Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fun Little Xmas Gift Idea: Innisfree's 2015 Christmas Eco Nail Set

One cute little kit that I recommend to anyone looking for an affordable but great quality product as a gift this Xmas season is Innisfree's 2015 Christmas Eco Nail Set.

This little trio comes with a rich, festive metallic red as a main color, two different glitter polishes to transform the effect/look, and also 2 sheets of nail stickers for extra decoration.

I absolutely love that metallic red. It's opaque in one coat, and the brush shape is quite wide and rounded, so you can cover an average sized nail in 1-2 coats. This shade is glorious as well - absolutely gorgeous.

As for the glitter, they're both pretty good. If you shake them up before applying, you will get a good amount of glitter in one coat. I did not have to layer it when I applied it on my pointer. The two shades give you different effects. One is wintery and crystalline, and one is festive and more dramatic.

My personal favorite is the more glitzy golden-rose glitter mix. It's got little pink and gold stars if you look close, and I just love the look of gold against red.

The stickers are also different. One is a gold holographic theme and the other comes in Xmas themed shades of red, silver, green and black. The designs on the colorful sheet are a bit more "cute" with snowmen, gingerbread men, etc, while the gold holographic sheet is a bit more subdued, although still fun.

I love snowflake designs so those were the ones I picked out to accent a couple of nails.

I do have to say however, that the stickers aren't my fave for nail decoration. For one, the plastic is too thick, so not only can you see the edges surrounding the print design quite clearly, but the edges also sometimes curl up when you try to apply topcoat to seal them down. That's the deal-breaker for me really.

Then again, these are inexpensive and you can either just throw the stickers out or just apply them on top of topcoat and not care about having them lasting too long.

Some NARS x Steven Klein collection swatches and tutorial


For the holiday season, NARS has teamed up with photographer Steven Klein for a collection that celebrates individuality and power.

Despite the very avant garde campaign, the collection is actually extremely wearable, and great if you love bombshell slash femme-fatale makeup with strong lips and neutral eyes.

Case in point? The Dead of Summer Dual-Intensity palette.
The An Abnormal Female lip bullet set below is LITERALLY a giant bullet case which you can re-use (I can't imagine bringing it out, so it would really just be a display piece more than anything).

For review, I received some of the individual items, along with the NARS x Steven Klein Magnificent Obsession Lip Set, so these are what I'll swatch for you.

The lip set comes in a small glossy metal-lined cardboard case (top right above), and contains 3 lip products. Flamenco lipstick, Velvet Matte lip pencil in Mysterious Red, and Velvet Lip Liner in Misdemeanor.

The liner is a true red, whereas the other 2 have I feel a touch of neutral brown in them which makes these very flattering on a majority of skin tones. This is more apparent in Mysterious Red. In Flamenco, which is glossy and semi-sheer, it's more of a deep and subdued red tone, and not as bright as a true red.

I'm always up for a good red, but I was actually more wow-ed by the other lip products I swatched.
Lipstick in No Shame is a gorgeous deep berry which goes on so smooth and rich that it feels almost like butter. I'm totally in love with this shade right now.

The glosses Special Force and Provoke, are also pretty darned pigmented, and are that nice new non-sticky texture.

The single shadow I received, Mortal is a crystalline white. It's pretty, but I personally feel it's more of a shade which can easily be found from any other brand, including drugstore ones, so it wouldn't be where I would invest my money unless you absolutely love NARS and want a pearlescent white which layers well over other shades.

I received only one shadow, so I decided to work it into a look paired with another NARS duo, Habanera, which contains a soft aqua and a deep prune purple. Then I paired it with No Shame lipstick.

Eye Tutorial below!

I used Maybelline Color Tattoo Leather in 90 Vintage Plum
Tip: because this was a rather cool toned look, a warm matte transition shade helps make it less harsh, and adds contrast with the cool shades too.

I forgot to add that I also ran the color lightly along the outer 2/3s of the lower lash line!
Note: It's optional applying the white sparkly shade to the inner corners and below the bottom lash line. I just wanted a brighter look, but if you have pronounced eye bags or your upper lid fold covers the inner corners (many Asians), skip this step.

