This actually smells nice, surprisingly.. I tested it on my wrist @ Sephora but I wouldn't buy it for myself. It's not a fragrance I'm tempted to wear regularly. On me it develops warm & creamy, honey-sweet & berry-scented but quite sophisticated, not teenage youthful. It has depth & is actually very sensual & not cloying or heavy. For me, 1 spritz on the wrist wafts close to the skin & throws no overbearing sillage, so I appreciate its lightness despite being a scary-looking black liquid. I had to make sure none sprayed on my clothes. Personally, I hate the claw-like cap of the packaging (bottle is fine) & I especially dislike the magazine ad. I could see myself wearing this for an evening out, but I don't like it enough to buy it. It doesn't have special appeal to me. I'm just happy it's not gross the way I secretly expected it to be. It appears that for Gaga the essence of 'fame' translates into something sweet & embracing (the opposite of what I think fame really is) - is that the effect she's trying to evoke?
Lip Gloss -Cover Girl - Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm
felgoj 1/10/2013 12:36:00 PM
My thanks to SeattleGirl below for her review of Plum Twist #260, the color I wanted but didn't buy because I assumed Cover Girl's new products would be too pigmented as usual. I love sheer plum & am always looking for the perfect shade that won't show up too berry/pink on lips. When I read that Plum Twist is actually very sheer, I bought it right away. $9 at my local Rite Aid (I never find sale deals when I need them). This really is a great sheer plum, but also buildable, not dark or intense but soft w/slight berry undertone, gives a moist sheen & hugs the lips like a good soothing balm - not greasy, waxy, slick, or ultimately drying. This is what I call the drugstore knockoff of Clinique Chubby Stick, which I also have but never use b/c it's TOO sheer, color too pale, & doesn't cling as well, so IMO Cover Girl is superior to Clinique in both color & duration of wear (not to mention better price). It doesn't last for hours of course (maybe 2 hrs if I don't eat, like a typical balm) but I love the super-convenient packaging (mess-free & waste-free) that's easy to carry around & reapply as needed. No fuss, no muss. Finally, a HE product has hit the drugstore shelves. I would buy back-ups of this on sale. I only wish the other colors were as sheer - it seems the other shades are more opaque & vibrant in color payoff....not so much what I want. Based on some Google swatch search, I may try the red shade (Scarlet Twist #250 appears fairly sheer). I love the glossiness of this balm.
Nice dark chocolate cream color. Smooth formula, non-goopy, easy to apply (minimal bald spots), doesn't run or flood cuticles upon careful application. Nicely opaque consistency, but I'm always a 2-coater in general anyway to smooth out any bald/thin spots. Surprisingly long-lasting, chip-resistant formula (IME). It's pretty much the shade of dark brown that I wanted (deep & shimmer-free) but extremely dark on the nails (especially after applying top coat, which tends to deepen polish color a little bit) that it looks virtually black in room lighting. Picture #3 listed above is accurate (& similar to my winter skintone too). Makes a great dark base for special-effects polishes layered on top. I might lighten this super-dark shade a bit with a little white polish sometime in the future so it could look more brown instead of almost black (but not as light as milk chocolate brown). If that works out well, I'd buy this again. Bought online @ lower cost since store prices are insanely high.
