Pink Diamond is my go-to color for fingernails and toenails alike. I find that wearing just one coat of Pink Diamond, without a basecoat or topcoat, makes me look just a little more professional and put-together -- can't lose, really. It's a nice understated/sophisticated pink overall. Unlike a lot of other polishes, this one actually fades with panache. And I do mean "fades" -- I tend not to get chips with Pink Diamond, so the color just washes away gradually over the week into a pale tint. It's close enough to the natural shade of my nails that there's no noticeable decline in quality or wearability as it ages. I did take off one lipstick in the rating due to the high price ($8 a bottle is no laughing matter), but considering that it's been my Holy Grail polish for the past couple years, it's definitely worth it. It may not be what you'd want for "statement" nails, but Pink Diamond is my A+ #1 favorite for daily wear. Edit: I just noticed that a lot of people are describing the finish as frosty. Personally I don't see that. It looks more like a slightly pearly shine to me. Then again, I only use one coat!
This review comes with a caveat: I don't actually *dislike* the polish itself. Actually, I love the color. The formula is great, which I guess is normal for Essie; I can usually get away with wearing just one coat. The problem, at least for me, is that Olé Caliente is waaayyy too close to pre-existing Essie shades to be worth the price for a bottle. I picked up a full-sized bottle of Tangerine for $5 from a salon that was discontinuing it, and imagine my surprise . . . Tangerine is almost exactly the same as Olé Caliente, which I'd splurged on the week before ($8 is a lot for me, OK?)! The only difference is that Olé Caliente has *slightly* more pronounced hot pink undertones when you view the bottles side by side. However, the difference is so minimal that it may as well not be a difference at all, and I think it can only be identified when the product is still in the bottle. Last week, I wore Tangerine on my fingers and Olé Caliente on my toes, and they looked completely identical. Meanwhile, Olé Caliente is marketed as a new shade. And it's a great color, but I just don't see that it's "new." (I also noticed in the store that Olé Caliente looked a lot like Geranium, but haven't tested Geranium, so I don't know for sure.) That said . . . I kind of get the impression that part of the Essie brand's "deal" is that they specialize in making tons of shades that are only fractionally different from one another, thus pleasing the most obsessive-compulsive in our ranks who *must* own something painfully specifically perfect. So for some people, I'm sure this doesn't constitute a problem at all. I just want you to know that a 98%-identical color is available from the same brand, and that you may be able to find it at a lower price than the "new" one.
BB Cream -Garnier - BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector - Light/Medium
mg1013 5/20/2012 6:03:00 PM
At the risk of sounding disturbingly enthusiastic, this is the skin product that flat-out changed my face. I know a lot of ink has been spilled on this product already, so I'll cut to the chase: • This might not be a "true B.B. cream" in the South Korean sense of the phrase, but guess what? It still works magic on my combination skin, so semantics can go fly a kite. It's basically tinted moisturizer, I guess. That's not a bad thing! • I used to pay $7.99 for 1 oz of CoverGirl foundation that was packed full of talc and hideousness. Compare that to $12.99 for 2.5 oz of Garnier, and I'm saving about $2.79 per ounce of product. (I used to get the CG stuff because it had the lowest sticker price. Go figure. Math > Everything.) • Regarding talc . . . it's not in the Garnier product, so you can expect your combo skin to clear up like mine did. Like, within a week. It's pretty exhilarating to have clear skin for the first time in over a decade, let me tell you internet. • You can get the last drop of cream out of the container without resorting to lunatic measures! The CoverGirl foundation I used to sue comes in a glass (or glass-like plastic) bottle, and the product stuck to the sides even if you held it upside down for a week. You probably lose $1 worth of foundation per glass bottle just because it won't come *out*. Not so with your squishy plastic tubes. Thanks, Garnier, my neurotic side appreciates it. • I'm not sure what "shade" my skin technically is, because I am still pretty new to this whole "makeup" thing, and also because I get different answers each time I ask the nice ladies at Sephora -- but let's just say that it's about as pale as Snow White's legs at the end of a long winter when all she's worn are sweatpants. And this stuff looks natural on my skin. Yeah, it looks orange in the container, but it blends out on your face. Honest. • If they discontinue this . . . I'm going to cry. Hope that helped you!
