Sunday, 29 April 2012

How to: Store Nail Polish, Thinner and Seche Vite Restore

Για αυτό το θέμα στα ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ.
I find using nail polish thinners quite essential, regardless of how many nail polishes you many own. Nail polishes that dry out or become too goopy to use is something we've all encountered and it's never pleasant, especially when it happens to your favourite colour which -according to Murphy's/sod's Law- has also been discontinued and is hard to find. Users of Seche Vite topcoat also know -if they don't, they will- how important it is to use Seche Vite Restore in order to be able to use it past the first quarter of the bottle and not have to deal with excessive shrinkage of the polish or goopiness. Almost always though I hear that after a while the Thinner or the Seche Vite Restore is 'gone' even though you didn't use it much. 

First let me explain why this is happening. Some of the substances in your nail polish are very volatile, which means that they evaporate really easily. Every time you open your polish bottle you 'lose' some of them as they escape from the bottle. Even when the nail polish bottle is closed, you still 'lose' some of them as no bottle is 100% airtight ( I mentioned a trick to make them more airtight here). Nail polish thinners contain these volatile substances, which is why they can restore your nail polish to its former glory without changing its consistency. Unfortunately, that also means that thinners evaporate very quickly and you're left with an empty bottle.

The solution to this problem is very simple: you should store your thinners in the freezer. The low temperature slows down the evaporation significantly to the point that you will not notice any change in quantity between uses. Don't worry, thinners are not like water; they will not turn to ice in the freezer. They will remain liquid and you'll be able to use them like before.

You can do the same for nail polish that you know you won't be using for a long time, but because it contains other substances, not just the volatile, it may feel a bit thicker when you take it out of the freezer; a few minutes at room temperature and a bit of a shake should fix it. 

I hope this tip helped a bit. Here's a picture of a pretty fridge freezer to help you remember this next time you need to!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

My First (and Only) Crackle Polish: P2 - Violet Fusion

I never really "got" crackle polish and I don't like glitter polish; put the two together and suddenly I am a fan. Even I don't get myself sometimes, but that's one of the joys of being human I am guessing!

Lo and behold the polish! P2 - Violet Fusion over SpaRitual - Solitude. Violet Fusion is a jelly purple base with gold fine glitter in, but not the kind of glitter that takes forever and a day to remove. Pretty!
When this came out there weren't any other sparkly crackle polishes on the market, but there's plenty now. OPI has a couple and China Glaze has the Crackle Glitters. 

I wore it for 5 full days which means love. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Nails Inc - Duke of Wellington Place a.k.a.I created a swamp (monster)

I went a bit abstract this time. I've been too stressed to sit down and think of a design, I just wanted to make something. It looks a bit like a swamp at dusk, but it's fine! I started with a dark blue-ish grey (nails inc - Duke of Wellington Place), then dotted it with a golden olive (China Glaze - Peace on Earth) and then added details with a blue/teal/lavender multichrome polish (Leighton Denny - Your Planet or Mine). It's a shame the sun wasn't out and I couldn't show the other colour shifts in Your Planet or Mine. It really brought the whole thing together and made it interesting. I'm glad I thought of adding it because I was one step away from calling this mani a failed experiment and removing it.

Natural light (cloudy gloomy weather)

Artificial light
I'm also thinking of making a lightbox. I'm tired of this glare in my pictures! It's annoying.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Etude House PP904 Mystic Purple: Magic purple!

Of all the beautiful polishes that I own Etude House PP904 Mystic Purple, this is in a league of its own. It's just so unique! It's not a duochrome, but it looks very different depending on the light. It can look from purplish-grey, to purple, purple with bronze sheen and when the light hit it directly it simply glows. The base colour is a cool purplish grey with a lot of pink and gold micro shimmer which combine to give it the bronzy hue, but at the same time you can see both the gold and the pink sheen. Honestly, I just wish I could capture it with my camera, but I doubt any camera can capture its many 'faces'! It only takes 2 coats to make it opaque, it's smooth and it has s small, flat, excellent brush! 

Monday, 9 April 2012

Beauty tips: How to Find Which Colours Suit Your Eye Colour

Για οδηγίες στα ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ.
One of the most commonly asked questions you hear women ask with regards to eye make up is "what colours suit me". Personally I subscribe to the 'all of the colours could suit you depending on how you use them' school, but some people need to know what the complementary colour to their eyes is. 

