for the stamping. I think the silver complements this striking blue beautifully!

Check out the KOH and Co. Giveaway. This electric blue polish is part of Prize Package 2.