Manon, a classic from Zoya

Some quick swatches today of an older polish from Zoya’s “Classics” called Manon.  Manon is a French name, a nickname for Madeleine, I believe.

Manon is a very dark mauve-rose or a light burgundy with a subtle silver shimmer.  I used three coats, which I find typical for many of Zoya’s older polishes and think they’ve really improved their formula in the last few years so that newer polishes are usually good with two coats.  Here it is under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash:


Manon flash

I think it’s very pretty and that the shimmer keeps it from being too matronly-looking.  But let’s up the oomph just a bit more with Zoya’s Sparkle Gloss Top Coat.  Same two lightings:

Manon w tc

Manon w tc flash

I like it both with and without the top coat and think it’s a good color for fall/winter and for my skin tone.  Can’t even remember now why I bought it, because I don’t think the picture of it on Zoya’s web site is all that attractive!  At any rate, if you’re ever placing an order with Zoya and need one more polish to hit free shipping or some other goal, I highly recommend Sparkle Gloss Top Coat.  One of my fave top coats ever.

Pink in the Afternoon, Audrey, and me

It’s October 21, 2014 — fifty years to the day that the musical “My Fair Lady” starring Audrey Hepburn was released.

Actress Audrey Hepburn - Film My Fair Lady

Audrey Hepburn was a true style icon.  She could pull off the short-haired “gamin” look like no one else and her expressive brown eyes spoke volumes.

Audrey Hepburn

(This heavy eyebrow is back in style again!)

When she was older she was as beautiful as ever….

Audrey Hepburn Revlon ad 1980s

One of her most famous films was the 1961 “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  Talk about your classic movie looks.

Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany's

There’s a taxi scene in the movie where Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, says, “Hand me my purse, will you darling?  A girl can’t read that sort of thing without her lipstick,” and then proceeds to apply said lipstick.

Audrey Hepburn pink lipstick

I don’t know what actual brand and color that is, but the general consensus on the internet is that Revlon’s Pink in the Afternoon is darn close.  So I’d been hoping to write about this shade, another lipstick from the company’s Super Lustrous line… but I had to track it down first!  It’s been discontinued.

Sure, I could’ve bought it online but I wanted to see if I could find it in person.  Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Ulta — nope.  Not even listed in their Revlon displays.  But last week I took a shopping trip out of town to the city I lived in until a few months ago, and two stores had it.  These were two — CVS Pharmacy and Shopko — that were infamous (in my mind) for having outdated displays — turns out that can be a good thing!

I bought one Pink in the Afternoon  (PITA, not to be confused with the better-know acronym for Pain in the ***) and then a spare for good measure since it’s dc’d.  It’s a warm, slightly peach-toned, pink creme.  You’d think it’d be an easy shade to copy but I searched and searched for dupes without success.  Nothing else was exactly like it.  Too pink.  Too peach.  Too brown.  Too frosty.

Pink in the Afternoon

Pink in the Afternoon label

I absolutely love this one.  It’s one of those rare colors I and others call “my lips but better,” meaning that it’s close to my own natural lip color yet looks smoother and more finished.  Doesn’t scream, “I’m wearing heavy lipstick!” or “Look at my purple sparkly lips!”  It looks fine on me now but I know I’m going to love it even more in the late winter and spring when my skin is paler.

Here’s a swatch of it on my inner arm, under indirect bright outdoor light and then with the flash:

Pink in the Afternoon outd

Pink in the Afternoon flash

Compared to Revlon’s Teak Rose that I showed last week, Pink in the Afternoon is lighter and pinker.  Same lighting, with Teak Rose on top and PITA on the bottom:

Pink in the Afternoon w Teak Rose outd

Pink in the Afternoon w Teak Rose flash

If you’re interested in this color — and if you’re like me in that waving the “discontinued” flag makes you want something even more — check your local CVS Pharmacy or Shopko, because that’s where I found mine.  I suspect Rite Aid, Kmart, or dollar stores might be other options, and then there are online shops such as , where it’s in stock as of this writing.

Wishes come true with the Holiday/Winter Collection from Zoya

What’s almost as good as getting new holiday polishes?  Getting news about them!

Meet WISHES from Zoya:

Zoya Wishes banner

Zoya Wishes sampler

Click on those photos or any of the others here for large, clear, detailed views.  And just let me dive into a vat of the holographic black Magical PixieDust RIGHT NOW!

