Essie puts this shade into its red category, and describes it as a “dazzling purplish red”. I can kind of see where they are coming from, however I would still definitely class it as a pink. I find the colour to be a very deep pink, with some magenta tones to it. As you would imagine by its name, it is very much a rich raspberry pink, which borders on fuchsia, although is definitely not as bright. I think this makes it a very wearable colour, that isn’t too much for tips and is a good pink for the autumn. It also makes a gorgeous pedicure. If you are familiar with OPI's Koala Bear-y, then I find it similar to this, only slightly more muted. This polish is a cream and is opaque after one coat, although I always do two, to give a good depth of colour. Essie polish wears the best on me, lasting around for days for a manicure and pretty much indefinitely for a pedicure. I love this kind of shade so would repurchase if I ever ran out.
This is a very metallic and true silver. It has no white or grey tones to it like a lot of silver polishes tend to, it is a pure and almost chrome-y shade, that looks like liquid metal in the bottle and brushed metal on nails. I thought this may not apply too well, as metallics are often difficult to work with, but it wasn’t too bad. You do definitely need to take your time though; it isn’t the type of shade that can be rushed, as I found once when I applied it too quickly. As with a lot of metallics, it can show brushmarks, and when applied fast and without much care this makes it look uneven and messy. However, when applied properly, it looks great and is worth the effort. Also, when applied well, the brushmarks hardly show as they add to the overall brushed silver effect. I also found I had to take care with my top coat, as any small flaws in its application also showed up with this colour. This is an opaque polish and looks beautiful and full of depth after two coats. I have no chipping and minimal tip wear with Loophole, as Essies work excellently with my nails. This polish looks amazing with black outfits and works surprisingly well with white too. I would repurchase if I ever ran out.
I don’t really know what to make of this product. I really wanted to like it as it sounded perfect for me – it is a polish refresher, used to revive manicures by adding an extra coat of protection and shine, without being as thick as an ordinary top coat. I am pretty hard on my nails, so like to add an extra layer of top coat each night to prevent chips and wear, but this does often mean my manicure gets too thick and polish starts to peel from the edges. Unfortunately, I find Shine-e quite difficult to work with. It dries so quickly that I often don’t have enough time to apply it evenly on my nail before the brush makes marks by touching the section I had just painted. This causes bumps and drag marks, therefore ruining my manicure. If I try and remedy this by ensuring I have a good amount of the product on the brush before application, I sometimes end up with too much of it on each nail, causing annoying bubbles to form. To get the best out of Shine-e you have to ensure you have just the right amount of it on your brush to cover the entire nail without flooding it. If this can be managed you are left with a very shiny, glass-like finish that is hardwearing. I am undecided as yet whether I will re-purchase this product.
Wow, this is such a classy looking colour, almost too chic for someone like me who mainly wears either hot or baby pinks! Alligator Purse is a beautiful brick shade of reddish brown, which reminds me of both autumn leaves falling from trees as well as a deep tan coloured leather bag. The colour is very rich and looks even better on nails than it does in the bottle. It is a gorgeous cream, which is opaque after only one coat, although the depth of the shade is better with two coats. I am pale but neutral toned and this shade looks lovely against my skin. I think it would also be great on warm toned girls, but may be too much for cool skin. Essie polishes seem to work very well on my nails, so I can expect to see four days out of a manicure with no chips and little tip wear. This is a very unique shade and I can’t think of anything to compare it to, therefore I would definitely repurchase. It is part of Essie Fall 07 “Glamour Girl” range, so I hope this isn’t limited edition.
I decided to purchase this polish as I was looking to expand my range of shades (which basically contained pinks, purples and reds only) but still wanted something wearable for work. As I am so used to seeing pinks etc on my nails, I was unsure of this colour first, but now I really like it and think it is very pretty. Monkey Business is a mid golden-brown shade, which I think is best described by saying that it is the exact colour of toffee. It has a lovely subtle golden shimmer to it, which adds to its general glossiness. It is opaque after two coats and I had no problem with streaking. I have a very pale skin tone with fairly neutral undertones and think this polish would work well on most people except those who are very cool toned. Essie polishes wear the best of any brand on me, so I get around four days out of a manicure with little tip wear. I think this colour is perfect for late summer/early autumn to ease you into browner shades and is a great addition to my collection.
