Eyebrows, revisited

Last year I made my first and only post about makeup for eyebrows.  It’s still worth a read, especially for the links to the two makeovers shown on Bobbi Brown’s site for women named Joann and Gro, in case anyone doubts the power of well-done eyebrows.

And by well-done I mean subtle and natural, not the current craze of eyebrows literally stenciled on and filled in so darkly and heavily that it’s scary.  You all know what I mean.  I’m not linking to photos of  these Browzillas so as not to offend anyone, but any glance at user-posted photos on the Facebook pages of major cosmetic companies will show you more than you thought possible.  Honestly, some of these girls/women — when you look at their faces all you see are these huge, overpowering, overwhelming EYEBROWS.  Bow to The Brow.  Worship The Brow.  You are helpless in its black, creepy grasp.

But let’s be real.  It’s a fad and it’s gonna fade eventually.  On younger people it looks silly but on us older women it’s downright ridiculous.  So what else can you do?

In that post of mine from last year, I showed you a rather pricey product from Benefit Cosmetics called Brow-Zings.  I liked it but thought the SRP was high (I got it on sale), and the price has even gone up!  It’s $32 now.  I mentioned that e.l.f. has a similar product for a tenth the price and readers commented about other brands too.

So I was OK with Brow-Zings for a while but really wanted something easier, a one-step product instead of the two-step wax plus powder.  Also, the shade of dark brown I’d chosen looked “rustier” than I wanted.  I’d already tried a cheap hard brow pencil and hated it.

Enter the soft pencil.  In some Korean mystery boxes/bags a few months ago I received two soft brow pencils that I’ve been able to test extensively.  One is from the brand It’s Skin/Babyface and the other is from Skin Food.

The packaging is practically identical in size, shape, and features.  Each thin tube has a pull-off cap on each end; one end has the twist-up angled brow product and the other end has what’s called a spoolie brush.

Eyebrow pencils

Eyebrow pencils open

Eyebrow pencils open 2

The Babyface Natural Eyebrow pencil came in color 02 Deep Brown.  I got it via Memebox, and they also have other colors of Black, Yellow Brown, and Gray Brown, and the price is only about $4.00 U.S.  The Skin Food Black Bean Eye Brow Pencil came from Beauteque and I got #2 Black Gray.  It’s more expensive at $8.00 U.S. and also comes in Black and Black Brown.

I found it hard to choose a shade, actually.  My brows are a very dark brown, almost black, with scattered white hairs.  No red tones at all, but many brown brow products seemed to lean red.

Well, I love these two pencils.  They’re soft enough that they don’t hurt to use, and they apply more “blurry” and realistic-looking than a hard pencil.  Very easy to apply — use a light touch and you can always add more if you want.  Brushing my brow hairs upwards slightly with the included spoolie brush really helps too.  Both brow products are easily removed with drugstore eye makeup remover.

Here’s a swatch of both on the skin of my inner arm.  I had to press pretty hard for it to show up this much, and you don’t need nearly as much pressure when using it on your brows.  It doesn’t ball up on my brows, either.

Eyebrow pencils swatch

I like the color of the Black Gray pencil a little more and think it blends in the best, which is weird because my eyebrows are neither black nor gray.  Go figure.  Sometimes I even use both for a more blended look.  Remember you don’t want your brows to look unnaturally drawn on nor heavily monochromatic.

What do you think, have you tried other soft brow pencils?  Found some good colors?  Let us know.

Is it is, or is it ain’t?

Boy!  Have I had a frustrating time tracking down the new collection from China Glaze called Desert Escape.

CG desert escape

CG desert escape4

CG desert escape dots

Official word from the company itself?  None.  It’s like they don’t want anyone to find it and buy it.  Several bloggers have posted with apparent certainty that the collection will be exclusive to a web site called Lock & Mane, a mostly-hair care site, and it’s not released yet.  But various and sundry sellers on eBay have been selling the six polishes for weeks.


Finally, despite no help from China Glaze, I found it by Googling “Tribal Council” because I reallyreallyreally wanted the mini set, and that’s its name.  Guess who has it?  Sally Beauty Supply.  I no longer live near a Sally store, and I always found their stock iffy anyway, but Sally had it in stock online.  This isn’t a desert mirage, because I ordered it yesterday and it has already shipped.  Woot.

