Friday, January 14, 2011

Barielle "Shades" French Mani Kit from TJ Maxx (Julie)

I always get sidetracked on my way to work because just about every store known to man pops up on the way there. I had remembered i read somewhere recently that they found Barielle at TJ Maxx so I thought I'd drop in on my way to work. Mixed into the chaos that is TJ Maxx (did I also mention how much I loathe that place?) there was ONE Barielle french mani kit fact, it was the only thing they had for nails. It was only $4.99! I remember seeing this product online for about $16 and I had almost purchased it full price but had a change of heart. So needless to say, I left TJs pretty happy ;)

I gave it a try when I got home. Not quite using their colors. Actually, I only used the white they provided, and the little strips to help with the whole "french" part.

I think I did pretty good. So if you have a TJ Maxx nearby, you might want to check out their cosmetics dept and see if they have any left.

I paired it with my beloved Zoya shimmer top coat. And sealed it with Seche. I will give the whole set a shot after I've grown tired of this mani, and will update this post.

Hey have you noticed my nails are growing?? Go back to my initial posts when we started this blog about a month ago. I'm proud of myself! I've shed my artist dirty nails and I'm starting to see the rewards!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nail polish and animal testing. OPI? ESSIE? Read on - this might shock you. (Julie)

I've really thought long and hard about this lately, and if you can believe it - certain NP brands STILL test on animals. I don't think i need to go on a tirade about how inhumane and cruel and awful this practice is....but I will urge you to NOT spend any money on their products. I did a lot of research this evening, and now it's 2am and I'm still up, further weaving myself into this world of animal testing. There is so much we choose to turn the other cheek to, but that's not going to make it go away! It's only going to strengthen the number of companies who still practice this. So next time you see a super cute swatch by one of the culprits, remember that there are plenty of companies out there that make perfect and superior dupes of that swatch that don't torture animals to achieve their product.

I have compiled a list exclusive to companies that produce nail polish. To see full lists which include more beauty products, just check out any of my resources listed at the bottom of this blog post.

Here is an up-to-date list of companies that produce nail polish that
IS tested on animals:

-Elizabeth Arden
-Max Factor
-Sally Beauty Supply (Alberto Culver)

Aside from that, there are many companies who purchases their ingredients from companies who DO test on animals. There is an official list that must be signed by companies which state they do not test on animals. After they have done so, they can be listed on sites such as PETA. One above most that stands out is Coty (opi, nyc color). While they claim to be cruelty-free (in a very vague statement) they will still not sign the papers which would add them to a list. I have also read from a few resources that they definitely do test on animals. I smell something fishy Coty!

This next list is compiled of cosmetics companies that tend not to test on animals themselves, but continue to buy, use and benefit financially from chemical ingredients that have recently been tested on animals by their suppliers:
- Avon
- Chanel
- Clarins
- Clinique

- Cover Girl (partnered with proctor & gamble)
- Essie (yes, essie! Acquired by L'Oreal in April 2010)
- Estee Lauder
- MAC - after a lot of research I have found that despite their testimonials, they still do
- NYC/New York Color (coty)
- OPI - *"was acquired by Coty LLC at the end of 2010. Coty tests on animals."
- Revlon

And we can argue to the death about "parent companies" - but I say if a company is purchasing the ingredients in which they use for their products from a company who's products are tested on animals, or is funding a company that does test on animals, yet still claim to be cruelty free, then they are freakin' FRAUDS.

Take for instance Coty (who has taken over OPI) I found a statement by a nail polish enthusiast and animal loving woman alike named Brooke on a nail polish, and I wholeheartedly agree with it...

"This is not a personal attack, nor is this an attack on Coty. I am not trying to upset you or disparage Coty. What I would like is for animal testing to end.

Coty's website reads: "We share our consumers' respect for life, and therefore are committed to maintaining the highest possible standards of human safety while eliminating the need for testing on animals." This is almost identical to Proctor & Gamble's statement (P&G is one of the biggest animal testing companies).

Coty is "committed to maintaining the highest possible standards of human safety" (meaning, 'we still need to test products on animals') "while eliminating the need for testing on animals" (meaning, 'we are working on ways to eliminate animal testing'). This is a slick and fancy way to say, "Yes, we test on animals, but conscious consumers should still buy from us because we could be working to eliminate animal testing."

Companies that do not test are very open about it. Consumers avoid companies that test on animals. Companies want consumers to buy from them. When they do not test on animals, they make this clear.

I have a serious problem with animal testing and I think it is important for consumers to be aware and informed"

Just some serious food for thought my friends. And if you still want to go out and get that new shade by Cover Girl tomorrow - please be aware that while most animals used for testing are bred for that specific reason, there are still countless numbers of animals that actually come from the pound. i.e. that lost cat or dog that nobody claimed and was left stranded at the pound, and even stolen pets! That sickens me to the core. If you doubt me on that statement, check out Dealing Dogs, the HBO document.

"Mice, rabbits, dogs, guinea pigs, cats and monkeys are the most commonly used animals for tests. It has been proven that there is already enough existing safety data, as well as in vitro (test tube) alternatives to make animal testing for cosmetics and household products even more unnecessary and unethical."