This is my first ever glass file and I am so pleased with it I know I will never go back to standard emery boards. Although I had read up on the reviews beforehand, I never actually thought that just by using a certain type of nail file you could stop peeling nails and make them stronger, but I’m happy to say that is the experience I have had with this file. I didn’t have terrible nails before, but my nails are prone to dryness and brittleness and I did used to get some peeling of the top layers of my nail tip now and again. This hasn’t happened since using this file and my nails also seem stronger, which I suppose shows how emery boards can damage your nails. I also like the fact that this file leaves nails with a “clean” edge, i.e. you don’t get those annoying little ragged bits of nail left over on your tips that emery boards sometimes leave. I’m also pleased that this file will last a long time, and can be cleaned with a damp cloth when necessary to improve performance. The file comes in a three-sided plastic tube for storage, which is handy for keeping it nice as well as safe. I will definitely be purchasing another of these glass files in the future as a back-up and to keep in my bag.
On the hunt for an HG fast drying top coat, I stumbled upon Mavadry, so thought I’d try it out. With other fast drying top coats I had used (OPI RapiDry, Sally Hansen Insta Dry) I had to use a normal, non-fast drying top coat underneath them to get any kind of lasting power, and Mavadry was the same. Used by itself, I had small chips on a couple of nails and cracked polish on a few nails after just one day of wear. Worn over Mavala Colourfix Top Coat I had more success, but still wasn’t overly impressed, as tended to get cracks in my polish quite easily. I also wasn’t keen on the lavender coloured tint the product had to it. Although it was still transparent, and did not appear to show up on my nails, I was worried that it may distort some polish shades. I also found Mavadry to thicken up and become gloopy quickly, which is a common problem with all fast dry’s. I have ended up using up this top coat on my pedicures, which always last better than my manicures anyway, as I am always using and washing my hands. It isn’t too bad a product, as it does dry all layers of polish within one minute, but I won’t be repurchasing.
Top/Base Coats -Essie - Good to Go! The Fastest Drying Top Coat
Caty_23 9/13/2007 7:38:00 AM
EDIT: Essie changed the formula of all their polishes and treatments in Spring 2008, to stop using certain chemicals in them. As a result the ingredients of Good to Go changed, and I don't think it is quite as good as it used to be. It is still pretty fast drying, but a lot slower than it used to be and also perhaps not quite as long lasting. It is still a good product that I would re-purchase, but to be honest my first choice of fast-drying top coat would now be Poshe. Since buying my first Essie polish a few months ago, I have had great success with their products, which seem to work very well with my nails, so thought I would try their fast drying top coat. Others I have tried in the past (OPI RapiDry, Sally Hansen Insta Dry, Mavala MavaDry) chipped easily without using a “standard” topcoat underneath them and also thickened very easily (eventually leading to the dreaded bubbles!). I was very impressed at first with Good to Go, which started out with a very thin consistency. It stayed pretty thin until about halfway down the bottle (the usual thickening time for fast dry’s in my experience) but for the purposes of this review I kept using it to see how long I could manage without it being too thick. I got to almost 3/4 of the way through, and I could stand it no more (although it must be noted, even when it got thick, no bubbles emerged; it just got difficult to coat a full nail). I added quite a few drops of thinner to it and the consistency improved immediately, without affecting the performance of the product (still shiny, fast drying time etc). I love the fact I don’t have to use a normal topcoat underneath Good to Go to ensure my manicure lasts, it provides great protection from chips and cracks by itself (I usually go 4 days, adding a coat every other day, before I get tip wear and have never had a chip from it yet). It dries all layers of polish within about 30 – 60 seconds, and never bubbles or lifts from the edges of the nail. I have not had any problems with shrinkage when I have used Essie polishes, and only a slight bit of shrinkage on a couple of nails when using OPI. I find it to be nice and shiny, although feel that the shine does improve with a second coat of Good to Go. It is the best fast dry top coat I have purchased so far, but I would like to try out a few more. However, I will be repurchasing this product.
