If you’ve read the blog for any length of time, you know I love salon gel nails and nail art. I wore them for about a year straight and there are a ton of great things about them. The one thing I hate about them though, is the difficulty in getting the gel polish off without a trip to the salon.
For the last couple weeks, I’ve needed to be able to take my polish off with very little notice. Since it is difficult to do a last minute appointment via the salon I prefer, and taking gel polish off a home is a giant PITA, I’ve opted to not have my nails done lately.
I looked for an alternative and thought you might be interested in my experiences. My first try was the Essie Gel Couture system. It’s a two step process, one being the color gel polish and the second being a clear gel top coat type polish. The big selling point for me was that you are able to take the polish off with regular nail polish remover.
Since my nails were pretty beat up after stopping my salon gel, I opted for a pale pink color. The consistency of the polish was pretty streaky for the first coat. I actually had to do 3 coats to get a solid color and it showed every bump in my nails. The brush is a bit larger than I was used to and is rounded, which some feel makes it easier to apply with. I personally found I needed a couple minutes to get used to the brush.
I thought the 2nd step might smooth out the polish a bit and it did to a certain extent. I applied one coat of the clear gel like topcoat. No light is needed to cure the gel.
It dried fairly quickly considering I had to put on 3 coats of color, plus a top coat. I couldn’t wait to see how long it lasted.
I painted my nails on Sunday and this is what they looked like on Wednesday with very little abuse. I am pretty easy on my nails in general and these absolutely did not hold up. By Tuesday, I was noticing wear on my first two fingers on my left (non dominant) hand and as you can see, but Wednesday they were chipping. You could also see every bump or knick in my nail bed through the polish.
I left the polish on til Friday just to see if they got worse. It stayed about the same, but of course, my nails started shredding where the polish had worn off.
The polish did come off really easily with regular non-acetone nail polish remover.
I have tried a lot of wrinkle treatment serums in my life and I have never really declared one was great. Until now! Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is as amazing as people say.
Over Christmas, Sephora had a two piece set of Sunday Riley products. Since Sunday Riley is an expensive brand, I figured the set was the best way to try it out, especially since I bought it during Sephora’s VIB event. Here’s a link to what I bought on Sephora’s website.
The kit had both Luna Sleeping Night Oil and Good Genes. I’ll talk about the Luna Sleeping Night Oil first.
From Sephora’s description:
Luna Sleeping Night Oil contains a powerful, yet gentle trans-retinol ester and moisturizing botanical oils to reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines, and sun damage while preventing flakiness and irritation.
The Luna Sleeping Night Oil comes in a glass bottle with a dropper dispenser. It makes for a slightly messy dispensing of the oil, but feels substantial and has held up.
The Luna Oil is odd. It has a strong smell, which I had read about before trying. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t pleasant either. It also goes on your face blue and you rub in until it blends into your skin and is absorbed. I had high hopes, but really didn’t love it.
I like the idea of a night oil, especially because I have pretty dry skin in areas, but this just wasn’t it for me. I saw a bit of change in my skin for the better, but nothing huge. I think if I were using any moisturizer on a regular basis, I would have seen the same result.
Now on to Good Genes!
From Sephora’s description:
Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment exfoliates and moisturizes the skin while smoothing the appearance of fine lines.
The Good Genes formula is in a glass bottle with a pump dispenser. Nice and substantial and has held up well to my use since December.
I had very high hopes for this stuff after doing research and reading about it online and I was not disappointed! It is a bit stingy when you first apply it. Like an astringent burn is what it was like for me, but that goes away quickly. I use a about a pump and a half for my face and forehead and rub in well.
I have honestly noted a difference in my skin since I started using it. How do I know this? I took pictures of my wrinkles and dark spots prior to starting and compared to photos after I used it for a month. (And no, I am not sharing my wrinkles on the internet 🙂
I have never seen a change in wrinkle deepness before with any other product. The other noticeable thing is the brightness of my skin. Since the cells are turning over, my skin looks much brighter than it normally would in the dead of winter.
I personally use Good Genes at night, but I do know many people use it during the day.
Would I buy them again? The Luna Sleeping Night Oil is a no. The Good Genes is a yes!
I do have one other brand for wrinkle prevention/improvement to try from my VIB purchases, but if it isn’t better than Good Genes, I will be re-buying asap.
