Polishes -Creative Nail Design - Shellac UV Polish System - 14-Day Wear
ChristinaSF 4/1/2013 2:15:00 AM
Love. Shellac is an HG for me. I tend to be hard on my nails and a bit fastidious about chips, so standard manicures aren't a good choice for me. But shellac is amazing. As others have said, light cured, said to last 2 weeks. For me, I find application matters. I had shellac done once (at a certified salon) but they didn't follow the recommended timings on the Uv light. That manicure lasted less than a week and caused my nails to peel so badly I couldn't get another's oxide for a full month. But the other salons I've been to have been great and I get a minimum of 14 says per manicure. At 14 days there's some 'wear' on the tips and growth at the nailbed. But, they still look pretty good. I've even worn polish for 21 days. I prefer my nails shorter - so I often trim my nails with a nail clipper at about 10-14 days. I don't file the nails, just a quick clip. I don't think you're supposed to do this, but I haven't noticed any problems and if there's any 'wear' on the tips (especially if I'm wearing a darker color) that makes the manicure look fresher. For me the main problem is cuticles and nail growth. I have bad cuticles and they need maintenance more than every other week. I am vigilant about applying N aha cuticle reducer. Even so, I do go in a carefully push back and even from my cuticles after about 1 week. Removal takes some getting used to. You can do it home with acetone, orange sticks, aluminum foil, and some patience :). Solar oil is recommended. I have used solar oil even before getting shellac, but it is an oil and may take some getting used to. Supposedly, it works better than other cuticle products to strengthen the nail. I can't speak to that since I use it anyway. So, for me an HG. I think application matters, so I tried a bunch of salons til I found one I love. Downsides. Application takes 1-1.5 hours. Limited color selections. Expensive manicures. Any flaw in application is with you for 2-3 weeks.
Polishes -Unlisted Brand - Hand and Nail Harmony Gelish Gel Polish
ChristinaSF 4/1/2013 2:07:00 AM
When I have requested a gel manicure at the cheaper salons, they tend to do a gelish. Gelish is similar to CND Shellac. You cure under an led light after each coat and the resulting manicure is supposed to last up to 2 weeks. In terms of staying power, gelish is absovultr better than a standard manicure. Mine tend to last about 10 days before chipping or peeling too noticeably. However, I find these manicures to be hard on my nails. I can usually do one manicure without too much damage. But if I do a second gelish in a short time period, I notice my nails feeling weak and then they tend to peel or tear. Once this happens it takes a while for my nails to grow out and recover. i typically have relatively strong nails, so I find this frustrating. With all that said, absolutely love gel manicures. For me personally, I find the extra money to get shellac at a good salon to be worth it. I can't say for certain whether it is the shellac product that I prefer or whether the application is better ( since I tend to get shellac at nicer salons).
Wildfire is a red shellac color. I would consider it a classic red. No shimmer. Close to the opi red in the standard polishes. I tend to do neutrals on my fingers, but this is the color I use for special occasions or holidays.
Of all the cuticle treatments I've tried this one is most similar to Cnd solar oil (which also is my HG). I got the vanilla almond scent. I couldn't find it in stores, but found it online. Not sure if it's been discontinued or whether my area just doesn't stock it. The scent is a little but musty, I can tell its supposed to be almond but its not really a true almond. It grew on me though. It comes in a nail polish bottle, with a little brush to apply. I threw out the box but it contained a couple types of oil, sweet almond, canola, grapeseed, I think. For one week, I applied this to one hand and solar oil to the other, applying usually 2-3 times per day. Overall I found this to be nearly as moisturizing as the solar oil. I still prefer the solar oil, but if I were on a budget (and could find it for the price the reviewers below got theirs for), it would be a good alternative.