Top/Base Coats -Seche Vite - Invincible II fast-dry top coat
felgoj 12/18/2012 1:23:00 PM
This is my #1 fast-dry top coat. Doesn't anyone else out there use this too? It isn't available locally as far as I know, I can only find it through an online nailpolish website or eBay. It's made by the Seche Vite company & has most of the excellent qualities of Seche Vite w/o any of Seche Vite's downfalls - no shrinkage! No peeling off nailpolish in sheets. Lower price (generally around $3 instead of Seche Vite's $5-$10) although since I have to order it online it ends up costing $5-$6 anyway, but it's well worth shipping costs. No premature thickening in the bottle & getting all gummy & stringy. No streaks or color changes on top of some susceptible polish colors. No hazardous B3 chemicals (toluene included). None of all that nasty stuff that turned my love for SV into hate. It's packaged in the same bottle as SV but behaves well & performs very nicely. I've been using this since 2010 when I ditched SV & is still my go-to top coat (though I formerly loved Jessica Brilliance - it has a thinner consistency & is equally hard to find, plus costlier). Below I copy-&-pasted Invincible's description from the internet: Patented formula allows it to penetrate through the nail lacquer to the base coat forming a single solid coating over the nail plate for a much more durable finish which is guaranteed not to yellow. Invincible is unmatched as a top coat leaving the nail silky feeling, stronger, more durable, absolutely will not chip & creates the highest gloss of any product on the market today. Apply thickly, get a nice bead on the end of the brush, then set softly down on the first nail painted & watch how Invincible flows over the wet nail polish self levels & will not drag or streak the underlying manicure. * Guaranteed non-yellowing * Highest gloss * The fastest drying * Non-chipping * Strengthening * Formaldehyde-Free * Nitrocellulose Free * Toluene Free Basically seems like the same description & directions as the well-known SV. But for the differences I mentioned above, Invincible is superior IMO (& costs a lot less). It dries virtually as fast as SV, doesn't pull wet polish during application, & remains shiny for the duration of my manicure (I change polish 1-2X per wk). I can generally finish a bottle w/o the need to thin it (over time it thickens just very slightly but remains completely workable w/o using any thinner, though I think you can if you want to). IDK why this item isn't well known & more readily available. Does anybody out there use this also?
Gorgeous shimmery golden-flash purple color that reminds me of a scarab beetle's iridescent shell except in purple rather than teal or green. Sheer dark purple jelly base. Glittery sparkle result in sunlight. Easy to apply & would definitely buy again. Like other reviewers, I recommend layering it over a dark base color - I, too, topped it over a disappointing shade & the result was instantly gorgeous. Totally Cool is totally cool. :)
Somewhat watery formula, slight lavender tint in the bottle, dries quickly & matte on nails, & strange cooling sensation during application. No other base coat or polish I've used on my nails ever felt as cold on application (every time) as this 1. Got mine online for $7 from Amazon. This base coat shortens the life of my manicures instead of making them last longer. Nailpolish doesn't chip but this base makes the whole sheet of polish pop off my nails after a couple of days' wear - the specific culprit is water exposure. The more I have to immerse my hands in water, the sooner the polish will pop off. Initially, this was an obvious disappointment. I came up with a good way to use this fickle base coat. I couldn't get it last longer, so now I reserve this base for difficult-to-remove manicures (particularly glitter) & any manicure I'm not expecting to keep longer than 2-3 days. Since the polish peels effortlessly off & leaves my nails clean & undamaged, this makes for quick & easy polish change. I'd also have to deal with water less if possible while using this.
Beautiful deep vampy color & affordable drugstore price. This is red glitter in a black jelly base, so the end result comes out really dark & vampy on me (not as glittery as it appears in the bottle), hardly can see the red glitter shining through unless it's in direct sunlight or bright spotlight. I do wear it by itself, but I also like to punch it with a layer of brighter glitter polish in either red (then it looks kind of vampy-winter-holiday) or another color glitter to mix up the effect. Dries matte but shines up smooth w/a couple coats of topcoat. Love Milani polishes & I usually buy all the glitter options they make.
Love this polish either by itself or layered over a dark vampy base! It's a straightforward red glitter polish in a red jelly base. Love Milani nail polishes, especially the glitter variety.