I’m hoping I’ll love the dark metallic rose gold, Meet Me In The Mirage, so much that I’ll want a full-size bottle, but I wanted to try all six.  The price is $12.99 for non-Sally members, plus shipping.  I wish I could have found more polish to add to my order but the web site is hell heck to navigate and peruse.

Have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend, everybody.  Hope your weather is great and that you can get out and do fun things.  Also, remember the reason for the holiday.  See ya on the flip side!

P.S.  A rose gold star for you if you recognized the title of my post as being a nod to the jazz song “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby.”  http://youtu.be/dc_binFMZdM

EDIT:  Of course, an hour after I post, I see that the collection is up on Head2ToeBeauty, the full-sized bottles and one trio/art kit.  No mini kit, and those entries weren’t there yesterday!

A neutral I actually love? Alert the media!

Wait a minute; I am the media.  So I’m alerting myself to alert you:  I found a neutral from Zoya I love.

I certainly can’t say it’s a new polish.  It’s quite old, judging from its item number at Zoya’s web site, ZP139.  For reference, the newest polishes have numbers around 800.

It’s Flowie, part of the Classic line, and it’s a warm light brown with a peach tone.  It reminds me a bit of very light milk chocolate, and is one I picked up on a whim in Zoya’s recent Earth Day promotion.

It’s not super-opaque, and I needed three coats.  I do think Zoya’s more recent releases have a better formula than their older ones, but Flowie’s not bad, just needs a little more attention.  With no top coat, under indirect bright outdoor light and then with the flash:


Flowie flash

While I think it would be prettier on warm-toned skin as opposed to my AWG (average white girl) cool-toned skin, I still love it and don’t think it gives me Band-Aid hands.  No yellow tones, not blah.  This would be a beautiful subdued office-safe color, and while I no longer work in an office, I’ll be happy I have this when fall rolls around.

I don’t really have another Zoya color like it.  Here it is in between Flynn and Chanelle.

Flowie comp

You can see that it’s much peachier than either one, and is lighter than Chanelle.

OPI Color Paints Mini Set — complete review

Disclosure:  These OPI polishes were supplied by LALacquer for review.

Before I get started, a shout out — big thanks to LALacquer, www.lalacquer.com, for supplying me with this awesome OPI mini set.  I didn’t even ask for them; no, LALacquer (who is in Iowa, not L.A.) saw my post mentioning the polishes and offered them to me.  Thanks, Lyn, for the great set and for reading The Silver Nail and realizing that we women of a certain age LOVE our polish and buy lots!

I first talked about the OPI Color Paints here.  As swatches started appearing in the past few weeks, I saw that these polishes are sheer jellies that are more opaque that last year’s Sheer Tints from OPI.  The Sheer Tints had four colors:  violet, yellow, pink, and blue.   I kept meaning to buy them but never did.  Polish pennies were frittered away elsewhere.

But when I saw the Color Paints I thought, “Want.”  More colors and less translucence sounded good to me:  yellow, pink, magenta/red, orange, green, blue, turquoise, and purple, plus a silver base coat.

Some bloggers have shown what happens when you use several coats of the Color Paints alone and try for opacity.  As you might guess, the darker colors are more successfully used this way.  For some great swatches, see The PolishAholic.

But I’m not interested in trying for opacity.  Personally I’d rather wear the Color Paints is as a top coat over various colors.  This way you can get more mileage out of your other polishes.  The Color Paints are being marketed as great for nail art too — swirling combos over white, used with striping tape or a dotting tool, layered, you name it.

OPI color paints mini set

The Color Paints set contains ultra-mini size bottles (usual for OPI minis) of 1/8 oz. or 3.75 mL.  Polishes included are:

  • Silver Canvas base color
  • Primarily Yellow
  • Chromatic Orange
  • Pen & Pink (love that punny name)
  • Purple Perspective
  • Turquoise Aesthetic

OPI CP bottles

Other colors in the line, but not included in the mini set are:

  • Magenta Muse
  • Indigo Motif
  • Landscape Artist (grass green)

Silver Canvas is a shiny silver chrome that shows brushstrokes a bit more than I prefer.  Still, it’s fun to try the sheers over it and I have plenty of other silvers I can use when this little bottle runs out.  Two coats under indirect bright sunshine:

OPI CP silver

It really is bright all by itself, practically luminous.  With the flash:

OPI CP silver flash

The sheer colors are streaky on the first coat but look good with two coats.  Over Silver Canvas, left to right, the purple, pink, orange, and yellow.

