July 30, 2013

Review: Yabbly!

Have you heard of Yabbly yet?! I love finding new, crazy helpful internet things! Yabbly is an online community of people offering advice - so like Yahoo answers, but for smart, friendly adults seeking help with shopping decisions, most often about technology (gadgets) and travel plans.

Manicurity | Yabbly! website review (and a little nail art)

Instead of spending your time reading a bunch of product reviews (which I usually find to be either way too short or way too long and off topic), why not ask people that have already purchased the item you're thinking about targeted questions? Yabbly opens up an easy and lightning quick conversation platform to discuss different points about a product, instead of hoping you made the right decision about that expensive new thing you're thinking about.

First thing I did was hem and haw about what 10 things should make it to my coveted Tens list; it's sort of tough narrowing it down, but I did it. I finally decided on these things, all objects that I use almost daily (printer being the exception, but I am very happy to have a large format wireless printer in my closet).

Manicurity | Yabbly! website review (and a little nail art)

Then to test out Yabbly's promise of an answer to any question in 24 hours, I asked a question about two similar Canon cameras that I've been having a hard time deciding between [because I'd like to upgrade to one with an articulated LCD screen, you know, to take better pictures of my face]. The two cameras I've been looking at offer almost exactly the same features, but differ by $200 (for the body only) and I wasn't sure which one to get. I posted a question sort of late at night (after 10pm Eastern on a Wednesday), and in about 40 minutes I had a fantastic response to my question with a link to an article that helped me make up my mind in the time it took to read it!

Currently, there's not a dedicated category for makeup or otherwise beauty related questions, but you can find quite a few in the "Other" section. Mayhaps that's an area left to be developed? I could see a whole complimentary Yabbly just for makeup topics alone (and it would be glorious!). The Yabbly website layout is really easy to read and follow, and works so well for a threaded conversation. I find Yabbly much easier on the eyes than any other forum-style website I've tried to be a part of!

Manicurity | Yabbly! website review (and a little nail art)

Bonus: There's an app for that! Yabbly is available as an internet browser experience and/or as an iOS mobile experience, so you can ask for advice on the go! Plus Yabbly's in the top 3 search result in "product reviews" in the iPhone app store, and it was a finalist at the 2013 SXSW in the social category.

Overall, this is one of those websites that I'm really excited about!! It gives me this feeling like I'm part of something really good and important - and yes, I know it sounds reallllllly cheesy, but it's true! I felt this way when I first heard of Pinterest, too. Not saying I'm the internet whisperer but I'm not not saying that, if you catch my drift ;) Another thing I love about the Yabbly community is that the CEO is really involved; I got a really friendly email from Tom as soon as I signed up for an account that made me feel really welcomed!!

On my Nails (please note the photo has had a filter added for funsies)
- China Glaze Sea Spray as base, dots in China Glaze Bahamian Escape (blue) and OPI Call Me Gwen-Ever (orange); clouds in Wet n Wild white creme, OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls and white + clear
- Gradient accent using China Glaze Peachy Keen, Deborah Lippmann Lara's Theme, and Zoya Sooki and freehand arrow with white and black
*For more photos of this art, head to my Facebook page

Have you tried out Yabbly yet? It's FREE! If you're on there, let's follow each other!

Sponsored post; powered by Brand Backer
*If you'd like to know more about my disclosure policies, please check out my disclosure page. I don't include sponsored content or affiliate links on the blog unless I truly believe in the product, pinky promise!

July 29, 2013

Classic Films Cosmetics - Lacquer Swatches & Review

I am so excited to share a new indie brand with y'all today - Classic Films Cosmetics! The story of this brand is pretty cool: the owner, Anna, was inspired to make complex and interesting nail polishes because of her love of vintage clothing items. These polishes are totally magical and amazing; intricate color mixes of shimmer that glisten as you twirl your fingers. I definitely felt like a fancy fancy princess when I was swatching these!

For these I swatched 3 coats of each polish over Butter London's Nail Foundation on my ring finger so that you could get an idea of the polish on its own, then layered it over other base colors on my other fingers. They're arranged in alphabetical order for easy sorting, too. The formula on all of the polishes was pretty good; for some of the ones with larger, heavier glitters you will need to tip the bottle over before painting and roll it a little (I'll talk about it more under those particular polish descriptions). All of the polishes are packed with shimmer, tho - so while you might have to roll the bottles to disperse the glitters a smidgen, you will never have to go looking for shimmer ;) All photos were taken in indirect Ott Lite ("natural"), except where in the caption as being different. Grab a drink or a snack before diving in because I've got LOTS of photos! 

