Nails: Caronia over the holidays

Over the holidays I received a nice package from Caronia Philippines, and as usual it never fails to induce me to try out the included nail polishes! Let me show you what I got.

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These first two shades are the first ones I tried because they’re green! Goddess is a very muted carpet green while Lounge is a more sparkly leaf green.

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Trance is a very sparkly violet.

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Finally, Gold Rush is a very beautiful metallic gold which actually appears like a light copper. This is my favorite!

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A little note about Caronia’s formula. It seems that it is much improved, as all of the above took only two coats. They dry faster than I remember too, which is a huge plus for me! Gold Rush is definitely a winner. Thank you again Caronia Philippines!

PS: Happy 2015 guys! May this year be a great one for you!

Review: Konad Double Side Stamp Set

In one of my lucky breaks last holiday season I won this Konad Double Side Stamp Set from Lia of Geek Girl Manila. I was super stoked to get this as I believe that Konad is not widely available in the Philippines (correct me if I’m wrong). The one we have available here is of another brand, Kand, which can be bought from Landmark. The Kand set (as you can see from this haul) comes with a one-sided stamper, a plastic scraper, and an image plate, and the whole thing costs Php80.  As a really nice bonus, I got four image plates along with this Konad stamping set. I have no idea how much the Konad set or the image plates costs.

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What is nail stamping? It is basically putting the appropriate polish into the wells of an image plate and using a rubber stamper to transfer the image to the nail. This set includes a double ended stamper (a big end and a small end) and a metal scraper. I’ve already attempted to do nail stamping before with my old Kand set but it didn’t really work out. I think this is because I didn’t have the right stamping polish, and I didn’t know the correct steps. There is actually a not-so-bad set of instructions at the back of the set. For my first attempt with the Konad set, however, I used Polka Polish’s guide for nail stamping.

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Let me give you a closer look on the contents of the Konad stamping set. First we have the double ended stamper, which is about two inches long.

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It is wide on one end, with a pink rubber cap to pick up the design. This is used mostly for the big nail designs that usually cover the entire nail.

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The other end is much smaller, and has a green rubber cap. This end is mostly used for the spot-designs or accents.

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The set comes with a scraper, meant to scrape or push off the excess polish from the image plate. The handle is made of plastic, but the actual scraper is made of metal. I didn’t really like the idea of a metal-on-metal contact; I was afraid that it would damage the image plates. I didn’t use this on my first attempt at nail stamping with the Konad set, I used the plastic one from Kand.

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As I mentioned earlier, the prize came with four image plates. Here are the four image plates. Click on each for a larger version. For reference, the plate designations are (clockwise from the left) m3, m56, m91, and m57. Strangely enough, m3 is the exact same plate I got in the Kand set.

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And here is my first attempt. I used the m57 plate for the gold splotches. The base polish is Dazzle Dry Morning Dew and the stamping polish I used is OMG Gold Digger.

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I am loving this set! I can’t wait to try the other designs!

Pros: performs quite well for its function (provided you follow the correct steps); quality materials used

Cons: metal scraper; not widely available

Recycling my Glamourboxes

I’m sure you are aware of the resting bitch face. Urban dictionary defines it as “a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to.” Fortunately, I don’t have that, but I do have what I would call resting sad face. Apparently I look sad or depressed when I am expressionless. I have more than one person per week come up to me asking if I’m okay, when I was actually feeling pretty upbeat! Maybe I need to smile more…

Anyway! I would like to share with you one of the ways I reuse my empty Glamourboxes. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but Glamourboxes are pretty large and sturdy and really quite reusable.

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Since the boxes are nicely sturdy, I use them as trays/containers for my nail polishes. Here you see one and a half Glamourboxes holding my favorite polishes and nail art equipment. I also use another box as a tray where I put my selected supplies so I don’t need to bring an entire box of polishes every time.

