Thursday, April 29, 2010

BUK nail enamel in Nr. 168 and 169. Cute names, huh? lol

Finally I manged to put my fingernails on this post which was sitting in my drafts for several months. :)

Remember me taking about this great "no-name" brand of nail polish?

This time I present you 2 pretty much alike nail polishes with very cute names 168 and 169. lol

From L to R: 168, 169
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Nr. 168 on my left hand
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Nr. 168 on my left hand
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The picture is crappy (it's from those winter days with bad lighting and horribly dry hands), but at least it shows the orange "glow"

Nr. 169 on my right hand
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Nr. 169 on my right hand
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The picture is crappy (it's from those winter days with bad lighting and horribly dry hands), but at least it shows the pink "glow" with golden glass flecks

Note: I took these pictures after 3-4 days of wear. As you can see the tip wear is not yet that visible. Definitely a plus in my book.  And, yes, I wore two different nail polishes on different hands just to check if it's worth it to have two very similar polishes. lol

9 ml, exp. date: 24 months after opening, made in EU for Coop Bergerac NC France.

Colour: Nr. 168 pale milky orange with fine golden glass flecks. Nr. 169 pale milky pink with fine golden glass flecks. These shades are so versatile! Nr. 169 reminds me of my all-time-favourite shade of nail polish Wet'n'Wild Rock Solid Nail lacquer in Pink Sapphire. Unfortunately, 169 doesn't provide the same optical illusion "tip whitening" effect.

Finish: creme-jelly with fine glass flecks.

Application: pretty smooth application , but very sheer. I usually apply 3-4 coats for a full coverage, but as you can see from these pictures - the white nail line is still visible, especially on my right hand with Nr. 169 on.

Retail price: ranges between 0,5-0,7 EUR. How cool is that? :)

Pros: versatile shade, unique finish, nice brush, pretty bottle, comparably long lasting, dirty cheap.
Cons: sheer, smelly (!), no list of ingredients, no info about the brand, limited availability, no names - boring!

PS Wear these shades anywhere and anytime! They also make a perfect base for a French mani!

Monday, April 26, 2010

LaurEss Haul. Swatches.

I've heard so many good things about LaurEss foundations, so I finally decided to check these out. :)

Here is what I got:

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I ordered 2 samples of foundations (2 USD each) in Subtle Neutral Minimalist ("light neutral beige") and Gentle Neutral Elemental ("fair neutral beige"), and 2 liquid lip glosses (3 USD each) in Intoxicating ("shimmering warm pink") and Harmony ("creamy and matte, light muted peach"). I got 1 free sample of foundation in Subtle Ivory Minimalist ("light neutral with gold undertones") with my order.

Shipping was 5 USD for International. Quite reasonable, especially if you order more products.

Ordered on 1.3 (Monday), order was shipped on 3.3, received on 15.3 (Monday). I guess it's ok.

My initial thoughts:

I've already tried all the products. I love everything! My order came in the envelope, products were sealed in a plastic bag over a sheet of carton. Yep, it was that weird. lol Foundation samples come in sealed jars.
I am still not sure which shade is the best match as they do look very similar to each other and it seems they all look very natural on my skin (especially indoors). I think I prefer elemental formula though as it provides more coverage. It looks very natural, I'd even say flawless if I didn't have any breakouts and scars. Unfortunately, this foundation can't cover everything (you know what I mean, don't you?). Have to try Ethereal formula next time. And still... honestly, these three shades are the best match for me in terms of formula and shades! I usually end up with a bunch of completely useless shades with some awful chalky "sitting on the surface" formulas.:/ So this is a big plus in my book.
As for the lip glosses. I like them a lot: wearable shades, smooth application, pretty long lasting, nice smell (toffee), nice consistency (glossy but not sticky)! I am very pleased with my order! And I will definitely come for more one day! :)

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One thing I want to mention is the size of the lip glosses! Remember me talking about the size of the liquid lip gloss of Silk Naturals ("tubes that appear to be smaller than that of Fyrinnae")? Well, prepare for some HUGE AWWWW! lol These are so much smaller! You had to see my face when I saw these tiny beauties! I know for some of you it might be a big "no-no" for 3 USD (for 0.03 oz = 0.9 ml!? when full size of 0.33 oz = 10 ml is 13 USD), but for me it's a PLUS. I wish they'd be a little cheaper though. That being said, I'm in love! :) And they seem to last forever despite being this small. Magic. lol
Here is a comparison for you:
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Awww! lol

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From L to R: Fyrinnae Lickable, Silk Naturals Summer Fling, LaurEss Harmony
Have you tried LaurEss? What are your thoughts? Any favourites?

