sally hansen salon effects nail polish strips

Don’t even ask me what on earth compelled me to give these a try. I was looking for some nail polish for my toes, since sandal weather has arrived, saw these, and was like “What the hell”.

They’re not like those crappy nail decals that start peeling after a few hours, these are actual strips of nail polish that adhere to your nails by themselves. The box claimed that it would last 7-10 days; I was highly skeptical. Darn if they weren’t still pristine at the end of a week! No visible chipping or cracking, and I’m fairly hard on my hands. I don’t garden or work on car engines or anything, but I wash dishes nearly every night. I did go over them with a coat of fast-drying clear, just for insurance.

Most of the designs are too obnoxious for me; I outgrew neon nail polish in 7th grade. The first time I used them I went with that metallic nude with a black fishnet pattern on the top row; right now I’m sporting the leopard pattern underneath it. What, I like the colors!

I wish they made black, for old time’s sake. The problem with black polish is you always had to goop so much on to avoid streaks, so it’s an ideal color for this application. Supposedly they’re releasing 5 more patterns this summer, most of which I could see wearing–stripes and checks.

In related news, I also recommend the Sally Hansen Nail Polish Pen, which is what I wound up getting for my toenails. It’s much easier to control than a brush and bottle, and impossible to spill. And the red is a true red, with no orangey or purpley tones.

product review: goody spin pin

A couple people recommended this a few months ago when I was first looking for hair accessories. I had seen them in the stores but they looked so weird that I couldn’t imagine how they’d possibly work. I mean, I figured that there’d be directions, but Goody is sort of infamous for including frustratingly vague and misleading directions with their products. The updo pin is a perfect example: it tells you to insert it at the base of the bun, but if you did that you’d rip all your hair out trying to flip it up. You really need to insert it through the center.

ANYWAY. The accessories I have been using have been of the “clamp your hair to your head” variety, and frankly it’s been a very long summer and my scalp is starting to get a little sore. So I decided to give these a try… so naturally, they had disappeared from every single store shelf in town and I wound up having to get them through

But they only took a couple of days to arrive, and between the instructions and the internet (YAY INTERNET) it only took about 30 seconds to comprehend how they work. Basically you coil your hair as usual, then screw one pin into the top and one into the bottom of the bun. One spin pin allegedly does the work of 20 bobby pins.

I did this in about 10 seconds, while sitting at my desk and looking at photos of baby animals on Cute (I always leave the ends sticking out of my bun, I don’t like to have repressed-looking hair.) And even with the several pounds of hair I am currently in possession of, it only took a couple of pins — I bought 2 sets just in case. And it stayed in place all day.

Best of all, they don’t come into contact with my head at all, for which my poor abused scalp is grateful. Sweet Zombie Jesus, I will be glad when I can start wearing my hair down again.

cosmetic review: revlon colorstay mineral lipglaze “stay ablaze”

Last weekend I made a horrifying discovery: Revlon has stopped making the color “Cherries in the Glow” in the Super Lustrous Lip Gloss line. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, this has been my go-to lip color for years. I don’t wear it every single day or anything; but whenever I had an outfit/eyeshadow color scheme that didn’t quite go with coral or mauve or brownish pink or any of my other choices, I knew I could reach for this because it was a medium neutral red that went with everything. I always recommended it without hesitation because it flattered virtually every skin tone.

I went to 3 drugstores last weekend and everywhere I went it had been replaced with something called “Firecracker”, an obnoxiously bright orangey-red WHORE GLOSS. *weeping bitter tears of despair*

So Sunday afternoon I made it a mission to find a replacement. I was in the Wal Mart make-up aisle for an hour; at one point I had like 7 different lip glosses in my hand, holding them up next to each other and next to my face, squinting and trying to discern shades of orange or an excess of sparkle.

Eventually I narrowed it down to one: another Revlon lip gloss, this in the Colorstay Mineral Lipglaze line, in the color “Stay Ablaze”. It has just a hint of a pearly sheen; and while the color is maybe half a shade brighter than my old favorite, it’s at least a pink-toned brightness instead of the dreaded orange-toned bright red. (Look, no offense if you luuuuurve orange-reds, but I loathe them. HAAAAATE.)

One area where this actually seems to be an improvement over the Super Lustrous line is in durability. It’s drier in texture and less sticky than the Super Lustrous, probably because it is brighter and more opaque so you don’t have to goop as much on.

It’s got a noticeably strong sweet smell, like candy. While not offensive, I prefer my cosmetics to not have any kind of odor.

So while I am somewhat mollified, I am still seriously considering writing a disgruntled letter to Revlon. Who’s with me?! C’mon, I know Cherries in the Glow had something of a cult following, in spite of the dumb name. (Most make-up has idiotic names, anyway.)

cosmetics review: harajuku lovers fragrance (love & G)

Can I just preface this review by stating: I am a 35-year-old woman.

My step-father has been wearing the same Caswell-Massey cologne since about the time Gary Hart’s presidential run was sunk, but apparently they changed the formula and he and Mom have been searching for a new scent for him. He bought Armani Code the other day, which my brother (who is something of a cologne buff) declares is for guys in their early 20s and completely innapropriate.

ANYWAY. David and Mom were yapping about cologne and perfume for like hours on end yesterday, and it made me realize that I haven’t worn any perfume since I used up the last of my most recently purchased bottle of Michael by Michael Kors. It’s been my signature scent for years, but I kind of feel ready for a change, which is probably why I didn’t run out and buy another bottle. Plus, as David pointed out, this climate, especially in the summer, really requires a lighter scent. Michael is mostly tuberose and as such is quite heavy for a floral.

