Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of 2015, and 2016 Beauty Predictions

Happy New Year, lovely readers! Today I want to highlight some of my favorite discoveries of 2015 in the context of my predictions for what might be coming up next. It's been a weird blog year for me, and while it's still not an ideal setup, I'm happy to start putting out posts again and feeling excited about expanding into more beauty topics over the next year. I think for a long time I was afraid to be "interested" in beauty because I thought that meant I was vain or insecure. Nail art and blogging about nails helped me to reframe my thinking and understand that beauty could be an actual hobby, completely independent of the fear that I wouldn't be pretty enough without ten pounds of makeup on my face. It's ok to play with nail polish and makeup for fun! As I tell my daughter, makeup isn't about fixing your face, and no one needs to wear makeup. It's about having fun and using your face as a canvas to express your inner world. Getting braver about beauty and more confident with exploring it this year helped me uncover some great stuff!

Makeup Highlights

Julep really stepped up their makeup game this year, and my two very favorite discoveries were the Fluid Eye Glider and It's Whipped matte lip mousse. I've been wearing a subtle cat eye for years, and Fluid Eye Glider was exactly what I needed to take it to the next level. The only downside of cat eye everywhere is that something I've been doing for so long may seem dated for a while when it falls out of fashion (not a huge deal, I'm going to keep wearing what I like, but kinda makes me sad). I won't lie, it was a little jarring for my teenage son to tell me my eyeliner was "on fleek." I can't be too mad, though, because the resurgence of the dramatic cat eye look led to great quality products, tutorials, and tools to step up my eyeliner game. The more popular a look is, the easier and less expensive it is to do well. I've been wearing this look for 15 years, I'm not likely to stop when everyone else does, and doing a trend well is what transforms it into a classic.

It's Whipped challenged me to really give bold color a try. I'd been playing with It's Balm and was getting braver, but It's Whipped was the lipstick that made me really feel like I was starting to own it. In the spirit of brave beauty, here's a rare blog pic of my face! While I wouldn't call it a swatch because my quick crappy tablet pic isn't very reflective of the color I'm wearing (It's Whipped Pucker Up with a little Julep Gloss in Vivid), I kinda like it, and it's a good reflection of the type of makeup look that I've started playing with this year using both of my two favorite makeup finds.

For 2016, trends are already steering toward neutrals and natural looks-just when I started getting into brights! I don’t think it will last for long, though-by summer, we’ll be craving loud again. I wouldn’t be surprised if big hats, chunky shoes, or some other bold semi-retro trend reemerges later this year. Something I am excited about with all these neutrals is that I think the focus on skincare is on the upswing in the beauty world. I’ve already noticed more talk about products I hadn’t heard of before (how exactly does micellar water work??), and the foundation of a really great natural makeup look is gorgeous skin. People are going to be craving low maintenance complexions to go with their low maintenance makeup, and I can’t wait to see what great products and ideas the beauty world comes up with to help them do it.

Best of Nails
In 2015, I improved my hand care routine, and my nails and hands are very grateful. TamTam’s body whip is still my holy grail hand cream and facial moisturizer. I have to say, my best nail find for 2015 was Sinful Shine topcoat. I’ve been using it almost exclusively since I reviewed it, and it’s definitely staying in my regular rotation. My new brand to watch is Broadway Nails Gel Shine, even after the initial rough start with their formula. My latest experience with Grapefruity was promising, and within the next week or so, I have a new review for you with what turned out to be one of my favorite colors of the year: Chalice. I’d love to see great bargain polish this year, and even though they’ve been hit and miss so far, Chalice gave me hope that Broadway Nails may be the brand to bring it.

Finishes seemed to be at the forefront this year, and one finish becoming more popular that I hope to see a LOT of in 2016 is ghost shimmer (or hidden shimmer). These polishes look and apply like a crème, but have a subtle wave of sparkle through them that makes them positively glow. Sinful Colors Cream Pink (shown here) and Julep Suzanne, Paula, and Jenny were amazing polishes I tried this year in the ghost shimmer family. I can’t get enough of them. As much as I adore holos, I’m ready for the more subtle shimmers to get some love.

