Thursday, September 30, 2010

Swatches – essence Return to Paradise

I’m not ready for fall. Summer was just too rainy and cold this year. So in an attempt to regain a little of the summery feeling I finally bring you the swatches of essence’s LE Return to Paradise. Well, four of the five polishes, No. 02 (a purple) was gone by the time I got to the display.

The colours are all very summery and island-y and overall very lovely. They come in cute barrel-shaped bottles and with the usual round brushes. For every colour you’ll see an image of the polish in two coats without top coat and one in three coats with top coat.

essence Return to Paradise 01 jungle drum

This is more of a dark maroon than a brown, though at full opacity the red hue is less visible. jungle drum contains a moderate amount of microglitter, most of which seems to be silver and holo, though most appears pinky due to the base colour. This polish is opaque in three coats.
From two coats on jungle drum is pretty much free of streaks, I had no real issues applying this polish. Just be careful to stay away from your cuticle, as this will be a bitch to clean up.

essence Return to Paradise 01 jungle drum 2C no TC

essence Return to Paradise 01 jungle drum 3C with TC

essence Return to Paradise 03 back to paradise

I adore this colour, a dark green crème with just a hint of teal. In full opacity, three coats, this is quite similar to the colour of a blackboard.
Again, I have absolutely no complaints, back to paradise applies smoothly and spreads well.

essence Return to Paradise 03 back to paradise 2C no TC

essence Return to Paradise 03 back to paradise 3C with TC

essence Return to Paradise 04 fruit punch

fruit punch is a gorgeous glass-flecked mid-orange with the typical lit-from-within glow. This requires three coats, as well.
Overall this, too, applies beautifully. If you stumble across a bottle I highly recommend getting it.

essence Return to Paradise 04 fruit punch 2C no TC

essence Return to Paradise 04 fruit punch 3C with TC

essence Return to Paradise 05 sun downer

This is a darker shade of orange than fruit punch and contains the same kind of microglitter as jungle drum (which here is just bordering on shimmer). Three coats are perfect with sun downer.
This polish is completely even in two coats, it’s absolutely lovely.

essence Return to Paradise 05 sun downer 2C no TC

essence Return to Paradise 05 sun downer 3C with TC

This LE was certainly bold and bright and overall gorgeous. I should have gotten to the store earlier to get the fifth colour, too.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

NotD – Green Randomosity

I guess by now most of you (except for new followers. Hi y’all!) know that I love my dotting tools. And since I haven’t done a lot of dottage recently, that’s what I chose to decorate my nails with tonight.

Here’s what I used for this mani:

  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • s-he 469
  • Mavala 251 Cedar Green
  • Zoya Midori
  • China Glaze 2030
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • Seche Vite

First I applied a couple of coats of Diamond Strength, three of s-he 469 and one coat of Seche Vite.

s-he 469 is a warm, shimmering, lightly metallic, not-quite-dark green with a subtle golden undertone, the base looks to be somewhere between forest and fern green. It’s not all that opaque, three coats barely suffice.
This polish is very runny and the first coat is incredibly patchy, but it’s wearable from the second coat on. As it’s on the metallic side of shimmery s-he 469 shows some brush marks, but not nearly as badly as other shimmers. The round brush is basic, but serviceable and the drying time rather short.

This is s-he 469 in two coats without top coat (please note that shimmers and metallics can look more opaque on photos than they really are):

s-he 469 2C no TC

And here is s-he 469 in three coats with Seche Vite:

s-he 469 3C with TC

After the base colour had dried I used a fairly fine dotting tool to apply Midori, Cedar Green and 2030 in random dots and short lines on each nail. Then I sealed the dots with top coat.

What colours would you have chosen for the dotty design?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Double Birthday Giveaway


It’s been way to long since my last giveaway, hasn’t it? As September 24th is my first blog birthday and October 22nd is mine I thought it was appropriate to have a celebratory giveaway this month.

I have a whole bunch of stuff I accumulated over the past few months, which will all go to one lucky winner. All are unused, of course, and were purchased by me (click on image to embiggen).

