Monday, July 31, 2017

REVIEW: Nars The Multiple Cheek, Eye and Lip Color

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Texture - 5 (excellent)
Pigment - 3 (average)
Wear - 2 (not very good)
Longevity - 3 (average)


So today we are reviewing the Nars The Multiple. This product is supposed to be a whipped, easily blended, eye, cheek and lip color that add a shimmery, glowy, dewy look to anyone's face.

So First we have the packaging, and I love Nars packaging. It looks and feel luxurious and expensive, and I love that. It is also a very practical applicator and is sturdy so it has my stamp of approval. I also ADORE the texture of this product. I love whipped mousse-like blushes. They are so light and airy and blendable. When you swipe this on your cheek the heat from your skin melts it and makes it that much easier to blend. I don't even need a beauty blender, it is that easy!

So I tried this is two shades, the famous Orgasm (which is pictured and is a light warm pink with a golden shimmer) and 413 BLKR (which is a deeper berry shade). I chose these two because I wanted to be able to see the pigment and shine from two different shades. I did not feel like these were well pigmented. Even with the darker shade I had to layer twice, Orgasm I had to do 3-4 times before you could see it. Layering it over other blushes did just add a tiny bit of warmth or dimension, but it's not a good stand alone product. It also doesn't stay on long, which is why it got a 2 out of 5 for Wear. I have to reapply this at least twice per day. That leads us to Longevity, which landed on a 3. This is because you have to use A LOT of layers which means it is gone faster. This would normally warrant a 2, but I felt like each layer needed very little product and blended super well, so I bumped it up to a 3.

Overall I do not recommend this product. I feel for $39, you should save $9 and pick up a classic blush or a liquid blush in these same shades and just use very little or dilute with moisturizer if you want a softer finish or to add depth to another blush.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Color Street Vs Jamberry

ALRIGHT! I promised in my last review (which was a stand alone review about Color Street) that I would write this post. The first thing I am going to do is link my individual reviews of both products. So if you want to see my stand alone review of Jamberry click here, and for my review of Color Street click here. I also have to put up a little disclaimer that I do not sell either of these products and none of the links I put on here will give me
any kind of kickbacks, commissions or benefits.

So just like other Product Battles I am going to look at several factors and determine which brand is the "winner" in said factor and why. However before I do that I am going to explain what these things are! Jamberry and Color Street are both Direct Sales Multilevel Marketing companies similar to Mary Kay, Avon, It Works or Pampered Chef. Both of them sell nail wrap products that help you to achieve adorable manicures and pedicures at home for a fraction of the cost of a salon look.

Jamberry wins on this one, although that may change in 3 years. Jamberry has been around for seven years, while Color Street is brand new and has only been in business for a couple of months. Jamberry has TONS of designs, I was really impressed. I didn't count them all but I would say over a thousand different looks can be found. They also have a Disney Collection that is super cute, kid's sets, a line that has sports and college logos on them as well as a Design Studio where you can have your own custom wraps made! Color Street has a solid 40 designs to start with including geometric designs, some looks that are bold and bright, some that are sleek and simple, soft and romantic looks and more. In addition to nail art they also have french tip options, solid colors and glitter shades! I think they have a really solid start as far as designs and I can't wait to see them hone in on more chic looks in the future! I am sure they will collab in the future, they are a baby company after all, but Jamberry has them solidly beat here. Did I forget to mention Jamberry also has a Wonder Woman and Peanuts collection!? Because they do and it is AMAZING!

If you know me then you know I care about ingredients very much! Jamberry and Color Street are both free of Parabens, Formaldehyde, DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, and Xylene! Woo! But Jamberry barely edged out Color Street by also being free of Triphenyl phosphate. However I will admit that of all the "toxic" ingredients often found in nail polish, this one is the least worrisome to me. It is used to improve flexibility as well as being a fire retardant. However in a study TPHP was linked to endocrine disruption, and although scientists insist that the amount in nail polish is not harmful, it is always good to be safe. 