Manicurity | Classic Films Cosmetics - Lacquer Swatches & Review

**Please note: I typically 'dabble' my glitters, which is why my glitter swatches may look a little more dense at 'one coat' than other swatches. For these swatches I brushed them on like a normal polish because of the shimmery bases, which is why the glitter pieces are more sparse than my swatches normally look. These polishes look equally dabbled or brushed! In person the ratio of shimmer to glitter is really ethereal and pretty, and how I personally would wear this style of polish :)

July 27, 2013

Deal Alert: Ulta 20% Off EVERYTHING + Shopping Guides

This post is later than I intended to have it published because I've been dreaming and window-internet-shopping at Ulta trying to figure out all the things I want <3_<3 But anyhoo, you know that falling feeling you get when you get a lovely new Ulta coupon, but of course it doesn't include all the things you want (i.e. prestige brands)?! Not this week, my pets! Check your mailboxes or your friendly internet-neighbor Ulta employee for a 20% off coupon for YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE! Even all the beautiful, beautiful prestige items! Psst. the one I got in the mail doesn't expire until August (yay yay!) but it does exclude: fragrances, Lancome, Clinique, Dermalogica, Benefit Brow Bar services, professional haircare liters + jumbo sizes, and clearance. Another coupon I've seen seems to say OK to everything except the Benefit Brow Bar services but it expires Saturday (today, July 26th), so check your fine print! In honor of this magical coupon, I've got a Lust List of some things I desperately want a slight discount on and 8 of my Holy Grail products that perhaps YOU might like to try out with your coupon! Read on for the shopping lists!

I'm sure you have a list of items that you want, but aren't really actively seeking out, right? This is mine! I always think about these things in the back of my head as things I just generally want a lot, but usually end up buying like 5 mid-priced Maybelline lipsticks instead! This list is in no particular order in terms of priority, just matched with the graphic I chiseled out of pixels ;)
  1. Stila In The Garden palette ($39 USD) I can't say no to a great eyeshadow palette! I like the mix of golden neutrals with greens and a few jewel tones. It's like some magical makeup angel picked my favorite shades from all of the other palettes I own and put it into this one all for me! This seems like a go-to travel palette.
  2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Beauty Express for Brows and Eyes ($39.50 USD) I am brow obsessed, and I've heard that Anastasia Beverly Hills is the master. This kit looks pretty inclusive and fun, plus I'm so intrigued by the eyebrow stencils.
  3. NEW! Urban Decay nail color ($15 USD each) I think these new UD nail polishes are CRAZY pretty - both the bottle with it's awesome skull adorning the top of the cap and the colors, too! Ooh la la! But $15 for 10mL is a little less awesome, so this is the sort of thing I would pick up in a sale.
  4. Living Proof Restore Good Hair Day Kit ($29 USD) I'd love to shave a little of the price off of this handy sample kit of the Restore hair products! This sample pack includes the Restore shampoo, conditioner, and deep-conditioning mask. My bleached ends and I were very intrigued by the video on their website, but the price sort of stings without a little discount!
  5. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Blissful ($26 USD) Since I missed out on that awesome mini-blush holiday pack I've been kicking myself!! I so desperately wanted to try the infamous long-lasting Tarte blushes, but I missed my chance at a great deal. Blissful looks like a beautiful coral shade for summer, and I'd love to try it 
  6. Urban Decay Moondust Eye Shadow in Zodiac ($20 USD) All the sparkles!! All the pretty sparkles! The new-ish Moondust eye shadows look so pretty, and I think this one has the most interesting depth out of all the shades - definitely the one I'd splurge for to add to my 4-pan DIY UD palette. PS. Wouldn't it be awesome if they worked these moondusts into regular value palettes?! Oh me, oh my!
  7. Lorac PRO Palette ($42 USD) Again, eyeshadow palette. This palette is like the ultimate neutral eyeshadow palette and I want to buy it just to be like, "Hey, good job with this thing!" I love how many matte shadows are included, I love that they're arranged all in one row, and the price is fantastic! I can't believe that with the 20% off discount this is all the way down to close to $30 (rounding down a smidgen, it's actually $33.60+tax) - but it just feels like such a good deal!

NOW here are some of my favorite products right now! I use my cream blush, eyelash curler, and UD eyeshadow pencils every single day this summer. And the others are Holy Grail staples I don't want to be without!

