Polishes -Unlisted Brand - Incoco Dry Nail Applique
mneiai 9/18/2011 2:08:00 AM
So, the general process for these is you choose the size you want on the strip (hold them up to your nails and try to guesstimate) and you tear it off from the strip. Then you take off the clear plastic top, then you tear off the rectangular end and take off the paper bottom. This leaves you with just the "nail polish" part. You line it up at your cuticles and press it down, pulling at the excess bottom part to help smooth it out. Then you crease the excess under your nail and take a file to the edge, getting rid of it. If you are absolutely, positively terrible at doing your own nails--like, no matter what, you always mess up in some big way--then these might be a good idea. But even then, I'm not sure--they took awhile to "dry" on my nails, allowing for them to get a little messed up after application (when I mess up my manicures, it's generally because I don't wait long enough to do things, so I was thinking these would help me avoid that). And even with following the directions and being fairly careful, I still messed up in some way on about half of them (chose the wrong size, didn't smooth it down quite right, tore it a little), so your first pair should probably be written off as a "practice" pair (looking through the other reviews, I can tell that a learning curve is entirely normal, even for the people who love them) and if you're bad with regular nail polish, you may end up being bad with these, too. They ARE quick, even my first time, fumbling around, it took less than five minutes, so I'd say they're better if you're a person who has to do their nails in a rush for some reason or another. Maybe you need to have plain nails for work and then have somewhere to go right afterwards and want to have fancier nails, idk. Are they that special? Not really. Almost every pattern/design I've seen on them can be done with a stamper or a drop tool (I have no artistic skills whatsoever, but for those who can actually draw, a lot of them could even be done with nail art brushes). The ones that are more complicated, that would be hard or possibly impossible to do with a stamper, also tend to be OTT and most people wouldn't wear them except for maybe a costume party or some such thing. They maybe wear a bit longer than regular nail polish, but they don't wear perfectly--they still chip at the tips, for example, and since they're not regular nail polish you can't use some of the repair "cheats" that you normally could. They also seem to not adhere as well to nails as regular nail polish, which allows for separating and even tearing around the cuticles. If I were going to use these again, it would probably be one of the more complicated sparkly cat patterns or some such thing for a Halloween costume. Otherwise, I'd rather just do my nails and have to redo a few here and there. Stamping is just so much easier/more cost effective.
I hate to say it, but this is really good. I didn't want to believe it and all the pre-release pics on beauty blogs made it look awful. Because who wants to like an expensive mascara, right? But I slipped it into a huge Sephora order my sister was doing and got to try it for free lol I'll preface this by saying I have thick, extremely long lashes. I know some people complain like "why do you a-holes review mascara?" (yes, I've seen some ridiculously angry people comment on it lol) but it's not like people with great skin don't wear foundation, y'know? And no matter how good our lashes are, I think we all believe they can get better! So, anyway, I can't say this improves length any, but it does make my lashes thicker and makes their length stand out quite a bit more. It also looks very natural and if you only do one to two coats they don't stick together much at all (the real problem with thick lashes--half the mascaras on the market immediately give me doll eyes). The formula is a little on the dry side, but I found it only flakes if you try to build it up after it's dried too much. The brush is great, very easy to use, and I even like the packaging, which is sleek and sets it apart from most of my other mascaras. I'd describe it as a nice, everyday, comfortable sort of mascara. Is it worth $20+? No, I don't think many mascaras are, though. I may buy it again, if I have the spare cash and no immediate lemmings, but I won't go out of my way to get it. It's definitely nicer than BadGal, though, if you like Benefit but don't like that.
By far the worst product in the True Blood collection (I bought all three when they came out). I generally like Tarte's cheek stains, but this has chunky glitter that overpowers everything else. Ignoring the glitter, it leaves a light pinkish-red color and is perhaps not as easy to blend as some of the other cheek stains. But the point of the matter is that you can't ignore the glitter--unlike with powder blushes, there is no way to tap off the glitter before putting this stain on your cheek and if you try to wipe it off you end up with patchy pink/red and the glitter smeared over half your face. I'll probably only ever use this if I need it for some sort of costume or club even, though probably not as I don't find the color terribly flattering (I'm NC15/MUFE HD 117 for reference). If it wasn't TB merchandise, I would be swapping this, maybe even returning it.