Have you tried Sunday Riley products yet? What did you think? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
I know a ton of you are dry shampoo addicts like I am, but there are still some of you who don’t get it. Why do I use it? For one thing, I spend a decent amount of money on my hair color and the less I wash it, the better my color holds. It saves my hair from blow drying too. My hair is overall healthier since I stopped washing it every day. Secondly, I like to sleep. To be honest, sleeping in longer is probably my biggest motivator in using dry shampoo. I still shower daily, I just don’t wash my hair. I’m lazy, not disgusting!
Thirdly, sometimes, it’s just too much to do my hair from start to finish. I am sure that sounds ridiculous to some of you, but sometimes I am just not in the mood to start the process of styling my hair from wet head to finished product. I just don’t always have that much time, especially in the morning. I wasn’t blessed with the kind of hair that can air dry or even just get blown dry and be presentable, so it’s the whole she bang every time. And lastly, I like my hair better with some texture to it. There’s no frizz, it holds curl better, its smoother if I want to straighten it, just overall easier to style on day two or three, than day one.
I don’t know about you, but I love using dry shampoo! Prior to it becoming available everywhere, I used baby powder and I have to say, I didn’t love the smell. It’s great on a baby, but not so much in your hair. Plus it was super messy and ended up everywhere.
Fast forward to the era of dry shampoo, I’ve used a ton of different brands and now feel I’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best. Without further ado, here are the best dry shampoos!
I mentioned this one as a fave product before, Batiste Dry Shampoo. It’s easily applied, available everywhere (Amazon, Ulta). Comes in many different scents and has special versions for brunettes and blondes. I like the tropical and the original clean and classic scents, but over Christmas, I bought a trio of travel mini’s that are all different scents, so I might end up with a new fave.
How do I use it? I shake the bottle, spray a couple squirts into my part and underneath my layers and let sit while I do my makeup. I usually come back to it after I apply my foundation and brush it through a bit (depending on how I am styling my hair that day) and hit it with the blow dryer and a round brush. It honestly looks like I had a blow out after. Then, I style as usual. If I am in a huge hurry to run out the door, I spritz my part and sides and underneath, fluff a bit and head out. Super easy to use, smells good. Can’t go wrong with this one.
I went from using baby powder to Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo originally. I still love it and use it off and on. It’s a powder formula with a narrow tip on the bottle, which allows you to flip through your layers and squirt the powder on your roots. You then need to massage it lightly into your scalp. It immediately makes your hair get a ton of texture and I think it is best used on pretty dirty hair. I usually recommend this stuff to people who work out and don’t want to wash their hair in between. It’s more absorbing than Batiste due to its consistency. You can buy Oscar Blandi at Sephora or Amazon.
It has an okay smell, not offensive, not my fave, but definitely better than baby shampoo. It’s super easy to transport in your travel bag or purse. I would think it might be hard to use if you had dark hair, but since I don’t have dark hair, I can’t confirm. It does help with dark roots though by lightening them a bit, which is a plus over Batiste. One huge pro is that while small, the bottle lasts forever! A solid choice if you prefer a powder consistency in your dry shampoo.
Tons of people love the scent of Dry Bar’s dry shampoo. I personally do not and found it a bit overwhelming to use in the morning. It was super strong to me at least. If the scent doesn’t bother you, it works pretty much the same as Batiste, it’s just more expensive. I used it the same way I did Batiste as described above. I don’t usually recommend this one, but I know many people who swear by it.
When I bought my Dry Bar shampoo, it came with a sample of their Detox Dry Conditioner (see kit above). I honestly thought dry conditioner seemed like a gimmick and wasn’t even going to try it, but I did and loved it!
If you are a regular dry shampoo user, you will know what I am saying, when I say sometimes, if you dry shampoo several days in a row, your hair tends to feel a bit tangled and weirdly textured. Spray some of this Detox Dry Conditioner on your ends and it is gone. It is amazing how it completely changes your texture. It helped me detangle and smoothed out my ends and overall I loved how my hair felt. I’m still using my sample and am debating whether I would buy it again. I don’t use it often for one. If I had longer hair, it would be a resounding YES, but since mine is mid-length, I can’t really make a strong case for needing it. Would definitely recommend for those with long hair! also recommend buying a Dry Bar Kit, like I have shown above, to try out a couple of their products since they are more expensive. You can find Dry Bar products at Sephora or Amazon.
Do you agree with my picks for Best Dry Shampoo? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
I love to go crazy with my nails for Christmas and thought you might want to see some nail art I’ve sported last and this year! All nail art on my nails was done at Dallas Beauty Lounge in Pittsburgh, PA. My very favorite place to get nail art! I’ve never brought in an idea that they couldn’t create and make even better!
