Beach Armor: My Influenster Beach Bag Must Haves

As a Colorado resident, there are no “real” beaches, we have reservoirs and so-so sushi. The first real beach I ever saw was when a guy I had a long distance relationship with whisked me to his home in a posh area in New Jersey. I don’t remember where, but I remember that his dad made all the woodwork in the house — the doors, dressers, floors, stairs, railings, the works — there was a lot of gorgeous carpentry in that house.

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He took me to Manhattan where we ate at the Russian Samovar, took a romantic walk around, and saw Cats. On the way back to his house, we decided to take a spontaneous trip to Atlantic City, my first experience with casinos and a beach. There was a lot of firsts experienced during that visit, and it was a fantastic rendezvous.  I wasn’t that impressed with the Atlantic City beach because it was so littered, but my Bahamas honeymoon was a different story; clean clear water that was so many shades of blue and gorgeous white sand.  By the time I left, my feet were absolutely gorgeous from walking around the beach. Thinking about that made me compile a list of things I would have in my beach bag on Influenster. Good times… 

Here is my Influenster list of the essentials I would pack for my next beach trip.

Burt's Bees Lip Balm ~ $3.29 - Beach Armor List Influenster

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm ~ $3.29

 

Burt’s Bees is my go to lip balm. I always put it on when I am preparing for makeup application as a foundation for my lip cosmetics, much in the way one would apply a moisturizer and/or primer. It’s so worth the money.

Curls Creme Brule Whipped Curl Cream - Beach Armor List Influenster

Curls Creme Brule Whipped Curl Cream ~ $10.99

 

I use this all of the time especially since I am not bothering with a relaxer this summer, just letting the natural curls fly. It is so moisturizing and keeps hair soft and curls intact with great definition. It has a slight scent so it doesn’t clash with other products.

Maybelline Lash Stiletto - Waterproof Ultimate Length Mascara - Beach Armor List Influenster

Maybelline Lash Stiletto – Waterproof Ultimate Length Mascara ~ 6.97

 

This is the best mascara ever no matter what formula you use. In situations where I might cry or am near water, Lash Stiletto is perfect. It is not coming off and it makes lashes incredibly long without clumping. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

M.A.C. Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation - Beach Armor List Influenster

M.A.C. Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation ~ $33

 

M.A.C. Pro Longwear Waterproof Foundation is the one you want because of the color options, high pigmentation, and staying power. It’s a bit more than a drugstore brand ($33) but it is worth it. Use along with a primer for extra armor against humidity.

M.A.C Prep & Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35 - Beach Armor List Influenster

M.A.C Prep & Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35 ~ $31

 

To ensure your makeup doesn’t slide off at the beach a good primer underneath your waterproof foundation will give your makeup extra longevity. M.A.C.’s Beauty Balm is a BB cream so it blurs imperfections and controls oil plus it has SPF 35 just in case you forgot to apply a sunscreen to your face.

L'Oreal® Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray - Beach Armor List Influenster

L’Oreal® Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray ~ $13.66

 

I’ve used a few makeup setting sprays and L’Oreal is consistent and easy to find as well as being under $15. It sprays on evenly (something I’ve had a problem with other setters), dries quickly, and keeps makeup in place which is a necessity in humid, hot weather.

Maybelline Great Wear Waterproof Eyeliner - Beach Armor List Influenster

Maybelline Great Wear Waterproof Eyeliner ~ $4.79

 

This eyeliner works great with the Lash Stiletto mascara. It won’t budge and the pigment is good. It goes on easily, so there is no tugging.

e.l.f. Studio Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths - Beach Armor List Influenster

e.l.f. Studio Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths ~ $2.99

 

This stuff is so good and it’s so cheap! I tend to use Neutrogena but I went on an e.l.f. binge one day and bought it and it is fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, Neutrogena is great but is a bit oily, which is fine with me because I can skip a moisturizer and it does disappear into the skin, e.l.f. has a non-greasy finish that still feels hydrated. Great for getting off that waterproof makeup

Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 30 Spray - Beach Armor List Influenster

Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 30 Spray ~ $9.49

 

I love this stuff. It has a fine mist that offers good coverage and smells good but the scent isn’t overwhelming.

 

As I am writing I am still compiling a list in my head which would probably fit in a suitcase instead of a beach bag.

Source: Beach Armor by StylEnigma | Influenster

Must Haves: Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask

It’s time for another product review from the Valentia skin care. I was sent a jar of the Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask through Brandbacker and the first thing I noticed was the smell. It was unlike any clay mask I have ever used which is typically St. Ives Timeless Skin Mineral Clay Firming Mask or Freeman Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask. Typically, clay masks smell like clay;  earthy, fresh and clean and the texture is cool and smooth.