Styling Products -Organix - Renewing Moroccan Argan Penetrating Oil
mg1013 5/20/2012 5:48:00 PM
First of all, a PSA: This is about $3 cheaper at Stop 'n' Shop than at Walgreens or CVS, if you live Stateside. Go. Get some. I will be here when you come back. Secondly . . . I cannot say enough good things about Organix' argan penetrating oil, and I am basically *made out of* superlative adjectives. I have extremely curly hair, and it tends to frizz out at the slightest provocation. For YEARS I battled my hair, but now it's actually behaving itself! And getting COMPLIMENTED! It's soft and shiny, and the ends don't split as quickly as they used to. If you'd told me about this a year ago, I would've called you a corporate shill, but I would have been stupider than an umbrella in a submarine: If this is the only semi-expensive hair product you EVER buy, you have made some Good Life Choices. Congratulations. I have to say that although I have also had success with the conditioner from the same Organix product line, it is MUCH harder to get the last bit of product out of the conditioner bottle since it's got a weird tiny nozzle, whereas the penetrating oil comes in a bottle that's easier to empty completely. (For cheapskates like myself, this is a must.) I've also found that although the conditioner gives a similar result in terms of hair behave-ability, it's not necessary to pair the penetrating oil with the conditioner. I found the oil effective enough on its own that the conditioner was superfluous. They're the same price, so . . . I just buy two bottles of the oil at a time, instead of one bottle of oil and one of conditioner. PROGRESS! A lot of girls grow up thinking that oil is something "bad" that must be stripped out of hair if they want it to behave. This is not true, and I wish I learned so sooner. I feared that I would feel "greasy" if I put oil in my hair, but now? Now I feel like I walked out of Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus." Yeah, you heard me, this stuff comes with its own decorative seashell and putti entourage. J/K, but it DOES come with hordes of admiring onlookers.
As others have mentioned, the Milani Shadow Eyez (I know, I know, dumb name, but what you gonna do) pencil in "Champagne Toast" is an 100% exact duplicate of the Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Sin. I believe the other pencils in this line are also dupes of the UD ones, but I can't be sure since I haven't tried them. And, okay, I am not that easily impressed by alleged dupes or "hot now" products -- at least not since since I got sort of conned into buying a Rimmel quad that somehow turned into a powdery, unpigmented snow globe within a month -- but holy god, the rumors are true, this is not a drill, et cetera . . . this is *completely* identical product at a fraction of the price. It's so close to the real thing that I feel almost like a felon for buying it, actually, but that's just the Catholic guilt talking. At this point, I don't care if they shanked the Dalai Lama's mom for the formula, or if they chose the name through a meth-fueled game of Mad Libs. This is a gorgeous product. I couldn't even sweat it off after a day in the sun, and that's saying something, because I'm a walking oil slick (TMI, sorry). Thanks, Milani, for whatever deal you brokered with the devil to come out with this . . . the rest of your products may be hot-mess glitterbombs, but for Champagne Toast? All is forgiven. I ain't even mad.
Eye Shadow -Rimmel - Glam Eyes Quad 002 Smokey Brun
mg1013 5/20/2012 5:20:00 PM
Rimmel's Smokey Brun quad is good as "training wheels" for someone who is just learning how to do a wearable smoky eye, but fair warning -- you are going to outgrow these training wheels very quickly, and when you do, you're going to wonder why you even spent $6 on it. That's a middle-of-the-road price for a drugstore makeup that falls *below* the curve on quality . . . either pay for something dirt-cheap that will work fairly better, like Wet 'n' Wild eyeshadow, or something more expensive that will work WAY better, like Revlon. There's just no reason to settle for mediocre quality at a moderate price; you lose both ways. Initially, I loved the Smokey Brun quad, in part because it seemed like I couldn't do wrong with it, even with my Jackson-Pollock-on-Adderall approach to makeup application. Turns out . . . the color just fades on my skin so quickly that it masked the mistakes I was making! (Paradoxically, it also creases pretty quickly.) Now that I've gained a little more experience with makeup, I've come to realize that the Glam'Eyes formula is fairly chalky/powdery and not very pigmented. Also, it doesn't look very sparkly in the packaging, but it's SUPER glittery on my skin, and you'd better believe the glitter migrated down my face. Your mileage may vary on that point. tl;dr: Not worth it! Even the cosmetically impaired (like me) should probably avoid this unless nothing else is available.
The color of the Wild Shine polish in Blazed is gorgeous and summery, but the polish itself goes on like slightly tinted water. It looks streaky even with 3 coats applied, and chips almost instantly. The odd thing (or maybe not so odd . . . you decide) is that when you pay an extra dollar for Wet 'n' Wild Megalast, as opposed to Wild Shine, the formulation is about 500% superior. I recently tried I Need A Refresh-Mint and Undercover, both from the Megalast line, and both of those went on opaque with 1 coat! Also, the brush that comes with the Megalast bottle is much nicer than the Wild Shine brush. I just wish that this color was available with that formula, because its summery perfection is completely negated by its un-useability.