I received a Nail Rock Glitter Dust kit in my January Birchbox, and knew immediately that it would be the first item I’d try.
The kit includes a creme polish for the base and a glitter for the top. The concept is simple – you apply the polish and dip your nails into the pot of glitter while the polish is still tacky. Clean off the excess glitter from around your nails, wait 15-20 minutes for everything to set, and you’re good to go.
You don’t need a top coat, but I opted for one. Without the top coat, the finish is similar to the textured polishes that have flooded the market lately. Though, if you don’t get rid of the excess glitter, you can expect a bit of fallout.
The base polish wasn’t anything special, and if you wanted to wear it on its own you would probably need three thin coats for even, opaque coverage. Luckily, you’re just covering it up with a ton of glitter, so two coats is all you need for this look.
The dry time was quick; when I was finished with the first coat on both hands, I was immediately able to start the second. When I finished the second coat, I was ready to dip my nails into the glitter.
The glitter was very fine and adhered nicely to the polish… and everything else. So after my nails had a glitter bath, it was time to clean. You can see in the image below that I had my work cut out for me.
Given the 20 minute wait ahead of me, I had time to clean up. No big deal.
I used a cotton swab to clean as much as I could from my skin. I followed that up with a nail brush so I could get closer to the nail wall and underneath my nails. A few minutes into the cleanup, I tapped the free edge of my nails against the table (with a paper towel underneath them) to help the loose glitter fall off.
Once 20 minutes passed, I finished the mani with a couple of layers of top coat. Again, it’s not necessary, but I think a shiny top coat makes the glitter sparkle even more. Two coats was necessary because the first coat was soaked up by the glitter.
Removal was a little better than your standard glitter polish. I let an acetone-soaked cotton pad sit on my nails for about a minute before wiping, and didn’t have much trouble.
Obviously you don’t need this particular set to get the same effect, but I was impressed with the glitter provided by Nail Rock. I will say that if you’re not willing to put in the effort to clean up the glitter, you would probably be better served with an all-in-one textured nail polish.
So, what do you think?
Back in mid-November, I won a Birchbox giveaway on Twitter, which gave me an opportunity to review a shampoo and conditioner from Beauty Protector and an illuminator from Dermablend. I wanted to finish up the shampoo and conditioner so I could give a complete review, but the bottles are lasting a while even with daily use. Still, I feel a month of use has given me a pretty good idea of how effective they are. Also, the time has given me more opportunities to play with the illuminator.
Beauty Protector Protect & Shampoo / Protect & Condition
This duo is paraben free, vegan, color-safe, and meant for daily use on all hair types. While the shampoo is sulfate free, the conditioner is not. It’s also worth nothing that both contain dimethicone, if that’s an ingredient you’ve been trying to cut from your hair/beauty routine.
A bit about my hair before I get into the review: It’s long, fine, and builds up oil quickly at the roots. Because of this, I concentrate on the roots when I shampoo and concentrate on the lower half when I condition. Usually, that means I use less of each during my shower, which makes the product last longer. That’s a definite plus, and you’ll find out why in a bit.
Beauty Protector claims their formula will enhance volume, add shine, seal the cuticle, revive moisture, and provide UV protection. Aside from the UV protection, which I don’t have a reliable way of measuring, I would agree with the claims. I found that my hair had decent volume, was smooth, and had a healthy shine. I was pleasantly surprised that the conditioner didn’t weigh down my hair.
I was also pleased with the scent, which is slightly ‘tropical’. Sweet, coconut-y, a little floral. I love catching whiffs of it throughout the day.
I know some folks had an issue with a lack of lather from the shampoo, which is typical of sulfate-free shampoos. I didn’t encounter that problem unless my hair was particularly oily or had a lot of buildup.
One thing I am a bit critical of is the price. Each bottle is $21.95 USD for 8oz/236ml. While it’s on par with some other high-end brands (Alterna comes to mind), it’s nearly twice as expensive as my regular Amika shampoo and conditioner ($22 USD for just over 14oz/425ml). That said, I could see myself purchasing them, especially if I’ve banked some Birchbox points! Both products have four stars on Birchbox and over 13,000 reviews between them, so I doubt I’m the only one looking to splurge.
Dermablend Quick-Fix Illuminator
Quick-Fix Illuminator is used to brighten the eye area as well as highlight and sculpt your brows, lips, and cheeks.
It comes in liquid form, dispensed through a twist-up tube with a brush applicator, similar to some lip glosses and concealers. The brush works well to place the illuminator where you need it, but I preferred to use my fingers to pat the product in and sheer it out.
I received the Pearl shade, which is different than the other skin tone-based shades in that it isn’t meant to conceal dark circles. I use it strictly to highlight certain areas of my face: under my brows, on the tops of my cheekbones, and in the inner corner of my eyes.
The product is very nice. It blends well and the result is a subtle, flattering glow. For the photo below, I only slightly blended the illuminator. You can sheer it out even more for a softer look. The Pearl shade can be used with all skin tones, which is a plus.
Dermablend’s Quick-Fix Illuminator is another four-star product on Birchbox. I would recommend it, especially if you are looking for a liquid highlighter.
I’m usually not a fan of reds when it comes to nail polish, but the one in today’s post has been my go-to since I bought it for the Catching Fire release in late November.
Inferno was released by Cover Girl as part of their Capitol collection, which was inspired by the film. It’s a warm, medium red with gold/copper flecks, though in some lights it can take on a berry shade (see: second photo). Two thin coats gave me full coverage, and I completed the mani with a layer of top coat for a super glossy finish.
I regret not picking it up sooner since it screams autumn, but it has also been really nice for the holidays. I can’t recommend it enough, honestly.
Here’s a different take on candy cane nail art with China Glaze Strike Up A Cosmo over OPI Skull & Glossbones.
Strike Up A Cosmo is from China Glaze’s Fall 2013 collection, Autumn Nights. It’s a pink/purple foil with a strong gold shimmer running through it. The formula is very nice; I only needed one coat for the mani seen here, though I would probably opt for two coats if I were wearing it on its own.
Here it is under artificial light (natural light in the previous image):
I applied the top coat too soon, so there are a few streaks. Eh, it happens.
Are you planning any holiday inspired manicures?
First up is the polish I received from Birchbox in September, Hedge Fund. It’s part of Ruffian’s new nail polish line, which is exclusive to Birchbox. Hedge Fund is described as a “green foil polish with a strong metallic finish and a hint of gold shimmer”. I wouldn’t say it’s a foil, and I wouldn’t say it has a particularly metallic finish… it’s a mossy green with a hint of gold shimmer.
The formula is smooth and I was able to get complete coverage with one generous coat. The wear is average; I had minor tip wear by the second day. Still, the color was unique to my massive collection and I was pleased with the application so the tip wear didn’t put me off.
Next up is Zoya Neve, which I received in my October Ipsy bag. It’s a “sapphire blue metallic” from the Fall 2013 Satins collection (originally designed for Zang Toi Autumn/Winter 2013). Application was a breeze and I used two thin coats for the mani below. I’m rarely disappointed by Zoya’s formula, so I wasn’t worried. Neve is a gorgeous jewel tone that’s perfect for fall.
What do you think of Neve and Hedge Fund? If you subscribe to any boxes, have you received any nail polishes recently? Let me know below!