I love this curl activator! I can't believe I waited so long to try it (2-3 yrs). It does everything I want in a curl product & is worth the $16 I spent for 6 oz. This product turns my 2A lazy-waves (plus frizz) chin-length bob into wonderful 2B/2C curls that I love - the curl pattern holds all day without any extra styling product, allowing my hair to remain soft & springy. The 1st time I used it, I got lots of compliments on my (rare) curls. I get better results doing almost nothing using just this product alone than I did working hard to create the same look using several products in the past. With Re:Coil I can leave my hair natural & bouncy or finish it w/a little holding gel or hairspray to fine-tune the overall shape. I only need a pea-size dollop for curl activation & my hair feels natural & light (as well as moisturized! - my hair is damaged & dry from highlights) - it ends up neither crunchy nor stiff nor sticky nor coated nor heavy. It's better to start out small & increase as needed to figure out the right amt for your hair. I love that it contains both a lot of glycerin (for moisture) & a little bit of magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) to encourage curl. I use home-made epsom salt spray in the summer for bedhead beach waves, but that tends to be drying for both my hair & skin. For me (so far) this a miracle product & am loving my miracle hair. It's the bowling ball that knocked down all the pins in the alley. What the heck took me so long to try it? I'm tempted now to add the matching shampoo & conditioner to my routine, but I'll try to wait till I finish what I'm currently using.
Top/Base Coats -Sephora - Sephora X Shine Top Coat
felgoj 11/30/2012 12:29:00 PM
This is a new Sephora brand top coat. Initially I resisted buying b/c it costs $10, but ultimately I gave in to its claim of gel-like shine, durability & hardness - all of which I crave & all of which are accurate. For the high price I would want the bottle to offer 1/2 oz of product, but it only has 1/3 oz. However I still like it enough (so far) to repurchase. I didn't try any of the other products in the X line, so I'm using this top coat w/the various base coats & colors I already have at home. IMO this is similar to Seche Vite (which for me is a love/hate product), but Sephora is better. Same: viscous thick texture that applies smoothly & easily, acrylic-like high-gloss shine, durable hardness. Different: Sephora does NOT shrink polish (hallelujah!), or dry as fast (although still fast-dry), or thicken & gum up quickly after the bottle has been opened. It also does not self-level as beautifully as Seche does, so smoothing out a bumpy manicure may not be perfect. I've also had a couple of instances of a random bubble on my nails here & there, so I would recommend: don't apply hurriedly & don't shake the bottle. I'm a gel manicure virgin but this top coat makes my self-done ordinary polish manicure look like a professional salon gel manicure. I can't get over the nonstop shine! Generally I change manicures twice a wk, so IDK if this top coat can last up to 2 wks like a gel manicure (neither would I try to hold out that long). But I have worn it for 1 wk, cut my nails short & filed them w/polish still on, soaked in water repeatedly, & the manicure has not deteriorated at all - it remained fresh like a good 2-wk gel manicure would. Packaging: Adequately generous brush that fans out well & applies product evenly. Square bottle, stout square cap (which I hate) - a bulky, stubby cap gets in my way as I polish. The cap is about as big as the bottle, but luckily the formula isn't a pill to apply. This is now my 2nd favorite top coat (my #1 is Invincible II).
Polishes -Wet 'n' Wild - Wild Shine Nail Color - Night Prowl
felgoj 11/29/2012 10:34:00 AM
I was hoping this wouldn't come out as dark as it does on my nails (practically black), but how can I complain about that when the name Night Prowl is entirely fitting? The only time I can see the flashes of purple glitter is in spotlight or sunlight, so I always hope for sunny weather when I wear this polish. It's super-dark & rich. I only wish it were a little less black & a little more purple jelly. Two coats help enrich the glitter factor, as the 1st coat tends lay down the black base. When the bottle gets down to 3/4 or 1/2 I'll probably mix in another purple glitter nailpolish to balance out the dark base w/a little more color bling. My nails are on the small side, so I don't have a problem w/the size of the brush, & I'm happy the formula is cohesive enough to apply carefully w/o a lot of flooding into the cuticles. Black nailpolish, like red & blue, is a pain to clean up. I love the slender shape of the bottle & the cap - I hold bottles btwn my knees when I polish my nails, so the flat rectangular shape is perfect. Stubby cylinder bottles are a pain for me. Can't beat such a low price ($1.50!), so I would buy this again if I ever run out.