This is my kind of holiday set — beautiful winter colors, a mix of finishes, and NO over-dependence on red.  We’re getting the sparkly Magical PixieDusts in blue, purple, and black that I’ve been dreaming of for months.

The official press release:

Wishes really do come true with this magical new nail polish collection for Winter/Holiday 2014! Zoya Wishes** is a densely pigmented assortment featuring both traditional and Magical PixieDust formulas in coordinating color combinations that can be worn alone or combined into stunning combinations, no matter how you wear them, this collection delivers a fanciful way to celebrate the season!

ZP766 – NORI: Sapphire blue Magical PixieDust* with holographic hex glitter, perfect for any holiday festivity.
ZP767 – THEA: Deep amethyst Magical PixieDust* with an orchid flash, packed full of party-ready holographic hex glitter.
ZP768 – IMOGEN: Black crystal Magical PixieDust* with holographic hex glitter, just add an LBD and you’re off!
ZP769 – PRIM: Velvet blue metallic, with a full coverage, high-density pigment and buttery smooth application.
ZP770 – HAVEN: True holiday plum liquid metal with a thin vein of orchid for added brilliance.
ZP771 – WILLA: Full-coverage, onyx black cream.

* Zoya Magical PixieDust is textured, matte and sparkling. No base coat and top coat required.



$9 (US) Standard Colors
$10 (US)  – PixieDust Colors

Available in top salons, spas and on

**BIG5FREE: Formula contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or camphor.

Zoya Wishes display

Zoya wishes group

Zoya Wishes drip

The shimmery blue Prim is reminding me of one of my favorite Zoyas ever, the periwinkle blue called Jo.  And I’m looking forward to playing with and layering this set — Nori over Prim, Thea over Willa, Imogen over Haven.  Mix or match the colors.

Note that preorder starts today.  And enjoy these pictures!


UPDATE:  Zoya answered my question from an alert reader and confirmed that the black polish Willa is their earlier limited edition polish Black Swan renamed.

The Steampunk Ball 6-lacquer mini-set from Butter London — full review

Woot.  A new Ulta store just opened where I live and you better believe I was there the day it opened.  I was looking for the new 6-piece polish set of minis from Butter London called Steampunk Ball ’cause I had to see it in person.  The whole new collection is called Steampunk Ball, as is this one set.  There are other sets such as Gilded Gears and Clockwork Couture, but they either have colors I don’t want or ones I already have.  The release is confusing; know what you’re buying.

I attempted to briefly explain the concept of steampunk here a little over a week ago.

BL Steampunk

I couldn’t tell enough from the stock photos on either BL’s site or the Nordstrom’s site, especially about Barkers and Brass Goggles….

BL Steampunk Ball

BL Steampunk set

…. but when I saw them in person I wanted them.

Steampunk set

The colors, left to right, top row and then bottom row:

Barkers – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey with magenta-green shimmer

Pinkies Up – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, pink shimmer

Baroness – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, burgundy metallic

Full coverage, flaring shimmers in saffron red gel-like base

Full Steam Ahead – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey creme

Brass Goggles – Set Exclusive!
Semi-sheer, black and gold foil glitter

These are all new except for Bric-a-Brac, which was part of the fall Brick Lane set, but it’s a shade I’ve been craving so I’m cool with it being included.

Let’s jump right in!  I used two coats of each polish except for Bric-a-Brac which needed three, and Brass Goggles which is a top coat and needed but one coat.

Barkers is a very odd color, in a fascinating way.  It’s just like the official description, opaque gray with dark pink & green shimmer.  Kind of looks like a sheen of oil, if oil had sparkles.  The overall effect is purplish but it’s way more complex than just a shimmery purple.  Under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash:

Steampunk Barkers

Steampunk Barkers flash

Doesn’t it look absolutely wild in the bottle in the second picture?  Like some weird elixir.

Pinkies Up, on the other hand, is a demure peachy-pink shimmer.  Might look like it doesn’t belong in the set but I actually like it.

Steampunk Pinkies

Steampunk Pinkies flash

Let’s jazz it up.  The polish called Brass Goggles in this set is a glitter top coat, a clear base with gold and black glitter of various shapes and sizes, even some tiny black bar glitter and gold shards.  Here it is over Pinkies Up.

Steampunk P and BG


Baroness is a beautiful dusty burgundy shimmer and while I love the color, visible brushstrokes were a bit of a problem.

Steampunk Baroness

Steampunk Baroness flash

However, with the top coat of Brass Goggles, brushstrokes disappear, and it looks pretty cool.