  • strawberry flavoured Hello Kitty lip balm
  • adorable silver Eyeko tote
  • Eyeko Line and Shine Duo Colour Pencil For Eyes For Superstar Eyes in Electric Purple/Plum
  • essence nail art glitter 06 glitter it!
  • essence denim wanted! LE, all five gorgeous colours!
  • essence matt top coat
  • essence multi dimension 53 all access (discontinued)
  • essence colour&go 11 so glamourous
  • essence colour&go 40 absolutely stylish
  • s-he 375
  • s-he 464
  • s-he 466
  • s-he 467
  • Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer 240 Sold Out For Ever
  • Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer 250 I Sea You!
  • Eyeko Indigo Polish for sultry nails
  • Eyeko Tea Rose Polish for country nail
The rules are simple:

  • Open to all followers, no matter where you live. I must be able to find you in my GFC box. *points towards the right sidebar*
  • If you’re under 18, check with your parents or guardians if it’s alright to give out your address.
  • Enter only once, please. You can get more entries (see below), but all must be entered at the same time in the google docs form you can find below. Comments and emails don’t count as entries.
  • Giveaway ends on October 23rd at 23:59 CEST (UTC+2).
  • I’ll pick a random winner asap and will announce them on twitter, this blog and contact them via email. The winner then has 72 hours to get back to me with their address.
You can gain up to three entries this time (I will check and you’ll be disqualified if you cheat):

  • 1 entry - Fill out the required boxes in the form, i.e. GFC name (the name that shows up in the google friend connect gadget) and your email address. Please double check both and use an email address you check frequently. (required)
  • 1 entry – Blog about this giveaway: I don’t care how you do so, you can create a static page, a blog post or add it to a sidebar. If I can find the link on your blog or website, that’s fine. You can grab and add the picture or not, crop it and resize it, either way works for me. Please provide a direct link to the post, page or whatever.
  • 1 entry – Tweet about this giveaway, including a link to this post and my username @cucumpear. Please paste the direct link to the tweet into the appropriate box in the form. You don’t need to follow me on twitter, though I do appreciate it.
If something is unclear or there are issues with the form, leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll clarify/fix it.

Good luck to y’all!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Swatches – essence denim wanted!

For once I got lucky and got to the new essence display just after it was placed, there was something left of everything. A non-nail tip: if you buy one of the gel liners from the denim wanted! LE, take it out of the box and close it firmly. Neither of my jars was closed as tightly as I would have liked. The liners are great, though, so snatch them up if you can.

essence denim wanted!
But now to the polish swatches! All polishes applied well with the round brush typically found in the LEs. For these polishes I took three images per colour: one in two coat without top coat, one in three coats with top coat and the last with an additional coat of essence matt top coat (which is lovely, review upcoming). My camera didn’t play nicely, so the photos aren’t as good as I’d have liked and I had to re-swatch a couple of shades. I so need a new camera (and would appreciate reasonably priced recommendations).

essence denim wanted! 01 high waist pink

This colour really stands out from the rest of the collection due to its bright pink colour with just a hint of coral. Like most of these polishes high waist pink has a crème finish. It’s fairly opaque, but for a perfect application three coats are needed.
While high waist pink spreads well, it’s just a bit patchy. Otherwise it would probably be fine in two coats.

essence denim wanted! 01 high waist pink 2C no TC

essence denim wanted! 01 high waist pink 3C with TC

essence denim wanted! 01 high waist pink 3C with TC-matte

essence denim wanted! 02 i love my jeans

i love my jeans is the only shimmery polish in this trend edition. It’s a rich black with – as far as I can make out – silver, purple and green microglitter. This one wins so hard. It’s also insanely opaque in two coats, but one thick coat would probably work as well.
Another reason for the absolute win is that i love my jeans applies like a dream, smoothly and free of streaks.
If you’re into dark polishes, grab a bottle of i love my jeans and wear it matte and shiny.

essence denim wanted! 02 i love my jeans 2C no TC

essence denim wanted! 02 i love my jeans 3C with TC

essence denim wanted! 02 i love my jeans 3C with TC-matte

essence denim wanted! 03 my boyfriend’s jeans

A blue I truly love! Rich, inky, dark and universally flattering. It’s subtle and yet striking. my boyfriend’s jeans almost feels like a jelly, but is just too pigmented. So I suppose I’ll call it a crème. :-P Two coats are wearable, but I recommend using three coats for a perfect finish. I’ve been wearing it matte for a couple of days without any embellishments, that’s how awesome it is!

