I wasn't sure about these because the results I got from my first attempt weren't the best, but since I've gotten the hang of applying them, I really like them. There really is a learning curve with these, practice does make perfect, and I strongly recommend reading and following the instructions to a T the first time you apply them, but I've used these literally dozens of times now and I've found a few tips that make application much easier. Your mileage may vary, of course. 1. Get a rubber-tipped cuticle pusher. The strips stick so much better when I use a rubber-tipped pusher instead of the wooden one that comes with the kit. Use it to push back/lift your cuticles and to "burnish" the strip once you have it properly placed on your nail. Burnishing helps the strip adhere better, removes wrinkles, and pushes any little trapped air bubbles out, and the soft rubber tip is gentle on your cuticles and won't tear the strip like the wooden stick will (I found this out the hard way). 2. The strips are more malleable and will adhere better if your hands and nails are warm. The temperature of the room you're in when you apply these can also effect how well they stick: a warmer room is better, but not too hot. 3. The strips can be ~very~ gently stretched to fit all the way across the nail from sidewall to sidewall. You can also push your cuticles back and lift them slightly (be careful and don't push them back too hard or lift them too high), and the strips can then be placed just under the cuticle (you then press the strip to the nail using the rubber-tip pusher). This is great if you're not especially neat with liquid polish and tend to get it all over your cuticles, or if you don't like a gap between the polish and your cuticle. Placing the strips just under the cuticle also extends the life of my manicure, as it takes longer for a gap to show as my nails grow out. 4. In my experience, the solid neon shades are the thinnest strips, and thus the most fragile and easily torn. The non-neon solid shades are a bit thicker, followed by the printed designs, and the glitter shades are the thickest and the easiest of all the strips to stretch. 5. I don't use a base coat, but I do use a top coat. The strips chip within a couple of days without, but with top coat, usually I only get a little tip wear and my manicure lasts from 8 to 14 days. I apply a fresh top coat every 3 days or so if the strips begin to look dull. 6. Clean, dry nails before you start are a must. I recommend using alcohol, polish remover, or acetone to remove all traces of dirt and oil from the nail bed. Don't use polish remover that says "hydrating" or "moisturizing", as these contain oils that will prevent the strips from adhering. 7. The more recent designs (as of this review) seem to be easier to remove than the older designs. I use acetone to remove them, and I soak the glitter strips off. As you can imagine, this is very drying to the nails and skin so if you do it, rehydration via a good cuticle oil and hand creme is a good idea. 8. I can get two manicures out of one package if my nails are on the shorter side. However, I don't cut the strips in half beforehand (another lesson learned the hard way, lol), I apply the strip, file the excess away carefully, and use the excess for the other corresponding nail. If you have long nails or longer nail beds, you may only get one use per package. As I said, your mileage may vary. For what they are, these are pricy, but there are coupons and sales for them pretty much any given day of the week, so if you shop around you can get a good deal.
Moisturizers -Philosophy - Hope in a Jar - for all skin types
JuliaLee67 10/22/2012 7:01:00 PM
I was given a sample of this at Sephora, and upon opening it my first thought was "Eew, it's gone bad!", but no, that's what it's SUPPOSED to smell like, which is something akin to 'chemical fire at the plastic factory'. Or maybe it's 'plastic fire at the chemical factory'. I don't know! The smell lingered, too, and even though every other--ahem--fragrance--I've ever put on my skin has faded within a half-hour, I could still smell this the next day. This is a really strong, really long-lasting odor, so if you have any kind of respiratory or olfactory/migraine sensitivity, or a similar concern, you might want to take this into consideration as it may be triggering for you. Finally, this broke me out and I got two of those godawful d~e~e~p pimples on either side of my nose. Wonderful. Needless to say, this stuff was horrible on my skin and I would not buy it.
Faded silvery acid green/wasabi shimmer, I like it enough but wouldn't buy again. It went on streak-free, was opaque in two coats, dried to a semi-matte finish. Wear was excellent. I was a little disappointed in how this looked on, it wasn't nearly as vivid as the bottle shade, and there was no blue shimmer, not even in bright sunlight.
A gorgeous, bright, vibrant shade of blue, unique among all the blue polishes I own (and I get a lot of compliments when I wear it). However, as a few others have mentioned, this WILL stain your nails if you don't use a base coat: I used one coat of Essie's ridge-filling base coat--which is a good, relatively thick base coat--and still had minor staining. Two coats of base coat and I had no problems with staining at all, but that kinda defeats the purpose of this supposed fast-drying, one coat polish. I like the wide, round-tipped brush, the polish does dry quickly, and I would buy it again, it's too bad there's such an issue with staining.
I was given a set of one bottle of each of the 32 colors plus the top and base coat from this line, and it's decidedly a mixed bag. The colors are all pretty and so far the wear has been incredible (eight days without a chip before I finally got tired of the color and took it off). The opacity is good, with most shades requiring two coats but some of the deeper shades are fully opaque with a single coat. The pale sheers are streaky messes. The formula is a bit thick but not goopy (although I have experienced bubbling with at least one shade) and the double brushes help spread the polish evenly. The main problem I'm having is with dry time: some shades dry quickly, some shades take longer, and one or two shades took nearly a full day to dry. I found that applying a drop of cuticle oil to my nails and gently massaging it in about an hour after I polish them helps with the dry time. These are nice polishes but could be better, dry time wise.