  1. NYX Creme Blush ($7 USD) - My favorite shades are Glow and Natural!! (the Ulta website is highly deceiving with all of the cream blush photos, FYI - they all look weird tan on my monitor, so Google swatches). I find the Nyx cream blushes really easy to blend and they have great staying power, even on my combo-oily skin! Honestly, I love them and only use powder blush to set the cream blush on my extra fancy-face days. 
    Glow | Natural
  2. Revlon Color Burst Lip Butters ($7 USD) These were the gateway drug to regular lipstick for me! I am only missing like 3 shades from the ENTIRE line because I adore these. [Also, I found them on major sale somewhere for $2 each, and that's like nothing, so I bought all the ones I could find] My favorite MLBB (my lips but better) color is Sugar Plum and I've been loving Sorbet this summer, a great slightly somewhat translucent pink that works so well with fun, colorful liner.
    Sugar Plum | Sorbet
  3. Real Techniques Domed Blush Brush ($8.99 USD) No, this isn't as fancy as that hand-wrapped NARS brush that would cost me like 6 taco dinners (for shame!) BUT it's long, tapered domed shape works really well for blending out pigmented blush. I feel like this gives a really natural look because of the way it hits your cheeks (again, because it's domed, i.e. super cool and helpful). Only thing I don't totally love is that the wide base takes up a lot of room if I try to smoosh it into a jar with all its other brush friends :-/
  4. EcoTools brushes* ($17.99 USD) Looking for crazy soft new face or eye brushes? EcoTools makes ones from __ that are positively pet-able! I have tiny hands (awww) so I like their travel eye brush set ($11.49). I like it so much I have two packs!! Great brand to check out if you'd like to get some new brushes, but don't want to spend a lot of cash.
    *The brush set in my sweet graphic is a great set for someone that's truly new to brushes because you'll probably already have a basic eyeshadow, powder, angled brush, etc. if you have any other sets. I know it was one of my first brush sets like 3 years ago (late brush collecting bloomer, y'all), but there's probably a more inclusive or unique set for the same ~$18 price somewhere
  5. Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Lipcolor ($7.49 USD) Love me some bold colors, but especially love me some bold colors that don't have to be 'built up' (does that work for other people? It just slides all over my lips if I have to swipe too much...) Anyhoo, these Maybelline Color Vivids are really bright and feel great - I don't have to put too much effort into wearing them, and my lips aren't dry or sad by the end of the day. I also like the fruity smell! My favorites right now are Neon Red (is it red?! is it orange?! I don't know, but everyone loves it!) and Shocking Coral.
    Neon Red | Shocking Coral
  6. Urban Decay Naked 2 ($50 USD) I'm probably the only person that likes the Naked 2 more than the original Naked palette! Yes, the colors are almost exactly the same and I didn't need both, but ah well. Pretty things! Anyhoo, I really like the more taupe-y, purple-y shades of this palette. Some of my favorites are Tease, Busted, Pistol, and YDK.
  7. Tweezerman Classic Lash Curler ($12.50 USD) I think it's close to impossible to recommend an eyelash curler to other people because everyone has different eyes and different desires in terms of how 'curled' they want to be. For me, this Tweezerman curler does a great job! The pads on this curler are a lot stiffer than the Revlon one I had previously (the Revlon one was rather gummy and limp lashes were the result, no bueno). I also don't get very much pinching with this one and rarely loose lashes, so it works well for me.
  8. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Shadow Pencil ($20 USD) Sweltering heat, and humidity wavering between 90% and rain for months (here in Georgia, at leas)? Thank the heavens for these UD pencils!! I've been using Juju and Rehab all summer. I just do one quick swipe, sans primer, along the lashline and blend a teensy bit, and I get sultry bronze smokey eyes that don't crease, fade, or have any fall out! If I blend too far up into the crease I get some creasing, but that's expected. Let me say this again so all of my oily-lidded ladies hear me: WithOUT any primer I can wear color on my lids all day, and it STAYS THERE! In the SUMMER! [Color Tattoos and L'Oreal Infallibles crease on me without primer, so this is a Very Big Deal.]
    Juju | Rehab

Shopping Tips:

  • This coupon applies to regular sale things, i.e. all of the Revlon and Maybelline lipsticks and Nyx items that are currently buy-1-get-1-halfsies? 20% off of that, too!
  • If your overall purchase is going to be in the $10 - 15 range, use the usual $3.50 off $10 instead (you'll get a better discount)
  • Personally I'm planning on using the 20% off on something in the $30 - 45 range, because for me that rides the perfect line of "Oh man, this is SUCH A GOOD PRICE!" and "But it's still expensive?! [take, for instance, the Lorac Pro palette is regularly $42 for 16 eyeshadows but now it's $33.6?!? It's like they're giving it away! *grabby hands* While a Tarte blush that retails $26 would be $20.80 with the discount... hmm...]
  • Ulta.com has a much wider selection of shades than their retail stores AND you won't have to watch any teenagers put their fingers in all the lipsticks you want, so I'll probably be skipping the trip to a store and doing my damage online :D
  • Bonus about shopping online: The website is designed to have super helpful alerts all over the place about what's on sale (on the "sale" page, when you're browsing by brand, on the page for any particular item, and even in your shopping cart page) - but they don't really put as many stickers/alerts out in stores, so you might miss an extra deal 
  • Ulta has a really swell return policy, so don't sweat it if you go sale-crazy and you aren't happy with something!

Now, HALP! Do I need the LORAC Pro palette like I feel like I need it - or should I get the Stila palette instead?! I grabbed the Lorac holiday mini-palettes (the 4-piece Ulta exclusive set) so I'm nervous there might be some overlapping metallic shades between the PRO and the minis.

Is there anything I'm missing from my Lust List? What will you use your coupon for?? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclosure: This blog utilizes compensated affiliate links monetized through Skimlinks. I would never recommend a product to you unless I have tried it myself and truly love it, pinky promise!

July 25, 2013

Strong Stash Starters: Favorite Warm Colors

After talking about MY 'power' color in last week's Strong Stash Starter post (here if you wanted a refresh), I wanted to highlight some of my other favorite polishes!! Maybe some of these are ones you use and love or they would fill a missing spot in your collection. Admittedly, I am more of a cool color person because in prep for that post I'm thinking of all the different colors I need to talk about - green, blue, mint, teal, turquoise, purple, lavender, etc. And yet here are only a few warmer color choices?!? I also stupidly left out coral - duh! I do like coral (especially for makeup), but I totally forgot about it when making my little list. Whoops! It gets an honorable mention at the end tho, promise.

