Nail of the Week: Chanel Espadrilles…dupe!

I really wanted Chanel ‘Espadrilles’ nail polish after I saw it on Sabrina, but no only is a Chanel counter a few hours away, it’s likely the counter would not have this color yet. Boosted by confidence from past lab mixes, I headed to the lab (aka makeshift space on my work desk) to mix a dupe.

Espadrilles is a bright orange red. So obviously, would would need a red to mix one. I know I have a reliable one in the OPI ‘Over and Over A-Gwen, from the Gwen Stafani, my first red love. Next, perhaps a yellow? After mxing Zoya ‘Creamy’ (a yellow) in the the OPI, and vice versa, I wasn’t satisfied with the results – too muddy and not bright and sparkling.

Next I tried mixing a little of the red OPI into a bright orange cream – OPI ‘Brights Power’ – and…bingo! I got what I wanted, a bright orange red! I really like this combination enough that I am ok with not having Espadrilles, although I did keep a lookout of it in the Chanel Changi counter, though did not see it.

OPI 'Over & Over A-Gwen' mixed with OPI 'Brights Power'
OPI ‘Over & Over A-Gwen’ mixed with OPI ‘Brights Power’

I think I need a back up of Over and Over A-Gwen, it is such a useful one to have!

Left: OPI 'Over and Over A-Gwen' and right, mixed with OPI 'Brights Power'
Left: OPI ‘Over and Over A-Gwen’ and right, mixed with OPI ‘Brights Power’

Bonus: I also like the look of OPI ‘Pineapples Have Feelings Too!’ but didn’t really like the online swatches that I saw – the multicolor glitters are drowned by the yellow – so layered Milani ‘Gems’ over China Glaze ‘Golden Opportunity’ and voila! A big stash of polish is really a useful one!

Milani 'Gems' over China Glaze 'Golden Opportunity'
Milani ‘Gems’ over China Glaze ‘Golden Opportunity’

Glitter for the Holidays: OPI Which is Witch?

OPI which is witch3I am all about glitter, especially for the holidays, but not much for those hair-thin, stick-straight sparkles. If there is a sort of phobia over makeup, that’s probably mine. To me, the look reminds me too much of creepy, crawley things (think spider hair). BUT when those things are mixed with multi-color, multi-shape glitter, like in OPI Which is Witch, it’s alright. Here, Which is Witch is over OPI Mermaid’s Tears. I must be the only blogger posting chipped nails, but this was the only sufficiently sunny day last week to take pictures.

Incidentally, my project over the holidays will be to replicate this nail look. Isn’t it beautiful?

 

Nail of the Week: Zoya FeiFei and OPI Suzi Says Feng Shui

Zoya FeiFei OPI Suzi Says Feng ShuiThis is Zoya FeiFei over OPI Suzi Says Feng Shui. It’s the first time I wore FeiFei, I think. Described by Zoya as “medium steel blue base with heavy gold and blue iridescent metallic sparkle,” the blue is a bit lost on me, so I layered OPI Suzi Says Feng Shui (a bright cobalt) underneath. Perfect!

Best of Beauty for over a Decade

top beauty products over a decade

The true test of quality is when you repurchase an item over and over again for years, despite other similar products in the market. Here are some products I’ve used and repurchased for at least a decade.

1.   Lush Magnaminty

I am a devotee of Lush skincare. I got introduced to the brand when I lived in the US, and at that time, there were no Lush store in the US. I ordered my first batch from Canada, and ever since that first package, I got hooked. There’s a few staples from Lush that I always stock, but Magnaminty, the clay mask+scrub in one, is one that is unique, and I have not been able to find a comparable product in other brands. Sure, there are lots of clay masks around, some with even exfoliants mixed in, and I’ve tried most of the popular ones like Glam+Glow, Queen Helene, etc, but Magnaminty is still superior in its deep cleansing and exfoliating power. Since Lush closed their shops in Indonesia, I have had this ferried to me from numerous cities across four continents. Anyone heading to a city where there is a Lush store will receive a request of Lush goodies by me, and most often Magnaminty is in the list.

2. Lush T’eo Deodorant

T’eo is another one of my staples from Lush. It is a gentle deodorant made of baking soda and lemon+lime concoction, and it’s a great one to be used at home and during days of low impact activities indoors.