So those are my nail and beauty reflections for 2015. I’m no expert, but I can’t help thinking this will be a year that starts with a whisper and grows to a roar. I’m excited!

What were your favorite beauty products and polishes for 2015? What do you hope to see in 2016?

Monday, December 21, 2015

More Broadway Nails Gel Strong! Grapefruity and Gatsby

I've made a dangerous discovery: the Dollar General to the east of my house has more Broadway Nails Gel Strong polishes than the one to the west. I was delighted and a little surprised at how popular my Broadway Nails post has been, and that plus the low price and compulsive need to have all the polish convinced me that you needed more swatches. You know, for science.

After carefully examining bottles until I started getting the side eye from the clerk, the first polish I picked was also the one that called me over to the display. Grapefruity is a bright, warm pink-not quite hot pink, but close. Not particularly unique, but still very nice.The formula was a welcome surprise. It covered nicely in two coats, but I used three since visible nail line tends to really bug me. It was shiny, too, and none of the streaking issues I had with my last Broadway Nails creme, Ballet Shoes. For the price, this one was a real winner.

The second polish I settled on was less so. Gatsby is a grass green shimmer. I picked it because I don't have a rich true green, and I hoped this would fill that gap. Unfortunately, I think the search will have to continue. Gatsby goes on super sheer. This is 4-5 coats. I even tried it over white, but if anything, that made it worse. This could make a nice enhancer to bring out the green in another color, but on its own, I'd say it's a miss. It just needs too many coats to get to any semblance of the gorgeous jeweltoned green in the bottle. Some of you mentioned trying out Ultraviolet; I would guess that this finish is similar. I may experiment more with nail art and as a topper, but my recommendation is that you pass on this one unless you have another polish you're trying to green up.

These two polishes confirmed my initial assertion that Broadway Nails Gel Shine polishes aren't much competition for the high end stuff, but they're still worth a shot, and I'll definitely be back to the Dollar General I've now officially dubbed the "good" Dollar General to pick up a few more. Have you tried any of the newer shades? Thoughts?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Recreation: PGS Glitter Ruffian

I was a huge fan of now-defunct blog Pretty Girl Science, and I'd saved one of Nichole's posts on my Bloglovin' Nail Ideas folder, where all the really cool nail art posts go to languish, waiting fruitlessly for me to recreate them. (Never fear, PGS's Nichole still posts at Bedlam Beauty, while Amanda can be found at Some Weird Sin.) This time, though, I actually did one!

I had held off on recreating Nichole's black and glitter ruffian (original here) because the glitter she had used was so unique. She packed Octopus Party Nail Lacquer's Glow for the Gold and The Royal Tannenbaums for a multicolored glitter extravaganza. I didn't have anything similar, and it was the color combination that had won me over, so it sat. I had almost written it off as one of those manis that was built around a random indie polish I'd likely never own.

Then the wheels started turning again when I bought Sinful Colors Pride, a multicolored, multisized round and hex glitter topper that layers to full coverage relatively easily. To get the color effect I wanted, I started with my black base, then used a short striping brush to polish on a thin layer of NYC Fashion Queen into my ruffian shape to give the extra pop of gold that glammed up Nichole's mani. The pre-shaped design made layering in Pride super easy. It took about 2 coats with a little spot dabbing to get the glitter saturation I wanted, but boy was it sparkly!

I think that Pride is a little chunkier than the OPNL glitters Nichole used, but the overall look that prompted me to hit Save on that post is definitely there. I love how this mani turned out-a really classy take on a very, very high sparkle look that was, as she promised, quite easy to achieve. I was especially excited to have recreated it with easy to find, inexpensive shades. Both Pride and Fashion Queen are drugstore polishes (and you could actually use any gold glitter as your ruffian base for a similar effect), and my base is a basic black- Julep Cleopatra this time. I topped it with Sinful Shine Top Coat.

As a PGS devotee, I was sad to see it end, but two blogs are better than one, right? I was glad to finally recreate this throwback to their starter blog. What other glitter combos could be fun for this look? Have you ever recreated an indie look with mainstream polishes?