According to colour theory the complementary colours are:

  • green and red
  • blue and orange
  • purple and yellow.

The usual response to this information is this: 0_0. Here is a very easy way to figure out the exact complementary colours to your eye colour. Take a picture of your eye, as close as as you can -please, be sensible and don't use flash for this- and invert the colours in the picture. If you're using a photo-processing program then you probably know how to do this, but even if you don't and are using Windows, there's still an easy way to do this.
 1.Right-click on the image and select 'open with Paint'
 2.When the 'Paint' program opens your image select 'Image' on the top bar
 3.Select 'Invert Colours' and you're done!!

Here's an example of my picture
Inverted colour

I have light brown eyes and in my inverted colours image I can see that my complimentary colours are turquoise to dark blue. The easiest way to emphasize the darker shades of brown in my eyes then would be to wear turquoise colours around my eyes and if I want to emphasize the lighter brown shades I should wear dark blue, whether that is eye shadow, eyeliner or even mascara. 

Are the colours you find using this method the only colours that have that effect on your eyes? Most certainly not; lip colour, other colours around the eyes and blusher can be equally effective, but this is only a beginner's method so that you can start understanding colour and the effect it can have.

I hope it helped a little bit! Good luck trying it!

Le Chat CM nail art 39 Hunter Green

Isn't this colour gorgeous? The only drawback is that it's actually a nail art polish with a thin long brush, but I think the colour is worth the effort. It's a dark green that is only a couple of steps away from being called 'teal', very smooth, leaves no brush strokes, only one coat needed, lasts forever (I had it on for a week with no chipping) and looks green even in low light. The finish is very low-key metallic I would say. Definitely worth a try!

Base coat
Le Chat CM nail art 39 Hunter Green
Stamping polish Stargazer 237
Nail Art Stamp Plate A40

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Eleonora di Toledo Nails

This is Eleonora di Toledo, one of the great ladies of the Renaissance, wearing one of the most important dresses in the history of art made from a fabric that was extremely hard to make (it required six different processes to make it), expensive (real gold thread amongst other fine raw materials) and politically significant; the epitome of a 'statement dress' if ever I knew of one.
Eleonora di Toledo, Bronzino portrait

A dress recreation. Picture via
I have loved that portrait and that dress since I was very young when I used to see it in a book my uncle had given me from the Uffici Gallery in Florence. I saw the portrait again recently and really wanted to recreate part of the design on my nails. The end result is not fantastic, it looks a bit tribal instead of soft and organic, but I am pleased with it since it's only the second time I've used brushes and acrylics and going from cats'whiskers to a renaissance pattern is a giant leap. I've also learned a lot about the sort of brushes I need to get/make. I am really enjoying the learning process and a difficult pattern like this is a pleasant challenge. 

With my non-dominant hand I tried to make a netting with pearls like the one she had on her hair and at the top of the dress. 

I also managed to pleat a 5-strand braid!

The breakdown
Base colour: OPI Skuls and Glossbones
the black colour is acrylic
Golden colour: Ciate - Gold Digga
Pearls: one drop of Jessica - 687 Au Natural and one drop of OPI - Kyoto Pearl on top.

Propoline Lip Aid/ Lip Care by Apivita

One of the staples in my routine is Apivita's Propoline Lip Aid/Care. I've been using them since the early 90s when I was living in Greece and I don't think I've ever been without them. They are great lip balms, they keep my prone-to-dryness lips soft and hydrated and even though I occasionally stray away to try others, I always come back to them appreciating them more than before. In fact it must be one of the few things I buy plenty of so that I can have them scattered around in my bags, thus ensuring I am never without one!

What I appreciate the most with all of them is the their texture. My lips look natural and healthy, not glossy and sticky like I'm wearing a light gloss. I really don't like lip gloss and glossy textures because I find them sticky, a quality that is particularly annoying when it's windy where you live and your long hair end up sticking to your lips (yuck!). I have no such problem with these.

In addition to keeping my lips hydrated, I find them hard to replace because they are  so well made and they keep improving the formula; the current version of lip balms is free of parabens, synthetics, silicones, propylene glycol and mineral oils. Now if only I could find out whether they test the finished products on animals I would be even happier. In their disclaimer they mention not using raw materials that have been tested on animals, but I couldn't find anything about animal testing in general.I've posted a question on their facebook page and I hope I'll soon hear back from them. 