 You're probably like "but wait, you just said Color Street had that bad chemical in it, how did it win?" Because TPHP isn't actually bad for your nails at all. But what is bad? Filing or buffing the nail plate which is a part of applying Jamberry nail wraps. Also the strong adhesive on the Jamberry wraps is basically just strong glue that often causes damage when removing. Where the Color Street options are 100% Nail Polish and do not have any kind of glue-like adhesive and do not require you to file/buff the nail plate.

Because of some controversy I am going to expound on this one a little. First of all with Jamberry if you pick or peel of your wraps (which is not recommended) you WILL damage the nail, there is no way around it. And if you do not push back the cuticle you WILL damage the cuticle. You also have to buff the nail plate to give the nail grip so the adhesive can hang on,  (a lot of people file the  nail plate because it makes the wraps last longer, but this is also not recommended). With Color Street while it is recommended that you push back the cuticle (because it will look nicer, and your mani will last longer) you will not damage your cuticle if you don't. You also don't have to buff the nail plate at all. And if you pick the wraps off you will see it is the same as picking off polish. You may nick your nail plate, but most often you are just fine. However with Jamberry wraps the removal process if long, which causes a lot of people to pick and peel their wraps. Color Street takes about 3 seconds to remove, so it's not as big of a problem. This is my personal opinion and experience.

Durability has to go to Jamberry too. Their wraps pretty much stay on until you take them off. The Color Street ones last for up to 2 weeks, but will chip if you work with your hands a lot. Because Color Street is 100% nail polish, it behaves like a high quality chip resistant nail polish. However that is chip resistant, not chip proof. Jamberry pretty much stays put (at least in my experience) so it is the clear winner.

The Color Street wraps are WAY faster to apply than Jamberry. I will break down the steps for each in the next comparison but Jamberry has 5 extra steps (6 if you count the one mentioned in comparison 8). The first time I did a Jamberry Manicure it took me just over 20 minutes to do one manicure. With Color Street in just under 20 minutes I did a Manicure and Pedicure! While it is true that if you practice and apply them often your Jam Wraps will become very fast to apply, the truth is the same with Color Street, and I personally feel like after years of practice you'd still be faster with Color Street, they are just SO EASY to apply.

 So I just made a chart below to show the step by step process of each product. It makes it clear why Color Street wins this one.
EDIT - A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE ON MY CASE BECAUSE OF STEP #3 (FILE NAIL PLATE). I had been taught to do this, however you do not need to file the nail plate BUT you do need to buff it, which is not currently a step on the list and is not necessary for Color Street. I am noting the correction due to a lot of feedback, but I am not adjusting the list because it is a minor detail that doesn't effect the outcome of this post.

On top of Color Street needing 5 less steps than Jamberry, you can't touch the back of Jamberry nail wraps. The adhesive is to strong and it will become difficult to remove. This is not the case with Color Street. If you drop Jamberry on your table, hardwood floor or carpet it is a pain to scrape off, and that is not an issue with Color Street.

I also want to point out why Push Back Cuticle is not a step for Color Street. While it is recommended because it makes for a cleaner nicer application, if you don't push back your cuticles your Color Street wrap will still work great! The Jamberry Nail wrap however will damage your cuticle a lot if you do not push it back properly and will often cause premature lifting, so it is a must for Jams and not for CS.

 This one was easy. Jamberry Nails have a lot of steps to remove. You have to warm them up again, use an orangewood stick to lift the edges, soak in polish remover, and go back and forth between lifting and soaking. If you do this wrong you could really end up harming your nail plate which is no good. Plus after you will have to work to remove the residue that is left behind. It took me 40 minutes to take of my Jamberry Mani! Color Street is real polish so you can just wipe it away with acetone or polish remover and a cotton round. Easy as pie.

 Color Street sets always include a mini nail file and two prep pads for you to use so you have everything you need right there in the set! Jamberry requires a heating device (use a blow dryer or their own heater that they sell for $20), as well as an orange wood stick, mini scissors, and a nail file. You can buy a fairly affordable set from them that I believe is around $60 and includes all this, a few other items and some wraps, it's a good deal. But you do have to gather all the items up which adds another step to your process, and not every wrap comes equipped with what you need for application.