essence denim wanted! 03 my boyfriend's jeans 2C no TC

essence denim wanted! 03 my boyfriend's jeans 3C with TC

essence denim wanted! 03 my boyfriend's jeans 3C with TC-matte

essence denim wanted! 04 forever mine

Bright, so bright. I don’t think I’d ever wear denim in that shade, but it’s lovely for nail polish. forever mine is a clear bright blue that everyone who loves bright colours should have. Like all crème polishes from this collection, this requires three coats.

essence denim wanted! 04 forever mine 2C no TC

essence denim wanted! 04 forever mine 3C with TC

essence denim wanted! 04 forever mine 3C with TC-matte

essence denim wanted! 05 fivepocket grey

This is another gorgeous grey, slightly lighter than medium grey and just a tad dirty. fivepocket grey is just the colour grey jeans should be.
Again, this will need three coats to be perfect, but it’s a bit smoother than the other crèmes!

essence denim wanted! 05 fivepocket grey 2C no TC

essence denim wanted! 05 fivepocket grey 3C with TC

essence denim wanted! 05 fivepocket grey 3C with TC-matte

Overall I adore this collection. For me i love my jeans and my boyfriend’s jeans are the absolute winners, closely followed by fivepocket grey and forever mine. high waist pink comes in last, but is nothing to sneer at, either.

If you find a display, I recommend getting at least a couple of colours, they look good and wear well on me.

Have you snagged any of these? If you were too late and only found empty displays, stay tuned. As soon as I get off my lazy arse (tonight or tomorrow, hopefully) I’ll be having a giveaway and guess what’ll be up for grabs…

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My B3 Interview with Dominique of Aijuswhanakno

DSC_0757 Hello and welcome to another mutual blogger interview, brought to you by Beauty Blogs’ Backstage! This month I was paired up with gorgeous beauty blogger Dominique, whose blog, Aijuswhanakno, shows that there’s no need to be afraid of wearing intense colours. I highly recommend checking out her blog, especially if you love colourful EotDs. I’m so envious of her blending skills *attempts to camouflage the greenish teint*!

1. What is your favourite kind of eyeliner?
~I absolutely love gel liners. Mac Fluidline was my go-to, until Imoved to Japan  Unfortunately, Mac won't ship that here.  However, I found a new favorite.  KATE gel liner. It's just as good :)

2. You're certainly not afraid of using any colour in existence. But is there a look you favour when you're in a hurry?
~I do have an "in a hurry" look, but it's not specific colors. It's more of an application method. I'll just pick two coordinating random shadows. One on the inner half of the eye, the other on the outer half.
Blend any lines with a #217, and I'm good to go!

3. Have you ever tried a new brand, expecting to dislike the products, only to find them amazing?
~Hmmm, that's a good question!  I'd have to say HiFi Cosmetics. (  To me, most of the swatches online were blah looking, and I couldn't understand why people raved about them.  I ordered, and now I understand why people get giddy over HiFi Cosmetics!

4. Do you have a role model, either look-wise or whose code of ethics or lifestyle you'd like to emulate?
~Wow, another good one. Honestly, I don't have anyone that I try to emulate on a regular basis. I have a sort of "style A.D.D.", and I am constantly changing my appearance. I always try to surround myself with people that are beautiful inside and out, and that possess qualities that I seem to be weak in (or lack completely). To be in my life, I must feel like I can learn something from you. Celebrity-wise, I am in love with Aaliyah (R.I.P.) and Gwen Stefani. Both are/were timeless classic beauties that always exuded elegance and a sex appeal that usually wasn't over the top. This might make some people cringe, but I also really admire Lady Gaga. She may be a freak, but she goes after what she wants and she acts upon what she believes in. The world needs more people like her.

