Swatch Sunday 2: Sula Beauty’s Paint and Peel in Haze

Surprise!! There’s a bonus swatch for this week! Since I had an easy-peasy peel-off polish in the swatch queue, I decided I’d just get it out of the way this week. This is Sula Beauty’s Paint and Peel in Haze; I’m wearing three coats without base coat or top coat. Also, apologies for not delivering the cleanest swatch ever. Paint and Peel is water-based and didn’t work with the usual acetone clean up.




Haze is a dusty blue creme. Application was okay; my bottle is old, and so the polish had a thickness that, due to the water-based formula, I wasn’t sure how to resolve. A few nuggets of dried product were also in the bottle, likely from being on the neck of the bottle and falling in when opened. Despite this, I still got a good clean-ish application. Coverage is good; I had a nearly opaque first coat that evened out with a second. It dries quickly and with a glossy finish.



Paint and Peel is pretty cool stuff. It’s the least nail-polish-like polish I’ve ever used. It’s water-based, as I mentioned earlier, so it lacks that harsh solvent smell that a typical polish would have. It does have a smell, but it’s a different smell, sort of like clay. It peels off very easily by pushing the edge of the color away with an orange stick. It reminds me a lot of the peel-off Tinkerbell nail polish I had as a child.



Of course, if lasting color is something you’re after, base coat and top coat will add to the life of this polish. Me? I’ve never been able to keep this polish on. As soon as I’m done applying it, I’m already looking forward to peeling it off because peeling is fun.



Now, here’s the sad part. I don’t know that Sula Beauty as a whole exists anymore. Their website is a logo and an email link, and their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2012. If they’re really gone, that’s a huge shame. I would love to have more of these peel-off polishes, and they made some other good stuff as well. Hopefully they’re still out there somewhere.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Sunday: Sonia Kashuk’s Two Cent

Swatch Sunday time! I love this swatch. This is Sonia Kashuk’s Two Cent, and it’s probably the prettiest copper polish I’ve ever worn. I’m wearing it here at three coats with Seche Vite.





Two Cent is a shimmery golden copper brown polish. Application was good; the product consistency is a little on the thin side, but was still easy to work with. The first coat went on a bit light; the nail was covered, though the coverage was streaky. Additional coats were necessary to even it out. It dried quickly and with a smooth, glossy finish. I still used top coat for extra shine and protection.



I love how shimmery this is. It’s such a warm and dimensional shade. When you look really closely, you can see all the different colors that make up the big-picture shade; there’s red, gold, copper, and brown, and that’s just to begin with. I’ve always loved these warm copper shades; it was always one of my favorite lipstick shades when I was growing up, and wearing it on my nails now is pretty cool.



In the sun, the colors warm up big-time. In the studio, it looks way more brown than copper, but in direct sunlight, it looks like liquid pennies.





Two Cent appears to have been discontinued; other Sonia Kashuk polishes are available at Target.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s She’s Electricity

Welcome back to Swatch Saturday! Yep, it’s another BEGL polish! I’m getting into a new collection with this week’s polish, the Spark in the Dark collection from winter 2015. I’m really excited to be getting into some newer BEGLs. And by newer, I mean it’s only a year old. This is She’s Electricity; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite. All photos were taken in direct sunlight.





She’s Electricity is a bright pink holo with pink shimmers. The maker’s description lists aqua shimmers and iridescent microglitters as well, but I didn’t pick up on those. Application was good; the product consistency is pretty great with this polish. It’s easy to work with but there’s a lot of pigment to get full coverage right away. Get this — one coat gave me all the coverage I needed. I didn’t stop there, of course, but I definitely could have gotten away with one if I wanted. Because it’s so pigmented, it dries with a matte finish. Top coat was definitely necessary for the shine and holo effect.




This pink holo is so much fun to wear. I didn’t really do it justice in these photos. The holo effect is pretty subtle here, but it was a lot more vivid in person, though still subdued. I don’t know if using fewer coats would have meant a bigger rainbow or not. Fewer coats might have helped me find those iridescent glitters. In any case, I love this polish. It’s so pink and I love it.




She’s Electricity has been re-released as part of the Fan Favorites 2016 collection, however, as of this writing, the BEGL shop is closed and will reopen later this month.

I bought this polish myself.