Last but not least, value. This was a close call but I gave it to Color Street (in all fairness I gave the last close call to Jamberry). The reason I chose Color Street has two parts. 1- I like that my nails look and feel like a REAL manicure. It's hard to say Jamberry does that because their wraps look and feel like plastic... because they basically are. Color Street is REAL nail polish, so it is a better replacement for a salon manicure. It's like replacing chocolate cake with mug cake, vs replacing it with a blueberry muffin. The muffin is good, it tastes nice, and is still a treat, but it's not much like the cake at all. The second reason I chose Color Street is I do feel you can get more Manis and Pedis out of it. Jamberry fans will say you can get more from their sets, but I disagree. I think you have to waste more with Jamberry and their wraps aren't stretchy at all either. The Color Street wraps are more flexible and I was able to get a little more out of them.

 AND THE WINNER IS...........

In the end I like both brands, and encourage you try both for yourself. I think that the hustle of running your own MLM is hard, and one I respect. I have nothing but love for the men and women who work hard doing just that no matter what company they are with! Support local businesses guys, I bet you all have friends on Facebook who sell one of these!


SoChoix First Impresison

The newest beauty box in town crawled across my Facebook feed about a week ago and I was immediately interested. This box is called So Choix. So I did a little research, signed up and got my first box already! If you haven't read this article already you may want to. This one shows what I think about these crazy beauty boxes and what I look for in them, and it compares Beauty Con Box, BoxyCharm, Beauty Box 5, the Allure Box, Birchbox and Ipsy. I Chose Ipsy as my winner because I liked the price point, I like the quality of item in it, the variety, the points system, the customization as well as the value. I feel like if I saw the item I get in my Ipsy at the store bundled together for $10 I would buy it often. I couldn't say the same for the other boxes (even if their value was better, they didn't have items I liked).

What really piqued my interest with this box is that you could CHOOSE your items! That's right! They have hundreds of choices from great brands like Bobbi Brown, Nars, Tom Ford, and others! Not only can you pick the items you want you can pick the SHADE! My biggest complaint with these subscriptions is the amount of stuff I build up that I will never use in a million years because they are not my kind of product, not my shade, etc. This completely eliminates this issue!

So I picked a few different items to try from their selection for my first box! I chose a Tom Ford bronzing liquid primer, Glam Glow Thirsty mud Hydrating Treatment, Clinique Pop Lip Color + primer, Bobbie Brown Intensifying Long Wear Mascara, and a Marc Jacobs Shameless Bold Blush. What a great group of items! I love that I got to choose a blush color I don't own, but want to try and a lip color I am crazy about but I have never tried any Clinique lip products before!

So I got the box. Out of the gate the first thing I noticed is that is came with a little package of applicators. I got a mini blush brush, a q-tip, a disposable lip brush and a disposable mascara wand. I liked it, I mean it's not a lot, nothing amazing, but it's different, it's extra. They got points form me for that. Then I saw that they threw in an extra foil packet with a Dior Eye treatment in it! I love me a freebie! More points.

Unfortunately it went downhill from there. The bronzing primer came in a cheap syringe like lip gloss applicator, the glam glow had half an application in a little plastic jar, the lip color and the blush came in a small silver pan and the mascara came in a tiny glass jar. All of them had cheap white sticker labels on them. I was happy with the two that came in little pans, and the Tom Ford primer does have enough for 5 uses or so. However I couldn't even get the mascara wand fully submerged in the tiny amount of mascara I got, the glam glow masque wasn't enough to cover my face. My biggest problem is the size. You don't get travel sizes,you get baby samples, like use it maybe once or twice sizes. They take full sizes and empty them into small magnetic circle pans and itty bitty test tubes and I am not a fan of that. Not worth it.

I feel like So Choix might be nice if you want to try a bunch of lipstick colors, or if you are looking for a new shade but you don't want to spend a lot. You can effectively try 5 blush or lip shades for $15, which is nice. However you will need a metal palette to put them in (I recommend the Makeup Forever Metal Palette) or the ZPalette is pretty popular. I am otherwise discontinuing my subscription. Especially since some of these samples I can literally get for free at a Sephora. YIKES!