I've arranged these polishes in order of budget from top to bottom (top being cheaper, bottom being more splurge-worthy). Also by color, but that part's a little more obvious ;) And yes, I was a bad girl and listed a few polishes that were more limited edition but I have dupe selections, so no worries! Finally, I tend towards cremes and crelly-ish polishes that are easy to build to opacity for layering with glitter (personal preference) and nail art, but there are some shimmery and glitter polishes here, too!

  1. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Quick Brick [$$] - I'm so happy that there are a few bottles of this limited edition fall lacquer still left on Amazon so that you can also have this magical molten-metallic red polish!! It's weird to have a favorite metallic red shade I think? Regardless, I love love love this one! Great formula, great opacity, and it glows from within - oooohhh
  2. Zoya Sooki [$$$] - Lately this has been my go-to red squishy polish! I like that it's not tooo bright and not too dark, and the formula is superb. The end result is smooth, shiny, and crelly-ish without all the hassle that some crellies have in terms of building to opacity; I think I usually only need 2 coats. It's also fun to paint with because it reminds me of True Blood (watch this hilarious gif explaining the first season and giggle)
  3. Cult Nails Quench [$$$$] - Nice slightly darker red creme; great formula. I like how this color changes shades in different lighting but it's never too vampy! I like my colors to look like colors inside (and not "Hey, if you stare at my nail in this direct sunlight you can see it's actually teal!")

    - Pinks -
  4. China Glaze Fuchsia Fanatic [$$] - My go-to darker hot pink shade! It's very squishy crelly style, but not hard to build up; I think I usually only use 2 coats. When layering it over other colors it is a lot more sheer, tho, which you can do cool things with (like my angular tape mani) but it's something to consider.
  5. OPI Kiss me on my Tulips [$$$] - I like this simple pink creme from OPI! If, like me, you're not a huge fan of pinks this sort of shade is just like a standard nice light-ish pink. Nice formula, and I am a fan of the ProWide brush. Psst. There's a $1 Wet n Wild dupe called Lavender Creme - it's a teensy bit darker and more blue toned, but it's really similar.
  6. butterLondon Disco Biscuit [$$$$] - I am NOT a pink person, but this is one of those Absolutely Must Have Forreal polishes I think everyone should have. Yes, they are many similar polishes that are hot pink with blue shimmer, but shimmer is not the same as amazingly magical tiny micro glitter, or rather 'fairy sparkles' as I like to call them. Seriously, this polish is so so so pretty! I love that the micro glitter is so tiny it just sparkles when you move your hand around **siiiigghhhhh**

    - Oranges -
  7. China Glaze Riveting [$$] - The orange glass fleck to end all! I own a back-up bottle of this. It just surpasses all of my other similarly orange sparkly polishes and I purged a lot of similar ones because this is The One when I want a sparklesome orange. 
  8. Deborah Lippmann Lara's Theme [$$$$$ - splurge] - No, I don't think anyone "needs" a $17 creme polish. But this one is so lovely! (Psst. I get mine for a little less on eBay so my wallet and I don't cry as much) The formula on this orange creme is great; usually I can do 1 - 1.5 coats. And I love that it's an all-year-round style orange; not too fall or Halloween-y. Highly recommend.

    - Yellows -
  9. Revlon Top Speed Electric! [$$] - I've said goodbye to almost all of yellow polishes because of this one. If you're like me and you like yellow but pretty much hate all yellow polishes, try this one!! (I think my yellow polish hatred is because I do thicker coats than normal humans and I can't do thin ones even if I try really hard; I refuse to do 3+ coats for what's normally a base color) ANYHOO, this has lots of pretty shimmer that's sort of subtle because the base is so creamy (but is a little challenging if you need to do clean up, just keeping it real). Love the sunny tone - not too bright or too dark. Yay! Yellow!
  10. FingerPaints Catwalk Queen [$$] // butterLondon Bumster [$$$$] Alas the FingerPaints polish was limited edition, but the butterLondon one is easy to find! I like this mustard-khaki-tan-light-brownish-yellowish creme a lot!! It's a great fall color and the formula is nice because it's not a standard yellow. I haven't personally tried the bL version so idk if it's equally as nice, but other bL cremes I have tried are pretty awesome (don't want to spoil a different post but have you tried Muggins?!? omg!)

Honorable mention: OPI Call Me Gwen-ever is my favorite coral colored polish!! It can be a beast to photograph, but it's really gorgeous in person and I love it's sort of smokey tone. Nice formula, too! I think technically the Spiderman colors are limited edition because they're inspired by a movie (like the POTC collection, which I SO DESPERATELY wish was a forever collection) but it's still fairly easy to find this shade around [so far, fingers crossed]

- - * - -
Check out the other posts in this series:
  1. To read the first post, Beginning with a Basic (white creme edition), click here!
  2. To read the second post, Neutral-ish Glitters, click here!
  3. Q&A post about budgets, how I pick polishes, etc.: click here
  4. To read the third post, Paint it Black (the other important basic), click here!
  5. To read last week's post, My Power Color, click here!
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Tweetables! <-- new cool feature!!!
You can click 'click to tweet' and it will take you directly to a window all prepped to tweet about this article - perfect if you enjoyed reading it and wanted to share it!