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Here’s a closer look at the individual trays. This box is where I put my (growing) collection of Dazzle Dry nail polishes. On the corner is my lone Rescue Beauty Lounge lacquer.

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This one holds my “other” brands. I have here a surprising amount of OMG polishes and a bit of Girlstuff, Models Own, San San, Essence, and Etude House. There’s also lone representatives from Misa, BYS, and Bobbie.

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Finally this one holds my nail art supplies. Most of it is actually from the Nailinator as I won one of her contests.

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Writing this post makes me realize that I might have a bit too much nail polish (you don’t say?!). At the same time, I also feel like my boxes can hold a bit more bottles and there’s that really horrible nagging thought that I have maybe five more unused Glamourboxes hanging around. I…I’m addicted, aren’t I?

How do you recycle your subscription box boxes?

Review: Etude House Nail Removers

Welcome to Part 3 of my ambitious nail polish remover review series, where I attempt to review as much nail polish remover brands as I can. Here is the photo of all the nail polish removers I have.

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For my last installment of my nail polish remover reviews, I am reviewing two Etude House nail polish removers. Both of them are named Nail Removers (but they don’t remove nails, just polish). The pink one is #1 Mild, while the purple one is #2 Extra Power. Don’t you just love Korean naming conventions?

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#1 Mild is their regular nail polish remover. The smell is a little strong, but it removes regular nail polish easily and effectively. This is actually my second favorite after the Dazzle Dry Lemongrass Nail Polish Remover. If I am not mistaken, this bottle contains 100ml of product, and costs around Php98.

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#2 Extra Power on the other hand, as the name suggests, is a much stronger formulation designed to remove glitter polishes. Let me tell you, this is such an awesome find! If you love using glitter polishes but hate the removal afterwards, I urge you to get this and you will never hesitate to use glitter polishes anymore. This remover effectively dissolves the binders in the glitter polishes and makes it easy to wipe away the glitters. You may have to use a bit more product for the more stubborn ones but it does work pretty well compared to regular nail polish removers. This bottle also has 100ml of product, and costs around Php128.

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There you have it! I hope you enjoyed this series and found it useful.

Nail Polish Remover Review Series

Review: Nail Polish Removers from The Face Shop, Dazzle Dry, and Flormar

Welcome to part 2 of my ambitious nail polish remover review project! To refresh your memory, I plan to review as many nail polish remover brands as I can. Here is the photo of all the polish removers I have.

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I started with three drugstore brands two weeks ago. For this installment I will review the nail polish removers from The Face Shop, Dazzle Dry, and Flormar.

The Face Shop Lovely Me:Ex Nail Remover

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This is the first of my three pink nail polish removers. I got this from one of The Face Shop stores (Trinoma, I believe), for about Php95 if I am not mistaken. This Lovely Me:Ex Nail Remover in 01 Pink bottle has 100ml of product in it, and has a child-proof safety cap. It has a nice floral scent that is not at all offensive to the nose. As you can see from the fluid level, I haven’t used this a lot. It is not that efficient in removing nail polish which is why I don’t use it very often. Contrary to what the name says, it doesn’t remove your nails, but it does remove nail polish. The Face Shop is not cruelty-free.

Dazzle Dry Lemongrass Nail Polish Remover

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Ah, now we come to my favorite nail polish remover. As an avid Dazzle Dry user, it makes sense for me to be using the Dazzle Dry Lemongrass Nail Polish Remover. It does remove DD polishes efficiently; usually it takes only one (and a half, sometimes) cotton rounds to remove polish from all ten fingernails. It also removes other brand nail polishes with only slightly less effectiveness. This 240ml bottle costs Php375, which may seem a bit steep. However as it is very efficient in removing polish, it lasts for quite some time. As you can see I’m just halfway through the bottle, and believe me I use this quite a lot! The scent of lemongrass is admittedly a bit strong, but it doesn’t bother me too much. The product is very gentle and doesn’t dry out the nails and the skin around them. The only disadvantage I see with this is that it can only be ordered online (or maybe from select salons), and sometimes they run out of stock. Dazzle Dry is cruelty-free.