If you want to check out So Choix click here!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

REVIEW: Color Street Nails

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Ease of Use - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 3 (average)
Removal - 5 (excellent)
Variety - 4 (very good)
Value - 3 (average)
Nail Health - 5 (excellent)

Okay so first I am going to get a little disclaimer out of the way. I AM NOT  A REP FOR COLOR STREET. I do not sell it, I do not get paid to promote it, and I am not going to link you to anything that gives me rewards or money. Now that that's out of the way, I am going to talk about what Color Street is.

A lot of you remember Jamberry. If you want to see my review on Jamberry to compare you can read it here. Jamberry is a direct sale company (like Mary Kay or It Works) that sells nail wraps. They were insanely popular about 2 years ago, but have kind of gone out of trend. I bring them  up because Color Street is also a direct sale company that sells nail wraps, but theirs are different. I gave Jamberry a 3/5 star rating, and what pulled them up to that 3 stars was their packaging and their variety, while Color Street got 4 starts. So I will be releasing after this another post that compares the two together directly. I will link it as soon as it goes up.

First of all the packaging. It came in a simple but cute pink bubble envelope, and had the wraps and shipping information inside. The wraps are in small very plain cardboard envelopes that are simple and what you'd expect. I did notice each envelope has an American Flag heart prominently displayed on it and says "Made in America" and I love that! I know a lot of my readers aren't American, but I do like supporting American business, since I am an American, and I like that they are proud to be made in America. But there is nothing fancy or luxurious looking about the packaging.

There was a good variety of choices for the company being only a couple months old. I am sure they will have hundreds of choices in a couple years, but I like what they had. They had a lot of solid colored ones, some cute nail art, glitter options and even a french tip choice. The had subtle patterns, bold ones, romantic looks and geometric ones too. I loved the options and I felt like there was something for everyone.

So the next part is that the product lasts for up to 2 weeks. I think it hold up better than my nail polish, even my OPI and ESSIE, but it isn't immovable. It does chip. For value I gave it a 3 because you can actually get a decent amount of Manicures and Pedicures out of one set. Each set comes with 16 strips because they assume that your fingers or toes may be different widths and want you to find the ones  that fit your needs. However they are long enough to put onto 2 nails each at least! I am able to do 3 manicures with one set of strips and 4 pedicures, because my toenails are tiny and one wrap can often do 3-4 nails. This turns out to be about $4 per manicure or pedicure. The sets cost $11-$14 (so if you stick with the less expensive looks they actually average out to be only $3.14 each!) And while I wouldn't say my nails look as clean as a pro manicure, (although it's close and may get better as I use them more) it's a SIXTH of the cost! However there are less expensive options on the market. You can buy similar style wraps for around $6 so it's not very competitive in pricing.

Okay so let's talk about actually using these nail wraps or nail strips. So first of all these strips are made of real nail polish. They are not stickers that you melt onto your nails or anything like that. You prep your nails by filing the nail's free edge and pushing back the cuticle like you would for any polish or manicure. The sets always include two small "nail prep" wipes that you put on your nails to get them nice and clean. You get the set of nail wraps and you remove the clear plastic sheet in the front, and then using a tab located on each "nail" you remove the wrap you'd like to use. The sets come with 16 nails so you can have different size options, but you may want to cut them in half or even smaller to get more out of your sets. I personally prefer to cut them after I have taken off the front and back sheets. Then you place it on your nail and you can cut the excess away. Then you file the free edge again to make it all nice and smooth and you are done. It took me about 20 minutes the first time I ever did this to do both a manicure and pedicure! My FIRST TIME!

Because these are actual nail polish you do not need to file the nail plate before application, and you also can remove the polish easily with acetone or polish remover like any other nail lacquer. This means your nails stay healthy and damage free, and removal is easy and fast. I like that my nails look and feel like a real polish... because that's what this is! No harsh adhesives and they are also free of formaldehyde (and formaldehyde  resin), camphor, toluene, DBP, and parabens! Woo!

If you are interested in learning more about Color Street or purchasing it check it out here. Although I highly recommend finding a friend or consultant to purchase from, so you can support local business and people who are trying to hustle to earn a living.