Product Review: Smart Stuff’s Natural Insect Repellent

Welcome back, reader! Today’s post is something a little different. I don’t we don’t usually talk about things like mosquito repellent on, but since I have the opportunity to do so, I will. I live in Florida, where the mosquito is the Zika-virus-carrying state bird, so there’s no better place to test it than in my back yard.

This is a press sample; I was sent this sample product by Smart Stuff on behalf of Brandbacker. My opinions of this product are not influenced by free stuff.


Smart Stuff’s mission is to make effective products that aren’t dangerous or harmful to use. We’ve all used those repellent sprays that have weird chemical smells, leave oily residue on skin, and contain irritating ingredients. Smart Stuff gives us another option: effective insect repellent that contains natural botanical ingredients. Take a look at the ingredients list. You’ll notice some tried-and-true ingredients, like eucalyptus, soybean, and cinnamon oils. You’ll also notice what’s missing — DEET. Though DEET is generally safe and very effective at repelling insects, it can be irritating. It’s also a strong solvent, capable of breaking down synthetic fabrics, plastics, and varnished surfaces. Yes, that includes your nails. (This is a nail blog, after all.) Smart Stuff also avoids using synthetic chemicals, parabens, PABA, petroleum, phthalates, gluten, and artificial colors and fragrances.


The first thing — and likely the first thing I noticed about the spray — was its scent. It smells strongly of peppermint. Luckily, as it absorbs, the scent diminishes, but is still there, so those who are sensitive to strong smells won’t have to deal with it for long. It absorbs pretty quickly; it feels wet for a few seconds and then soaks in. After it absorbs, it leaves no residue or oily feel, which is probably my favorite part about it. Most importantly, I gave this spray a good testing; I wore it outside every time I tended the garden for about five days, and had no bites at the end of the evening.

The Smart Stuff Natural Insect Repellent retails for $15.99 on their website. They also make sunscreens and skincare products.

Also, let me include some links to sources that talk about botanical insect repellent and the disadvantages of DEET.
Comparative laboratory and field evaluation of repellent formulations containing DEET and lemon eucalyptus oil against mosquitoes in Queensland, Australia.
Efficacy of herbal essential oils as insecticide against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) and Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison).
Chemical Composition and Mosquito Larvicidal Activity of Essential Oils from Leaves of Different Cinnamomum osmophloeum Provenances
How DEET jams insects’ smell sensors

This is a press sample; I was sent this sample product by Smart Stuff on behalf of Brandbacker. My opinions of this product are not influenced by free stuff.

Manicure Tuesday: Red vs. Blue Multichrome

Welcome to Manicure Tuesday! I know, it’s weird for me too. I like today’s look today, though, even if I did a bit of a sloppy job. For this look, I used MAC’s Queen’s Honor (red) and Nails Inc.’s Baker Street (blue); my thumb and pinky have Queen’s Honor alone, my index nail has Baker Street alone, and my middle and ring nails have a gradient made with both colors. I then applied a coat of Orly’s Synchro (the multichrome) on each nail, then finished with Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You top coats.



I love Synchro, because I can confidently say I don’t own another polish like this. The red to blue multichrome is totally unique and I don’t have another polish that uses it. That said, I feel like I’ve never used it to its full potential. I wore it only once over red, and this time I decided to switch it up a bit and use red AND blue. I am stunned by how good it looks over the blue, I might even like it better than over red. Blue is the color I see the most of wearing Synchro, and it makes both colors look icy and interesting. Mattefied, it looks like an ethereal brocade. It’s really cool.



My gradients didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped. I had a hard time blending the two colors. When I do gradients, I don’t usually pick two colors of the same intensity, I pick one that’s lighter and one that’s much darker, and then it evens out somewhere in the middle. This gradient left a dark purple center that I didn’t really like, but it ended up being covered by Synchro, so it’s hard to tell it’s a gradient at all. It’s pretty subtle. I can’t tell if it’s the look I wanted or not. I still like it though.





Outdoors, Synchro really shines! The shift occurs pretty easily both indoors and out. These photos were taken in direct sunlight. Try not to notice my green pool.







Queen’s Honor was a limited edition polish from MAC and has sold out; other MAC polishes are available at your local MAC counter. Baker Street and other Nails Inc. polishes are sold at Sephora. Synchro has been discontinued by Orly; other Orly polishes are sold at Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these products myself.