I went in to last my nail appointment all set to get these and ended up getting something different at the last minute. These are still in the running for my final appointment before Christmas. Originally found here.
These whimsical ornament/snow globe nails were some of my faves from last year. I came in with a couple of different ideas and Kate from Dallas Beauty Lounge combined them into these!
These chalkboard nails were so adorable in person! Kate from Dallas Beauty Lounge did a fantastic job in creating these for me!
I need your help in deciding what to get for my last appointment before Christmas! The first idea is at the top of this post and here’s a couple more. As usual, I pulled these ideas from Instagram. Give me a follow here. Let me know in the comments which you think I should get!
This gorgeous Christmas tree caught my eye on Instagram. I love the impact of it on one nail versus having a bunch of images on various nails. Would be lovely with hunter green nails too. Nail art by Sierrasnails via Instagram.
I love these teeny tiny Christmas trees and I think paired with tiny candy canes would be really cute! I am super into the teeny tiny designs, so this could be a winner. Nail art by Minipolishh via Instagram.
Which one do you think I should pick? Let me know in the comments !
Do you have any makeup addicts on your list this year, but you don’t want to add to their stash? It can be hard to know what they already have! If this is your situation, then this is the list for you!
This mug made me actually laugh out loud. The perfect gift for your eyebrow chick! Find it here.
The perfect addition to your makeup loving friend’s apartment. This lipstick throw pillow is adorable! Buy it here.
This little thing is highly coveted in the makeup world. It’s a silicon makeup applicator from Molly Cosmetics called the SiliSponge. If you score one of these, you are definitely going to be the hero of Christmas (FYI-they are majorly back ordered). It’s the newest foundation applicator out there and is reported to be better than the beauty blender. It doesn’t waste makeup, allows you to see your face while you use it and can be cleaned with soap and water. Find info on how to order it here.
I don’t know what rock I was living under, but I missed when this makeup brush cleaning machine launched. It’s basically a dishwasher for your brushes. It’s not like cleaning your brushes is that difficult, it’s just something you tend to forget to do. Find it on Amazon here.
Oval makeup brushes are all the rage on the makeup blogs, so get your makeup addict in on the action! These are mid-priced brushes, but you can find prices all over the board, so check out the choices. I do not own these particular brushes, but they have pretty decent reviews. Find them here.
You can never have too many makeup bags with cute sayings and the internet is full of them! Find this one here.
They may not sleep with their makeup on, but they will sleep on their makeup with these adorable lash pillowcases! Buy them here.
How perfect is this lipstick ornament? Someone more talented than I could DIY this, but if like me, you aren’t artistic, you can buy one from the Glam Studio Shop on Etsy here.
There are tons of funny makeup oriented tshirts out there at all price points. This one definitely applies to me and nude lipsticks! Get it here.
I wouldn’t be sad to find any of these under my own tree! Which one is your fave? I’d love to hear in the comments!
I am not sure what rock I was hiding under last year, but I didn’t find out about the special Sephora VIB member sale until after it was happening. It’s a 20% off sale on everything at Sephora for two weekends in November and then again in the Spring. Access (and which weekend you can shop on) depends on how much you spend at Sephora and which level you have reached. Unfortunately, Beauty Insiders are not eligible for the sale.
Monday is the last day for the Sephora VIB 20% off sale. If you haven’t already made your purchases, you still have time to get to the store or buy online. I tried to be reasonable in my wish list because I already have quite the makeup stash (aka hoard), but that 20% off gets me every time!
I’ve been looking to up my skin care game and I was debating between this brand and Sunday Riley. I haven’t tried any Drunk Elephant products, but I have read rave reviews and I thought the gift set might be a good way to try a variety. I ultimately went with this brand over the other based on this mix of products being more what I was looking for. You won’t go wrong with Sunday Riley either. Neither is cheap, so the 20% off helps.
I actually own this Tarte Palette already. It’s the original Tartelette Palette and has the matte shadows. I use it pretty much every day. I’m not ready for a new one yet, but I would highly recommend picking it up during the sale if you don’t already own.
I have lots of make up junkie friends who swear by this Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray and by the fact that my local Sephora only had two left, I think they are right! Made to set your makeup, I think it’s something I wouldn’t normally buy, but on sale, I am intrigued.
I don’t own this palette (yet) and to be honest I don’t usually love Naked palettes. I know, kick me out of the makeup gang, but they usually are way too glittery for me. This one is different though, it has soft matte colors. It’s basically every color I would pick if I made my own palette.