Flormar Nail Polish Remover in Orchid Complex

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Lastly for this installment, I have my second pink nail remover. Flormar Nail Polish Remover in Orchid Complex has 125ml of product, and costs Php149, which is one of my more expensive ones on a per milliliter basis. I think it smells the best of all removers that I have, as the orchid scent smells so good. However it has approximately the same level of removal efficiency as The Face Shop’s. Flormar is available in many SM Malls as well as Watsons branches. I believe Flormar does not test their final products on animals.

Nail Polish Remover Review Series

Nails: BYS Nail Art Lacquer in 009 Fuschia Pink

One of the booths I visited during the Blogapalooza 2013 was BYS. BYS is an Australian cosmetics brand that recently landed in the Philippines. They carry a wide range of makeup products as well as nail polish. Signing up at their booth bagged me a sample of their nail polish. When I got home and investigated the sample, I experienced a happy shock. It was in fact a full-sized bottle of BYS Nail Art Lacquer, of the shade 009 Fuschia Pink!

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This 10-ml bottle has a big black plastic cap that holds a thin striper brush. The shade name is found at the bottom and the ingredient list and other information at the back.

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I immediately tried this out in a nail art. I used Dazzle Dry Strawberry Macaron as base color, and used BYS Nail Art Lacquer to paint straight and even stripes on all my nails. Here is the final look:

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The black handle made it very easy to create stripes. It lent to good control, even for my non-dominant hand. Check out my right hand:

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I have to say that this nail art lacquer makes my stripes look a lot more professional, for both hands! The drying time is fairly fast, and it works well with my favorite base and top coats (Dazzle Dry). Here are some outdoor shots of my nails.

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BYS is cruelty-free. Check out more shades of their Nail Art Lacquers here. BYS is available in SM Beauty and Watsons branches. I don’t know how much the nail art lacquers cost; I will update this post once I find out the price.

Pros: works great as striper; dries fairly fast; works well with Dazzle Dry system; cruelty-free

Cons: none so far

Review: Nail Polish Removers from My Nails, Bobbie, and Lander

Earlier in the year I had an ambitious project in mind, which is to review as many nail polish removers as I can find. At long last I am able to start on this. Here is a sneak peak of all the nail polish removers that I will be tackling.

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There will be three parts to this project, and I will start with the nail polish removers from My Nails, Bobbie, and Lander. All three are available at most drugstores and department stores.

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My Nails Nail Polish Remover with Acetone

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This is my very first nail polish remover, back when I started painting my nails (late last year, I believe!). As you can see I have almost consumed this small 120ml bottle. It is able to remove regular polish without problems, but the acetone makes it a little harsh. It stings if you have wounds on your fingers. It also smells pretty horrible. It performs a little worse for glitter polish; you will need a lot more product to remove the glitter. If I recall correctly, this costs about Php20.

Bobbie Nail Polish Remover with Acetone

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This comes in a big 275ml bottle but is quite cheap at only Php49.75 (bought from Landmark, Trinoma). This remover also has acetone like My Nails, but it seems so much cheaper. It performs similar to My Nails as well with regards to regular and glitter polishes. The drawback to Bobbie is that the green of the polish remover transfers onto the skin for some reason. This is why I haven’t used this up (check out the level of the liquid in the first picture). I stopped using it when I noticed the transferring.

Lander Acetone-free Nail Polish Remover

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In my search to replace the Bobbie nail remover, I found this bottle of Lander nail polish remover also in Landmark Trinoma. This one is a little bit more expensive, at Php129.75 for 250ml. However if you check the first picture in this post, you’ll notice that I have barely used this. The reason is that it has very poor removal ability, even for non-glitter polish. I already used up four cotton balls-worth but the polish on a single nail still hasn’t budged. I judged this one a fail.