Liquid -Laura Mercier - Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation
ChristinaSF 9/3/2012 2:03:00 AM
Multiple SA's have warned me about blendability. Here's what I've learned, after using for 2+ years and based on their guidance. 1-wet a makeup sponge, then put a pump on the sponge to blend. Took me a few tries to get this right, but it does work well . This was recommended by 2 SA's at 2 different stores. 2-foundation brush, applied using to one section of the face a a time. More coverage than the LM TM, I'd call this medium coverage, although its pretty build -able. I prefer lighter coverage so tend to use this for 'occaisions' and not every day. I also use when I'm getting over a breakout and have more red spots that I want covered. As with the LM TM, my main complaint is the color. The color looks great when I apply but within a few hours it has oxidized(?) and my face is a darker orange-ish color. I have not figured out a way around this and the SA's haven't been much help. Aside from that, a solid oil-free foundation that doesn't break me out
Tinted Moisturizer -Laura Mercier - Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 - Oil Free
ChristinaSF 9/3/2012 1:53:00 AM
I have oily /acne-prone skin but prefer not to look like I'm wearing makeup, so tinted moisturizers are a great alternative for me. I've been alternating between the LM oil-free foundations and LM oil-free TM for about 2 years. The good: Very light coverage. I like this because it doesn't look like I'm wearing foundation and I can apply powder on top if I want a bit more coverage. Goes on easily. Pretty goof-proof, especially since it blends quite well. Depending on my mood, I'll apply with fingers, foundation brush, or a makep sponge. All work fine. Doesn't cause me to breakout. Yea! SPF! The bad: Although it's oil-free, it's not oil-control or mattifying. Especially when my skin is oilier or on hot days, I find my skin can look quite slick, immediately after application or within a few hours. Oxidation / color too dark. I have been color-matched for this product at least 5 times. They always match me to the same color and it looks great in the store. But within a few hours it looks darker and a bit orange. Even when I tell the SA this, they say they can only match to my skin while I'm in the store. One time I bought one color lighter and it looked even worse. In all, it's okay. Not an HG, but it's good enough that I haven't been actively looking for a replacement an ive gone through probably 4 tubes.
This review is for the t3 featherweight journey travel dryer that purchased for $130 at sephora. It comes with the dryer, travel bag, and a 'concentrator nozzle' but no diffuser attachment. I have used this when I travel and periodically at the gym. It's a nice small size and the handle folds which makes it easier to pack. I love love love the dual voltage functionality. There's a little switch where you can pick 220 or 110 voltage for when you travel. You just need an adapter (to make the plug fit into the outlet). But you dont need a converter (which tends to be larger, heavier, and more expensive). This is especially great for me because when I travel overseas I don't take anything that requires a converter. Just an adapter for my laptop. So, what's missing? Well obviously it's not as powerful as a full dryer. There are 2 powers. On high it takes 5-10 minutes longer than a full-sized dryer (on my long, fine hair which takes about 10 minutes normally). There's no 'cool' button, which I do miss. In terms of performance, not as goood as a full sized tourmaline, but definitely better than the dryers that are available at most hotels. Unfortunately, since owning this dryer I now take my own dryer with me on every trip. Someone accused me of being high maintenance, but my hair looks good in the photos!
Cnd cuticle eraser is definitely HG for me and I've been using for 4-5 years. I apply 1-2 times per day. Just a little bit rubbed at the very base of my nail and on the cuticle. I follow with a moisturizing lotion, as I find it quite drying. It basically minimizes the growth of the cuticle on my nail bed to almost nothing. this keeps my nails looking neater between manicures and makes the cuticle maintenance during manicures much easier. I especially find it helpful when I've got a shellac manicure. Without intervention, my cuticles start to look bad after 3-4 days, and with a manicure that lasts 2 weeks, that's a problem! Using the cuticle eraser maintains my cuticles well enough until I get a new shellac.