PS LaurEss doesn't repackage!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Share the love: Cat 2

I'm continuing my "tradition" of non-beauty related posts for the weekends.

Last time I showed you some wonderful cats we met during our trips and one teaser picture of my mom's cat. This time I present you the very same mom's cat and my mother-in-law's cat! I found only one picture of MY dear cat. I have to scan it, I'll show it some other day.

Got confused with all those cats? lol "My mom's cat" refers to the cat she brought home 4 years ago, when I wasn't living in my home country anymore. "My cat" refers to the cat we got when I was a little girl. The only reason mom took this little "new" kitty was that my cat was very sick and we all thought she's going to die very soon. BUT! When mom brought Darius (yep, like Darius I of Persia lol), Simona felt she is going to stay with us and will raise Darius as her son. The best thing is that Simona now looks so much better! And younger! She's around 16-17 y.o. now. Quite old for a cat. Simona is one of the most gracious cats I've ever met, and Darius is one of the gentlest and most friendly!

Here is Darius at the "age" of 2-3 months:

Here is my mother-in-law's kitty:
 Isn't she cute? :)

I love these cats!!! One day I'll have my own little friend! Aren't cats adorable? :)

Hope you enjoyed!

To be continued! Stay tuned!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Green Beauty&Inconvenient Truth

Oh... I was supposed to post this yesterday on 7th of April World Health Day, but oh well... :)

Have you ever heard of parabens, phthalates, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, petrochemical derivatives, allergens, etc? Have you ever paid attention to the list of ingredients on your skin care products? Have you ever understood what all those long and unpronounceable words really mean?

I must admit, my reply would be a huge NO to all these questions till the autumn 2009, when I found my way into the kingdom of the mineral makeup. :) This is the time when I started to notice all those "funny sounded" names. And still, sometimes I would just skip the "screen for all these nasty things" step, because I was very NAIVE and trusted the companies and governmental institutions I thought are here to protect us.

Around a month ago, I was browsing one famous online bookstore for more books about makeup (I already had Bobbi Brown's Makeup Manual, which I loved), when suddenly one book caught my attention. It was The Green Beauty guide by Julie Gabriel. And it wasn't the book cover (honestly, I think it could be better) what caught my attention, it was the combination of two words "Green Beauty". I quickly took a look into the description and immediately got intrigued. For 12 EUR with a free shipping I couldn't go wrong.

One week later I was a happy owner of this 400-pages book. I read it in 3 evenings only. And, oh my, I'm IMPRESSED! This book is one of the most interesting and "mind-blowing" readings I have ever read in my life. Well, may be it's just my taste, as I also enjoy reading Shape magazine from cover to cover (at least Lithuanian and Russian editions). :)

This week I became a happy owner of two more books: Not Just A Pretty Face. The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry by Stacy Malkan (I'm almost done reading it) and Toxic Beauty. How hidden chemicals in cosmetics harm you by Dawn Mellowship (just read a couple of pages randomly).

Julie Gabriel said in her 12th (out of 12) lesson: SPREAD THE WORD. I won't tell you everything what is discussed in this book (you can read it for yourself if you're interested), I will just quickly summarise what did I learn. I really hope I can open eyes of some of you. Even one person counts!

Now before we start, tell me:
  • How many of you bought an overhyped product from a "conventional brand"? *raises hand* 
  • How many of you bought a product just because it said "organic", "natural" on the package? *raises hand*
  • How many of you bought a product which promised you "all the treasures in the world"? *raises hand*
  • How many of you ever thought skin care products can be dangerous for you?.. and your future generations?
What I learnt:
  • Harmful toxic chemicals: paraben (methyl/butyl/ethyl/isobutyl/propylparabens) and formaldehyde-based preservatives, sulfate-based detergents (lauryl and laureth), synthetic penetration enhancers, petrochemicals (including mineral oil), propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, PEGs, cocamide DEA/MEA, disodium EDTA, synthetic dyes and artificial fragrances.
  • All this nasty stuff can be replaced by much healthier alternatives.
  • There is no such a thing as skin type, because everyone's skin is very different, it is unique. Choose cosmetics based solely on your skin's needs. You know how strange it can be: dry skin with acne (but isn't it "supposed to be" oily?)... Skin type is a generalisation, one of the marketing tricks.
  • Less is indeed more! The less products you use - the better. And I was wondering why my mom's skin looks so fresh (and she doesn't even use a foundation!). The answer is she just "neglected" all those cleansers, toners, creams most of the time. Soap and cream (once in two days) - that's what she uses. Why am I not this lucky, huh? :/

