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Friday, November 14, 2014

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips

Today I wanted to do a small experiment.
I love the ease of the Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail strips, but I wish they'd last longer. So I thought to try putting a top coat of Gelish Top It Off and see how they do.
The whole thing behind gel on plain nail polish is that the polish needs to be fully dried for around 24 hours for the gel top coat to be effective.  But when you use nail strips.... They pretty much are dried. So I thought.... Why not!

So I prepped my nails:
Pushed back cuticles 
Shaped & buffed away the shine
Wiped them with alcohol to get rid off any dust and oil 
Stuck the strips on 
Smooth out the bubbles and filed the excess off
Applied a thin coat of top it off and cure for 30 seconds
**I have a geluv led battery operated lamp

I also want to share that I'd seen videos on YouTube on how to use 1 pack for all 10 nails (each box come with 2 sealed packs of 8 nail strips).  So if you can pull it off correctly you get 2 manicures for around $10 or less!! If you see the top right picture above I show how I used 8 stickers to fit all 10 nails. It's a little trickier.  I use a tweezers to peel the plastic layer off.  I did this versus peeling everything off and then cutting it, that way I didn't want to chance distorting the design.
As you can see I have medium length nails I say any longer you won't be able to half the stickers to stretch the pack out. 
10 days of wear
After 10 days you can see the growth of my nails but the stickers have stayed on well. No chips just some wear at the very tips of my nails.  I could have worn these for longer but the grow out bothered me so I took them off.
To remove these I simply buffed the gel layer similar to removing other gel soak-offs. Then wrapped in acetone on cotton and foil, waited about 10 minutes and everything wiped off easily.  I feel my nails are a lot healthier using the nail strips/gel versus regular gel manicures. I really hate scrapping off the remainder polish that the acetone doesn't soak off with regular gels.
I really like this type of manicure! I'm definitely going to be trying out more designs/colors.

Friday, November 7, 2014

REVIEW: Dr. Jart Black Label BB Cream Sephora VS Korean Line

I've had my fair share of bb creams in the past.  Missha, Lioel, Skin Food, The Face Shop, Nature Republic, Skin76.... You get the idea. Unfortunately no matter how much I loved the idea of bb cream benefits I could not find one that suited me perfectly.  It would usually be a problem of color range, coverage or the smell.  

A lot of Korean bb creams I've tried have fragrance in them which I can't stand.  I also have a peeve in general on foundations that give off that minerals smell (too me it smells almost like dirt).  For that whole reason is why I hardly ever wear foundation and when I do I've basically searched high and low for one I'm okay with. -__-  For awhile I'd been using Revlon ColorStay Whipped Cream Foundation in color 200 Sand Beige, which had become too dark for me and the 2 lighter shades didn't match my skin tone.

So I decide to venture in again on bb creams as I'm going on a trip in December where my skin will be on the fritz and I need decent coverage and SPF would be nice, an all-in-one kind of deal so I don't have to lug around a lot.

** Short intro I have sensitive combination skin that is light beige/nude.  Being Asian I have a yellow undertone.  Unfortunately because my skin reacts so badly to mac foundation I have no color number to base off of for you folks. (Maybe next time I go to Sephora I can color match myself to MUFE foundation *mental note)

Reason for this review for me is more curiosity.  Though I love Sephora and enjoy racking up my VIB insider points, I'm still a girl who likes so save money... I mean who doesn't?  Prior to Sephora carrying more Korean beauty products, I like many others, used to order my bb creams on eBay direct from Korea.  So auctions on a chance to buy beauty products cheaper.... Count me in!  Like everything I buy, I research the heck out of the Internet.  I read a few things here and there what the difference of the Sephora vs Korean line was but it just didn't satisfy me.  So of course leave it up to me to do some fun experimenting!  More after the jump!

***Disclaimer: I have purchased all products with my hard earned money. I am not being paid to review these products. I am just simply interested in sharing what works for myself and what I like.

Price break down:

Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm (Sephora)  ***I will refer to this as the "Sephora Detox Black Label" throughout this blog, it's not a Sephora brand product it is just sold there and I don't want to be repetitive that it's Dr. Jart
-1.5 oz/~45ml $36.00 - $0.80 per ml
-0.66 oz/~20ml $18.00 (I've purchased this size)-  $0.90 per ml
Dr. Jart Rejuvenating BB (Silver Label) 
-10ml - Purchased on eBay (Auction) for $6.50 + $2.50 shipping.   $0.90 per ml  **Of course this price varies since I purchased through eBay.
Dr. Jart Nourishing BB (Black Label) 
-10ml - Purchased on eBay (Buy it now) for $9.87 + $2.50 shipping.  $1.24 per ml  **Of course this price varies since I purchased through eBay.