I'm reading all about @manicurity's favorite warm colored polishes today! - Click to tweet
Looking for some warm-colored #nailpolish recommendations? Read this post! - Click to tweet
Love this list of great #nailpolish suggestions from @manicurity! - Click to tweet

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Do you prefer warm colors or cool colors? Have I listed any of your favorite polishes, or are there some you'd recommend? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclosure: This blog utilizes compensated affiliate links monetized through Skimlinks. I would never recommend a product to you unless I have tried it myself and truly love it, pinky promise!
Please keep in mind that this series is a combo of my personal opinions (obvs, as is everything you've ever read here) and experience with polishes that I find fundamental. I expect your Top Ten Necessary Polish Choices to be different & I'd love to hear what they are; please leave a comment, chat with me on Facebook, or tweet me about it (@manicurity)!

July 23, 2013

Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream Review

Hey y'all, I am very excited to share the Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream with you today!! This is one of the products I have been extensively testing lately (the question mark portion of my 'current skincare routine' post). Each night after cleansing my face, I've been applying one 'click' of the Ageless Derma cream to my face, focusing on my forehead and working my way down. Here's what I think!
Manicurity | Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Manicurity | Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Manicurity | Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Manicurity | Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Manicurity | Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Official Claims (from the product description on their website)
  1. Protect and revitalize your skin from the signs of aging 
  2. Eliminates the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  3. Improves the firmness and elasticity of skin
  4. Removes crow’s feet
  5. Re-energizes skin for a smoother, firmer and younger look

My Thoughts on their claims (after testing the sample sent to review for over a month)
  1. I would agree that this cream is protecting and revitalizing my skin; overall my skin has definitely improved since using this cream
  2. Being only 24 I don't have deep wrinkles, but I am noticing some fine lines and texture differences, especially in places like my forehead. I think this cream has definitely softened those areas to be less texture-y
  3. Yes! My skin definitely looks and feels nice and firm while using this cream. I feel like my cheeks look fantastic ;)
  4. I don't really think I had crow's feet, but I do think I have less wrinkles/crepiness by my eyes now
  5. SO smooth! Definitely agree that my skin is much smoother and softer while using this product

The Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream has definitely earned it's place in my current skin care regimen!! It's a very light weight, non-greasy lotion that absorbs so quickly. Using it a night I find it really refreshing and relaxing; it seems to be a little bit 'cooling' but definitely not in an "Oh my god my face is burning" sort of way. This didn't clog my pores at all (yay!) and I wake up with really, really smooth skin that I would want to pet (especially on my cheeks). Another thing I really love about this product, and all of their other products as well, is that their packaging is totally on point - a cream that isn't in a jar! The heavens are parting!

Manicurity | Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Manicurity | Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Packaging: No-nonsense, professional-looking products with simple black, white, and silver branding. Also, I LOVE the jar! I can't tell you how happy I am that this cream comes in an air-tight jar instead of one I have to stick my fingers in (ew ew ew)! An airtight container like this is exactly what you need if you want the powerful ingredients to stay stable enough to do their work on your face! The jar is dark, so light can't effect the important ingredients in the cream either. And I love that you press down on the lid and it 'clicks' out a serving of cream for you each time; that way I never get too much lotion!!

Scent: To me this has a light citrusy scent, with some floral notes. It's a very light, pleasant smell (to me) and it's one that I don't mind having near to my nose//all over my face. The scent also dissipates quickly, so if you dislike it, it won't be wafting into your nose every time you turn your face. 

Availability & Pricing: AgelessDerma.com, this cream retails $65 + free shipping on all domestic orders (yay free shipping!)

Other places to follow Ageless Derma: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube 

Manicurity | Ageless Derma Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Overall: I like this cream quite a bit! Because I don't have very many wrinkles, I can't really address how well this cream works for them. Using this product definitely makes me feel better about my skin, which is really wonderful. If you're looking for a new anti-aging night cream that is light, absorbs well, and makes your face feel super smooooth I would definitely recommend trying out Ageless Derma's Stem Cell and Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Cream!!

What do you think of this Anti-Wrinkle Cream? Have you tried any of the Ageless Derma products? Let me know!

*Disclosure: I received this press sample for my honest review; the opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 
If you'd like to know more about my disclosure policies please check out my disclosure page.

On My Nails: butterLondon Nail Foundation, Revlon Lunar (black), Dollish Polish Puttin on the Ritzzz (glitter), OPI Don't Touch My Tutu (white), all topped with HK Girl TC

My Current Skincare Routine

My skincare routine isn't very complicated, but I thought it would be great to take a second to write a little bit about my typical routine and my 'problem areas' as a reference for future skincare posts! Let's begin with a really not that bad photo of me sans makeup (thank U iPhone for making this just a smidgen bit more bearable by being lovingly blurry) and then the same image with a lot of accidentally angry looking words all over it, showing you my perceived concerns about my skin. I'd say the biggest concerns are also the easiest to read ones - blackheads and enlarged pores on my nose and inner cheek area and my allergy-induced + fair skin + genetically pre-defined very dark circles. But I am really worried about the fine lines and texture my forehead has developed :(

Currently in my mid-twenties (24 to be exact, which feels too old for how unsettled my life is, but that's another story), my main concerns are balancing my oily-combo skin + it's frequent tendency to desperately want to break out, especially hormonal acne, with the early stages of anti-aging lotions and potions. I'm all about the idea that I can maybe maintain what I've got ~going on~ right now (collagen wise and all that) instead of some mad dash to "fix it all later" once the wrinkles and sadness sets in.