Makeup Brushes -Sephora - Professional Natural Smudge Brush #11
felgoj 8/21/2012 11:51:00 AM
This is my 1st smudge brush, so I don't have any prior experience to compare its performance to. It does smudge my eyeliner nicely & applies powder shadow at my lashlines very easily for a super-quick & easy smoky eye (which I love) as light or as dark as I choose. Before I got the brush, it took so much effort & many steps getting the smoky effect just right (& sometimes not so right). I spent plenty of time in Sephora testing out various eye brushes & loved this 1 when I used it to smudge powder shadow throughout my lashlines in 4 seconds flat w/o any harsh edges that needed blending out, because the brush does the automatic job of blending while smudging & smoking the line. The long, slender, tapered handle makes the brush simple to manipulate. The short bristles are densely packed for firmness but have softness so they don't prick such delicate eye skin. I've grown so impatient w/beauty routines that I stopped bothering w/makeup anymore, but I look blah w/o makeup, & this brush makes it easy to attain a polished and/or smoldering look in basically 1 step using 1 product & 1 tool (plus mascara), so I'm more likely to wear some makeup. Thanks to this brush, washing makeup off my face is easier too (using powder instead of pencil or liquid liner), which is a huge plus. I may sound lazy, but anything that simplifies life while helping you look a little glamorous is worthwhile. :) I only wish it were a tiny bit smaller for my eyes so I could have more precise control for a more polished & a little less smoky look. Otherwise it's perfectly fine & I absolutely LOVE the little snap-on protective cover that comes w/it. I would feel that $18 is too much for a small brush, but the travel-friendly cap makes it worth it! I tried those mesh brush sleeves you buy separately, but they slide off too easily & I ruined them.
Glimmery shimmery sheen is what I wanted when I bought this, so I really like this product. It's easy to use & not messy. I did a side-by-side comparison on my arms in Sephora using Nars Body Glow (which I adore but won't buy due to high cost) vs. Sephora Illuminating oil & the result is more shimmery bang from the Sephora oil. Nars Body Glow does not look shimmery or glittery once it absorbs in skin but strangely enough somehow makes my skin look subtley luminous & healthy - the shimmer in it is so superfine that it's unnoticeable on the skin but gives a gentle glow, whereas the Sephora brand has gently visible glittery shimmer which sparkles softly in the light. I'm enjoying wearing this on summer-tan legs, where I like some sparkle & shine when I wear skirts & dresses. Great all-over @ the beach too. It's not greasy & absorbs into the skin well. The oil is very lightweight & the spray is a very fine mist. I also love the scent - like coconut+gardenia, very similar to the scent of Nars. (Someday I'll get my hands on some Nars too.) Nice job, Sephora.
I agree with the reviewer before me verbatim re: Chic Honey (softer berry tone) & Black Honey (original classic). I bought both of them today. Moist, dewy finish. Sheer color that allows lips to show through. Very juicy & bite-worthy. Doesn't dry out lips. Slimline metal tube. I like everything about it.
Wow, I've never seen so little product for so much money! This product costs more than $1 per 0.1 fl oz ($26 for 0.21 fl oz). That's intense. But it's proved to be THE easiest mascara I have ever used. I tested all the Hypnose versions in Sephora & I liked this one the best (the box says it's custom volume mascara, so you build the amount of volume you want). With only 1 coat (which doesn't clump, goop, or stick my lashes together) I have beautifully lifted, long lashes that give me a fresh, wide-eyed look. I was surprised by this outcome. My lashes are volumized but look neither spidery nor false. The look is naturally sophisticated but not trying too hard. I'm happy the formula doesn't smudge on me after an hr or more (like some other mascaras!). Washes off easily with no smudgy residue, another plus. Fantastic mascara, so I went out & bought a tube (as well as the waterproof version) & suddenly now I'm out $50+ but for the fabulous lash look I get better & with far less effort than any other mascara I've ever tried, the cost was worth it. I just hope 0.21 fl oz will last me a decent while, b/c I don't want to have to buy this too frequently (which I refuse). Since I don't have to apply more than 1 coat, I think it will last reasonably long. Lovely mascara.