Steampunk B with BG

Full Steam Ahead is the color I thought I’d like least, but for “only” a gray creme, I love it.  So smooth, and the bluish gunmetal shade strikes me as “just right” and very glossy.  Really glad I found this one since I have a hard time wearing medium to dark grays.

Steampunk Full Steam

I tried Brass Goggles over Full Steam Ahead but wasn’t crazy about it.

Steampunk FS with BG

Finally, Bric-a-Brac.  Love, love, love this “ruby slippers” polish.  The base is a pinkish-red and the heavy red and gold metallic is so beautiful.  A holiday polish for sure.

Steampunk BricaBrac

I didn’t try Brass Goggles over Bric-a-Brac because there was already so much glittery goodness going on.

So that’s the Steampunk Ball set.  The bottles are minis, 0.2 oz/6 ml, and the set is $39 SRP.  It does seem expensive for minis, but Butter London is more expensive than Zoya, OPI, and drugstore brands.

The polishes are not available individually or in full sizes except for Bric-a-Brac, and Full Steam Ahead is available as a full size in the Art of Alchemy set ($65) but that set also contains five older colors.

Overall I love this Steampunk Ball set and I’m OK with the bottles being minis.  I never use up full-size bottles anyway!  My favorite shades by themselves are Bric-a-Brac, Barkers, and Full Steam Ahead, and I also love Brass Goggles over Baroness.  Barkers is the most unusual shade in this set, and photos don’t do it justice.


Coming Monday, big news.  Have a great weekend!

Teak Rose vs. Toast of New York

Not long ago I reviewed the lipstick Toast of New York from Revlon’s Super Lustrous line.  It was fun to read comments from women who said it was their shade back in the ’90s.  I didn’t wear it then but am loving it now.

Also I was reminded that it’s similar — or might be — to another Revlon shade called Teak Rose.  Since I’ve been on a lip product buying spree lately and have found some great sales, why not pick it up for comparison?

Both are cremes and I’d call both medium-to-dark and warm-toned.

Teak Rose1

Teak Rose2

In the tube I think they look more similar than they do when worn.  Here are both under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash:

Teak Rose3

Teak Rose4flash

No surprises here; Teak Rose is redder or rosier than Toast of New York.  If you’re afraid the latter is too brown for you yet want a good shade for fall that’s not too bright, Teak Rose might be a good choice.  I really like both and think they’re good choices for any age.

P.S.  If it seems to you that I’m talking more about makeup and less about nail polish than I used to do, you’re right.  I’m not giving up nail polish by any means but am in more of a makeup mood lately.

Warm Days & Frosty Nights

Warm Days and Frosty Nights — that’s our current weathet to a T!  It’s also the name of two new collections from Misa.

Warm Days is the company’s fall set and here’ a picture and blurb taken directly from Misa’s Facebook page:

Misa Warm Days

The description is really helpful and says the first three colors — Sunrise Dew, Dawn Chorus, and Peaches and Cream — are matte.  The last three are shimmery or iridescent.  Interesting collection!

If you think these shades look a tad light for fall, perhaps the winter set called Frosty Nights will be more up your alley.  No description yet but here’s the group photo from Misa’s web site (click on it for a larger view):

Misa Frosty Nights

I see dark intriguing blues and grays.

Short post today but wanted to get the news out!

AA, BB, CC, DD… and I’m not talkin’ bra sizes

It’s a jungle out there.  The jungle being cosmetics.  I don’t even pretend to totally understand all the ingredients, permutations of said ingredients, claims, and so forth of makeup and other beauty products, but I try.

Today I’ve got some musings on the “alphabet creams” versus tinted moisturizers.  You’ve probably seen both in stores — creams that are labeled AA, BB, CC, or DD, with more alphabet soup no doubt on its way.

Here’s a quick ‘n’ dirty list:

AA = anti aging

BB = beauty balm or blemish balm

CC = color correcting

DD = daily defense or dynamic do-all (OK, now it’s just getting silly)

To read in detail about these plus tinted moisturizer — the latter being exactly what it sounds like, moisturizer with a bit of color — let me point you towards several web sites that already explain it better and more thoroughly than I ever could.  FashionistaYou BeautyWomen’s Health Magazine.  Go ahead; read one or more of those and come back.  I’ll be here.

You don’t see creams literally labeled AA much.  The anti-aging properties are incorporated into the other descriptions.