Lipstick -Tarte - True Blood LipSurgence Lip Stain
mneiai 7/28/2011 4:15:00 PM
I'd first off like to say that people buying this should pay attention to the actual name--it is a TINT, not a stain. It is (copied directly from the Tarte website) "tarte™ for True Blood™ limited-edition LipSurgence™ lip tint." If you're looking for a stain, then this is not for you, and I'm hoping no one buys this having seen "stain" listed here, without paying attention to the actual name of the product. This makes my lips a soft, pinkish red which is good for a daytime look. Basically, it tints my lips. I'd assume that the less pigmented your lips are, the more the color on your lips matches the color in the tube. It's not at all drying, possibly even a bit moisturizing (and it doesn't draw attention to any flaws on my lips), and it's very easy to use. It lasts a few hours after initial application and since it's not a thick, bold red it doesn't take much effort to touch up. I don't think this is a good product for the True Blood collection, which for me seems like it should be bold and vampy, but I do think this is the best product in the collection and in general a good product. I would not buy this again because I don't generally wear sheer red colors, but other colors or bold red. Also, I feel like if this fit my style better, I still would be able to find something cheaper that's about as good. But if you're a True Blood fan, but not a collector or don't have a lot of money to waste, this is the only Tarte for True Blood product I'd recommend buying (I, foolishly, bought all of them, though I can't really bring myself to regret it).
I have a lot of Tarte palettes and this is probably the worst quality. I bought this because I love True Blood and I've had overall good experiences with Tarte. While this isn't the trainwreck that the cheek stain is, this is not at all a good palette and I have no idea how it's getting such good ratings. The texture is chalky, which isn't unusual for Tarte eyeshadows, but half of them are barely pigmented. Some of the more glittery colors will show up as nothing but the glitter once you put them on your eyes and even NARS primer (which is consistently rated higher than any of the other eyeshadow primers on the boards here) couldn't prevent fallout or make the colors as vibrant as they look in the pan. The darker colors also tend to be very hard to blend, taking about twice as long as eyeshadows at this price point should ever take. Lasting power without primer is so short it barely matters, with the darker colors (that generally stay on longer) creasing noticeably. The suggested looks are mediocre--the daytime one barely shows up on my light NC15 skin and the others mostly looked mediocre to awful on me, even after spending tons of time trying to make them perfectly. I haven't used any of the extras, though I generally have a good opinion of all of those products, one of the reasons this got two stars. The packaging is nice, though cheesy if you're not thinking about it as True Blood merchandise, and it's also very clunky, reminding me more of the Tarte holiday palettes than their normal palettes (though the holiday palettes are generally have much better quality eyeshadows). It is sturdy and there is a large mirror in the lid, which is nice. The eyeshadows are not removable, as they are in about half the Tarte palettes, which is slightly annoying since I would like to take the few decent shadows out to use more often. This palette basically proves why Pam uses NARS. If you're a TB fan and simply must have something from this collection, get the lip tint, which is pretty decent.
Skincare - Body -Bliss Labs - BlissLabs Mammoth Minty Scrub Soap
mneiai 7/27/2011 12:56:00 PM
I bought this because I loved Shock Therapy and was crushed when it was discontinued. This seemed like a bar soap/scrub version of Shock Therapy, so I was very excited. However, this is just not even close to being as good. First of all, the size and shape of it makes it awkward to use in the shower, pretty much meaning you have to use some sort of scrubbie or gloves with it, which can make it a little too abrasive for all-over washing. Secondly, it seems to suck all of the moisture out of my skin, leaving me with that awful tight feeling. Maybe it's a ploy to get us to buy their body butters, I don't know, but it's not good when it does that to my somewhat oily body. After using this I always have to use another body soap and even though I rarely moisturize my body, normally have to slather on lotion, too. I've given it two stars because it is exfoliating (somewhat, hardly the best I've ever tried) and it does give you that cool, tingly mint feeling. It is also very large, which makes it an okay deal as far as the price, though with bar soap I'd much rather have a pack of a few smaller ones than this one gigantic one. It also does leave that nice minty smell on your skin for awhile after getting out of the shower, though my need to use another product with it kills that smell pretty quickly.
