Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday Night Nails: The 90's Live Again with Grunge Nails!

It seems this may become a regular feature..Friday Night Nails!  This is the night where I find a nail art design I like and give myself a few hours to attempt a recreation.  I am a nail art beginner so sometimes it's a hit and sometimes a miss..or in last night's case I end up with my own franken design.

This time on Friday Night Nails, I wanted to try the Grunge Nails Tutorial from Nails Adored


The basic idea of the grunge nail is to start with a black base, then using a paint brush instead of a nail polish brush, you layer up alternating colors.  Once you have all your layers in place and dry, you take that same brush dipped in acetone and drag it back through the layers, exposing different colors as you go.

The right hand looks like it was painted by a totally different person

While the concept is not particularly difficult. My results are very different then the tutorial.  While her nails resulted in subtle fading washes of colors, mine looked like an LSD fueled liquid light display.  While I am a little bummed, I actually kinda of liked the effect. 


You can take the basics of this technique and do all sorts of cool things with it.  You can do funky brights like I did, you could do a tone on tone gradiant...the sky is the limit.

These are the colors I used to create these nails.

(Right to left)Wet 'n Wild Ebony Hates Chris, SC Innocent, SC Feeling Great, Wet 'n' Wild Teal or No Teal, SC Patrika

Here some tips I learned doing this effect.  Make sure all your layers are super dry before you start the next layer or the final acetoning.  If they are still tacky, the colors can muddy up when you start blending them.  Also, be really careful with the final acetone step.  You can very easily go through all the colors and expose bare nails.  I did this a few times and it was a pain in the ass to fix and is totally obvious.   I used an E.L.F Eyeliner Brush and in hindsight I would have selected a paint brush closer to the one used in the tutorial.  I have a ton, I was just too lazy too look for one.  Laziness and impatience is the enemy of great nails.

Would you try grunge nails?  Do you have any other nail arts designs you are dying to try?

A-England Polishes 30% OFF with Code Tristam

A-England is a year old and celebrating by giving us all 30% off their Legends and Mythical Collections.  There is also free shipping, even to the USA!  This is limited to supply on hand and things are selling out.  These are gorgeous polishes and I highly recommend you grab some!  Use code Tristam at checkout.

Go see some swatches at The PolishAholic here and here

Where to buy: A-England

Friday, March 30, 2012

My sensitive eyes adore Milani Liquif'Eye Liner

Why didn't I review this sooner??? I've had this eyeliner for ages and it is one of the prettiest liners I've used.  Just digging through my review box and blam, there it was, aching to be swatched. Side note, I was pronouncing this Liquif (long unnecessary pause) Eye for a really long time, then it hit me..Liquif'Eye...liquify.  /facepalm. 

Milani Liquif'Eye is an automatic eye pencil that has a nice creamy feel and smooth application.  This was every bit as nice as a MAC Technakohl eyeliner.  I've heard amazing things about the Liquif'Eye formula and it did not disappoint.


Now, I have a tough time with purples on my eye. Something about the color irritates my eyes and purple eyeliners??? omg I'm talking serious issues.  I missed work once because of the reaction I had to some purple eyeliner.  Naturally I keep buying purples and amazingly enough, I had no reaction to this eyeliner *squeal*



One thing I was not prepared for was just how sparkly this eyeliner is. It is a beautiful aubergine with intense bright purple sparkles.   The wear time on this is excellent.  It lasted through an entire day at work without budging, running or transferring. 

Final Thoughts

This was my first  experience with Milani Liquif'Eye Liner.  I would absolutely buy this again.  The quality of this product is indistinguishable from higher end liners that cost twice as much.  They may not have an enormous color range,  but they have a few fun colors.  The only drawback was some difficulty removing the liner at the end of the night.  But that is also a good thing, tough to remove also means no eyeliner on my browbone by lunchtime.