If you're curious about the lashes, I used Dolly Wink No 9 lashes, but just in case it's not available to you, just look for wispy natural lashes that are longer at the outer corners.

P.S. For the lips, I did use a little of MAC's Cyber World pencil (a very deep dark prune/plum) along the outer corners of my upper lip, and along the bottom to add a little 3D definition. You want to cover up most of the liner with the lipstick so there isn't a hard obvious deep purple line ringing your mouth. The effect should be subtle.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Something A Little Different: Designer Bag Restoration at Dr. Bags!

I love bags. Nearly as much as makeup. 

Carrying the right bag is the equivalent of wearing the right lipstick. It can make a look.
Of course, it's always a much bigger investment when you're talking about a Chanel or Dior or Saint Laurent bag versus a Chanel, Dior, or YSL lipstick. And the more you use a bag, the quicker it gets stained, scuffed, and discolored. Often pretty quickly, if you spend on exotic leather, suede, calf skin or fragile lambskin.

I used to think this was part and parcel of owning a bag. Once it got damaged, it got damaged, and you just had to enjoy it while you could.

And then a few months back a friend told me about Dr. Bags

This place is like an aesthetics clinic for your designer bags.
  • Protect new bags - You can opt to apply an invisible waterproof silicone HP coating on new bags to prevent damage and stains from water and minor abrasions for up to 8 months. 
  • Maintain and Restore used bags - You can deep-clean and restore bags to remove minor stains and fill in minor scratches and scuff marks.
  • Overhaul and recolor older bags - If your bag is old and completely discolored, you can get them touched up so they look newer - or get them recolored to a completely different shade!

My Experience

I decided to try out the various Dr Bags services with 2 bags that were perfect "candidates".
  1. The first was a lambskin ChloƩ Bronte bag in a soft blush-taupe shade which was so delicate that I had 2 scuffs on it before I even carried it out for the first time. And it was not waterproof so any droplet of water would absorb into the leather and stain it.
  2. The second was old magenta Balenciaga Velo that was stained and discolored to the point where I would never carry it out in polite company. 
ChloƩ Bronte: HP Coating and Cleaning

If there is one thing I recommend you do for your designer bags, it would be HP coating. It is invisible but repels water and bacteria for months. Don't wait until your bag gets stained and damaged. (Just like skincare, prevention is better than cure.) Repeat wetting and drying and even humidity and rain can cause your leather to dry out and crack very quickly.

I actually splashed water on my Bronte bag to see if it was really waterproof. (I won't lie - my heart almost stopped when I did that because previously, the leather would absorb the water and I had to wait hours for the water stain to fade, and not cause any permanent damage by touching or rubbing it while wet.)

But I waited - and waited. 

And the water didn't go in. Amazed. Now I can bring it out without worrying about rain and moisture. HP coating also prevents colored liquids from staining your bag. You can easily wipe off accidental spills and splashes (coffee, sauces, makeup) easily when you have your HP coating on. Just make sure to refresh your coating every 6-8 months if it's a bag you carry very often.

There was also a dark scuff mark from when I'd put the bag down on something, and I'd never been able to remove that mark.

After the cleaning and restoration treatment, it looks pristine.

Basic coatings cost around $150 per bag and can take maybe around a week.

You can also bring in your precious Louboutins and Jimmy Choos (all shoes, boots, and other leather goods) for HP coating so they stay pristine much longer.

Balenciaga Velo: ColourPro Colouring

For my poor beat-up Balenciaga which was stained and discolored from a bright magenta to a grey-prune tone, I decided to try out the ColourPro coloring treatment. This is perfect if you have a bag that's so old that it's no longer the color it used to be, or a stain that can't be removed completely with regular cleaning or restoration.

Dr. Bags offers a huge variety of colors, although the general advice for best results is that you can only go deeper, not lighter. That said, I've seen many people do a complete "white-out" and recolor their bags from another color, so discuss it with the team and see what the recommendations are.