Price difference is not much difference when you break it down to the ml cost. Of course on eBay you may get lucky and find a good deal so that you can always take into consideration.

Swatches and first impression:

I've swatched these products on/over my wrist tattoo so you can all get a better understanding of the coverage the bb creams are capable of.  Also my wrist is probably the whitest part on my body aside from my butt. Haha! :)
  • Sephora Detox black label is the darkest of the 3 and the most rose toned (it's hard to pick up on my camera).  I couldn't detect any scent. Nice and creamy consistency making it easy to spread.
  • Korean Rejuvenating silver label is very liquidy. At first I squeezed the tube and only oil/water that had separated came out.  I had to cap the tube and shake it.  This is the only neutral/yellow based out of the 3.  According to Dr. Jart, Silver label is color #21 Light Beige marketed toward oily/all skin type.  I agree with the color name however I do not agree this is for oily skin and I will explain this in more depth below.  Very faint scent but I can't really pinpoint it, the smell fades quickly.
  • Korean Nourishing black label is the same creamy consistency as the Sephora version.  It's also rose based toned but lighter and with a tiny hint of yellow compared to the sephora version.  According to Dr. Jart, Black label is color #21~23 Skin Pink Beige marketed toward Medium/Dry skin type.  I also agree with the color name however I think this can be suited for all skin types which I will also explain in more depth below.  This has a flowery scent when applying but fades not too long after setting so this didn't bother me.

All of the bb creams, depending on type of application has buildable coverage.  I say you can reach full coverage with these but you may start to look cakey/heavy.  For my personal use, I like to just tone down my redness while still having my freckles show through some.  I do not use any concealer, I just apply over my FAB Daily Face Cream.  I have applied these with the Urban Decay Optical Blurring Brush in a stippling motion to get coverage then I lightly buff it to blend.  If needed I'll go back and apply more product on areas I feel need a little more coverage and buff again. Lastly I set with MUFE HD Microfinishing Powder (just translucent powder but super awesome and totally worth the money IMO).

Wearability test:

Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm

Detox Black Label
Natural lighting, of course the sun changes after 10 hours. Haha.

Indoor lighting
I am not sure why the pictures appear almost "soft-glow focus" but I just took all my pictures with an ipad in natural and indoor light, no editing and just used picstitch to put them side by side.
I like the Detox Black  Label the best because the creamy texture applied well on my face with coverage to my liking and not feeling heavy.  I really hate wearing foundation with coverage but you can almost feel it cracking on your face when you move your face or wrinkle up your nose. I didn't get any of that with this bb cream, with my face cream under and the MUFE powder on top it still felt very light.  This bb cream has no fragrance compared to the Nourishing Black Label which is a plus.  However I feel like the rosey color of this bb cream makes it a tad bit too dark for me (by maybe one shade) nothing noticeable to others, but I can tell.
I'm not sure what it is in the ingredients but my face feels velvety after I've washed this off my face.  My skin feels moisturized and "bouncy".
The coverage held up well for 10 hours and no touch ups. My t-zone was slightly shiny but had not broken the bb cream up on my face.
In the end, I've just purchased the full size 1.5oz version of this product because Sephora has a 20% off coupon for VIB members. I don't want to be caught without it. So I can take the smaller tube with me when I travel!
5/5 rating

Dr. Jart Rejuvenating BB (Silver Label)

Rejuventating silver label - Indoor lighting
The color of the Rejuvenating Silver Label for me is maybe a shade too light for my face which is fine because I contour and use blush so at the end of it all you can't even tell.  It was on the more liquid/thin side compared to the other 2 creams.  It spread easier on my face. It's hard to tell in the pictures as far as coverage because my camera kind of sucks. :{  I say out of the 3 this is the most sheer, probably due to the fact it's so thin in consistency.  I do want to mention this is SPF 35/ PA++ while the other 2 bb reams are SPF 25.
I had read on a review site a girl had mentioned the Sephora Detox Black Label and the Korean Black Label are not similar at all, but that the Korean Silver Label is more comparable to the Sephora Detox Black Label.  I disagree strongly.  I'm not sure if the formulation changed when they changed the packaging so I'm going off of what I have in front of me.
The silver label did not work well for me.  I don't have really oily skin but the weather in Hawaii is pretty humid and in the high 80s. After 6 hours of wear the bb cream had completely broken apart and looked really nasty up close. It even clumped up in some areas like around my nose and made my face look like it was peeling.  To me this was disappointing because I did the same routine as far as application as the other two but I stayed at home and did nothing all day. Where as the day I wore the Nourishing Black Label I had sweated like a mother-f*  at one part of the day and no touch-ups I still looked pretty good at the end of 10 hours.  All that being said if you really want to use this for oily/all skin type like it's suggested, you're going to have to do multiple touch-ups in a day to make it last.  Lastly I woke up with breakouts on my face from this bb cream. :( *no bueno*
In conclusion to the Rejuvenating Silver Label, I'm glad I only purchased a small tube because I will not be wearing this again.  The coverage isn't good enough for me, it has no staying power and I don't like breakouts on my face.
1/5 rating