Where to buy: Online I buy from Cherry Culture, they have frequent sales on Milani
Price: $7.99

* laying in bed and just realized I never posted the name of the color.  Purple...it's purple.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Taking a Family Day!

I <3 You Guys!


Hey all, just letting you know I won't update again until Friday night.  I've been going strong on the blog for a few weeks and I need to take a breather day and hang out with my babies, who miss their Momma.  I have alot of good stuff coming, some more mani ideas, and a new Wet 'n Wild palette review/look.  See you in a day or so..

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's Made of Stars: A Galaxy Manicure

I want to tell you something about myself.  When I get excited about something, I become pretty soundly obsessed.  Right now, nail art has eclipsed everything short of sleeping and bathing in my world.  I do not claim to be an expert...or even very good.  But I enjoy studying designs and giving them a go.

For all you out there who can't rock a flawless mani, you are not alone!  My technique is improving, yet rough, every nail is a different shape and my cuticles look like I set a pack of beavers on them.   This is a blog for the nail underdog.  My biggest tip going forward is take your time!  Seriously, as soon as I stopped trying to pound out ten fingers in ten mins, my results improved.  /soapbox

Are we going to look at some nails??

This is my first attempt at a Galaxy manicure.  As the name suggests, the idea is to take you nails and create little nebula..nebulas...nebulae? This is a very easy look to play with even for a beginner.

These are the colors I used for this look.  I started with a base coat, I use an Orly Rubberized Manicure Keeper.  I followed this with Sally Hansen Blackout.  The bright colors I used were Sinful Colors Feeling Great and Essence Wanna Be Your Sunshine.  The sparkling stars were created with China Glaze Fairy Dust.



I decided to use a quick dry coat over the initial black base since it was so thick and I have pretty much zero patience.  Once the base dries, use cut up bits of cosmetic sponge and holding them with tweezers dip them into the pink and yellow and then sponge it strategically across the nail.  I did all the yellow first, then went back over with pink when it dried.  After that, I used another piece of sponge and dabbed China Glaze Fairy Dust over the nail.  This works best when you concentrate it on the blackest area of the nail.  That's it!  Finish with a top coat, I use Seche Vite (this lives up to the hype, review coming)




Two tips, keep the layers of color thin....much thinner then I did would have looked better.  I had some bitchin' 80's galaxies.  In hindsight I might have gone back over the colors with some acetone just to mute the colors and blend them out some.  Second, don't cover too much of the nail, the black really enhances the galaxy look when you apply the glitter layer.

Pardon my top coat boogers
If you search galaxy nails you will find quite a few examples and some good tutorials.  The one I referenced heavily was Chalkboard Nails  Hers are hands down the best galaxy nails I've seen.  She has other wonderful tutorials that are well suited to those shaky handed nail no0bs (myself included).

Have you tried this look, what inspires your nail art?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

News Flash! It's Another Lip Flash Pencil from Milani.

One of my favorite lip product finds this year are Milani Lip Flash Lip Pencils.  Opaque, glittery, budgeproof.  What is not to love?  I finally snagged a mate for my Photo Flash Pencil..enter

News Flash!  News Flash is a deep vampy reddish purple with violet shimmer throughout.  This is not a subtle shade by a long shot.  It is not quite as sticky or drying as Photo Flash was, but they share the same depth of character and glittery glossy finish.






I found this shade trickier to apply then Photo Flash.  It has a tendency to break up along the lip line.  To diminish this, I apply the pencil to the center of my lips and then use a lip brush to pull the color out to the lip line.  It doesn't eliminate the problem, but it does help.

Final Thoughts

If you aren't afraid of a deep rich lip color you will easily love this shade.  It has a fun way of shifting between purple and red depending on the light and when the light hits the glitter..daaamn.  Extra tip, this shade seems magnetically attracted to teeth, so give your finger a pop through the lips to gather the extra color.