OPI CP sheers over silver

By itself since my thumbnail is out of commission and I have no extra fingers on this hand, the turquoise over Silver Canvas, sorry the lighting is not right:

OPI CP turq over silver

Let’s try something else.  Say you’ve been wearing another polish for a few days and want to freshen your manicure.  Add some Color Paints!  Here’s a subtle, light-medium warm pink creme, Flora from Zoya.  It looks a bit streaky here and if I was going to wear it alone I would’ve added a third coat:

OPI CP flora base

And now one coat of the purple, pink, orange, and yellow Color Paints as a top coat:


Cool !  I prefer the Color Paints over this creme as opposed to over the chrome.  Looks shinier and less streaky, and only needed one coat.  Let’s compare.

OPI CP sheers comparison

You can really see a difference in how the yellow looks over the silver vs. the pink.

OPI CP turq comparison

As would be the case any time you put one color over a completely different one, be careful not to have any edges of the first color showing.  Also, darker colors are more likely to obscure whatever is underneath them.

Disclosure:  These OPI polishes were supplied by LALacquer for review.


Update on another OPI collection I mentioned here, the Coca-Cola 100th Anniversary of its contoured signature bottle.  It’s out, and LALacquer has it!  I’m going to buy the mini set, along with a few other polishes I’ve been coveting.

Make Some Noise with Essie

New summer collection from Essie called Make Some Noise, their annual set of neons.  Although according to other bloggers who’ve swatched them, there’s really only one neon in the set and the others are bright but aren’t neon.


Anyway, let’s take a quick peek.

Essie Neons 2015 banner

To better see the bottles….

Essie Neons 2015

So let’s see, we have a set of cremes that includes a magenta pink, a blue-purple, a turquoise blue, and a teal green.  Where have I seen that lately?

Island Fun set

Let me think.

Island Fun set

It’ll come to me; I just know it.

Island Fun set

Yes, that’s the new Island Fun Collection from Zoya.  Subtle I am not.

Island Fun has a bright orange-red and a medium yellow-green, and Make Some Noise has a light peachy pink and a bright lime green, but otherwise they are riding the same wave of fashionable colors.

For some great photos and tips on dealing with the formula of these new Essies, check out Karen Falcon’s swatchtastic post at BeautyGeeks.  It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who has trouble capturing the right color when dealing with a blue-purple!

Paradise Sun comparisons

Disclosure:  The Paradise Sun Collection and many comparison polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.

Hope you enjoyed the comparisons yesterday of the Island Fun set to other Zoyas.  Again today I’m using wooden craft sticks for my polish swatches instead of my tired nails.  This time, though, I coated the sticks ahead of time with a clear polish to keep the colors from bleeding or feathering.  Looks OK but I still plan to get a bunch of the clear plastic nail swatch sticks which will look better and more professional.

Here’s Paradise Sun as a set.

ParSun bottles

Left to right:

  • Aphrodite
  • Mae
  • Isa
  • Oceane
  • Selene
  • Genesis

In no particular order, here we go.

ParSun whites

ParSun whites2

No dupes here.  Genesis is an opaque white base with white shimmer, and Ginessa is a mostly clear base with silvery white glitter.  Seraphina’s not even close; it’s a light silver.  I think Ginessa could be used as a semi-sheer top coat but Genesis couldn’t, too opaque.

ParSun purples

ParSun purples2

Once again, I have to emphasize that Isa does not photograph as purple as I think it appears in person.  Here it looks just as blue as Neve and lighter, too, but it really isn’t.  Belinda is a darker purple with blue shimmer, and Hope’s not close since it has a dark pink tone.  In real life I’d say Isa is halfway between Neve and Belinda in … purpleness.  Purpleocity.  Purpleism.

ParSun blues

ParSun blues2

Here’s a good mix of shimmery blues that lean turquoise.  No dupes — Noel is more silvery, Charla is greener with glitter, and Tallulah is more blue.

ParSun teals

ParSun teals2

Teal time!  Giovanna and Selene are very, very close, with Giovanna being a hair darker.  Truthfully, if I already had Giovanna I wouldn’t get Selene too, but maybe you want every teal every made.  Zuza is way lighter, and remains one of my fave teals ever.