I stopped wearing eye shadow a few years ago because of my oily eyelids, but I wanted to try this palette because I liked the colors and prefer a more natural eye look to begin with. I really like the shadows, they're nicely pigmented, go on smoothly (I don't use a primer or foundation) and blend well, and best of all, they don't slide off my eyelids, disappear, or crease terribly. I do get creasing but it's minimal and only happens after I've had it on for hours, nothing that can't be fixed with a quick touch-up. The lipgloss that came with the palette is too sheer for me, though, and doesn't show up on my darker lips, but the color is pretty and it works with the natural/neutral theme of the palette.
Gorgeous shade, copper glitter in a root beer-brown jelly base. Went on a bit thick but that's par for the course with a coarser glitter like this one, however, it was practically opaque in one coat so you don't really need more than two. Dries duller but again, glitter polish does; a good top coat will work wonders. Absolutely beautiful and unique shade that I can see working on all skin tones, warm and cool, fair and deep. If you like glitter polish, you're probably going to love this!
I agree with the other reviewers here: this is a floral/green/soapy fragrance, with no tobacco or tea leaf notes whatsoever; I couldn't detect any apple or amberwood either. A clean, not unpleasant scent but so not what I wanted. Very disappointing and I won't repurchase.
A medium blue creme, described by Butter London as "a striking cobalt blue ", but I found it to be basic and nothing special; it dried darker, had no depth, and didn't really wow me at all. The first coat was streaky, the second coat went on a bit better but I had to apply it thicker than usual because of pulling (when the second coat "pulls" off the first and leaves bare spots during application). The formula was slightly goopy, but it dried quickly and didn't bubble. Wear was average. It's not a bad color but I wouldn't repurchase (I think it could work well for nail art, tho).
Saturated pink glitter in a clear base, gorgeous and sparkly in the bottle and reminisent of NARS's 'Arabesque' or the new Hard Candy's 'Date Night'. It went on streaky and took three coats for full coverage, and in spite of that, it chipped in two days. I have NEVER had a glitter polish chip after a couple of days; usually glitter polish stays on like cement until I'm ready to take it off, with only a bit of tip wear. But as another reviewer mentioned, any mistakes or chip repairs you have to make with this shade will be virtually undetectable, which is really the only other positive thing about this polish besides the color. I soak off glitter polish with pure acetone, and even that was a chore with this polish: it took forever to soak off. I wouldn't recommend this or repurchase.
Styling Products -Queen Helene - Royal Curl Curl Shaping Creme
JuliaLee67 9/11/2011 4:58:00 PM
This product is VERY similar to Kinky Curly Curling Custard in appearance and texture, and I have been using both this and KCCC for a couple of months now (for reference, my hair is type 3b/3c). The formula for Royal Curl is different: it dries stiffer and stickier than KCCC does, and it has a very strong, sweet, candy-like smell: seriously, this stuff smells like the Jolly Rancher factory exploded on your head, and even though the scent fades as the day goes on you can still smell it hours later. It's not a ~bad~ smell, it's just strong. It took longer to dry than KCCC, but did give my curls a bit more movement. It is also less expensive than KCCC, and even though I bought my tub at Whole Foods at the same time I bought my first tub of KCCC, Queen Helene products are easier for me to find than Kinky Curly's are. I prefer KCCC, but this would be a good alternate if you can't find it or want something more economical.
A gorgeous medium peacock/teal shimmer. The first coat went on a bit streaky, but two coats gave full opacity and the 'in the bottle' shade. This polish lasted a long time on my nails, with just a bit of mild tip wear after 4 or 5 days, and did not stain my nails. No doubt there are a few cheaper dupes of this shade out there, but the staying power of BL's polishes make them worth the money, in my opinion.
This may be my new favorite shade: medium raspberry microglitter in a deeper raspberry jelly base. It looks incredible as either a manicure or pedicure shade and has a surprising amount of depth. It went on beautifully and was opaque in two coats, lasted a long time on my nails with only minimal tip wear, and I didn't notice the same kind of wear the first reviewer mentioned at all; this stuff REALLY stayed on my nails! I love it, and would definitely repurchase. EDIT: Stained my nails terribly. Took one lippie off for that.
One lippie for the completely unique color (lavender glitter suspended in a translucent grey jelly base), one lippie for the staying power (this lasted a week on my nails with only two miniscule chips), otherwise I think I have another contender for Worst Polish EVAR. Incredibly gloppy and thick, I had difficulty fully covering my nail beds with this polish...it was hard to push with the brush, and literally the consistency of wallpaper paste. Was a PITA to remove, too, even for a glitter polish. I'll try thinning it with polish thinner, but seeing as how practically everyone else had the same problems with this goopy, too-thick stuff, I won't repurchase.
Aside from the ridiculous name, high price tag, and limited availability (I bought a smaller tub at Whole Foods), I like this stuff. My hair type is between a 3b-3c, and this works well in keeping my curls neat, smooth, and frizz-free. It does take a longer time to dry and you have to play with it a little to figure out what works best for you (for example, a little more product on damp hair works for me, rather than a little less product on wetter hair, as suggested on the package), but it dries less stiff and crunchy than gels do, lasts all day (provided I can keep my hands out of my hair), and I don't have to use as much product as when I did use gels. It smells good but reminds me of coconut suntan oil. I will repurchase the larger tub next time.