Where to buy:  Online I buy from Cherry Culture  they have frequent sales on Milani
Price: $6.99

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Inspiration Snowball: Black and Teal Lighting Bolt French Tape Manicure

First, a big shout out to Phyrra, for starting me down the tape mani path.  I did not know this existed and now I am hooked.  Check out the fun look she did here which was inspired by a look seen on Nailside. This in turned inspired me to try this look,  Lightning Bolt French Mani from Nailside.   Are you seeing how the inspiration snowball works?  I think this will turn into a regular feature..look for more in the future.

I wont do a detailed tutorial here, as the instructions on Nailside are really great.  Give her some love and follow her blog, she has amazing ideas and they seem easy, even for nail novices like myself.  Also, drop by Phyrra.net and check out her amazing site.  A must for indie makeup lovers.



The colors I used were Wet 'n Wild Teal or No Teal from the Fauna Collection (which you can still enter to win right here) and for the tips I used Sally Hansen Blackout.

A few tips.  I really recommend a good fast drying top coat and patience for this mani.  You want to make sure you base coat is nice and dry before you start laying down the tape.  I used Sally Hansen Diamond Flash Fast Dry Top Coat.  Second tip, use a thinner formula for the tips if you don't want a ridge where the two colors meet.  Sally Hansen is super thick, so I can feel my tips.  Doesn't bug me, but I do worry they will chip faster.  Last tip, don't wait too long to remove your tape strips.  I apply the polish, give it a blow or two then gently remove the strips.  If it dries down, you may peel off the color with the tape.



Have you ever tried a tape mani?  What did you think?

Get Ready for Summer w/ Essence Sun Club Long Beach Palette

I am still really excited about the Nudes/Brights trend and I love finding new pieces to use in the look.  A few weeks ago I received the Essence Sun Club Palette in 02 Long Beach and it is a perfect way to achieve a perfect soft neutral eye.


This handy palette comes with 8 shadows that range from light brow bone shades to deep brown crease shades.  You can go very subtle to dramatic and every look in between.


In general I find the shadows to be a bit on the sheer side and prone to some fallout.  The fallout is not a big problem and the sheerness I fix by applying over a stickier base like Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy.  The swatches that follow were done over Too Faced Shadow Insurance and a tiny amount of Pixie Epoxy.

 Shadow 1 (top) is a light champagne color frost eyeshadow. 

Shadow 2 (top) is a shimmery peachy rose.  I think this would make an amazing blush or highlighter.  That is how I plan to use this particular shadow.

Shadow 3 (top) is a really pretty shimmery medium dark taupe.  This really comes alive over a slightly sticky base and I suspect would look lovely applied wet.


Shadow 4 (top) is a satin red tinged brown.  This is one of the more opaque shades and works really well as a crease color.

Shadow 1 (bottom) is a light shimmery coral peach.  It is not quite as sheer as this swatch would suggest.  On the lid you get more pop.


Shadow 2 (bottom) is a shimmery golden bronze shade.  This is another shadow that swatches a bit sheerer then it applies on the lid.  Everyone should have a good bronze in their collection (and everyone probably does)

Shadow 3 (bottom) is a shimmery light rosy tan.  This is a sheer wash of color, best suited for the brow bone and other highlighting.

Shadow 4 (bottom) is a sparkly light grey taupe.  On my arm this looks like "meh" but it is really pretty in person.  It is a sheer shade, but the sparkles look like little diamonds.  I love to layer this over a look for that sparkle effect.  You could use this alone on your lids with a bold eyeliner for edgy soho type look.









Final Thoughts

This palette isn't blazing any trails, but it does it's job well.  This is a good mix of neutral/warm shadows which will easily work for anyone who wants to try them.  The quality is not quite where I placed the other Essence Shadows I tried, but for the price, it is still a nice collection to have.  Palettes like this also make travel a breeze! 