ParSun pinks

ParSun pinks2

Let’s look at the new Mae in the pink family.  Izzy is darker and Kimber is more red, but I find Gilda to be an almost-dupe.  Gilda may be a tad more glittery but not enough to make a huge difference in my opinion.

ParSun reds

ParSun reds2

Here’s the new Aphrodite with two older colors, Elke and Milla.  Elke is redder and more opaque but Milla is quite similar.  I think Milla has a bit more sparkle/shimmer, while Aphrodite is more of a glass fleck.  Also, Milla is discontinued.

Overall I found more near-dupes in my Zoya stash for Paradise Sun polishes.  I hope this post has been useful and fun for you, in deciding what to buy or put on your wish list.  Have a great weekend!

Disclosure:  The Paradise Sun Collection and many comparison polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.

Island Fun comparisons

Disclosure:  The Island Fun Collection and many comparison polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.

Confession time.  I feel lazy.  While I absolutely love making comparison posts, my nails and cuticles are not as enthusiastic.  Swatching literally dozens of polishes in the space of a few days makes them ugly and irritated, so this week I’m taking a shortcut.

Zoya’s new summer collection of cremes is called Island Fun and I reviewed the set two days ago.  Great colors!  I have quite a few older Zoya polishes to compare them to and want to show you as many as possible.  My shortcut is that I photographed the bottles and then small swatches on wooden craft sticks aka popsicle sticks.

No, it’s not exactly the same as putting them all on my nails, but believe me that the colors show just as accurately.  Yes, the polishes bleed a little on the untreated wood, some moreso than others, but it doesn’t affect the color.  I apologize in advance if this shortcut disappoints anyone.

(Note to self, really need to buy a few hundred plastic nail swatch sticks, if I can ever find ones that are sold locally and which don’t cost a fortune.)

As a reminder, here’s the Island Fun collection.

Island Fun set

Left to right:

  • Demetria
  • Nana
  • Serenity
  • Talia
  • Cecelia
  • Jace

I may have some similar colors in other brands such as OPI  or a-England but I’m only going to compare Zoyas, from fewest comps to most.

First, I’ve had several requests to compare Jace to Tilda.  Tilda is the only similar green creme I have from Zoya.

IslFun comp greens

IslFun comp greens2

Tilda is lighter and more of a lime green yet not a bright chartreuse.

In teals, I pulled out Wednesday.

IslFun comp teals

IslFun comp teals2

Wednesday is much lighter so not a dupe.

Mira is an older color, and it’s rather similar to Serenity.

IslFun comp purples

IslFun comp purples2

These two are close but Mira is darker and more of what I think of as a grape purple.  Serenity has a more blue tone.

Getting into the blues/turquoises, here is Talia with Robyn on one side and Ling on the other.

IslFun comp blues

IslFun comp blues2

No dupes here; both Robyn and Ling are more blue and less turquoise than Talia.  Ling also has a very slight periwinkle tone.

In the orange-reds, here’s a handful, literally.

IslFun comp reds

Rocha is much lighter and more orange, and Sooki is a lot more red, so I only swatched the middle three.

IslFun comp reds2

Close, but not duplicates.  Demetria seems to be right between Maura and Tamsen in color — darker than Maura but lighter than Tamsen.

And last but obviously not least, the magenta pinks.  This is almost embarrassing, I have so many that are similar!

IslFun comp pinks

I felt the need to swatch them all.  (Click on the photos for a larger view.)

IslFun comp pinks2

Wow, this is tough.  Let’s eliminate a couple first.  Dana is much lighter and Moxie is much darker.  The rest are very close, but Fergie, Reagan, and Areej are slightly more fuchsia. I would call Brie a dupe.  However, Brie is no longer available from Zoya, nor is Moxie.  I believe the others are still being produced, or you may already own one or more.

So that’s the Island Fun comp-fest.  I did not find any true dupes except Nana and Brie.

But you know what?  Overall I got a similar vibe between this new Island Fun set and the one called Summertime from 2011.

Zoya Summertime set 2011

Left to right:  Sooki, Tamsen, Kieko, Areej, Mira, and Breezi

Sure, Summertime had no green or teal or turquoise, but somehow they still reminded me of each other.  Maybe it’s the summer/all cremes theme.

Disclosure:  The Island Fun Collection and many comparison polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.


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