I developed my 'regimen' by sifting through tons and tons of articles, ingredient lists, and product reviews on Beautypedia // Paula's Choice. I am NOT an expert or a professional (nor do I pretend to be one), I've just read a lot of things on the internet and am trying out different products to see what works for me. I have a limited budget, but that doesn't mean there's not an affordable, super awesome sunscreen for my oily face if I don't research hard enough! These are the products, mostly drugstore ones that fit my budget and that I can go buy in person quickly when I run out, and routine that I have been doing since about January.

In the morning:
  1. Clean & Clear Advantage Oil Absorbing Treatment - I use this light oil 'absorbing' "treatment" lotion as a BHA exfoliator and I use it primarily on my nose and cheeks. It dries to a nice soft, silky finish. I don't really notice that it keeps that part of my face less oily, but I guess it must because my primary shine area as the day wears on is my forehead!
  2. Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 - This is probably too harsh for constant use, but it's what I could find at the drugstore that contains Benzoyl Peroxide instead of salicylic acid. I like that one tube lasts FOREVER and I do feel like this has been more effective for me than other treatments.
  3. Kiss My Face Oat Protein Complex with Hydresia SPF 18 - As an already oily person, I sort of loath having to slap on greasy sunblock. This sunblock, however, is fantastic! I always feel nice and moisturized, not shiny, oil, or greasy once I'm done rubbing it in and it doesn't break me out. Only con is that this was really hard to find until I stumbled upon it at Whole Foods (the internet lists it as being at a lot of drugstores, and it isn't in my area). There is apparently an SPF 30 version of this I want to try because SPF 18 isn't really as high as I feel like it should be. Regardless, great price and great product - highly recommend if you're looking to try a new reasonably priced sunblock.
At night:
  1. Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes - I use a lot of waterproof and 'long lasting' makeup (like Color Tattoos over primer, locked down with spray, etc.) because I am oily and don't like creasing/smudging. I do find it very helpful to have a cleansing cloth to really get rid of makeup without tugging and scrubbing with a washcloth on my eyes, etc. These work well and the smell isn't overwhelming (A+ because I hate drenching my face in fragrance right before sleeping). These also don't dry out my face! And I got a huge pack on sale at Walmart :) 
  2. Clean & Clear daily face soap of some kind (and washcloth) - After using a cleansing cloth I do a quick rinse to get any leftover makeup or petroleum product residue from the cloth off. I usually gently physically exfoliate with the washcloth on my cheeks and my forehead. In particular the facial cleanser I've been using from Clean & Clear is a 'simple' clear one, which is nice, but it really dries out my face a lot and makes my skin feel very tight. I think next time I purchase a facial cleanser I'll be opting for a creamier style one.
  3. Clean & Clear Advantage Oil Absorbing Treatment (again) - I like to use this as a BHA exfoliator, and again, focus on my nose and inner cheeks at night.
  4. Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 (again) - Dab a little on zits here and there at night, hooray!
  5. "General night lotion" = this is what I've been experimenting with the most. I was using the Neutrogena retinol night cream, and it was fine, but there are SO many different night lotion potions to try that I don't mind mixing it up!! I find that if I keep all the other steps pretty consistent I can try new products without upsetting my face too much.
I think that just like with anything in life, being consistent is key! The more often I stick to my steps, the better my skin fares.
What's your skincare routine like? Do you like to use drugstore or higher end products?

*This blog utilizes compensated affiliate links through Skimlinks. I would never recommend a product to you unless I have tried it myself and truly love it, pinky promise!

July 22, 2013

Jamberry Jamboree: The Wrap Up

You guys. You guys, did you see the majestic pun I made in the title of this post?!?!

No but forreal, here's a post to properly summarize my experience with Jamberry. Last time I posted about the shields I said I was going to do a wear test with them on my right hand to see how long they last after application (it states that they'll wear for like 10-14 days). And that would have been really nice had I actually done that but honestly, I don't enjoy applying the wraps on my left hand with all the use of my dominant hand and the idea of having to do FOUR wraps in a row with my left hand onto my right hand with a hot hair dryer sounded awful so I kept putting it off. And now I'm just writing this post instead!

Since trying the Jamberry shields I've also tried some of the Sally Hansen polish strips, so I have a better understanding of how the two types of wraps compare. Let's go over the Pros & Cons of Jamberry now that I'm on the other side of the 'learning curve'!