I usually gravitate towards fruity scented fragrances, be it summer or winter, so I have to confess that I was originally attracted to this perfume only because I am a huge Kylie Minogue fan. This product has a very strong base of vanilla, a scent which I usually don’t wear, but this does actually seem to work very well with my body chemistry. I often find vanilla very cloying and almost suffocating, but this is not the case with Sweet Darling, where it seems lighter and fresher. This may be to do with the fruity and floral notes in the perfume (passion fruit, freesia, and patchouli) which are apparent but not overpowering. The sweet vanilla smell is also probably enhanced by the cotton candy accord that the perfume contains. The press release likens this fragrance to being cocooned and enveloped in “comfort, warmth and softness”, as demonstrated by the cosy looking sweater Kylie wears in the photograph featured in promotional material and on the packaging. Maybe I have just been brainwashed by this marketing ploy, but I do think this is a nice description of it, as I feel this is a good perfume for autumn and can imagine snuggling up with a mug of hot chocolate in a big fluffy jumper whilst wearing this scent. The bottle is the same curved shape as Kylie’s original Darling fragrance, and uses the same simple, but feminine typeface to display the name of the fragrance. Coupled with the pearly lilac-coloured glass it is made from, and the black, vintage-style top, the bottle looks elegant and chic. I have heard this fragrance being compared to Thierry Mugler’s Angel. I think that is a fairly accurate comparison, as both perfumes are very sweet and vanilla scented (although Sweet Darling may be slightly “lighter”). I can’t confirm this fully however, as I have only ever smelt Angel on others, having never worn it myself. Overall I think this is a nice, warm fragrance for the fall, although definitely one to avoid if you don’t like very sweet or vanilla-based fragrances.
Lotions/ Creams -Neutrogena - Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
Caty_23 9/6/2007 3:31:00 AM
This is my HG hand cream that I have been using for years and can’t see me ever finding a replacement. The formula is thick and glycerine-y and takes a while to sink into my hands. It is for this reason that I only wear it at night, as it is too rich for me to use during the day at work where I think it would feel too sticky. I find that using it on my hands at night only, keeps them soft and prevents dryness. If I am exposed to very cold weather in the winter, leaving my hands chapped and sore, this cream restores them back to their usual condition in no time at all. I know you can get both scented and unscented versions of this product (I have tried them both depending on which is the cheapest/which is on offer) but I struggle to tell them apart – the scented version has a very light, generic hand cream smell, but is certainly not highly fragranced. One tube lasts a very long time – it states there are over 200 applications in each pack, due to the formula being highly concentrated. I would recommend this product to anyone suffering from very dry hands, and I will continue to repurchase it.
Skincare - Body -Gillette - Satin Care Shave Cream
Caty_23 9/5/2007 9:52:00 AM
I really like this product and hate it when I have run out and have to shave without it. I find it to be very moisturising, as I am prone to dryness on my legs, although I do use a body lotion afterwards. However, if I forget to use a lotion or don't have time, my legs aren't left feeling dry and tight. I have also never experienced any razor burn when I use this gel. The gel itself is quite thick and lathers up well to provide a protective barrier between your razor and skin. I find one can lasts a long time even when I use it every other day in the summer. I have tried most of the different scents, Wild Berry being my favourite, as it smells exactly as the name suggests and lingers after you have used it. I have also tried Radiant Apricot (pleasant, light, fruity fragrance) and Oceanic (I found this to be ok but a bit plasticy as it tries to capture an "ocean breeze" style scent). By far the worst scent for me is Floral Passion, which reminds me of cheap bathroom air fresheners - yuk. That said, I will be repurchasing this product, I will just stick to Wild Berry.
Although the name of this product makes it sound like some kind of miracle pill that you swallow to give you beautifully manicured nails, it is actually a fizzy blue tablet that dissolves in water to make a good pre-manicure soak for nails. Each tablet is relatively large and thick, and is scored down the middle to enable it to be easily broken in half. The directions state you should dissolve one half in water to soak one hand, then dissolve the second half for soaking the other hand. However, if I’m feeling lazy or short on time, the whole tablet can be dissolved quite easily to soak both hands at once. Also, when I have been running low on manicure pills, I have sometimes used only half a pill to soak both hands, which doesn’t seem to make a huge difference to the results you get with the product. When you first drop the pill into a bowl of water, it fizzes for a few seconds before it dissolves to make the water turn a bright shade of blue. Don’t be put off by this though, the colour does not transfer onto hands or nails, and if anything, makes nails brighter and whiter. The soak smells good too, with a lovely herbal scent that also helps to relax you whilst you are waiting the stated five minutes. I like to soak my hands before using cuticle remover, and this pill makes cuticles nice and soft to help with pushing them back. It also makes nails feel very clean and does not leave any residue, so it is suitable for use before using nail polish. The pills come in a pack of six, and are wrapped in foil, so each one can be removed separately without letting the air get to the remaining pills (preventing them from becoming soft and crumbly). The foil pack is contained in a slim cardboard sleeve with the instructions of use printed clearly on the back. This is a good product and one of my staple manicure tools, so I will be repurchasing.
