Monday, September 24, 2012

An Ode to Near-Black Nail Polish

Nearly every brand has done it. Nearly everyone has owned one. Ah yes, I am talking about dark, vampy, nearly black nail polish.

Example: This is very, very dark purple!
Actual black nail polish dates back to the 1970s, when the goth/punk community embraced the dark look. However, the release of Chanel Rouge Noir in 1996 (made popular by Uma Thurmon in Pulp Fiction, one of my favorite films!) caused a frenzy in dark, vampy shades. Chanel propelled the trend again in 2006 releasing Black Satin, a black with subtle silver shimmer. Celebrities were suddenly all sporting black manicures at events and award shows. I remember admiring Nicole Richie's dark manicures, thinking they looked so chic.

Then came along a shade that made OPI a household name; Lincoln Park After Dark. Back in my early years of high school, I distinctly recall stealing my older sister's bottle (and consequently the bickering that followed). Some hated the shade, some adored it. I was of the latter camp; last year I finished off an entire bottle!

As with most trends, near-black nail polish is not nearly as popular as it once was. However, last night I had the urge to sport some dark nails and I chose China Glaze's VIII. It is an exact dupe (in my opinion, that is) of OPI's Siberian Nights.

China Glaze VIII (2 coats, natural light)
I cannot rave enough about this super dark purple shade. The application is perfect, and it lasts for ages. I once wore it 12 days without a single chip. If you are looking to try out a near-black polish, I would go for this one. China Glaze retails for ~$5-6 a bottle, and you can probably find it cheaper online.

Although near-black nail polish may not be "on trend" every season, I can see myself wearing it for years to come. An ionic shade, dark polish will always be a fall/winter staple for moi.

Do you enjoy these dark, near-black shades or consider it a relic of the past? Any shades you think I should try? I'd love to know what you think x

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes

Up until last year, Tarte was a brand I wasn't all too familiar with. However when their 24-hour Amazonian Clay blushes released, they definitely got my attention. I currently own two out of their extensive line, which include matte and shimmer finishes.

L: Exposed R: Tipsy swatched moderately

The first one I purchased was Tipsy, since Anna sung its praises I had to try it out for myself. This is my favorite out of the two; it imparts such a nice healthy glow but is still bright, fun coral shade. Word of caution: use a light hand and/or stippling brush with this one. It has high clown-looking potential if not. It swatches beautifully, wears well, and due to its pigmentation, will likely last me until my 60s.

Next up is the famous Exposed. Now, every blogger/vlogger in the world was raving about this shade last winter. It is a rosey, neutral pinky brown shade that is along the lines of Mac Blushbaby and Nars Douceur. I really like "sculpting" blushes of this nature; they seem to contour my cheeks while giving me some color. After months of use, I'm still unsure if Exposed does it for me. Hype aside, I find I have to use a lot to make it show up on my face (~NW/NC 20-25, neutral leaning to cool). Still, it is a high quality blush that I will definitely use frequently this winter. Once my summer tan is completely gone (which will be soon, sad face), I think Exposed will rise through the ranks for me.

Wearing Exposed today but I doubt you can tell...

Do you own any of the Tarte blushes, in particular Exposed? I'd love to know your experiences and shade recommendations x Have a great Thursday!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Things I've Been Loving: Lazy Uni/College Edition

Hey there blog, it's been awhile...I embarked on my third year of uni/college a few weeks ago and it has decided to take over my whole life, give or take. Time management has never been my forte but I am going to try to post at least 1-2 times per week at the least!

In light of my busy schedule (aka no life..) today I decided to share some of the products I've been loving...especially the ones that save me time in the morning. Sleep will always trump my morning routine, no contest there.

First up are the eyes...

Mac Quarry e/s & Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze

Oops, backwards swatching. L - Bad to the Bronze R- Quarry
Quarry is one of my favorite crease shades from Mac, and lately I've been so lazy that I discovered sweeping some all over my lid into the crease looks pretty good. Gives definition, and compliments my brown eyes I think.

The Color Tattoo is more of a no-brainer easy eye look. Bad to the Bronze seems to be the crowd favorite amongst bloggers, and I have to admit it is a great cream eyeshadow. Sometimes I find it a bit too shimmery, but if you pat on a little it looks fine for everyday. Without primer, it lasts about 6 hours on me which is pretty good considering my lids are very crease-prone. My camera isn't the best, but if you can tell I've used quite a bit of this since I picked it up in the spring. I've been loving other Color Tattoos as well, might do a post on those too.

Onto some skincare bits (personally my favorite category)...

Out of all the Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, my favorite by far is the peppermint. If you're unfamiliar with  castille soaps, they are basically an emulsion of water and several different oils. I use this one to clean my non-synthetic hair makeup brushes and it works amazingly well! I also love it as a body wash after working out; the peppermint is so refreshing. G. over at Nouveau Cheap (a must-read blog for me) recently did a post on her love of Dr. Bronner's...check it out here. Reminded me how much I love these liquid soaps.

Last but definitely not least is Jack Black's Intense Therapy lip balm in Lemon & Chamomile. WHY have I not tried Jack Black until now?? This stuff is nothing short of AMAZING. I hate using the term "holy grail" but this balm just may be it for me. The smell is lemon-y but not overpowering...I do love lemon flavor and scent so if you can't relate, they make several other flavors like traditional mint. It stays on for ages, and moisturizes my lips so well. It contains lanolin, which is a great moisturizing ingredient, as well as SPF 25, pretty great for just a lip balm. I usually apply this at night but it is clear so you wear it whenever.

Voila, the products I've been loving these days. Anything that works well and enables me to sleep in longer gets a nod of approval from me...

What products have you been enjoying lately? Any recommendations for me? x Linds