  • Jamberry can't dry out because they are not made of nail polish, which means you can save them for a long time! Yay!
  • Most of the sample shields I received were awkwardly sized for my nail beds, which means that if I lined them up with the sides of my nail correctly I would get air bubbles and wrinkles. I suppose you could trim down the sides of the shield with some small scissors or an X-acto knife, but that would add more steps and stress to the application process. [If a wrap is made of nail polish, you can use all of the pieces provided and 'size it down' with acetone and a small brush, like typical clean-up] 
  • The learning curve with these means you can count on at least a little wasted product from your $15 investment. I haven't seen a single review in which someone actually got it right the very first time. [If you did find these easy the first time, please let me know in the comments!]  
  • It's hotttt and I'm whiney! There's really nothing fun for me about applying the wraps. I found it was a very high stress "Ohmygoddon'tmessitupppppp" moment complete with profuse sweating from both stress and the hair dryer (you're welcome for the imagery). Yes, you can use a heated rice bag thingy and you can also warm it up in your hands, but I think the best results are from a hair dryer. Plus I always felt like I needed extra hands to hold all the tools :-/ 
  • These aren't as damaging to your nails as some of the other wraps I've seen, because these wraps rely mostly on heat instead of just being really sticky (the heat expands the wrap and then when it cools around your nail, it actually fits to your nail through plastic deformation) BUT I did see a few patches of damage to my nail plate here and there after removing them ((just always be generally cautious about removing things and scraping/scrubbing/pulling hard on your delicate nail bits)) ✓ / 
  • Some of the more complicated patterns and materials are really very cool. But you could achieve similar effects for a lot less than $15 (and for supplies that would be reusable, like stamping plates) / 

In my initial review [read it here] I said that I was a little bothered by the website and the lack of information, etc. ((I tend to be hypercritical of the usability of websites because I'm a ~designer~ and I think about usability a lot)) Someone in the comments on that post kinda told me to suck it up, because that's how the Jamberry business works. Fair enough! But that was the comment that sort of pushed me over the edge from "This product has some pros and cons!" to "No thank you."  Did you ever get roped into attending one of those candle parties (or insert any other similarly inexpensive to create, yet overpriced product "parties")?! I just find that whole situation to be really uncomfortable; each person down the chain of command is taking a cut of the profit because they're "consulting" with you and it's a more personal experience [also then you feel absolutely horrible about saying no]. For me, if you're selling something online you should make the online experience exceptional, not make it confusing and require a person to help you out. And as I said the first time, that's just me. Clearly some people don't mind the Jamberry online + consultant process, and that's totally fine, too! If you've found something you love that works for you, then hooray!!

Peep all of my Jamberry Jamboree posts below:

Long story short: Jamberry is not for me. While I do find some of the more interesting patterns and finishes interesting, I'd much rather put the $15 for a sheet of Jamberry wraps towards nail foils and/or stamping plates that are re-usable (or, you know, NAIL POLISH!)

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July 21, 2013

Wrap Up vol. 6

[Pin-O-The-Week on the Manicurity FB page]

Ooooh, I've been a naughty little blogger. I used to do weekly wrap up "in review" posts, and then slowly it became "wrap up sometimes" posts. The last time I did one of these was in February -> insert dramatic shocked face here.

Anyhoo, I was really disappointed I didn't get to blog more often this past week due to an incredible roller coaster of real life events behind the computer screen (yep, happy and aggravating things). Also people at Starbucks kinda give you the side eye about using the power outlet to charge a computer when you're beauty blogging instead of writing a paper or something else "important".  Anyhoo, just wanted to give y'all a quick update about upcoming content and cool stuff!!

Upcoming Content: This Week + Beyondddddd

  • swatches of some beautiful polishes from new indie brand Classic Films Lacquer! Woo!
  • skincare reviews (Ageless Derma and Own Skin Health)
  • Perlier Lemon Sorbet Crackling Body Water (smells amazinggggg)
  • nails, of course ;)

I also finally got a "before" photograph of how long my hair currently is so I can start testing the sulfate-free Nisim Fast shampoo and conditioner! I'm so excited to try it out and take a ton of photos to see how much my hair grows :p

Recent Highlights

Maybelline Define-A-Brow eyebrow pencil review

Strong Stash Starters: I discuss my personal "power color" polishes

overlap'd geometric shapes / circus shapes / textured tips / mind-bending triangles

AWESOME BLOGGING MOMENT = I was recently blog-spot-lighted on Love Varnish, and it was so so sweet of them! Definitely a great end to an otherwise horrible day when I found out. PLUS so many lovely ladies said so many nice things about me in the comments :') Thanks so so so much, y'all <3

Other Stuff and Things

  • currently in the time consuming process of re-photographing everything for another round of BLAG SALE-ing, which excites me very much. I think the new solution I have figured out will work out the best for everyone = yayyyy! Even if I do have to spend forever doing new photos and cropping and etc.
  • Uhm...that's it I guess?

Cool! See you soon, lots of fun new things, yay! Get excite! I am terribly exhausted right this second and I guess I should go for a jog or something since I have too many things to be working on right now >.<

July 17, 2013

Strong Stash Starters: MY Power Color

Yes, this mini-series has gone unloved mostly because summer traffic is low, and it puts me in a funk :( I LOVE writing and telling everyone my thoughts about things like "the perfect blue creme nail polish" (there totally is one, btw, and today I'm telling you what it is), but I admit that I am human and don't love putting a ton of effort and pieces of my heart into a post that won't get very much love back. This series started really strong and people seemed to really care about what The Best White Creme Nail Polish Ever is, but not so much the other things. Is it because black creme is boring and you haven't found the joys of a one-coater yet? Is it because you don't love "effect" glitter the way that I do?

Anyway, today I'm continuing the Strong Stash Starters series, which focuses on what I think are the 10 most vital types/categories of polishes to start a fundamental polish collection, and this category is...."Whatever YOUR Power Color is!" i.e. whatever your favorite color is, of course you need it in your collection! Just make sure it's a good one the very best polish of that color. You feel me?

