Friday, February 12, 2016

Julep Essential Cuticle Oil Review

I'm running low on my favorite TamTam's Cuticle Oil, so I decided to tack on Julep's Essential Cuticle Oil to my February Maven box. I was apprehensive about trying something new when I already have a favorite, but the convenience of adding it on to my Maven box wooed me. I haven't been using it long enough to make any long term claims about what it does, but I do have some first impressions to share about how it stacks up to my usual brand.

No touch up on my cuticles in this photo

Essential Cuticle Oil comes in a .28 oz rollerball bottle, perfect for everyday carry. It's similar in size to a Julep polish bottle. The main ingredient is jojoba oil, and it also has rosewood, vitamin E, sweet almond oil, and ylang ylang. On the Manna's Manis review of TamTam's oil someone mentioned a lavender allergy, so unfortunately this one isn't an alternative in that respect. However, it's a good quality oil. Nothing weird on the ingredient list, does what it says it does, and isn't that bottle pretty?

I wasn't sure what I would think about the rollerball, and I like it more than I thought I would. I think my preference is still for the brush, but it dispenses enough product without having to fight with it. One thing I could take or leave on this product is the smell. It has a sort of woodsy overtone, which I didn't mind, but didn't love. If you prefer a sweeter smell, this may not appeal to you as much, but if you like a more earthy smell, this will be right up your alley.

After about a week of normal-for-me use, which is a few times a day, my cuticles aren't perfect, but are definitely improved from the state they would be in, especially considering the wonky weather we've been having here in the Midwestern US. The oil is very light, and absorbs into the cuticles quickly, leaving them smoother and soft.

All in all, I think I prefer my old cuticle oil (you can find it at TamTam's Etsy shop). I love the smell of her oils, and they feel a little thicker and richer. This one is lighter, but I feel like I reapply it a little more often, and didn't get the instant impact that I did when I first started using TamTam's. They're also half the retail price of the Julep oil for a bigger bottle (.5 oz vs .28 oz). However, many of the reasons I'm going to be repurchasing my old brand rather than switching to this one are based in preference. This is definitely a good quality cuticle oil that's well reviewed on the site. If you prefer a rollerball to a brush, like a light formula, and enjoy a more earthy smell over the more "girlie" scents, this may be a good cuticle oil for you. I have no problem recommending it, but when I look at the relative value of buying a good cuticle oil I like for $18 versus a great cuticle oil I love for $9, I'm going to be switching back myself.

Have you ever tried a high end version of a favorite product? What did you think?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Drugstore Find: Revlon Untamed Review

Swatch surfing, I've recently seen several gorgeous deep browns that I'd love to try. Trouble is, whenever I try a brown, I feel kind of underwhelmed. Cool browns look dull on my skin tone, and I hadn't run across any warm browns that spoke to me, so my collection has been kind of brown deficient. Imagine my surprise the other night when I found two to choose from! I may end up going back for Sally Hansen Insta Dri in Cocoa A Go Go (because wow), but I settled on Revlon Untamed, and boy am I glad I picked this one up!

Untamed is a rich, sparkly brown with gold and pinkish flakies-kind of hard to explain this finish, but it's pretty. My big worry about it was that the flakies are very visible in the bottle, so I wondered if it would be opaque without undies. Turns out it is. This is two coats, no VNL, no streaks. It's not a true one coater unless you go pretty thick, but two thinner coats is perfect.

I really, really like this color. The flakies make the shimmer really unique, almost like a base color and a topper in one. Every now and then one of the big gold flakes shows through, giving it a really interesting mottled look (you can see a little of that on my ring finger). The little pink flakies show a lot in the bottle, but on the nail, they don't skew the tone pink. They're more for texture and warmth, though they do pop in the light. The effect is a gorgeous duochrome-ish shimmer.

One caveat-this color needs topcoat. Untopped it dulls, and all of the things that made this polish really special are muted. I used a coat of Sinful Shine topcoat here, and it dried with a nice shine and plenty of sparkle. (Unrelated: I got two bottles of Sinful Shine topcoat for $.74 on sale at K-Mart the other day! I left a few for the rest of you, but couldn't resist grabbing some spares. Now I have a purse bottle. #obsessed)

I'd give the formula on this one a B+. Cleanup isn't super precise because those flakies cling, but it's still ok. I opened the bottle in the store to get a feel for coverage, and I immediately noticed that, like many Revlon polishes, it has a strong smell. It didn't bother me while I was polishing, but if you're sensitive to smells, you may want to open this one to see if it will be an issue before you purchase. Revlon's website does say that this line is 5-free. I don't have any complaints about application, it went on smoothly and had good coverage. It dried quickly and was well on its way to dry before I added my regular topcoat. I also noticed that it gets a little fussy at the tips, so wrapping the tip is a must.

I have a few Revlon polishes, and they're ok, but they really have to do something special to catch my eye. This polish was eye catching. I love the richness, the unusual finish, and the ease of application. I'll definitely wear again; it's got the sophisticated finish of an indie topper in one step. All in all, I think this one's a winner!

Is Untamed in your collection? I think I'm going to be on the lookout for other Revlon shades with this type of finish. What other Revlon polishes are worth a try?