BB creams were the biggies not long ago.  They were and still are super popular in Asia and when American companies jumped on the bandwagon they labeled many of their products as BB creams but they were not dupes of the Asian imports.  One reason being cost, I imagine, and the other being the FDA and its restrictions.  At any rate, every drugstore and high end cosmetics company in America seemed to rush out its own BB product.  A lot of people, including me, tried them and were not impressed.  They didn’t do anything.

I have not bought any CC or DD creams, and didn’t waste much money trying drugstore BB products.  I have tried a drugstore tinted moisturizer, a drugstore BB cream, and an Asian import BB cream — Cover Girl Aqua CG Smoothers Tinted Moisture, Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Protector, and Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream.  My tube of the Cover Girl moisturizer is old and I believe the company now calls the product a BB cream as well.

Let’s look at the two drugstore tubes first.  Click on any of the photos to see larger images for easier reading.

BB cream comp

BB cream comp back

The Cover Girl (left) is 1.35 oz/40 ml, and I don’t remember what it cost but it’s currently $6.29 at Target.  The active ingredients are 6% octinoxate and 3% zinc oxide, both of which are sunscreens, and the SPF is 15.  So it’s a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen.  In the next few photos I’ll show a dot of it on the back of my hand, the dot smoothed out just a little, and then the dot blended in well.

BB CG dot1

BB CG dot2

BB CG dot3

Doesn’t look like much, does it?  It’s like a very, very sheer foundation.  Give a bit of shine but no real coverage, and the sunscreen is nice but certainly nothing special.

[By the way, doing this review made me really look at the tube and it expired ages ago so I'm going to toss it.  Plus it doesn't do anything for me anyway.   Hey, want to know of a great site to check the age/expiration of cosmetics when all you have is a code on the tube/bottle/jar?  CheckCosmetic to your rescue!  Might want to bookmark it like I did.]

The Maybelline 8-in-1 BB claims that its eight benefits are “blurs imperfections, enhances, brightens, adjusts to skin tone, smooths, hydrates, SPF 30 protects, and has 0% oils and other heavy ingredients.”  Honey, you are reaching!  Its active ingredient is 1.15% titanium dioxide, so this is just another tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, but it’s SPF 30 and not 15 like the Cover Girl.  This tube contains 1.0 oz/30 ml and costs $7.49 at Target.

BB M dot1

BB M dot2

BB M dot3

The formula is thinner and runnier than the Cover Girl and again, this product is shiny and merely so-so.  I think its “benefits” claims are inflated.  But for days when I only want to wear a light moisturizer with sunscreen, it’s OK.  And of course I’m using it and the other products I’m talking about today on my face, not my hands.  While those two body parts are the same age of 55, the skin on my face isn’t nearly as “cross-hatched”-looking as the back of my hands!

OK, moving on, I recently purchased an actual Korean BB cream, Missha Perfect Cover in the color #21 Light Beige.  I’ve recently gotten interested in the Korean beauty box service (not subscription) called Memebox and they also sell products separately.

BB cream Missha

BB cream Missha back

No, I can’t read Korean.  At Memebox’s web site, the description is in English and you can also see the limited shade selection.  The Missha BB Cream contains 50 ml or about 1.7 oz., it has an SPF of 42, and its claims are that it “… promotes natural-looking coverage while providing sun protection, treating dark spots, and preventing wrinkles.”

The regular price on Memebox is $22.00 [ALERT 10/14/14: on sale temporarily for $13.20!] but I got it on sale for $15.40. The “key ingredients” are camomile extract, rosemary extract, ceramide, hyaluronic acid, and gatuline RC.  That last ingredient is an anti-aging compound derived from beech tree buds according to Dr. Google.  I like that some of the ingredients are natural.

BB Missha dot

BB Missha dot2

BB Missha dot3

I’ve only been using this Missha cream for a week or so but really like it so far.  It looks a bit grayish right out of the tube but blends in very well and does actually seem to blur the appearance of the pores on my face.  It’s too soon to say if it’s doing anything as far as slaying wrinkles or dark spots, but after using this plus a light finish of Mineral Veil from Bare Minerals I’m very pleased with the appearance of my skin.  I plan to keep using it and do a followup post at a later date.

Bottom line when buying a BB or CC cream — read ingredients, read reviews, and know what you’re getting.  Some of the marketing claims are ridiculous.  But you may be perfectly fine with a light tinted moisturizer with sunscreen as opposed to a heavier cream or a foundation.


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