Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Formula X Press Pods

(Original image from Sephora, text added by me.)
Have you seen these neat little nail polish pods at by Formula X? A single use portion of nail polish with an attached brush all self contained in a sealed capsule? Comes in like a million colors? (Okay, I think actually closer to 25.) I have to say, I love the concept!  

There was a cup of samples at my local Sephora so I picked up a couple to try out. I picked out a red called Flashy and a grey shade called Extraordinary from the sample cup. (I think the only other colors they had out were maybe a green and a yellow?) I assume these were set out to sample in store, but I really wanted to try them out how I would if I were actually painting my nails, so I just brought them home. 

To use a Press Pod, first you twist off the cap. You will want to bend the brush a little to loosen it up, as it is kinda stiff and stuck together from being in the cap. Next, turn it so the brush is facing down towards your nail and gently squeeze a little polish out of the pod and let it drip down the brush. You can then use the brush to spread the polish on your nail.

Here are my results with 2 coats. (Please excuse my dry cuticles... that is an ongoing work in progress.) My first problem was that the whole pod is so small it makes it a little difficult to hold properly while painting your nails. The way the polish comes out of the pod is in a big drop near the top of the brush which you have to let drip down to the bottom of the bristles or dab on your nail then spread with the brush. I found the brush was a little rough and small. It wasn't a perfect application by any means but it seemed to work pretty good considering the purpose of this product. There is definitely a learning curve to applying polish out of these little capsules.

The polish seemed to dry fairly quickly, which was nice until I finished my first hand and couldn't get any more out of the pod. I usually paint my nails by painting the first coat on both hands then going back to paint a second coat (if needed.) In this experiment I ended up painting two coats on my first hand then moving onto my second hand, mostly because it was drying fast enough and I was on a roll in the way I figured out how to hold it. In total, I was able to paint 2 coats on my first hand and 3 additional nails with 1 coat each on my second hand before I couldn't get any more polish out of the pod. I assumed it was empty at this point.

I decided to cut the foil base of the pod open to see if there was anything left in it. There was actually quite a bit of product left in the pod! I think these actually hold plenty of polish to use two full coats on both hands. The problem is that it dries up and plugs itself, not allowing you to finish your mani. I suppose at this point you could empty the rest of the polish onto a paper plate and use the brush to finish your nails, but that kind of defies the whole point of this product's claim to "Pop, Press and Paint for a flawless manicure on the go." 

Unfortunately, I can't comment on the length of wear for this polish, because I ended up removing it since I wasn't able to finish both hands. I did love the shade though. 

It was fun to test this little polish pod out, I just wish I had been able to achieve better results! I still love the concept but I think the application needs a little work to make it more user friendly. Have you tried the Formula X Press Pods? Did you have better results than me? I'm curious to know!

For more Cosmetic Addiciton, make sure to follow me on Instagram @CosmeticAddictionTwitter @CosmeticAddictn and Facebook!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: Acrylic Nail Polish Racks from Amazon

(photo from Amazon.com)

Last year I purchased two of these clear acrylic nail polish racks through Amazon.com. This is the listing I ordered from. They are currently priced at $40.32 each with free shipping through Amazon Prime. They have a 4.5 out of 5 star rating with 422 customer reviews on Amazon.com. Now that I have had them up on my wall and full of polish for awhile, I wanted to share a few thoughts on the overall appearance and performance of them.

These racks are constructed with thick clear acrylic that has been glued together. They have six shelves with a lip in the front to keep the polish bottles from sliding off the shelf. The racks are advertised as being able to hold up to 96 bottles of nail polish. They attach to the wall through two holes, one near each top corner. They included screws and plastic anchors. Mine also came with extra screws for a separate "Polish Station" sign that was included, though the current listing states that these signs no longer come with the rack. (No problem there, I threw mine out anyway. They were cheesy.)

When I first pulled them out of the box, I was a little concerned about having only two screws hold up my beloved Zoya collection. I haven't had a problem with the weight of the polish though, two screws seems to do the job just fine. Another thing to note is when they were empty, I noticed spots where the glue had gotten a little messy or dripped during construction. This gave a frosty look in some areas. It would have been nice to not have the extra glue spots but it wasn't a deal breaker for me. Visually, they look just fine when full of polish.

Here are what my two nail polish racks look like attached to the wall and mostly full of nail polish:

I have them hanging on the wall one above the other. On the left is the top rack which houses all my Zoya nail polish and on the right is the lower one containing most of the rest of my nail polish. As I mentioned before, these racks come with screws and anchors to use to hang them up. I didn't end up using the included screws because one was deformed, as in the slots that normally fit a screwdriver tip were nonexistent. They also had an angled shape to the top of them, which I was worried might stress the acrylic and cause it to crack. I ended up going to Home Depot and getting a set of screws and anchors that had a flat head. Once I had the right hardware and tools, they were easy to install.
This is the shape of screw that was included with my nail polish rack.
I picked out screws shaped like this instead to avoid cracking the shelf.

