Friday, May 27, 2011

Review: Lush Breath of Fresh Air Skin Toner

While I'm not one of Lush's die-hard regular customers, there just seems to be something about Lush that draws me into buying their products.  Maybe it was the cheerfully persuasive sales woman.  Maybe it was the packaging or the pretty colors.  Maybe it was the natural, earthy smell.  Or...maybe I'm just too impulsive and too easily swayed to say no.  Whatever it was, I came in for some window shopping and walked out with Charity Pot hand lotion, Lemony Flutter cuticle cream, and this--Breath of Fresh Air skin toner.

Breath of Fresh Air Skin Toner

What it is:
According to the Lush website, Breath of Fresh Air skin toner brings all of the nutrients of the sea to your skin.  It is said to be beneficial for dry skin, especially while traveling by airplane or sitting in air-conditioned offices.  Among the ingredient list is Breath of Fresh Air's featured product, aloe vera gel.
My impression:
I used to use toner a few years ago and stopped, mostly because the alcohol made my skin dry out. I recently became interested in trying it again, however, though I wasn't exactly sure which product was for me.  When I asked for some advice, the woman at Lush recommended this to me, especially since it didn't have any alcohol.  After bringing it home, I was pretty pleased with the results.  It got off the last bits of makeup and cleanser that might have been left over from washing my face.  It also felt very lightweight and refreshing and I noticed my skin starting to take on a smoother, more even appearance after a couple weeks of use.  One of my favorite things about it is that a little goes a long way.  Just two spritzes on a cotton pad is enough for me to apply it to half my face.  The unique spray top ensures that the same amount is dispensed each time and not a lot of product goes to waste.  Because of this, I could easily see this bottle of toner lasting me several months, even with me using it morning and night.  It did smell a little earthy, quite possibly because of the rosemary oil, so if that smell is a turnoff for you, this might not be for you.
My recommendation:
All in all, I thought that it was a great toner.  I loved that there wasn't any alcohol in it and that it kept my skin relatively moist.  Additionally, I thought it was great that it featured natural ingredients.  I also liked that the spray top allowed for a way to dispense the product in a sanitary and controlled way.  My skin does look better than it did before I was using the toner.  However, I think that even though it would last a while, the price tag is a little hefty for it to be a "must have."  I would definitely recommend it, but I wouldn't consider it a necessity.
The rundown:

  • Product:  5/5
  • Packaging:  5/5
  • Quality:  5/5
  • Overall:  5/5
  • Would I buy it again?:  Yes, repurchase is very likely!
  • Where to buy:  Lush website or Lush stores
  • Price:  $8.95 for 3.3 fl oz. or $18.95 for 8.4 fl oz.
  • Pros:
    +  Does not include alcohol
    +  Non-drying
    +  Not greasy
    +  Lightweight
    +  A little goes a long way
    +  Natural ingredients
    +  Packaging allows controlled release of product
  • Cons:
    -  A little pricey
    -  Can smell a little funky to some
I hope you guys found these reviews helpful!  I'm looking forward to trying out more new things and sharing the stuff I've tried with all of you.  If you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to let me know!

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to review any of the products featured above. I purchased all of the products reviewed in this blog post and did not receive them for free. I ensure that this is my true and honest opinion.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review: Rush Shine DBP Free Topcoat

The third quick dry topcoat that I will be reviewing is Rush Shine DBP Free Topcoat, completing (for now!) my series of reviews.  If you're interested in being Big 3 free and were thinking about some products, you might also be interested in checking out my review of Oh So Wet! and Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine.