Where to buy: I am having a hard time locating these online for purchase.  Check your local ULTA, Fred Meyer or HEB
Price: $3.49

Disclosure
This review contains sample product sent to me for consideration by PR.  For more information visit my disclosure page

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lipstick Bleeds Got Ya Down? Get E.L.F Lip Lock Pencil!

I only have time for a quickie review...Hunger Games night!!!!!!  Although brief, I've wanted to talk to you about this product for a long while.  A little background, I have a love/hate thing with lipsticks.  I adore them, I buy them, but I have a terrible time wearing them.  My lips bleed...bad..like full on raging rivers of color leaking out across my face.  Makes it very hard to get excited about lip color *sad quivery music*


Enter E.L.F Lip Lock Pencil!  I've know about clear liners for a few years, yet never managed to find one at a price point I felt comfortable with.  It just feels wrong to spend $18+ on something you don't actually see.  I was at a point where I was going to find a cheap clear eyebrow pencil to use, when I stumbled upon my Lip Locking friend.

I had no idea E.L.F even made this, I was so excited, but I'll admit, the cynic in me said "Everything you ever wanted for $3?  Not gonna work."  *smug face*  Ya...turns out it kinda kicks ass.  It's a clear waxy twist up stick.  Like a dry tube of Chapstick.


As you can see this goes on totally clear.  You can get a little bit of flaking if you press to hard or have dry skin, but you can gently brush it off.  Now, the idea of this product is to apply it outside your lip line, not on it or on your lips.  It creates a barrier outside your natural lip line that color won't dare creep past.

Does it work?  Yes, it really does.  I tried several before and after pics, but I just did not get the shot I was after, but please believe me this does work!  I use this daily, it works with lip glosses and lipsticks equally well.  Now if you go super bold or dramatic, like a vibrant red lip, you might still see a little feathering.  Some lip colors will always need maintenance, but for 90% of your lip looks this will do the trick. E.L.F Lip Lock opened up a whole new side of beauty for me.

Oh ya, forgot to mention.  That rattling sound, the one you will probably notice and may not understand.....

It's this guy, and not broken glass or smuggled pills like I convinced myself it was.  Hey, girls got a good imagination.  This is housed inside the tube and you retrieve it by taking off the bottom cap.  This is not easy to do, nor is it really necessary as it is clear and has twist up advancing. But now you know.

Final Thoughts

Everyone should have this in their bag of tricks. Period!

Where to buy:  E.L.F or Target
Price: $3


Reminder:  There are a still a couple days left to enter my Wet 'n' Wild Flora and Fauna Collection Giveaway.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fig Jam Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter and Why the 70's kicked so much ass!

Ever like something, yet be disappointed at the same time? That's how I feel about Revlon's Color Burst Lip Butter in Fig Jam.



Revlon Color Lip Butters are a perfect example of how over analyzing a beauty purchase can backfire.  See, I can't just go out and buy lipstick.  Oh no, I first do some preliminary research. Is it good?  Do people like it? .. etc.  I heard so many good things about these lip butters, I quickly moved into purchase mode.  Now purchase mode can take weeks..even months for eye shadows.  This consists of me scouring the internet for pictures, comparing the subtle differences between four nearly identical shades of pink. Agonizing over the cute/dollar ratio  I came to the conclusion that you really can't go wrong with Colorburst, they all seem so interesting, pigmented and full of awesome!


This is Fig Jam.......looks a lot like wet fingertip.  This was not the color explosion I was hoping for.  It's pretty, but I thought it would be a vibrant purpley brown, not the washed out orangey brown that it is.


Fig Jam is very much a "my lips but better" shade and don't get me wrong, it's lovely.  It's just not what I wanted it to be.  It is a sheer cocoa brown with a slight peachy orange cast and a subtle hint of gold to it.


The finish on this Colorburst Lip Butter is very glossy and slippery.  It reminds me a lot of Stila's old Lip Glaze Pencil.  The wear time is in the 2 hour range and I did not find this formula to be particularly hydrating, nor was it drying.