What shocked me:
  •  "Organic", "green", "natural", "hypoallergenic" (or "dermatologist-tested), "cruelty-free"... these words don't guarantee you get a good product. "According to the FDA, there are currently no federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term 'hyppoallergenic'. In fact, beauty product manufacturers are not required to provide evidence if their products produce fewer allergic reactions. <...> it is quite common for manufacturers who bear "cruelty-free" (no animal testing) labels to commission outside laboratories to conduct test on animals to prove that they themselves do not conduct animal tests."  SHOCK?
  • Products marked as natural often contain just a couple of natural ingredients in a catastrophically smaller proportion relatively to all those toxic ingredients. "Nothing in the definition of "natural" prohibits a company from combining the natural ingredient with the most toxic chemicals". "One organic ingredient DOES NOT make the beauty product safe and pure".
  • Even "Certified organics" sometimes can't guarantee your products are safe! Ecocert seems to be a little bit more suspicious than BDIH. :/ Check this source for more information Peeling Back the Label: A Who's Who of Organic Certification
  • No GM (genetically modified) labels are required on cosmetics. And the risks are still unknown in a long-term, because it's a relatively new "practice".
  • Greenwashing technique - "using a drop of organic essential oil to justify the word 'organic' on the label".
  • Semigreen: Caudalie and Avena. Seminatural: REN, Boscia and Korres (oh my!!!). Many brands that publicly support green movements (cruelty-free and fair trade) are not really green! The Body Shop is among them! Surprised? I would also add LUSH, as I've just checked my shampoo bottle, and all those sulfates, parabens are there! And L'Occitane! I've just checked my hand cream! Oh my! Didn't we all think these are the perfect examples of healthy cosmetics? I guess Avon could also be included. In her book Stacy Malkan opened my eyes on "pinkwashing" (breast cancer awareness) for products that contain ... guess what?.. carcinogens!
  • Chemical sunscreens can be even more dangerous than no sunscreen at all! Some of the ingredients when exposed to the sun can cause a serious damage. Paradox? Here is an interesting article about this issue. Click here.
  • There were no studies that confirmed the safety of dihydroxyacetone (DHA) - one of the most popular ingredient in self-tanners. Hence, self-tanning can be even more dangerous than spending safe 15-30 minutes under the sun. Shock!
  • Talc may be contaminated with asbestos. Better keep away from it!
  • If the company was reputable and indeed green, it still is in business to be profitable, so it may change (without even disclosing) some quality ingredients with cheaper alternatives, that might not be very user-friendly. On Julie's website she mentioned that this has recently happened to Jurlique.
  • Hair dyes, hair styling products, nail polishes and fragrances are the most toxic products in the whole industry!
  • Package material can also harm us. Chemicals from plastic bottles can leach into the product. Have you ever noticed a weird plastic smell from your water bottle in a hot, sunny day? And where do you keep your products? Bathroom? Bad idea!
  • Bismuth oxychloride, nanoparticle sized minerals used in mineral makeup and "rock" (mineral) deodorants are still under the fire. 
Some things that shocked me from Not Just a Pretty Face:
  • Research results showed that newborn babies had a huge amount of toxins in their blood. The further investigation showed that there might be a clear link with chemicals used in cosmetics. OMG!
  • Cosmetics and chemicals industry are closely connected to each other. These two are among the most powerful industries in the world. No wonder, manufacturers don't want to loose huge amounts of money because of us, naive customers.
  • Did you know that the concern about possible harm of certain ingredients (starting with phthalates) was raised by the group of activists only in 2000? And the first actions were taken in 2006-2007 only! Do you recall the story with tobacco producers? Everyone now knows that smoking is dangerous, but still there are millions of people who smoke and don't pay attention to people they harm with second-hand smoke. It seems the fragrance story might be quite the same. Ever wondered why some fragrances make you feel dizzy?
  • Studies showed that many companies have some unlabeled ingredients in their products, often toxic ingredients... Surprised?
  • Some chemicals are relatively new and there is not much research (because it's not funded!) on how safe they are.
  • "Only 11% of 10 500 chemicals in your cosmetics have been screened for safety". How freaking scary is this?
  • "In reality, cosmetics are the least regulated products at the FDA. <...> The agency does not require manufacturers to demonstrate cosmetic products are safe." It should be a company's good will. And we should trust them. Are they kidding?
  • "There is a huge loophole exempting fragrance ingredient". Because it's considered as a trade secret. You might never know if these are natural essential oils, or toxic chemicals. :/
  • Sunscreen can cause Vitamin D deficiency if used all the time. Shock!
  • I was very surprised to see some well-known brands among the ones against 'the consumers right to know what's inside all these products' campaigns that are asking to mark/label the warning signs on dangerous products. :/
  • Here is an excerpt (this would be a short summary of everything said above) from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: "Every day, we use as many as 25 personal care products on our bodies. Some of the chemicals in these products are linked to cancer, infertility and birth defects - and most have never been evaluated for their health effects." Wanna take the risk and see what will happen in 10-20 years?
  • We, as consumers, are guinea pigs for the majority of those big companies.
Overall, I'm really glad I found this book (and those other two I'll end up reading in a couple of days)! It opened my eyes on lots of things. Julie perfectly managed to explain all the scientific stuff in an understandable way. She has plenty of useful information and tips on how to make our lives healthier. Plus, she definitely has a sense of humor! Kohl liner and Jack Sparrow made me laugh! :)