Now that I've probably drained you, here I will move on to companies that do not test on animals, nor do they purchase their ingredients from companies who do:

- Almay
- Barielle
- Barry M (vegan)
- BB Couture
- Bonnie Belle
- China Glaze
- Color Club (vegan)
- Clinique
- Deborah Lippmann (vegan)
- E.L.F. Cosmetics (transitioning to vegan!)
- Hard Candy
- Jane Cosmetics
- Jesse's Girl
- Jordana
- Misa (vegan)
- NFU Oh
- Nubar (vegan)
- Orly
- Rescue Beauty Lounge
- Seche
- Urbay Decay (vegan)
- Wet N' Wild
- Zoya (vegan),


Thrift shop nail polish HAUL!! 12 bottles for $8 weeee

OPI, Orly, China Glaze, even a Barielle!! I love New York, and I love thrifting. We get all the designer clothing rejects from the rich Manhattanites, and apparently the nail polish discards, too. :) These are all either unused or what appear to have been tested. I think perhaps they were extras or past seasons from a nail salon? Some of the bottles even look to be worn, but those were not used. Maybe they were in storage. There were quite a few bags, but the other colors weren't really my style.

What's strange is I was thinking today "what a treat it'd be if I found some nice NP at the thrift shop sometime" and BAM. There they were, beaming at me - just glistening through the plastic bags screaming "buy us, Julie! Buy us! You can afford us!"

the colors:
Orly- Tie the Knot
Orly - Moon Shadow
Orly - Spellbound (very similar to moon shadow)
Orly - Sweet Temptation
OPI - Heart Throb
OPI - Elephantastic Pink
China Glaze - Thataway
China Glaze - Heaven
China Glaze - Drastic
China Glaze - Heart Of Africa
Barielle - Restorative Nail Serum
Orlane - #26

Dupe Candidate for Clarins #230? (Julie)

Her Erika, this post is for you! :)

NFU OH 51! Now, there are quite a few differences, but I think this is equally breath-taking, and holds a candle to it for sure! My coveted #51 by NFU Oh on top of Yes...I can by OPI. I used just 1 coat of each, and 1 coat of seche to seal it.

While I'm sure it's not an exact dupe (nfu oh is a flakie, clarins is not) - I'd say this just might be enough to satisfy your urge, no? I'm guessing most are not interested in spending over $100 on one bottle of NP, so why not get this? Plus, you can get this shade and MANY more from for only $12.50 per bottle plus free shipping. And you and I both know that NFU bottles are by far superior to other brands. They're so neat!

under artificial light
also in natural light

in bright sunlight

And here is the Clarins #230 as seen on

Wants! (Erika)

As I stated in my last blog, Here are my current wants of the nail polish world ( or more like needs!)
Nouvelle Vague

This polish came out for the spring 2010 Chanel line, from the moment that I saw it.. I was majorly lemming for it. Some says its Tiffany blue, but I think its more of a cross between a baby blue and a smidgen of sleeping beauty turquoise. This color has been retailing for over 50-100$ on the evil bay and other e-tail sites. I adore this color, but I do not adore that amount of money..le sigh.

Sea By RGB Nail polish
I've never heard of RGB before.. I probably have, but my nail polish memory is a bit foggy;) I found this color on one day, and I was struck by how vivid and striking it was. The swirls of blue and green.. it really does remind me of a night time sea. Now I own "Teal we meet again" by OPI for Sephora.. and it could be a pretty decent dupe. But I don't think it comes near to how amazing and beautiful this color is (and you all know how I feel about my OPI for Sephora nail polishes!)

Starry Starry Night by Essie
Now I am pretty sure this was Essie's version of the very coveted Night Sky by Chanel( does anyone remember that one? It was a nail polish contest by Seventeen magazine, that if you sent in an original nail polish creation, Chanel would sell the color. I remember the ads for it, the color in French was called Ciel de Nuit) Now I know I have a better chance of getting hit by lightening then owning that color, but I think the Essie version is a great replica. Alas, this too is a very HTF color and when it does come on eBay.. it too is very $$$. One day Erika, one day.

230 by Clarins
I discovered this color about two years ago on a few NP Blogs. I love the name it was dubbed "Unicorn Pee" and I can understand why! This color is super rare and super gorgeous! If you go to the blog I linked, it shows more pictures of this amazing color in different lights. I have not seen a dupe for this color, maybe the Sally Hanson prisms but that is about it. Curse Clarins for discontinuing this amazing color, curse them straight to fiery hell! Ok, maybe not.. but curse the eBay sellers that sell this color for over 100$ The last time I saw this color on eBay, it fetched 172$ Yep.. Insanity defined.

Next blog, my trip to the city haul!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Some new super pretty swatches, and a little experiment (Julie)

I have a few swatches to share this evening, while The Bachelor begs for my attention but cannot hold it. Speaking of the bachelor...this dude sucks. He's icky. And I hate how everything is so damn fake and staged. That being said, I still DVR it, and I will still keep it on in the background each week...and I just might "awww" a few times. Might call some girls bitches. Rightfully so.

Moving on!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I received China Glaze Innocence, and Zoya Sparkle Gloss top voila, here the two are worn together in all their glory. Obviously, it's not right for my skin tone but I'll show it off anyway cus it's perty!

Also I know I am constantly apologizing for my bad photos and bad lighting - looking at everyone else's beautiful blog photos make it look so easy. How are you all doing it?

Moving on from my sickly pale fingers, I swatched one of my favorites by Color Club that I've had since the summer and I use liberally and often! It's an extra sparkly swatch, mainly orange but when the light hits it, it shimmers pink. It's super original. The swatch is called Wild And Willing. Now if that's not the most suggestive swatch name I've heard ;)

And here is a little experiment I did. Basing this on what I learned in an older post I thought i'd try it with a darker color and make it a little edgier. I don't know if this is a complete fail or if it looks good yet though. I certainly love all the sparkles, that goes without saying, but it could very well be ugly. What do you think?

I used 5 different bottles in this concoction - I will update later with the brands and swatch names. The photo came out off-colored and a bit faded because I'm working with artificial light.