Lip Gloss -Maybelline - Water Shine Elixir Lunar Lilac
Caty_23 9/5/2007 4:20:00 AM
I purchased this particular colour to replace my favourite discontinued Water Shine Liquid Diamonds gloss in the shade Precious Lilac. I have a very fair skintone with neutral to cool undertones, and wearing a lilac based gloss really seems to brighten up my complexion and enhance my blue/green eyes. In terms of the colour, Lunar Lilac is more transparent and less pigmented than I was hoping for and is basically a sheerer version of Precious Lilac. It is a pale lilac tinged pink shade containing shimmer, which adds to the shine and helps prevent the gloss from looking too flat. The shimmer looks blue through the window in the gloss’ tube, but the blue isn’t noticeable on the lips – it just contributes to the overall lilac-ness of the colour. I would prefer the colour to be slightly stronger, as I think I do apply it more often than I need to, to refresh the colour rather than because the gloss has worn off. As well as being pleased with the length of wear of this product, I am impressed with the amount of shine that this gloss gives you. When you apply the right amount it does actually give you a water-like shine (much more so then the discontinued Water Shine Liquid gloss). I am also relatively happy with the silver packaging and the way that the product applies (see my general Water Shine Elixir review for more on this). I would definitely buy another of these glosses, possibly this one if I run out, but I would like to find a slightly stronger shade than this.
I thought I would try this new gloss from Maybelline as a replacement for my favourite Water Shine Liquid Diamonds gloss, a product line which has now been discontinued. Overall, I am quite pleased with the gloss itself, it is a nice consistency – thick enough to last quite a long time, but not too sticky (I feel it has more of a gel like formula). I am also very impressed with the high-shine of the gloss, although you have to apply the right amount to make sure of this. If you don’t apply enough, the gloss just looks dewy rather than extremely shiny, which is nice anyway for certain occasions. The gloss also has a nice fresh scent that reminds me of melons. When I first purchased this gloss, I wasn’t too keen on the packaging, for application reasons rather than aesthetic. It comes in a long silver coloured tube, with a clear window in the middle that shows you the colour of the gloss. To apply, you twist the end of the tube (hearing it click), and the gloss comes out of tiny holes in the plastic at the other end, which is slanted, reminding me of a pen. At first I didn’t like this, preferring the sponge tipped wands you usually get with gloss, but it has grown on me as I have become used to the number of clicks needed to get out exactly the right amount of gloss (as with most things it’s best to build up rather than apply too much). I was also worried the application tip would become messy and sticky over time, but I haven’t found any problems with this, as the cap of the gloss is slanted to fit the tip perfectly, and has moulded little “prongs” on it that fit into the holes where the gloss comes out. I will definitely be buying more of these glosses, as I have only one at the moment in Lunar Lilac (see separate review for this colour) and I already have my eye on the shade Ivory Star.
This polish looked terrible on me - possibly the worst I have ever tried. I was expecting a nice pale iridescent pink, but unfortunately the blue and lilac shimmer in this polish really took over when it was on my nails. There was no pink whatsoever on me, just a strange, unflattering shade of icy blue that made my hand look like death. I am assuming this is to do with my skintone, as this colour seems to have worked well for most other reviewers. I am very fair skinned, although I have neutral undertones so usually most colour groups work on me. However, I must also note that I gave this to my mother who also hated it on her - she also has pale skin, but with quite reddish undertones. Other than the colour problem, the polish was OPI's usual quality, applying with no streaks or bubbles. I assume it was as long lasting as other OPIs, but I didn't check for this, I just couldn't wait to get it off my nails.