My hair can get oily, so i use this to extend the life of blowouts or to go an extra day without shampooing my hair. I typically apply at night right at my roots, near my hairline and part. I wait a few minutes, then brush my hair and put into a bun for bed. It's still white-ish at this point. But in the morning, I brush and style and it looks great. If I do need to apply in the morning( or in the lockerroom after working out), I just brush more and tease my hair a bit and the whiteness goes away. But I feel it works best when applied at night before my hair actually gets too oily. First, i like the applicator It's a powder, not a spray. There is a long tip with a small end so when I apply directly fom the bottle I have pretty good control over how much is applied. ( although thus did take me a few tries to master.) Second, it doesnt feel like I'm wearing product. Other dry shampoos have made me feel as though my hair is coated but with this my hair feels normal. Third, the 'travel size' is refillable! I bought the 1oz to see how I'd like it and now have the larger size to keep at home and add to the 1oz bottle to keep in my gym bag or when I'm traveling. Fourth, I don't think you can tell ive skipped a shampoo. I feel like it might dull my roots a bit, but here's no obvious discoloring or change to the texture. Although the bottle seems expensive, I find it lasts a long time. My original 1 oz travel size lasted 5-6 months using about once per week.
I purchased this because of the dual SPF and oil control. I used as a daily moisturizer/sunscreen in the morning. First, it smells just a little unpleasant. It smells like a sunscreen. Which, fine, I can get over if it's giving me UVA and UVB protection. But the reason I won't be repurchasing is that it didn't so anything for my oiliness and in fact seemed to make it worse. I didn't notice any mattifying effects upon application. And when I applied to just half my face, after about 2 hours, I actually seemed oilier, although by about 4 hours and beyond, oiliness was on par with the other side of my face.
Styling Products -Aveda - Pure Abundance Hair Potion
ChristinaSF 7/8/2012 7:58:00 PM
It took me a long time to figure out ow to use this product. The way that has workd best for me is to open the bottle and gently tap around my hairline and part on dry hair then work through with my fingers. It does appear that my hair is 'bulked up' which is what I'm looking for. But my hair feels horrible. It feels very matted and hard to get my fingers or even a comb through. I personally like my hair to feel natural so this is a deal breaker for me.
Styling Products -Suave - Touchable Finish Extra Hold Aerosol Hairspray
ChristinaSF 6/6/2012 12:24:00 AM
This does not work for me as a hairspray at all. The mist is so fine and the hold is so very light. I find that it doesn't really hold my hair. I sometimes use over my hair when I'm wearing it down to hold off frizz and provide a little shine.
Scrubs -Bath and Body Works - Aromatherapy eucalyptus spearmint sugar scrub
ChristinaSF 6/6/2012 12:18:00 AM
Love the scent and a quality scrub. I use primarily on my hands and feet. The scrubby bits are very scrubby. There is also a good amount of the oily part so I don't find it too drying although i always follow up with a good moisturizer. But as other posters have pointed out, these types of scrubs are pretty easy to make at home. I also find that the tub is too big. It doesn't fit in my shower shelf. It And it lasts for a long time, which is fine except that I stick my hands into the tube to get some out which seems kind of unsanitary. I wouldnt pay full price for this, but maybe if it were on sale again (and ive moved somewhere with more bathroom space!)
This powder is $3. That is a huge plus. The packaging is nice with a large mirror. It comes with a sponge but I apply with a brush on too of my foundation or for touch ups during the day. I dont find this translucent. I am pretty pale and it is just about my skin color. I find that when. Apply with a brush that the powder kind of settles in my skin. It's most obvious on my nose where I have blackheads but it almost accentuates and the tiny hairs on my face. Hard to describe. So not my favorite. But it is only $3.
Loose Powders -E.L.F. - Studio High Definition Powder
ChristinaSF 6/5/2012 11:42:00 PM
I'm on the fence about this powder. It's a really fine white powder that I use on top of my foundation in the morning. It sets my foundation. Be sure to tap the excess out of the brush before applying to avoid a too white hue. The packaging is horrible. Mine doesn't even fully close and with a fine powder like this I get powder all over the counter every time I use it.