Rush shine DBP Free Topcoat

What it is:
As described on the Sally Beauty website, this topcoat claims to be high gloss, quick drying, professional formula, and protective.  It is also DBP free and claims to promote healthy and long-growing nails.
My impression:
To be honest, I wasn't planning on even reviewing this product and only picked it up "on a whim" because it was right next to Oh So Wet!  But it was affordable and DBP free, so I figured it was worth a shot to review and share my experience.  The consistency of Rush Shine was a little on the thinner side, closely matching the consistency of Oh So Wet!  It was easy to work with, however, in my experience it didn't dry any faster than a regular topcoat.  Additionally, it was not as "high gloss" as I had hoped--in fact, I thought my polish looked a little flat.  In terms of chipping, I would say that my nails started chipping as soon as the next day or two--even with Orly Top 2 Bottom as a basecoat.  Because my manicure failed to last, I can't comment on whether or not the topcoat dulled the color or if I was able to achieve healthier, long-growing nails with its use.
My recommendation:
As I've said before, it's not often that I give a bad review on things.  I'm usually very generous and my reviews are usually positive--especially since I do some research before choosing to buy things.  I guess I should have did a little more research on this topcoat, as it did not impress me at all.  I would not recommend it in the slightest.  In fact, you're better off getting a "regular" (big 3 free!) topcoat, as it would probably dry in the same time and do a better job at protecting and providing shine.
The rundown:
  • Product:  1/5
  • Packaging:  5/5
  • Quality:  2/5
  • Overall:  2.7/5
  • Would I buy this again? - Not at all.
  • Where to buy?  - I bought mine at Sally Beauty Supply.
  • Price - $4.99
  • Pros:
    +  DBP free
    +  Affordable
  • Cons:
    -  Did not dry quickly
    -  Finish was a bit flat
    -  Nails chipped shortly after
I hope you enjoyed round three (and the final round, for now!) of my Big 3 free quick dry topcoat reviews.  Having experienced three different quick dry topcoats, I think that the best I have experienced thus far is Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine.

If you have any experience with this or know of any similar products I should try, please feel free to leave a question or comment below!

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to review the product featured above. I purchased all of the products reviewed in this blog post and did not receive them for free. I ensure that this is my true and honest opinion.

Update: Follow Me On Twitter!

Hello, readers!  Those of you that had followed my blog Twitter, @LMFAOBeauty, might have noticed that the link is no more.  But not to fear--you can still follow me at @VelociMellie!

I decided that it would be the best move, considering it's a lot easier for me to update only one Twitter account.  I also thought that it would be a great way to get to know followers on a more personal level, considering I'm a lot more in touch with that Twitter account.  Since the blog is well-rounded by featuring beauty and fashion aspects in addition to life events, I thought it would only be fitting that my Twitter page stand for the same things as well.

My Twitter account is locked for privacy reasons, but if you request me I will be sure to respond to it in a timely manner!  Definitely don't be shy and don't forget to say hello once you've followed me--I'm always interested in meeting new people.

Once again, thank you for all of the support and I'm looking forward to tweeting with you in the future!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Congratulations, Class of 2011!

Now that we're entering graduation season, I thought that I'd take the time to dedicate a post to my fellow graduates in the Class of 2011 and to share a little bit of my experience with you.  First and foremost, I'd like to say congratulations to anyone that also graduated this spring.  I know that we've all put in a lot of time and effort into earning our diplomas and to finally have it embodied in a way that lasts a lifetime is certainly a great achievement deserving of recognition.  Hats off to you and best of luck in your life endeavors!

My family and I taking pictures after commencement.
My brother and I are tall!  Haha...
As for me...  I began my college career in the fall of 2007 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a marketing major.  I was very much interested in consumer behavior and the power of influence.  The initial interest grew into love as I took pertinent course materials and found that not only was I creative--I was also analytical.  I feel blessed to have the capability to see and be interested in both sides of the story, and while my heart pushes me towards research and analytics, I still enjoy and appreciate the creative aspect of my chosen major.

That isn't to say that the journey was easy, however.  I had my first experience with being away from my home and my family as well as the experience of living with people that were virtually strangers.  I was opened up to a new world of different people and experiences, which I felt was especially challenging due to my quiet and reserved nature.  Academics were also a challenge as well, as I had dual involvement in honors/scholar programs that required a very demanding schedule and a great deal of work.  Also requiring a great deal of work were the extracurricular activities in which I participated and the leadership roles I held.  On top of balancing my social life, academics, and extracurricular activities, there was also the issue of work experiences.