Nail Polish Remover Review Series

Nails: Girlstuff Going Green

In my October haul I bought this Girlstuff Nail Polish in Going Green at the SM North Department Store for Php99. It’s a pretty bright leafy green.

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The formula seems good, and applied evenly. I used two coats for this swatch, no top coat.

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I also bought this gold striping tape, this time from the SM Megamall kiosk for Php50.

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I decided to give it a shot and did a gold-and-green mani to show it off.

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I used two stripes on each finger (except ring). I applied it on after the nail polish dried, and cut it off using some sharp scissors. As expected, I could only do this for my left hand. I used Essence Gold Fever for the accent nail on my left hand, and all nails on the right.

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I would say that Girlstuff Going Green is a really great nail polish. Except that when I took it off two days later, this happened:

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I think that this particular polish has some strange staining ingredient in it, and made all ten of my fingernails look sick and ugly. I did use a base coat to protect my nails (Dazzle Dry Base Coat) but it didn’t help much in this case. If you guys know how to remove the stains, please let me know!

Nails: OMG Crystal Sand Part 2

I’ve finally completed the swatches for the OMG Crystal Sand set, which is the very first complete polish set I own. Click here to view Part 1 of the swatches. Here is part two, featuring the shades Hematite, Indian Red, Citrine, and Emerald.

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Let’s start with the reds. Citrine is the lighter of the two, leaning towards orange. Like all of the polishes in this range, this only takes two coats to achieve opacity, and dries quick enough. I didn’t use any top coats for this to feature the graininess of the polish.

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Next is Indian Red. This is darker and leans more towards blue than Citrine, but the application is quite similar. The finish is the least grainy of among the seven in the set. Again we have two coats and no top coat.

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Here is a side-by-side comparison of Citrine and Indian Red.

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Next we have Emerald. This is darker than Peridot but it has the same silver glitter. It is quite elegant looking. I used two coats here, and no top coat.

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Here is a side-by-side comparison of Emerald and Peridot.

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Finally we have Hematite, a black base with silver glitter. Here you can see that it’s actually not the deepest black, and there is a lot of the glitter that makes the polish look like a sort of stone. At first I didn’t like it much (since I don’t really like dark polish), but it grew on me. I used two coats and no top coat.

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Here are all the shades in the OMG Crystal Sand line.

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Quartz
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Peridot
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Opal
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Indian Red
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Citrine
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Emerald
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Hematite

I really quite like this set and I’m glad to be able to collect it. I would highly recommend this to any nail polish fan, as the formula is great and longwearing and dries fast too. It’s hard to name favorites to be honest, but if I were to pick only one it would be Citrine.

Nails: Eyes on you

This is my Halloween special! My inspiration for these eyeballs come from this great tutorial from The Bubbly Brunette. I did nothing new really, I just followed her instructions to the letter.

I used the following for this nail art: Dazzle Dry Base and Top Coats, Dazzle Dry Electrifying, White Lightning, and Forget Me Not, Girlstuff Twilight, BK Nail Dotting Tools and Striper Brush.

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The steps are the following:

  1. Prep the nails with DD Base Coat.
  2. Paint two coats of White Lightning on the nails.
  3. Using the striper brush, paint short red stripes in a radiating pattern using Electrifying. This is going to be the blood vessels.
  4. Using the biggest of the dotting tools, put a big blue circle in the middle of each nail using Forget Me Not.
  5. Using a slightly smaller dotting tool, put a slightly smaller black circle in the middle of the blue circle to denote the pupil, using Girlstuff Twilight.
  6. FInally, using the smallest of the dotting heads, put a small white circle slightly off-center using White Lightning, to denote the reflection.
  7. Apply DD Top Coat.

Here’s the final look!

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Not bad isn’t it? It looks much better in sunlight of course.

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Check out the right hand. The blood vessels are thicker and straighter, because that’s all my nondominant left can handle!

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Happy Halloween!