Surely, it's not about the skin care products only, it's also about food and pollution in general. But still why not trying to make your life a tiny bit better? Remember, every speck of sand counts! And, didn't you know that our skin is our biggest (and probably most vulnerable) organ?

Sometimes even completely natural products can cause allergies, so use everything with caution! Stay healthy and safe! I am not encouraging any of you to toss away all your products, I encourage you to decide everything for yourself! 

As for me, I am currently searching for healthier products. I've already tossed away all mineral oil containing lip products, I also switched from sulfate+fluoride toothpaste and sulfate+parabens shower gel and shampoo. And I also stopped using my face cream for acne-prone skin with guess what?... parabens, PEG and parfum! And you know what? I see an improvement after only one week! :)

Here is a good (it's not perfect yet, because lots of info is still missing) source about safety of ingredients:
Skin Deep cosmetic safety database

Let me know what you think!

PS An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Better safe than sorry. :)

Here is a great Russian proverb (direct translation): A spoon(ful) of tar spoils a barrel of honey. English version: A fly in the ointment; The rotten apple spoils the barrel. Can you guess, why I chose these proverbs? :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fyrinnae Haul Vol. 3. I heart lip lustres! :) Swatches&comparison

I did it again! I went for more! Lip lustres this time! :) Here are my previous Fyrinnae hauls: 1st and  2nd (incl. lip lustre swatches).
Here is what I got this time:

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Ordered on 17.2 (Wednesday), they sent me PayPal invoice on 10.3, order was shipped on 19.3 (Friday), I received my order on 25.3 (Thursday). Check their website for more details on their shipping schedules. They're quite busy and it takes time to CREATE product not just pack.

Shipping is free worldwide for orders > 20 USD. How cool is that? :)

I had some difficulties AGAIN when I tried to pay with PayPal. The payment just didn't go through. And this time I got an invoice almost one month later. I sent 3 letters until I "finally" got a reply. As you might have heard the shop was closed for around 1-2 weeks, and guys were very busy with orders, updating the website and launching new products. I fully understand that, so no complain here. And they again "discounted a bit for the trouble". :)

Here is some odd and great thing about the company:  I ordered 10 lip lustres, 10*2,5=25 USD. Because of the "trouble" I paid only 21 USD, plus I also got a free sample eyeshadow! Add the wrapping material (I honestly think there is no need to pack like that, with less material you can save so much more time&resources!), add the shipping on the package 5,64 USD. Now do the math! :) This is probably the greatest company in terms of price&quality ratio! And they deserve even more!

The only "negative thing" about the company is the time. If only they could ship a little bit faster! Ohhh... Please note, I'm not complaining! I admit, I'm impatient! lol Who isn't when it comes to lip lustres!? lol And still their products are worth the wait! :)

My initial thoughts:

I got a free sample eyeshadow in Mephisto (it's from Halloween 2009 collection). Now tell me it's a coincidence! lol About a month ago I wrote a post about buying products just because of their names, a couple of weeks later I got a free eyeshadow from Silk Naturals in shade Twilight. Plus, I also mentioned that I'm a little bit superstitious, and here it comes - Mephisto eyeshadow! lol I must admit I find it pretty. :)

I've already tried all the products. And, OMG, I heart lip lustres! The best thing about them is that every one of them is unique (not only the shade, but also the texture). You will be able to recognise each of these from a mile. :) See what I mean:

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And a "family picture" (all my lip lustres together):

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Do you see what I mean now? :)

My absolute favourites: Flavor Of The Day ("semi-sheer light peach-pink with gold shimmer") and Lickable ("soft, shimmery beige-peach").