3. Burt’s Bees Repair Serum with Attar of Rose

This has been a staple ever since my first encounters with the harsh winters of the north. I had initially thought a heavy duty night cream will work, for my oily face. A few days of that and my skin was peeling. The Burt’s Bees Repair Serum is a saver of a night cream, and I use it from face to neck to decollete. A decade ago, face oils weren’t so much of a trend, and the Repair Serum is one that was affordable and easy to obtain. I still have this in rotation as a night cream, although I rotate that with others. But after trying a few face oils, I still think this one is a winner that hydrates, tones, and protects the skin.

4. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat

Seche Vite is a fast dry top coat for the nails. I probably got introduced to it around the mid 2000s, and after a few trials and errors with other top coats, fast dry or otherwise, this is the one that I go back to again, and again. Seche Vite really lets me get on with life 5 minutes after I put it on. Some people find it harden quickly in the bottle – well, that’s what it’s designed to do, to harden with exposure to air. The key to keeping it a nice consistency is to drop a bit of polish thinner (I use Seche Restore, but other nail polish thinner will work) in the bottle after a few uses. Don’t wait until it hardens, but just as it gets too gooey for comfortable use, drop some thinner in and shake.

5. OPI Nail Polish

My oldest OPI nail polish was probably from 2003 and it’s still as good as when I got it. The key is keeping them closed tight. Sure, they harden, but nothing that a bit of thinner can not remedy. OPI nail polish are consistent in their formula, have a great variation of colors, relatively long-lasting, priced competitively, and most of all, I love their brush that is perfect in length and width. Perhaps I am just biased because I’m so used to them (there was once a Caroline New York nail polish brand, and I like the brush on their nail polishes as well), but I think the key to a polished nail look is half the color and half the application, so a brush that you like is already half the success.

What are you tried and true products?

 

NOTW: When What I Really, Really Want is Guerlain ‘Blue Ocean’

collage guerlain blue oceanAlas, I don’t have it. So off to the lab I went, and concocted my own version using what’s in my stash. It’s a lot of trial and error (the end result is a base of For Audrey with a little bit of others mixed in), and my craving for Blue Ocean is a bit under control, for now.

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In the process, somehow I craved for more pastels, so on with Essie ‘Turks and Caicos’, which I haven’t worn for the longest time. Now I’m sated with pastels, and craving something dark, maybe a navy…..

notw turks and caicos essie (2)

Review and Swatches: Chanel Mediterranée Nail Polish

Chanel Mediterranee (2)When I first saw the Chanel Mediterranée nail polish online (summer 2015 collection), I headed straight to Michelle’s blog (aka the nail polish library) to check if she thinks there are dupes –  similar colors in non-Chanel price would be awesome. She did not, and I perfunctorily ordered one. Love blues, and this one looks like a stand out, therefore prone to quickly disappear from counters.

And ta-da! Here it is. It’s a wonderful blue indeed, not too bright and in low light there is a dusty quality to it. The closest similar thing I have in my arsenal is OPI’s Suzi says Fengshui.

The formula of my bottle is a bit thick, but nothing that a few drops of Seche Restore can’t help. I did two coats here, but in a jam, one coat should be fine. I’ve had mine on for 6 days and there is very, very minor chipping.

Now, it seems that I love this BUT in truth I am on the fence. It’s a bit off with my skin tone, especially on toes. The dusty quality that makes it unique seems to be working against me. I’ll play with it a bit before deciding whether I’m keeping it since the color is indeed quite unique.

Chanel Mediterranee (3)

Chanel Mediterranée OPI Suzi says Fengshui

Review and Swatches: OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby and China Glaze Life Preserver

20150425_093523OPI ‘Love.Angel.Music.Baby’ from the Gwen Stefani collection is described as “gold satin matte”; this is spot-on, but I really dislike its matte look. I always layer a glossy coat atop, usually Seche Vite. Whichever way you like it, this is a beautiful, understated pale gold that will look good on tanned and pale skin alike. As accent nail or full 10 fingers. Worn as I do (with base and top coat) it will last at least one week; forgo base and top coast? Maybe 2-3 days?

China Glaze ‘Live Preserver’ is described as “highly pigmented and luxurious poppy creme.” While it looks orange in pictures, it really is more of a burnt orange, or light terracotta. Absolutely beautiful, fun, yet not in-your-face bright. Still office appropriate. I’ve had this on toes for more than 2 weeks and it’s still going strong. On tips, 1+ week and still only minor chipping.