While I held a summer internship on the boardwalk close to my house, I think my first real business experience came at the start of my current job.  It was my first time in an office setting, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be working for a huge, multinational firm this early in my life.  In spite of this, I really think I held my own and learned a lot--especially since I've been working here full-time and have been living away from home (and for a lot of the time on my own).  Although I enjoy where I am, it wasn't always easy to wake up before the sun came up, sit in up to two hours of traffic, and have to come back and take care of things like cooking and cleaning.  Moreover, it was especially hard to keep energized when I had to budget my time between work, school, friends, family, and my boyfriend.  I certainly felt as though I had been thrust unexpectedly into some type of legitimate adulthood.  As hard and as different as it was, I wouldn't exchange it for anything--it was one of my most valuable life experiences to date.

My boyfriend and I with my diploma.  Graduated with
honors, baby!  :)
But of course, I wouldn't be where I am today without the love and support of my friends and family.  I thoroughly appreciate their encouraging words and their willingness to let me reach for my dreams.  I'm sure it wasn't easy for my parents to let go of me and let me experience the world on my own for a while...and I'm sure it wasn't easy for my friends to deal with me ranting about my struggles, haha.  But I do want to say that I appreciate and love all of them from the bottom of my heart.

And of course, I appreciate all of my readers here, for supporting this dream of sharing my experiences about life, makeup, fashion, and beauty.

Review: Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine Topcoat

As many of you know, this review follows a series of posts stemming from my pursuit of nail products that are Big 3 Free.  Since the first product to go was Seche Vite, I decided to review other quick dry topcoat alternatives.  The first I reviewed was Oh So Wet!, a product that I enjoyed very much.  The next quick dry topcoat I'll be reviewing for my readers is Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine Topcoat.

Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine Topcoat

What it is:  
According to the website, Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine is the "ultimate" in quick dry topcoats.  It is meant to seal polish and nail art for wear and shine, ensuring that the color will last.  The formula also includes UV-protectors and claims to be non-yellowing, fast drying, high gloss finish, and chip resistant.  Best of all, it claims to be Big 3 free!
My Impression:  
In doing my research about which topcoats to try, I heard a lot of good things about this topcoat.  If memory serves me correctly, many users ranked this as their "holy grail" of topcoats.  Given the good reviews, I decided to give this a try.  In comparison to Seche Vite, the formulation is thinner, but in comparison to Oh So Wet!, the formulation is thicker.  To me, the consistency was perfect since it didn't glob up and I felt that it would really give the coverage and protection every girl (or guy!) seeks from a topcoat.  From my recollection, it didn't take all too long to dry--just a few minutes and it felt dry to the touch.  I would say it took about the same length of time as Seche Vite took to dry completely.  While the finish wasn't as smooth as Seche Vite, it was already much smoother and definitely more glossy than Oh So Wet!  However, I did notice that after a few days, it did seem to dull some colors a bit--especially the milky pinks that I wear to work.  This wasn't that big of an issue for me, as I frequently change nail colors.  But for those of you interested in longevity, I will confirm that there was very minimal (if any!) chipping involved, though I also started using Orly Top 2 Bottom as my base coat.
My recommendation:
While I think that Oh So Wet! was a good product, I think that I am much more partial to Nubar Diamont Seal & Shine.  It's a little more expensive, but I felt that it dried faster, had a better consistency, and provided better protection.  Though it behaves differently than Seche Vite, I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an effective quick dry topcoat that does not contain the toxic trio.
The rundown:
  • Product:  4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5
  • Quality: 5/5
  • Overall:  4.8/5
  • Would I buy this again? - Absolutely!
  • Where to purchase?  -  At the moment, I'm not aware of any retail outlets selling this.  I purchased mine from the Nubar website.
  • Price:  $7.49 on the website
  • Pros:
    +  Big 3 Free!
    +  Manageable consistency
    +  Dries quickly
    +  Glossy finish
    +  Protective
  • Cons:
    -  Dulls the color of some polishes
I hope you enjoyed round two of my Big 3 free quick dry topcoat reviews.  If you have any experience with this or know of any similar products I should try, please feel free to leave a question or comment below!

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to review the product featured above. I purchased all of the products reviewed in this blog post and did not receive them for free. I ensure that this is my true and honest opinion.

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