Friday, July 7, 2017

REVIEW: Redken No Blow Dry NBD Styling Cream

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 4 (very good)
Hydration - 4 (very good)
Body - 5 (excellent)
Texture - 5 (excellent)

The idea of this product is that you are supposed to be able to put it in your hair after lightly towel drying it, and it will add frizz free volume, enhance texture and give you a great natural look without blow drying or styling your hair. I am a little obsessed with it.

So first of all the packaging is clean and professional looking, and it is my favorite kind of packaging! It is a squeeze tube that sits on it's lid, which means you get a lot of product quickly. It has a really light crisp smell. The only thing is I wish it were a little stronger. You can't smell it at all about 30 to 45 minutes after you apply it. When I use it I apply the product on my palms and and then scrunch it into my hair. It is super easy to use with almost no learning curve.

After I use it my hair has a weightless feeling, and it is soft and hydrated. I can comb my finger through my hair and I love that! It has a lot of body with little frizz. Sometimes I do add a little bit of lightweight hairspray, but not always. My hair has a lot of texture when I use this. I have natural wave that if I just air dry is almost nonexistent, but if I use a curl cream they are full curls! This cream is perfect because I get loose curls and waves that are touchable, not crunchy and not clumpy. I am converted!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

REVIEW: TIGI Bed Head Rockaholic Fun Times Flexible Hairspray

Packaging - 3 (average)
Scent - 4 (very good)
Hold - 5 (excellent)
Texture - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)

So this is pretty much an amazing hairspray. It is a light hold hairspray (aka "flexible"). It holds but I wouldn't recommend it for someone whose hair just doesn't hold style or that needs a lot of reinforcement. However it dries fairly quickly, doesn't make your hair appear or feel stiff, and a little goes a long way. That is pretty much everything I need in a light hold hairspray! Oh and did I mention it smells fabulous? Because it does!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

REVIEW: Living Proof In-Shower Styler

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 4 (very good)
Hydration - 2 (not very good)
Body - 4 (very good)
Texture - 2 (not very good)
Easy To Use - 3 (average)

So if you know me you know I LOVE Living Proof products. So when I saw this new product pop up in my news feed on Facebook I had to get it to try! The idea behind the In-Shower Styler is that it cuts down on styling time for your hair by enhancing your hair's natural body and texture as well as adding softness, shine and hydration. My hair is medium density and texture, and it has natural wave, so it's not super curly, but it's not straight either. My hair is the PERFECT candidate for this product, because it has texture to enhance! I usually use curl creams and oils to bring my curls to life.

So first let's look at the packaging. I like things that are clean, crisp and straight forward, and Living Proof products always have that clean sophistication when it comes to their packaging. But it is also functional. This product will likely reside in your shower. So it has a sturdy tube with a wide base that is meant to stand up on the lid, which makes it easier to get product out of quickly. It also has the expected and familiar scent of crisp citrus that is found in other Living Proof PHD products.

So let's talk about using it. You have to put quite a bit of the product in your hair, so that is a bummer I didn't even score.  Then you wait a few minutes and rinse it out - but not completely. It takes time to find that balance of how much product to use and how long to rinse your hair for. Too long and your product is gone, but not long enough and your hair is coated in a heavy greasy product that doesn't feel good. So there is a learning curve and it took me almost two weeks to find the right balance. That is why I gave it a lower ease of use score, I felt once you know how to use it, it's easy for sure, but getting there takes time.

After I used the In Shower Styler I tried drying my hair a few different ways. I tried towel drying and scrunching my hair (which is what I normally do using a curl cream, but this time I left the cream out) as well as towel drying longer than normal and then applying oil and scrunching, and I also tried light braiding for about 15 minutes and then letting it out and scrunching. Each resulted in a similar look. My hair had body and fullness, which I liked, but it was also frizzy, which isn't normal for my hair. My hair felt pretty dry when I used it and I had to apply oil to my ends to protect them. I also had some curl, but not a lot of curl. Less than I get with a curl cream or other methods of bringing out my natural texture.

While this wasn't my favorite product in the world, what I did like about it a lot was that it acted like a sort of primer for my hair. When I used hot tools my curls came faster and lasted longer. I also had to use less curl cream and other products when I used the In Shower Styler. My braids were more pliable and lasted longer without fly aways as well. I am not sure that is worth the money, but it was a small plus side.