Dr. Jart Nourishing BB (Black Label)

Nourishing black label - indoor lighting
The Nourishing Black Label is a tad bit lighter than the Sephora Detox Black Label but still with a rose based shade. It wore well on my face and I feel matched my skin tone well, because it's a little lighter it looked a little better than the Sephora Detox Black Label on me.  The cream consistency was easy to apply and I easily got good coverage without having to pack on product. I got carried away wanting to try this product that I forgot to take a before picture without it on my face but you can look at the above 2 and kind of compare.  It does have a flowery scent that I'd rather not have but the scent fades not to long after applying.
While wearing this product I did not touch up once and it controlled my t-zone oil very well. I did some light working out (yoga and some light weights) so I sweated a bit. Then after a long day out I came home and attempted to put my new HUGE suitcase I just purchased into my closet, it was a struggle and boy was I sweating. Aside from light wear that I expect from all foundation, this bb cream made me look great at the end of the day! As far as the company suggesting this for Medium/Dry skin type, I think it could for even for combination/oily skin but I'm not sure how it'll hold up for super oily skin.
To sum things up, I will continue to wear this until I run out but the Sephora Detox Black Label won me over by just small factors.  My skin doesn't feel as soft after I've washed this bb cream off and the fragrance I can do without. The ingredients are different from the Detox black label so I really wonder what it is that make my skin soft!!
4.5/5 rating

Thursday, November 6, 2014

REVIEW: Snap Plugs Series 1

I haven't posted about my stretched ears since my how-to post on Kaos earskins for small stretched ears.
I've been stretching my ears very slowly for I'd say almost 3 years now.  I have no goal size and I'm pretty much just occasionally stretching every so often when I feel I want to go up a size.

Snap Plugs: Series 1
Prior to finding out about SnapPlugs I was hesitant to go up sizes because my ear just does not work well with tapers and plugs. My left lobe stretches fine, then my right lobe always has problems. I believe the cause of this is because my right lobe was only pierced maybe a year before I stretched it and my left ear was pierced yeaaaaars before.
So I had been at 2g for quite awhile and I was happy but I wanted to go up in size. The 0g taper was just too big of a size jump and my ear just told me "NO".   I had this same problem doing up from 8g to 6g (I think) I remembered ordering glass plugs on Etsy that was an in between size.
I purchased the Series 1 Snap Plugs that go from 4g to 0g. Though I only used half the pack to go from 2g to 0g. I was able to easily stretch in I'd say a little less than 2 months.
Example of how to use Snap Plugs
Here's a little pic from their website on how these guys work. I found that the little flare toward the back of the plug helps prep your ear as you wear it for a week or two for the next size up.  What I loved about this is it was soooo easy and completely painless. (Though you might say stretching isn't supposed to hurt.... we all know in the small sizes it kind of does)  These plugs have a long wearable area which is good but it did look funny when I was in the process to getting to the goal size.
Me wearing Snap Plugs
I don't have much pictures of me wearing them but they're pretty plain and not much to look at.
One of the sizes I had used the tiny circle cap cracked so it wouldn't stay on. Luckily it wasn't too much larger then 2g so I was able to pop on an extra black o-ring I had and it stayed for the time I used that size.  
Im conculsion, $30 for an easily painless way to get to my goal size is great. It may sound kind of pricey to you but it saves you money on the tapers and plugs you buy in between getting to your goal size.  I am thinking of getting the series 2 if I decide to go bigger.
I hope one day this company will make sets larger than 1/2", many of my "stretched friends" say they wish it there were bigger sizes so they could try it out.  I think since many of them have hit a "stretching plateau" and this seems a lot more convenient to taping plugs.

I also wanted to quickly mention that I had purchased Holey Butt'r and it's awesome! It kind of smells like grass or something but it works well for stretching. I even use it when I change out jewelry as a lubricant.
Tins of Holey Butt'r