Most of the brands in my collection fit just fine. I found that 16 bottles of Zoya will fit across, OPI will fit 14, Essie will fit 17 and Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear fits 19 bottles across. The claim of 96 bottles is pretty accurate for the average sized bottle of nail polish, but if you have any mini bottles or brands that have slimmer bottles you will easily be able to fit more than 100. On the flip side, if most of your nail polish is large or oddly shaped bottles, you won't be able to fit 96.

There were only two brands in my collection that I had any trouble fitting in the shelves. Nicole by OPI will fit sideways or forward facing and tilted, but not forward facing and flat. Butter London will fit sideways on some shelves but not all of them, leading me to the realization that the construction of these isn't perfect. Butter will of course fit facing forward but not two deep unfortunately. Your best bet with bottles of this shape is to arrange them at an angle. I didn't have any problems with height of nail polish bottles, my tallest being Nailtini.
16 full size bottles of Zoya plus one mini fit on that top shelf!

Overall, these nail polish racks work great for their intended purpose. The messy glue job and the fact that all the shelves aren't perfectly even are my only complaints. The $40 price tag is the most I think I would be willing to pay for something like this, even better if you can find them for less though. So far they seem to be lasting well, so I shouldn't need to replace them. If you have a ton of nail polish like me, I do think these are a great way to display and store your collection. I love being able to see my whole collection on the wall! It's pretty and it inspires me to want to paint my nails more often. :)

For more Cosmetic Addiciton, make sure to follow me on Instagram @CosmeticAddictionTwitter @CosmeticAddictn and Facebook!

(Note: You can get the same rack here for $30 + $5.49 shipping, so it is a few dollars cheaper but is not fulfilled by Amazon. With a difference of less than $5 per rack, I chose to order through the Amazon fulfilled listing I linked at the top as I have always had a great experience ordering from Amazon directly. But feel free to choose your own adventure.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mascara Monday: Roundup!

Over the summer, I came to the realization that I had a ridiculous amount of mascara samples. (Thanks in large part to Ipsy and Birchbox subscriptions!) I wanted to do a "Mascara Monday" project to share how they all look applied to my lashes. I photographed all the different mascaras I had either samples or full sizes of and took notes on their application and formula. I posted one mascara with a mini review each Monday for a couple months on Instagram, but I also want to have a place where you can see them all together. This is a roundup of all the mascaras I tried (in alphabetical order) with mini reviews, including a few that never made it to Instagram.

High End Brand Mascaras:
**In each photo grid, the left photo has no makeup and the right only has mascara applied. There are two coats of mascara on my top lashes and one coat on the bottom in all the mascara photos. Click photo to enlarge.**
Bare Minerals Flawless Definition: Great separation and lengthening with little to no clumps. I liked the shape of the brush, with the sort of hourglass shape. It made for easy application to both top and bottom lashes. This was one of the more difficult ones to remove out of this set of mascaras but I did like the overall effect.
Bare Minerals Lash Domination: This has a really interesting brush, plastic and sort of swirled. I wasn't a fan of the brush, I thought it made application more difficult and really messy. I also felt this one made my lashes stick together more than I'd like.

Benefit Bad Gal Lash: Lengthening, separation and volume were all fine with this. The oversized brush is almost too big in my opinion, but it does have a tapered tip which helps. Overall, I thought it was decent but not amazing. The super sized brushes just aren't my thing.
Benefit They're Real: I do like this mascara, just not as much as most people. The plastic brush is great for easy application with length and separation, I just think the formula is a little too wet. While not my absolute favorite of the bunch, this is definitely one of the better mascaras I tried.

Buxom Amplified Lash: This is one of my all time favorite mascaras. I feel like it is really underrated and no one ever talks about it. The tip of the wand twists to lengthen or shorten the plastic brush. It separates well and there are virtually no clumps after application. The length and volume I achieve with this mascara makes me feel like I'm wearing false lashes without all the hassle.
Buxom Sculpted Lash: I was really unsure of the long, S-shaped brush with plastic bristles. It turned out to not be as bad at applying mascara as I thought, but it is still kinda weird to use. The formula is nice, as with every Buxom mascara I have tried, but not nearly as lengthening as the Amplified Lash.

Chanel Inimitable Intense: The brush is on the smaller side with plastic bristles and a tapered tip. This made for very nice and very easy application. The volume is great, as is the separation. There were a few really tiny clumps, I'm guessing this has to do with how dry the formula is. I remember the word "feathery" came to mind when I looked at my lashes after applying it. I think it gives a natural but enhanced look. I liked this mascara overall, though I'm not sure I would buy the full size.
Dior Diorshow New Look: This had the smallest brush of all the mascaras I tried. It had plastic bristles and a tapered tip. I like the smaller brushes for application, I feel like you are really able to get to the base of your lashes and get all the small tiny lashes in the corner as well. The separation wasn't stellar with this one, but the length was good.