I know that they have reformulated them and changed the packaging since I last bought mine, but I still have three left of the previous packaging and I've almost finished them,too. Unfortunately, I don't have any of my favourite rose lip balm to show you because they are always the ones I finish first. I will make a separate post about it, but I can't not say anything about it when I have finished more or less 20 bullets of it over the years! It has the most gorgeous rose fragnance that calms and sooths you and it gives your lips a soft sweet pink colour. It was my first 'lipstick' (i.e. anything that gives colour to my lips) as a teenager and I am emotionally attached to it! When I am stressed I wear it  before I go to bed and the soft smell soothes me.

Of the ones I have here, only the middle one (walnut & olive oil) has any colour, the other two are  chamomile & olive oil (left) and propolis & beeswax (right). 

The Chamomile one has a very light sweetish smell and of all the lipbalms it smells the most 'green'; it's not too greenish/fresh on its own, but I find the smell gently refreshing for use in the summer months. It also has SPF 15 which in the current version (not the one pictured) is due to 2 active ingredients, Avobenzone and Octinoxate
The Propolis & Beeswax one is probably the oldest in the line. It has a smell I would recognise anywhere; a lovely soft honey smell. It makes you want to eat it! It was the first one I ever bought and still love it. 

This is a swatch of the Walnut&Olive Oil lip aid; heavily applied on the left and applied once on the right. I just noticed it's been discontinued in the new line. What a pity! It's soft and I find it looks particularly good when I am wearing blue eyeshadow. It gives my lips a soft earthy colour without making them look muddy. I am not a fan of brown lipstick, it clashes with my pinkish skintone, but this one doesn't bother me.

If you want to give them a try, you can always order online from their site. I hear they offer an excellent service and from personal experience, their hair care is also very good. I can't wait to visit Greece again to stock up from my local pharmacy. Going through all the beauty products I can find in Greek pharmacies is like a ritual when I visit!

UPDATE: 5/4 

They replied to me about the animal testing issue and I have to say they were very fast and very cordial in their communication. Here is what they had to say: "APIVITA, loyal to its philosophy and values, does not perform any animal testing in any stage of product creation. Our products are created within the European Union and are by law not tested on animals.Our raw materials are of natural origin (not from animal origin, except bee products like honey, propolis and royal jelly) and natural or organic certified, therefore not tested on animals. If we need to perform tests in order to prove safety or efficacy of our products, then we do clinical tests on humans conducted by dermatologists according to scientific protocols.
Thank you very much for your interest in APIVITA products."

Monday, 2 April 2012

Comparison: Ciaté Strictly Legal and China Glaze Side Saddle

I have reviewed Ciaté's Strictly Legal in the past, but had failed to notice how similar it is to China Glaze's Side Saddle. This is why I need to make these comparisons, because I am always drawn to similar colours and textures and end up having too many dupes or near dupes which is the case with these. As always with comparisons I try to take as many pictures as possible.

Both are very pigmented and opaque in 2 coats and have exactly the same type of shimmer that shines mainly gold, but you can see reflections of pink and green as well. It's been very popular these years and it seems to be a type of shimmer you can find in a lot of nail polishes and cream eye shadows as well. 

However, the base colour is slightly different. Side Saddle has a deep purple base whilst Strictly Legal is a beautiful burgundy. Both are equally dark with respect to lightness making them hard to distinguish on the nail. The one thing that is different on the nail is the way the shimmer looks. It's a lot more golden and apparent on Strictly Legal, SL looks like a polish with shimmer while in Side Saddle the shimmer is not as apparent giving it that 'lit from within' look. 

All in all, they are very similar and close to being called dupes. They are not twins, they are sisters. 

Bottle swatches (artificial light)
(artificial light)
(artificial light)
Side Saddle, Strictly Legal and Ciaté Wait Until Dark (artificial light)
I also thought it would be useful to compare them with another two colours, Nubar - Prevail (with a topcoat) as it is, too, a purple with hints of gold and Ciaté Wait Until Dark since it is another popular Ciaté  purple, but as you can see it is not a true purple but a grey base with a lot of purple shimmer.

Bottles (natural light, shade)
Natural light (shade)
Natural light (gloomy british daylight)
Natural light (gloomy british daylight)
 These last two are blurry to showcase how the shimmer looks different in the two polishes
Natural light (gloomy british daylight)

Natural light (gloomy british daylight)

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