Final Thoughts

This lives up to everything I've read about Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters.  I am disappointed in the color payoff, but that does not detract from the product overall.  I don't know that I would pay full price again unless I was absolutely sure of the color I was buying.  But if I had a coupon or saw a sale I would grab a few more.

Side note, isn't the cap soo cool.  It reminds me of some good old fashion 1970's glass.  Like the amber glass windows people had beside their entry doors.  I love the 70's vibe, especially with cosmetics....powers that be...make the 70's live again!!!!!

Where to buy:  Large Retailers
Price:  $7-8

Monday, March 19, 2012

Giveaway Time! Wet 'n' Wild Flora and Fauna Collection

Cult of Taupe's
First Giveaway!


The Prizes!

I hadn't planned on having a blog giveaway any time soon, but after hearing what a tough time some of you are having finding the Wet 'n' Wild Flora and Fauna Collection, I thought I would help out two lucky readers. Take a look at my reviews of the collection here (Flora) and here (Fauna) and see what all the fuss is about.

So, what will you win?  I will select two readers to win both the Flora and Fauna Collection from Wet 'n' Wild.  The retail value of each prize is approx $10.00 US Dollars and were supplied by me using my own personal funds. The prize is non transferable and you must be at least 18 years old to participate.  Although I love my readers abroad, this particular contest is for US residents only.  I will pay to ship this to the winner (hence the US only)

Once I chose the winner(s), you will have 48 hours to respond or I will choose a new winner(s).  Might I suggest you add cultoftaupe@gmail.com to your address book so any email from me won't go into your spam folder.  Please know I will make every attempt to contact you.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Adventures in Water Marbling

Disclaimer: I am not a nail artist, what follows here is my first attempt at nail marbling. It is time consuming, messy and a heck of a lot of fun.  I am a sloppy hand, I make no apologies.



For those who are unfamiliar, water marbling is pretty much the same concept as easter egg dying.  You place drops of nail polish into a cup of water, alternating colors as you go.  You then quickly swirl the colors around and then dip you nail into the polish.  Voila.





The colors I used were China Glaze Swing Baby and Sinful Colors in Show Me The Way and Crystalline. I applied these over a white base.




Here is the marbling on my left hand.  I am pretty happy.  A little more of the white base showed then I wanted, but I blame that on how quickly the polish was drying in my water.  I need to play around more.  I did not get the density of color I desired, but it was still fun.

I really liked how the pinky turned out.  It has a polish booger in it, but I think it almost looks like a rhinestone, so I am cool with it.



Ok, right hand.  A few things went sideways here.  First, I am right handed so it is really hard to work without your dominant hand.  It is also really hard to tape up your hand while your polish is still demi wet on hand # 1.  It's even harder to work quickly and precisely after drinking 1/2 a bottle of Moscato and watching Breaking Dawn (admit it, you don't just watch it for the awesome music, that's like saying you read Playboy for the articles)


All in all, this was a lot of fun.  I am rubbish at clean up, so this will look better tomorrow.  I wait until after I take a warm shower then I gently remove excess polish with a soft towel. Compared to my normal manicure method, which essentially is paint my finger from nail to knuckle, this left relatively little to clean up.  Tape up those fingers!  I highly recommend you put down some paper or an old towel as this gets messy fast.  Seriously, it looked like a clown threw up in my kitchen. 

I think with time and practice (and 1/3 less alcohol) this will be easier to accomplish.  Here is the tutorial I used while preparing for this excursion.  Chloe's Nails

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Keeps Rockin with the Wet 'n' Wild Fauna Collection!

Here is the abbreviated version of this review.   Get in your car, drive to your nearest Wet 'n' Wild display and buy this..NOW!  If you need more motivation stick around and you will be inspired.

”fauna

This is the Fauna half of the Wet 'n' Wild Flora and Fauna Collection.  You can see my review of the Flora half here.  The collection is $4.99 and comes with a Color Icon Trio, a blush, lip gloss and full sized polish.  It is a phenomenal deal.