Product Review: Valentia’s Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer

Hello, reader! I have another product review for you! Today we’re taking a look at Valentia’s Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer.

This is a press sample; I was given a product redemption code by Brandbacker on behalf of Valentia. My opinions of this product are not influenced by free stuff.

Inspired by the Roman goddess of the same name, Valentia seeks to create a product formulated with natural and organic ingredients to moisturize, restore, and protect skin. Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer aims to lighten dark spots, improve skin radiance, even skin tone, reduce the appearance of fine line, and supply lasting moisture to skin. The following photo lists the ingredients used in Pure Glow; nearly all of them have a common name in parentheses next to them. It’s a pretty long list. Pure Glow is also formulated to exclude toxins and parabens. Additionally, it comes in a heavy dark glass bottle, which shields it from light, and has a pump delivery, which helps keep the air out.


Pure Glow comes out of the bottle as a soft, rich lotion; this product consistency allows the lotion to absorb quickly. The product has a faint citrus scent, but otherwise has an inoffensive lotiony smell. Skin feels moisturized very soon after use. I used Pure Glow on my own face for about four days. I didn’t notice any lightening of dark spots, but my skin did seem more radiant, and my one fine line did look diminished.


The label says it’s suitable for all skin types, it didn’t work for mine. I have very oily and acne-prone skin, and it sometimes felt like the product didn’t fully absorb, leaving me feeling greasy through the day. I stopped using it when I started getting cystic pimples. I might hang onto this for the winter when my skin upgrades to normal skin, but for oily summer skin, this is less than ideal. It’s so rich that it really feels more suited to dry skin anyway.


Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer and other Valentia skin care products are available on Amazon the Valentia website. You can follow Valentia on social media via Facebook and Instagram.

This is a press sample; I was given a product redemption code by Brandbacker on behalf of Valentia. My opinions of this product are not influenced by free stuff.

Swatch Monday: SpaRitual’s Intention

Hope you had an awesome Labor Day weekend, reader! The very long weekend — in addition to today’s holiday, we all had a hurricane day on Friday — has shifted my posting schedule a bit. Here’s the swatch I intended for Sunday, but is going up on Monday instead; here is SpaRitual’s Intention. I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.





Intention is a sheer red with red, pink, and gold glass flecks. Application was easy; the product consistency is on the thinner side, and as you may have guessed, the first coat was a bit thin, but still had good color and coverage. All three coats were necessary for good opacity. The polish dries with a satin finish, and with the glass flecks, it creates an almost metallic look. I used top coat for extra shine and protection.



I love Intention, and I’m happy to be using it so soon after trying out Intuition a few weeks ago. I bought these at the same time and think of them as sister polishes. I really love the glass flecks in them; admittedly, I didn’t even realize they were glass until I was doing the shoot for this swatch and saw the label — “infused with recycled glass” — and thought it was really cool. I even checked my other bottle and it says the same thing. I had no idea! I mean, the effect is a bit different from a regular shimmer polish, but now I know why.



In the sun, the red really warms up, and the shimmers glow really nicely. I love reds, and this is a new favorite for sure!





Intention and other SpaRitual polishes are available on

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Noticing Face

Welcome back to Swatch Saturday! Today’s swatch is a gorgeous glitter jelly from Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer. This is Noticing Face, and it’s one of my favorites from their massive Doctor Who collection. Yes, I’m still working through it! I’m wearing three coats of Noticing Face with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.





Noticing Face is a deep purple jelly with fine gold and purple holographic glitters. Application was easy; the product consistency was very nice to work with. The jelly isn’t streaky or too thin, but is still thin enough to let the glitter show through. My first coat was nearly full-coverage, which, how often does that happen for you with a jelly? The second coat evened everything out. The fine glitters dry with a slightly gritty feel, and the jelly had a slight satin finish when dry. I used top coat for extra shine and smoothness.



This could be the most perfect glitter jelly I’ve ever used. The color is deep and still squishy, and the glitters add sparkle without overwhelming the polish. The gold glitters in particular are my favorite, adding a complementary element that’s still luxe and natural. It’s gorgeous.



My outdoor photos don’t do it any justice, but of course, when I took these photos, there was a hurricane outside and it wasn’t very sunny. These photos were taken in mostly cloudly, somewhat hurricaney conditions.





Noticing Face and other BEGL polishes are available in their online shop, though at the time of this writing, they are taking a break.

I bought this polish myself.