5. We seem to have mutual location envy.  What did you find most difficult to adapt to in Japan and what struck you as much better in comparison to the U.S.?
~Oh gosh, what ISN'T better than the U.S. here?  Lol I am extremely biased, and I honestly don't want to have to leave Okinawa.  I would want to live in Mainland Japan, if anything else.  Honestly, the hardest thing I have trouble adjusting to is the high concentration of military and military spouses I have to deal with on a daily basis.  Military wives are a breed unto their own, even though there are some true gems among us.  As far as what's better than the U.S.?  Everything!!  Okinawa is highly Americanized and honestly is nothing like Mainland Japan (I have visited their too).  Okinawa has it's own history and culture outside of Japan's history, and it's very interesting.  The Okinawan and Japanese people are simply amazing.  As an American, you hear stories about how much some of the older generations cling to their old fears of Americans, and hate us.
However, that has not been the case for me.  They are so kind and warm-hearted, and we have so much to learn from them, if they'll listen.  I could go on and on, but I'll stop here :-p

6. What is it that fascinates you so much about the 80s?
~The colors!!  I am a color freak, and everything was so cool back then.  My love of the 80's does bleed into the very early 90's as well.  I just love the funky colors, styles, and patterns.  Even the music was more fun and original (music today is awful for the most part, but that's another story.)  Dancing back then was a SPORT!  Not this ridiculous crap that's being put out today like "the dougie" and "the stanky leg".  Wtf is that crap????

7. Please tell us something - whatever comes to mind - about music.
~Haha oops, I guess I kinda hit that in the last question, didn't I? today isn't music.  It's crappy samplings of older music filled to the max with ohrwurm's (ear worms).  I know I personally am sick of hearing the same beats used OVER and OVER again.


Thank you, Dominique, for extensively answering my silly questions, I enjoyed our interview a lot.

If you, too, are interested in participating in mutual interviews, head over to Beauty Blogs’ Backstage and sign up. It’s a lot of fun!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Swatches – MNY I Am a SunDiva

I was quite surprised when my hands reached out and grabbed the three polished from MNY’s current I Am a SunDiva collection, as these are shimmery pinkish/coralish/orangey shaded. They are very pretty, but most folks with a larger polish collection will probably own something similar already. Except maybe one of the colours.

MNY I Am A SunDiva 

All three polishes apply smoothly and quite evenly. Three coats are absolutely needed for an even finish, but a minimum of four coats are necessary for full opacity. The brushes are soft and flat with a straight tip, I’m guessing that the bristles are the same as in the Maybelline Colorama polishes.
As usual you’ll see two images per colour, one in two coats without top coat and one in three coats with top coat.

MNY 203A

203A is a muted warm pink densely packed with fine golden glitter, which is evenly dispersed on the nail. It looks almost like a pastel in the bottle, but dries to a more vibrant shade.
Though the colour is lovely, it doesn’t look good next to pink or reddened skin, in my opinion. Due to heavy swatching my middle finger and pointer were slightly red around the nail, so take a look and decide for yourselves.

MNY 204A

This colour is pretty much ubiquitous, a shimmery metallic golden orange. It shows a lot of brush marks, as you can expect with most metallic polishes. I find that this kind of shade looks best next to tanned or darker skin, but if you love it, wear it with confidence.
An amusing trait of metallics shows up well on these images. 204A looks quite opaque, doesn’t it? But when you look at the pinky nail, which – due to the finger’s shortness – is always held at a different angle, you can see that it’s really quite sheer. Take care when looking at swatches, the metallic and shimmer polishes might not be as opaque as they seem!


MNY 205A

This one is the only I Am a SunDiva polish that feels different. 205A is reddish coral base with golden shimmer (but with barely any brush marks). I probably have half a dozen lip glosses in a similar colour, but not a single nail polish, other than this.
If you only want one polish from this collection, get this one. It’s gorgeous and more unusual than the other two shades. Ignore the funky index finger in the second image, please!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

NotD - Absolutely Stylish Indeed

Brown nails with pink and green rhinestones… this should be so wrong, right? No, it’s absolutely stylish!
I know I said that I wanted to do something more elaborate today, but I really wanted to try this polish and it just screamed at me to add some sparklez.

This is what I used today:

  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • essence colour&go 40 absolutely stylish (from the “we saw it first” trend edition)
  • Seche Vite
  • rhinestones in green and pink ;-)

First, I applied one coat of Diamond Strength, three of absolutely stylish and sealed the base colour with Seche Vite.

absolutely stylish is a brown that I can really appreciate, and few of these shades appeal to me. It’s a dark, chocolate brown crème polish with green and pink glitter and some of that glitter looks a bit like tiny flakes, all irregular. So pretty (it might have been even better with a jelly base). absolutely stylish is quite opaque, two coats will do nicely.
This polish applied very well, the first coat was almost even, the second one perfect. absolutely stylish is rather viscous, as most colour&go polishes tend to be, so careless application might lead to ridges, but a good top coat will even that out. The flat brush also helps to minimise marks and streaks.
I adore this colour and highly recommend it (there'll be a bottle in my upcoming giveaway, come back in a week to find out more!). It’s unusual in a subtle way.