”fauna

When I first saw these on display, I gravitated to the warmer Flora palette.  The Fauna just did not jump out to me.  After I swatched Flora, I immediately regretted passing over Fauna and I ran back out and got it.  I am SOOOO glad I did.

”wet
I hope you are all familiar with Wet 'n' Wild Color Icon Trio Eyeshadows.  These are the budget beauties best friend.  Soft, pigmented and affordable.  This is the trio in Fauna.  The colors are chosen to compliment and highlight one another, and they do that beautifully.  Each of these collections is worth picking up for the trio alone.

”wet
First is the browbone color.  It is a neutral tan shimmer.    You really only pick up the shimmer on this shade.  It does not impart much color.  This is a great highlight color for browbone, inner eye or the center of your eyelid.

”wet

*warning salty language*  The crease shade is the prettiest color ever.  I sat there for two minutes saying this is so effing pretty..then after a few mins of that I called the husband in and made him listen and then acknowledge how effing pretty is was.  Please know it is about 60 million times prettier on the eyelid then the arm swatch.  At this point you should have switched off your computer and should be laying down serious rubber in your pursuit of this palette.  I would pay $5.00 for the teal alone.

”wet

Last is the lid color.  This was the low point of the collection.  It is a very pretty almost duochromey violet shade, however it just applies so patchy.  I don't judge shadows by arms swatches because I see shadows swatch like garbage and work like a dream on the lids.  This one disappoints in both areas.  I even tried foiling this to bring out it's potential, not so much.  Perhaps over a super sticky base like Pixie Epoxy, but I just did not feel like working that hard on such a dupe-able shade.






”wet

”wet


The blush is a very pretty peachy pink called Pearlescent Pink.  There is a subtle amount of gold sparkle, not enough to really show on the cheek.  Like the blush in Flora, it is soft, blendable and nicely pigmented.  I do not usually care for bargain blushes.  I find them hard and sheer and tough to use.  Both these blushes are in regular rotation now.  I really enjoy them.

Pearlescent Pink (left) Mellow Wine (right)
Here is a side by side comparison of the two blushes. Pearlescent Pink is lighter and pinkier then Mellow Wine which is more terracotta and a bit darker.









The gloss Glass Confusion,  a pretty petal pink with tons of shimmer.  There is more pigmentation in this gloss compared to Mow the Glass in the Flora Collection.  It is not a sticky gloss so wear time will be in the 1-2 hour range.  This suits warm and cool skintones alike.

”wet

The nail polish in the Fauna Collection , Teal or No Teal , is probably the second big reason to grab this collection.  This is a gorgeous deep teal color with a background note of gold and green that adds to it's complexity.  It will show brushmarks, so if that sort of thing bugs you, know it will happen here.  I personally like that look since it gives the color more places to bounce off.  Teals make really lovely spring and summertime manicures so it is an ideal time to pick this up.

Here is a simple look using the Fauna trio.  I try to start off using the colors as recommended on the packaging.  It is fun to see how the colors work off one another.








”wet

”wet



Final Thoughts

Ok, I keep saying it, but you need this palette.  It is an insane amount of gorgeous for a teensy price tag.  These are still hard to find in some areas but worth the search.  Head over to Nouveau Cheap and check out her interactive Flora and Fauna Collection map.  It is a tool to help you find the collection in your area and if you do find it, add your link to the map!

Where to buy: Check your local stores
Price: $4.99

UPDATE:  Sounds like a lot of you are having a tough time tracking these down.  I am in Oregon and I found my first one at a Fred Meyer and my second at a Hi-School Pharmacy.  I recommend you go to places that have end cap displays of Wet 'n' Wild.  Try Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Fred Meyer, Hi-School Pharmacy.  And check out Nouveau Cheaps map to see where others are finding theirs!