Georgio Armani Eyes to Kill: The brush is on the larger side, but I actually really like the way it applied mascara. I found it applied really easily and without clumping. I really like the length and separation I got with this mascara. I felt the overall effect was a really nicely enhanced natural look. This was one of my favorites of the bunch. I had a sample but would definitely buy a full size.
Lancome Hypnose Star: The flat, triangular shaped brush on this mascara was quite different than your average mascara brush and I didn't care for it much. The formula seemed to make my lashes stick to each other a fair amount, though length was good. Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan overall.

Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume: The medium sized, long and slim brush made for easy application. I liked the length and lack of clumps but felt the separation could have been better. This was a nice mascara, not at the top of my list of favorites but not at the bottom either.
MAC Zoom Lash: The brush is medium sized and slightly tapered, it was easy to apply mascara with. As far as formula, there is some slight clumping and I would have preferred a little more separation. As with the Laura Mercier, it's a fine mascara but not the best of what I have tested.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant: I was surprised by how easy it actually was to use the large tear drop shaped brush. It applied easily to my lashes, adds great length, allows good separation between lashes and there were no clumps. This is a really nice mascara.
Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Gel Volume: What stood out most about this mascara was how wet the formula is! The length was decent but my lashes stuck together quite a bit. I also noticed some little clumps near the tips of some lashes. I couldn't get over the wetness, this was just okay to me.

Smashbox Full Exposure: This has a jumbo brush with a tapered tip, much like Benefit's Bad Gal. The brush applied similarly to Bad Gal: it's a little difficult to work with because it's almost too big but it gets the job done. I thought the formula on this was a bit better than Bad Gal though, very nice separation and length. While large brushes usually aren't my favorite, in this case it worked out well and I really like the effect of this mascara.
Too Faced Better Than Sex: I like the shape of this brush, the sort of hourglass curve works really well for application. I thought this added great volume and length with almost no clumping. I really liked this mascara overall and would definitely consider purchasing a full size.

Drugstore Brand Mascaras:
**In each photo grid, the left photo has no makeup and the right only has mascara applied. There are two coats of mascara on my top lashes and one coat on the bottom in all the mascara photos. I went a little out of alphabetical order here so I could compare the two L'Oreal mascaras side by side. Click photo to enlarge.**
Essence Get BIG! Lashes Triple Black: This has a jumbo brush, which as I already mentioned I am not typically a fan of. However, it also has a slight hourglass shape to it, which really helped me out. I actually though it applied pretty easily. It added good volume and length, had good separation and no clumps. I thought it was a solid drugstore mascara.
Wet n Wild Mega Protein: The brush on this is a pretty standard old school mascara brush. The bristles were pretty far apart which made my eyelashes stick together in little groups. It didn't add much in terms of length or volume, it basically just darkened my lashes and made them stick together. If Wet n Wild makes a good mascara, this definitely isn't it.

L'Oreal Lash Out Voluminous Butterfly: The brush of this mascara is shaped kinda like, you guessed it, a butterfly's wings. To me, this shape is a really bizarre concept and didn't really work as expected. It just seems kinda gimmicky to me. The formula was kinda wet, not my favorite. Length was good and there weren't really any clumps. Maybe there is a learning curve to making this brush to amazing things to your eyelashes, but I didn't really care to keep using it long enough to find out.
L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes: This is my current favorite drugstore mascara. The plastic brush is big but not jumbo and has a nice tapered tip making application really easy. I find I get great volume, length and separation without clumps. I think it rivals some of the top prestige brands like Benefit or Buxom. I will definitely continue to purchase this as a drugstore mascara option.

Favorite High End: Buxom Amplified Lash, Georgio Armani Eyes to Kill
Favorite Drugstore: L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes
Least Favorite: Wet n Wild Mega Protein

Many of the mascara samples I tried out came from my subscriptions to Birchbox and Ipsy. If you are interested in joining either, please consider using my referral link! (I get points if you join through my link.) 
Ipsy Referral Link & Birchbox Referral Link. Thank You! :)


For more Cosmetic Addiciton, make sure to follow me on Instagram @CosmeticAddictionTwitter @CosmeticAddictn and Facebook!

Friday, October 3, 2014

My Benefit x Birchbox Beauty Bash!