My favourites from the new ones: Lace Gloves ("sheer beige-peach (? not sure, as the word is missing on the website) with pink and red highlights"), Pink Guitar ("rich medium pink"), Ryo-Pinko ("medium mauve-hued pink") and Type A ("shimmery, rich garnet red"). The first 3 are pretty wearable shades, Type A is just GORGEOUS! My pictures just don't do this shade any justice. I'm in love with this shade, but I doubt I'll ever dare to wear it in public. :/

Did I mention they all are pigmented and opaque? Seriously, Fyrinnae lip lustres are one of the best lip products out there. And for 2,5 USD, you just can't go wrong! And, they smell yummy! And, ingredients are much more health-friendly!

The moment I saw Meloncholy ("medium coral-melon shade") I immediately thought of my all time favourite lip gloss Dior Addict Ultra Gloss Reflect in shade 347 Orange Raffia. I also grabbed Flavor Of The Day for a comparison. Meloncholy looks very close to Orange Raffia when in the bottle, but it's much more orange and opaque irl. I'd say that Orange Raffia is in between Flavor Of The Day and Meloncholy.

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From L to R: Flavor Of The Day, Orange Raffia, Meloncholy

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From L to R: Flavor Of The Day, Orange Raffia, Meloncholy 

I had the same "I saw it somewhere" feeling when I first saw Kitty Ears. Remember me "complaining" about BMG gloss in Tainted being tan/brown/bronze instead of pink? I'd say Kitty Ears (btw, it's being discontinued, it's not on Fyrinnae website anymore) is more orangey bronze than just plain tan/brown/bronze Tainted. It's my least favourite from the bunch, but it's still better than Tainted. There, I said it! lol

Check these two out:

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Have you tried Fyrinnae lip lustres? Any favourites? Any lemmings? :)

PS I just want to point out that all these colours look a little bit more pigmented and opaque IRL. My camera washes them out for some reason (makes them kind of "see through"?). The above "tube pictures" look more realistic.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's randomness. Tag: Show me your fridge! and NOTD

We all need to cheer up a little bit, don't we? I was thinking of posting my recent Fyrinnae haul, but then I found this random stuff in my Drafts and decided to give it a go. And it's more appropriate for April Fool's day. Honestly, I don't get the whole idea of this whole thing, but whatever. lol

Remember this funny tag going around a couple of months ago? I thought it was quite interesting&entertaining. Here is what's on my fridge:

Note: Magnet from Thailand was a present from our friends. I wish we could go there one day!

We began collecting magnets-souvenirs just recently. I really enjoy the process of finding "the most unique". :) Unfortunately, sometimes it's just impossible to find any shops selling souvenirs. Hence, several places are not represented here. :/ 

Sweet Corn, Mickey Mouse, Henry&Gord (from Thomas the Tank Engine), butterfly - cute stuff with their own stories&memories. :) We change cards from time to time. But the one with cute tiny mice and the one with animals (btw, these two are from the same author) are our all time fovourites, so they are not going anywhere! :)

Our fridge is perhaps the most colourful place in our apartment. :)

NOTD - my first attempt at konading!

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As you might have guessed it was my NOTD for Alice in Wonderland. :)

I used OPI Done Out in Deco as a base, Color Club Wild At Heart for the bow.

Overall I liked how it came out, but I wish I could place the bow closer to the tip. Oh well, next time I'll be more careful.I really like the combo of these two! And, I even got several complements! Yay! :)

I'm terribly sorry for my awful cuticles (now I think it could be the residue from the base coat... hmmm). The picture was taken a couple of weeks ago when my hands still were suffering from the cold weather. They're much better at the moment.

And, the most important thing, this picture is a perfect illustration of OPI nail polish (at least this one for sure) being long-lasting. It's my 4th day of wear. Not bad considering I constantly washed my hands and did some house cleaning.

Have a nice Easter!
Do you celebrate Easter? What do you think about April Fool? :)