I have to admit, it was the adorable bottles that made me notice Harajuku Lovers, the line of fragrances from Gwen Stefani. Normally I wouldn’t give celebrity perfumes a second look, but there was a tester of G, so I gave it a sniff, and actually… it’s quite good!

It’s the category of fragrance known as “gourmand”, because it’s not clearly Oriental or Citrus/Fruity or Floral, but a bit of each. It’s a little woodsy; but there’s also jasmine, magnolia, coconut, and although it doesn’t list it on any of the packaging, I swear I can smell apple. Which sounds like it should make for one hot mess of a fragrance, but actually it all comes together really delightfully.

They’re pretty small bottles, just 1 oz. so I also got Love, which is a more standard light floral, but also has some really clean, refreshing aquatic notes. I think I also want to eventually get Music (citrus, honeysuckle, vanilla) and Lil Angel (rasberry, amber, hinoki woods), which sound like they’re also some pretty exotic combos. Maybe even Baby; although the top note is musk, which normally I don’t like at all, it also has bergamot in it.

The only thing I don’t love is that they’re eau de toilette, not parfum, which means the scent probably won’t make it to lunch time. However, maybe that’s for the best, because I work with 15 other women and if we all wore strong perfume, the office would smell like a bordello.

ETA: I’ve since bought and tried Lil Angel, and I don’t much care for it. Initially it smells good; but within the first hour everything but the rasberry disappears, and you’re left with a cloyingly sweet fruity reek that smells like something you’d buy at CVS for 99 cents.

Still, G and Love are both great scents, and last longer than I would have thought. I still want to try Music, but it’s proving difficult to locate. I’ll probably have to get it online.

make-up review: cover girl’s smoky shadow blast (tempest blue)

Quick capsule review: Don’t waste your money. Especially if you live in a humid climate.

I’d been looking for blue eyeshadow and not having much luck; everything is either too dark or too matte. Then I saw this new product, and the blue one (second from right) looked like just the shades/amount of frost I was looking for.

Too bad it went on spotty (when you try to add a second coat, the stick just rubs off the first one) and creased before lunch. Not only that, it smears whatever you put over it. So if you wear a black or brown eyeliner over it, or put it along your bottom lashline and then apply mascara on your bottom lashes, you’re going to wind up with raccoon eyes. It’s like applying eye make-up to a base of petroleum jelly.

The problems I had with it were probably compounded by the high humidity environment I live in; but I’m willing to bet it would still crease and smudge in a drier climate, and I know it would still apply badly.

It’s too bad, because the last make-up item I reviewed, Outlast Lip Stain, was also Cover Girl, and I loved it. However, I don’t think the problem is with Cover Girl so much as with the basic formula of cream eyeshadow. Seriously, why does this stuff even exist? And when am I going to stop thinking I bet this cream eyeshadow will work, unlike every other cream eyeshadow I’ve tried since 1985?

However, there’s hope: While I was buying hemorrhoid cream after work today — IT’S FOR UNDER MY EYES SHUT UP — I found Maybelline Eye Studio in Spirited Seas. It looks like the shades of blue I want, and I like that they put them with browns, because that’s actually how I wear blue eyeshadow. We’re not talking the undifferentiated wall of medium blue circa 9th grade, here. Plus, I already have this product in Give Me Gold, so I know it’s really shimmery yet surprisingly long-lasting.

sock it to me

I always bought knee highs when I lived in the Bay Area. It was rarely too hot for them; when it was it was usually one of the few sandal days we have per year, anyway. But I found myself wishing for shorter socks by the second week of April here. Luckily, there’s an app for that my favorite brand sold at Sock, Sock It To Me, also has a fine array of shorter lengths. I love SITM because their socks are cut generously enough to fit around my calves, all the way up to my knees, without warping the pattern.

In addition to these awesome smiley toast socks, I also got lotus blossom socks, cherry socks, and bumblebee socks. Oh, and I may have gotten a pair of mushroom knee highs that will have to wait for cooler weather.

You know what I totally dread? That I will wind up with a job that doesn’t allow fun socks, and I will be stuck with 2 drawers bulging full of adorable socks that I will only be able to wear on my days off.

make-up review: cover girl outlast lip stain

A cardinal rule of make-up — maybe the only cardinal rule — is that you emphasize lips or eyes, but never both. I prefer eyes, so for years my default lip gloss was Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Cherries in the Glow. It was a nice neutral light red that wasn’t too dramatic or too wimpy and went with virtually everything.

However, my hair is currently probably the longest it’s ever been in my life, and I don’t have any immediate plans to cut it, and lip gloss is sticky. I got tired of picking strands of hair off my lips a hundred times a day, so I started shopping around for a replacement. In the past few years I’ve virtually stopped wearing lipstick. It’s just too heavy, like you’ve got a coat of paint on your lips. So I thought I’d try a lip stain, which is a more natural look I’ve always liked.

Cover Girl Outlast Lip Stain is basically like a felt pen for your lips. It stands up to a whole day of use and really only comes off entirely when I wipe my face down with cold cream at the end of the day. I found it on sale for buy one/get one 1/2 off, so I picked up a couple. And I liked it enough that I went back the next day and bought 2 more. I have it in Everbloom Kiss (a light pink), Teasing Blush (a light brownish pink), Flirty Nude (a light coral), and Cinnamon Smile (a light brown). The other colors are all too dark or bright for me, but that is strictly a personal preference and not an indictment of the colors themselves. If you stress lips over eyes, they’d do.

One drawback is that lip stains do not contain moisturizers like lipsticks or glosses, and if you have a tendency for dry lips, this may present a problem. I almost always wear Burt’s Bees when I am not wearing lip gloss or stain, so mine stay moist enough. You could apply a clear lip balm or gloss over the stain; this will make it moister but will also make it come off easier.

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