What makeup addict doesn't love the idea of a Beauty Bash? A party celebrating makeup and your best girlfriends? When I saw that Benefit and Birchbox were holding a contest together to send 1500 lucky ladies a party in a box, I entered immediately! Entry was simply, you filled out a form on the Birchbox Beauty Bash website and got bonus points for linking an Instagram photo that showed your love of makeup. There were two rounds of winners chosen: the first round 1000 were picked and the second round added an additional 500 winners. I ended up entering both rounds when I wasn't picked in the first set. I was elated when I received an email letting me know I had been chosen to host a Wing Women Beauty Bash! (You can see the Instagram posts I entered with here: Round 1 Entry, Round 2 Entry.)

I began planning immediately, using Pinterest to round up some ideas and inspiration. You can see my Beauty Bash Pinterest board here. I also found a lot of inspiration through Instagram, searching the hashtag #beautybash. This beautiful pink and gold invite I found on Pinterest was the inspiration for my whole party. The first thing I needed to do was pick a day and let my friends know. I created this invite with all the details of my party to text out to everyone.

My Invitation
Next I created a game for my guests to play and designed it to look like the invitation. The game I made is a variation of a popular A-Z game at bridal and baby showers. My version, "What's in My Makeup Bag!" required guests to name a makeup, haircare or beauty brand for each letter of the alphabet. I encouraged them to be creative though, the more obscure the brand the better because if anyone else named the same brand as you did, that brand is disqualified! It ended up being really fun and the girls enjoyed it. Here is a close up of my game:

I printed the game sheets on white gold pearlized card stock and then added pink card stock behind it. I created a prize using a few full size, deluxe sample and minis of products and put the prize inside an old Birchbox box decorated with pink and gold ribbons. This sort of tied in the Benefit x Birchbox branding, since both brands sponsored the Beauty Bash. I wanted opening the prize to mimic how much fun it is to open my monthly Birchbox. Here is a shot of my game with the prize box at my party. 

I always love the cute (and often really true! haha!) Benefit quotes, so I wanted to incorporate these into my party as well. I printed out several of them and put them on dowel covered in metallic gold duct tape. These are all six quotes I used for this:

I printed the quotes on the white gold pearlized card stock and used pink card stock behind them, just like the game. These served as both a decoration on the counter in pink vases, as well as a fun prop for photos, as you can see below!

Me, Amanda, Emily - Benebabes!

For decorations, I printed out several photos of the Benefit mannequins with cute quotes and put them in gold frames. I used tissue paper to create fluffy balls to hang from the ceiling, alternating with pearl white and gold balloons. I used glitter alphabet stickers and pink paper to create a banner that said "Beauty Bash" and hung this in front of my hanging decorations. Here are a few photos of the decorations:

Benefit and Birchbox were very generous with the party pack they sent. It included the white gift bags, pink tissue paper, tons of samples for my guests and several full sized products for me. It also had cute coasters with the Benefit quotes on them. (It was like getting the best Birchbox ever in the mail that day!) I added gold tissue paper to the goodie bags as well as a few extra items as shown below.

Benefit sent all the Benefit products. I added a mini candle,
mini bottles of Seche Vite, Essie nail decals and a fun hair tie.
I bought supplies like tissue paper, ribbon, card stock and stickers to make my decorations at the Dollar Tree, Party City and Michaels. One of my favorite finds at the Dollar Tree was these super cute wine glasses with kiss lips and lipstick on them! I can't wait to host another makeup themed party or girls night so I can use these again, they are so stink in' cute! (Here they are on the Dollar Tree website if you're interested!) I had posted a photo of my pink silverware with gold gemstones on it on Instagram and that gained a lot of likes. If you want to make something similar, it was super easy. I just bought the pink silverware at Party City and got stick on gemstones of different sizes in the scrapbooking section of Michaels. I literally just stuck the gems on! So easy and cute!

Overall, the party was a blast! The girls loved everything and so did I! I hope everyone that hosted or attended a Beauty Bash had as great a time as I did! It was so much fun to plan all the little details, make my decorations, plan my menu and pull everything together. Thank you so much to Benefit and Birchbox for choosing me to be a Beauty Bash Hostess!

Thank You!!! xox
Hopefully these tips help you if you are planning a makeup party of your own! Thanks for checking out the details of my Beauty Bash! For more Cosmetic Addiciton, make sure to follow me on Instagram @CosmeticAddiction, Twitter @CosmeticAddictn and Facebook!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wet n Wild Limited Edition Halloween Quads

Here are swatches of the limited edition Wet n Wild Halloween 2014 Color Icon eyeshadow quads!  There was one other "LE" quad but it was identical to one from the regular line of Color Icon quads so I didn't get that one. If you are still looking for them, I found them on an end cap display at Walgreens. The whole end cap was Wet n Wild for different Halloween looks. 

Thanks for looking! I posted these last week on Instagram, if you don't follow me there, you should! I'm @cosmeticaddiction. :)