Today I'm showing you MY "power" color and some polish examples of shades I use all.the.time because they are my favorite. Next week I'll do some suggestions of my favorite polishes for other colors of the rainbow that are possibly Your Power Color and maybe we can make some sort of master, super-hero-polish-list 2gether. For me, a power color is basically your favorite color in a magical glass bottle that you love to paint with - the formula is perfect so both painting it on AND wearing it is fun. It puts a smile on your face, you seek it out over other similar colors, you use it alllll the time, etc. Most importantly is that it makes you feel really happy, and good, like a big sigh of relief, because it makes you feel very 'you'.

They're out of order in the bar above, but I'm starting on the left with the darker Pure Ice blue and going clockwise up to the right and then down.
  1. I am a blue person. If it comes in blue (or blue-based minty-tealy-bluey-cyany), that's the one I want. I hemmed and hawed for a very long time, but now that I've made The Decision, I feel very firmly that it is true: Pure Ice French Kiss is my power color. I like painting with it, the formula is always great and easy to use. I haven't noticed any staining with it (or maybe I'm blinded by love to it and I just haven't even noticed). It is a creme, but it has this sort of squishiness to it that I really like. It's not too neon bright, nor too dark navy. It is literally my perfect nail polish. Best part? I can hoard and hoard and hoard like 10 back up bottles because Pure Ice is a mere $2 at Walmart. [Only downside is that I have to go to Walmart, and the one closest to my house is a mess.] This is like the polish I want to pass on to my grandkids. [$ - budget buy]
  2. Coming in at second place is China Glaze Bahamian Escape - the perfect light sky blue creme polish. I bought it as a dupe for OPI's Whats With the Cattitude? which is really hard to find for a price I want to pay, but it's cool because I think I prefer the brighter edge of ChG BE anyhoo. This, similar to Pure Ice French Kiss, is just one of those polishes that is fun for me to paint with. The formula is nice, thick, and smooth, and almost always a one-coater. I love it! I've heard it's HTF? But it's still available on TransDesign.com for a normal price, so I'm not worried. Unless y'all are going to go buy a bunch of it, in which case let me know and I'll pick up a third and fourth bottle ;) [$ - budget buy]
  3. Third place for me is Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet. I don't know why, but I'm straight up obsessed with this creamy, easy-to-paint mint lately! I guess I just forgot/assumed that it's beautiful pastel-ness would be a streaky hot mess, but it is all kinds of perfect. Because sometimes it's sort of a risk saying you like mint (like, could you imagine YELLOW being your favorite color, but you're cursed with the one kind of polish that is the very streakiest?! Eek!) Guess what? This is also around the $2-3 price point at the drugstore! Lucky for us mint lovers! [$ - budget buy]
These three colors are my go-tos. I have a whole drawer of polishes that are similarly toned to the above mentioned shades, but I never ever ever use them. I just dig around to specifically use these ones over and over again. That's true polish love! Here are some action shots from recent-ish posts using my three favey colors.

I use ChG Bahamian Escape a bunch, too! under an awesome neon glitter (Trelly's M.I.S.C. Polish), gradient for fimo, under holographic triangles, as a blue sky in this ode to 3D fuzzy sheep butts, and moar triangles (also, holding the bottle!)

Apparently I only really swatch indies over Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet? It's cool; I like all of these glitters and brands a LOT :) under an awesome neon glitter (Trelly's M.I.S.C. Polish), under an awesome periwinkley-fantastical thing (also, cat), and with some very cool mini neon glitters

Why are these all so cheap? Am I cheap?! I dunno man, I don't have problems with "cheap" brands. Some people are sort of snobby about brands, but as long as the formula is great and it stays on my nails, I don't care. You know what usually does chip on me? butterLondons, Illamasquas, and RBLs. Not saying I don't also love them and own lots of them. I do. I really like Illamasqua Cameo and Muse very much a lot, but they don't photograph to save my camera's soul and if I have to pick favorite favorites, it's Pure Ice French Kiss allllll the way.

**As an aside, I think Orly's Royal Navy SHOULD be my favorite color evar, but unfortunately it is not. The first time I tried it I didn't shake it up, so it was very boring and none of the amazeballs shimmer got onto my nails. Ever since I just sort of forget what a great polish it actually is, so it never gets used :'( Plus I mostly use cremes exclusively for both nail art and swatching; I think glitter swatches should be over cremes so you can really see what's in the topper (but that's just me, I'm weird).

- - * - -
Check out the other posts in this series:

  1. To read the first post, Beginning with a Basic (white creme edition), click here!
  2. To read the second post, Neutral-ish Glitters, click here!
  3. Q&A post about budgets, how I pick polishes, etc.: click here
  4. Paint it Black (the other important basic)

Please keep in mind that this series is a combo of my personal opinions (obvs, as is everything you've ever read here) and experience with polishes that I find fundamental. I expect your Top Ten Necessary Polish Choices to be different & I'd love to hear what they are; please leave a comment, chat with me on Facebook, or tweet me about it (@manicurity)!

What's your power color? Classic red, flirty pink, edgy vamps?! Let me know in the comments!