This is absolutely stylish in two coats without top coat:

And this is absolutely stylish in three coats with Seche Vite:

I was torn after finishing the application, the polish looks amazing worn plain and I knew that it would also look fab with some rhinestones, so that’s what I did. If you use Seche Vite to apply rhinestones or other kinds of embellishments, remember to press them in right after you apply the top coat. If you paint all fingers and then try to add the crystals, the SV will have dried already.
After I added the rhinestones I sealed them with two coats of Seche Vite. Instant triple-thick nail.

Now that you’ve seen three “we saw it first” polishes, help me to figure the fourth one out: If you visit the essence homepage you’ll see an image of four polishes, the three I’ve swatched so far and an orangey-coral one, which matches the one found in the display: 22 what do u think? (not new at all). However, the one listed in the text is 04 space queen (even less new). So the information is conflicting and neither of these polishes is new, which I had sort of expected. Then again, neither is the smokey eyes set (which I really don’t like, btw. Buy the denim wanted! gel liners instead).

What are your feelings about these colours? Which ones appeal to you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NotD – Foiled Again

After today’s swatchfest, which ended around 3 am, I only wanted to get my nails finished, the post up and off to bed. Therefore I only have a quick layered look for you.

What did I use today?

  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • essence colour&go 35 movie star (from the “we saw it first” trend edition)
  • s-he 471
  • Seche Vite

As usual I started with a 1:3:1 application of Diamond Strength, movie star and Seche Vite.

movie star is a basic medium grey crème, looking much like cement. Don’t ask me where the connection to movie stars is. ;-) This polish is very opaque and only needs two coats for a perfect finish.
Unsurprisingly, the application was smooth and resulted in a flawless surface. I had no problems and, as I’ve said so often, I really like the flat colour&go brush.
Recommended if you’re looking for a simple grey, but not the most exciting colour (unlike absolutely stylish).

Here’s movie star in two coats without top coat:

And this is movie star in three coats with Seche Vite:

Then I added a single coat of s-he 471, a silvery ice-blue (or is it icy-blue silver) foil polish, and another coat of Seche Vite. Those two layer quite prettily, don’t you think?

Yeah, I know. It’s not much of a mani. Hopefully I’ll have time for something more interesting on Wednesday!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

NotD – Tripod Tracks

I’m really into funky greens, so I couldn’t wait to use my new essence  lime up! (that’s what’s on the bottle, the website says lime-up!) polish. And since I seem to be in a basic mood lately I just did a dotty motif.

Here’s what I used today:

  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • essence colour&go 39 lime up! (from the “we saw it first” trend edition)
  • essence denim wanted 04 forever mine
  • Seche Vite

I started with a basic application of Diamond Strength, three coats of lime up! and one of Seche Vite.

lime up! is, as the name suggests a bright yellowy green crème polish. I guess it’s essence’s version of a Shrek-like shade, though I think it’s a bit lighter and brighter. This polish is opaque in two coats, but I applied three ‘just to be sure’ and because it was ever so slightly uneven.
As I just mentioned I found this polish to be a bit uneven, it’s also a tad thick and if you don’t use top coat you might find that the brush leaves slight ridges sometimes. But three coats with top coat look very neat, so don’t let the mildly finicky application keep you from getting and amazing nail colour. lime up!’s brush is, like all colour&go brushes, flat, not too wide and quite nice. If you find this polish hard to apply, thin it a bit and try again. :-)

This is lime up! in two coats without top coat:

And this is lime up! in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base colour was mostly dry I used forever mine and a dotting tool to apply three parallel rows of dots. Not terribly creative, but I like the blue and lime together and I find it best to do a simple design to really show off a great contrasting colour combination. A coat of Seche Vite and the manicure was finished.

How do you feel about yellowy greens and what do you like to wear them with?

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