Eye Shadow -Sugarpill - Burning Heart 4-Color Palette
mneiai 7/23/2011 4:53:00 PM
I've been playing around with this quad for a little bit, now, and I really like it. It certainly delivers on what everyone says it will do--has vibrant, extremely pigmented shadows. The palette is a thick, sturdy cardboard with a mirror (for comparisons sake, it feels sturdier than most Urban Decay palettes). The shadows themselves are huge and very wonderful colors. I'm warm toned and love purple, so I new I'd like this palette haha These colors work very well together in any combination, I especially like using the yellow and purple together, it gives me a sort of sunset-y feel. Over NARS primer these do not crease, even on my hooded/oily lids after 12 hours of a hot, humid day. I also got very minimal fallout when using these. One of the major problems I have with the shadows is somewhat ironic, in that they are so pigmented they become harder to work with. These WILL overpower other shadows when you use them together. It also takes more time for me to blend these than with slightly less pigmented shadows. Another issue is somewhat weird--but staining. I'm NC15 (light skinned) and the first time I wore Love+ (the red color) I had it on over two layers of primer, yet it took me three separate makeup removers and my face cleanser to get rid of the pink color it left on my eyelid. I'm assuming whatever products they use to obtain the red color are more dye-like than I'm used to (I also would not suggest this with any light-haired brushes, as it's a b*tch to get out of them, too). If you like using bright eyeshadow colors, this is a great palette to have and I highly recommend it. It may feel like you're spending a lot of money on just four shadows, but they are big, high quality, and pretty unique.
Love, love, love this color. I'm NC15 with very pigmented lips for my coloring, but this shows up very well. Depending on the lighting, it can be coral, red, or orange-red, but surprisingly I find all the shades nice, though the coral shade it can be I feel is the most flattering (it appears this way on me in a lot of indoor lighting). It's not overly drying, as MAC lipsticks can be. When I've used it without lipliner, it hasn't run. It also seems to fade relatively evenly. The packaging, which in pictures I thought would look cheap, is actually pretty nice--the shimmery off white base color keeps it from just looking like a kids toy or something. This is the only lipstick for which I have ever bought a backup.
Like others, I really wanted to like this--I thought the color looked great in swatches and was looking forward to using it. However, in order to get any real color on my (NC15) skin, I have to go over and over it, so it either gets gunky or the line gets too thick. I've tried it twice and it was just such a disaster on me that I couldn't bring myself to try it out anymore. I think maybe it would work on much darker skin, as a thinner layer would show up. Or perhaps if you like a very thick line of eyeliner, which would allow you to play with it a bit more and spread out any chunks that might appear.
I'm NC15 and use Fair/Light in this. I think it's a really good match. I mostly use this for my undereyes (which are a medium reddish-purple), but also the sides of my nose and mouth (I have genetic discoloration there) and for acne/acne scars. It goes on easily and is very easy to blend with a finger or brush. It holds up fairly well (generally as long as my foundation) and doesn't crease overmuch on my oily skin. I have a very hard time finding concealers I like and generally am forced to use two or three different ones for different areas of my face, so I was glad to find that one. It was rec'd to me by a manager at Ulta, of all places. Since this I have tried the Smashbox waterproof concealer (horrible, though it is waterproof), Urban Decay's 24/7 Concealer (I can't even begin to say how much of a waste of money this was, even getting it on sale), and Hard Candy's Glamoflauge (which is probably great for non-oily people, but didn't last on me). I feel like this one, while not HG, is definitely going to be my go-to concealer for a very long time. (PS: If you have problems with separation that shaking doesn't fix, just pop it into the fridge for fifteen or so minutes, then shake it a bit, for me this generally works for both this and TFSI)
I know a lipstick is great when my mother compliments me on it, she's normally horrible about remembering to compliment her favorite daughter on makeup ;) I'm NC15, yellow/olive, brunette. I tried this in the red lipstick sampler I bought from them (I very must suggest getting this even if you're not looking for new lipsticks, it's a great value and each sample lasts multiple applications) and right away I knew I was going to order the full size, even though I wavered on which other ones to get with the sample pack discount. This is totally HG for me, it goes on well (I always use a brush with darker lipsticks, so I'm not very familiar with how direct application would look), holds up very well, and looks wonderful. It's a great brown-toned red that doesn't wash me out, make me look older, draw attention to my flaws, or any of the numerable things that red lipstick can do. Added to that, it comes in the stunning Besame packaging. While expensive, it is lipstick, and highly pigmented, which for the average person means it will last a very long time. Plus, when you pull it out of its velvet bag in front of other people, you can feel confident it doesn't look ridiculous or cheap, like some other HE brands (not that I don't enjoy that, sometimes, but if I spend the money, I want it to look like I did).
BB Cream -MISSHA - M Signature Real Complete B.B. Cream SPF 25 PA++
mneiai 6/15/2011 6:23:00 PM
This is the first BB cream I really tried, so in a month or two I may change my mind. I got this, Missha Perfect Cover, and Skin79 Hot Pink Triple Action at the same time. I swatched them on my arm and could tell very quickly the Skin79 would be too dark. I'm NC15 (117 in MUFE HD) and got the two Missha ones in #21, which looked pretty close to perfect. However, when wearing them in the sunlight, the slight greyish tone will make you look paler. I don't think it's BAD, but some people might. Otherwise, I don't notice it looking bad on my yellow/olive toned skin and it did not oxidize very much if at all. This has decent coverage for what it is. It tones down my pink cheeks and acne and helps cover up my large pores. It also helps to smooth out my skin in general. I like this a lot and find that when I set it with powder it will last about 5 hours, which is typical for light-coverage things on my face. If I don't set it with powder, however, it lasts a very short time and I can get more oily than I want to be. I have tried this over moisturizer and alone and am not sure which one I prefer. This had the least overwhelming scent of the three, as well, one which faded quickly after application. I have been using my fingers and it goes on smoothly and blends very well. I ordered this on the Missha website, which holds frequent sales and promos (this was on sale--$12.99 for 45g--and I received the Perfect Cover for free). I like doing that with foreign products so I have a definite genuine product in my hands to compare to any future purchases. Unless something odd happens or one of the others I have ordered turn out to be amazing, I will definitely be repurchasing this.
Crème -Urban Decay - Surreal Skin Cream to Powder Foundation
mneiai 6/8/2011 1:06:00 AM
This is the only foundation that I've ever hit pan on, but considering there's not much in it, that's not so surprising. I really, really liked this, I think around my late teens or early twenties. I'm oily and acne prone and this gave great coverage. With a decent powder over it, it stayed put and didn't look too oily at the end of the day. The line runs warm and at the time the color I had was an awesome match for me. I didn't have problems with it settling in my pores and it hid discoloration very well. However, when I moved to a more humid climate, it just did not work out and I had to switch to a different one. I put that I would buy it again because I probably would if I moved somewhere cooler/less humid and if I could justify the price, though I never bought a replacement and am not planning to.
This is probably my favorite powder brush out of the ones I own. I've had it for at least four years, now, and bought it when I was on an Origins kick back in undergrad. It's super soft, as others have said, and once you get the technique down right for using it, it delivers just a fine dusting of powder, which is really good if you're like me and using mattifying everything and have to avoid a chalky look. It's very sturdy feeling, like MAC brushes or maybe even better. It also has a good weight for a powder brushed, imo. I use conditioner and a drop of antibacterial dish detergent to wash it and the bristles stay as soft as ever. I don't think I've ever had any shedding, maybe a tiny bit at first.
Misc Beauty Tools -Clarisonic - Clarisonic PLUS Sonic Skin Cleansing System
mneiai 5/29/2011 8:45:00 PM
I've had my Clarisonic Plus for two years. The first year I had it, I used it religiously, twice a day, morning and night. I used the normal brush and the body brush, and tried the other two brushes (delicate and gentle, I think?) thinking maybe being gentler would help more. I'm oily and acne prone, I have pretty thick skin (I've gotten various microderm treatments and chemical peels without any problems), and have PCOS. I wasn't really expecting miracles with my hormone induced cystic acne, but I was expecting less general breakouts on the rest of my face, cleaning pores, maybe just better looking skin. It didn't do anything for me that my skincare regime hadn't already been doing (and that isn't currently doing, now that I've stopped using it), but the amount of money (and the effort of cleaning it when it gets gunky under the rubber circle under the brush, ew) seems a total waste. The only reason I gave it 2 stars was because I do think it helped with ingrown hairs on my chest. Though, truthfully, it's not like those are a huge problem and regular exfoliating helps a lot with that, anyway. If you're the sort of person who doesn't keep up on your skincare unless something is holding your hand, then this would probably be a good idea. But if you use good products and exfoliate regularly by other means, this is useless.