Valentia Detoxifying Clay Mask
Valentia Detoxifying Clay Mask

The Valentia Skin Detoxifying Mask has a stronger scent, although not overwhelming and the closest I can come to describing the smell would be fruity and flowery blossoms, but you can still smell the clay.  It has a slightly gritty texture, due to the Hibiscus and Cranberry Fibers in the mixture that exfoliates the skin in addition to lending their anti-aging properties. Kaolin Clay is naturally detoxifying and draws out impurities allowing the pores to shrink. Stem cells are increasingly being used in beauty and health products and this mask contains Plant Stem Cells which reduces the level of pro-aging toxins in the skin while soothing the skin and evening skin tone.

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Up close view of the Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask.

I used it twice in a five-day period and I liked it not just because it smelled nice, but because I could tell the pores were smaller after both uses. The second time I used a facial sauna to open the pores even more (I don’t know why I didn’t think of that when I used the Ultra Plumping Hydration Mask) to really allow the product to get in there and draw out the dirt, oil, and makeup. I am incredibly happy with the results.

Valentia Detoxifying Clay Mask
Valentia Detoxifying Clay Mask

I came away impressed with it primarily because of the reduced pore size and firmness. It is also a product that makes sense because it doesn’t claim to take out impurities while containing ingredients that are not pure. Valentia products are organic, alcohol and paraben free, and cruelty-free. After each use of the Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask, I used the Valentia Clear Lift Serum or the Royal Rose Hydrating Serum, and Valentia True Glow Eye Cream and the combination of products made my face feel deeply cleansed and dewy.

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Is The Spray On Nail Polish Worth The Splurge? — Enterspree

I don’t often reblog, but I had to give props to a fellow beauty blogger, Chanele Edwards at Enterspree for this review of Nails Inc. Paint Can nail polish. I wrote a blog post in December when I first heard about it praising the innovation but hypothesizing the pitfalls of a product that wasn’t available in the U.S. then. Chanelle commented that she had never heard of the product until reading my post, but found a can for half the price in the U.K., where she lives. I begged her to review it – she did. So today, I am posting her review of the product. Please read her post it’s very informative and definitely watch the video. I had no idea she is so beautiful!

A spray on nail polish? How revolutionary! Nails Inc London have released the world’s first ever spray on nail polish and the internet has been going crazy. It was very difficult to get my hands on one, but I managed to grab the last one in stock at Selfridges London for a discounted price of […]

via Is The Spray On Nail Polish Worth The Splurge? — Enterspree

I Didn’t Know Balmain Had a Hair Care Line Either

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Balmain Hair muse Noémie Lenoir.

 

It was during Paris Fashion Week that the I discovered Balmain was into hair. Should I feel stupid for not knowing the French fashion brand extended to a hair care line? This revelation came just yesterday while reading an article on Business of Fashion about Balmain’s new custom wig venture – an extension of the already existing Balmain Hair Couture line. During Paris Fashion Week, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadi seemingly swapped hair colors at the Balmain Fall 2016 RTW show and of course, everybody went nuts because those two can’t cut their nails without it becoming breaking news. Sorry (not sorry), I’m just so sick of those two. Anyway…

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Balmain Hair Couture muse Devon Wilson and Gigi Hadid as brunettes.

 

According to the piece, that was an introduction of sorts to Balmain Hair, a custom-made wig and hair extensions service. The intended fuss about the hair color swap got tails wagging about the orientation of the wigs the chosen were wearing , expansion news, and the admittance that the hair care line is largely unknown. Now, I don’t feel so stupid.

 

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Alessandra Ambrosio walking in the Balmain Pre-spring 2016 show in her natural hair color.

Alessandra Ambrosio, a favorite Balmain runway model is shown with her natural hair color in the Pre-spring 2016 show, and again wearing a Balmain custom-made wig in the Fall 2016 show at PFW 2016. Joan Smalls, Rose Huntington-Whitely, and Lily Donaldson were among the models walking with one of those coveted pieces.

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Alessandra Ambrosio walking in the Balmain Fall 2016 show in a Balmain wig.

Balmain Hair Couture brand isn’t new if you are heavily immersed in the beauty scene or in Europe – it’s been around for 40-years slowly making its way into high-end salons and fancy-schmancy fashion sites. Currently, the Balmain Hair repertoire consists of extensions, styling products, styling tools, and now custom-made wigs. You’ll have to do some jet-setting if you want one of those custom-made, 100 percent human hair wigs. The Balmain Hair wigs are only made at their location in the Paris at 13, rue Royal which is headed by Nabil Harlow a “master hair designer.” Yeah, you’re going to need super model money in order to afford one.

 

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However, if you want their Argan Moisturizing Elixir ($43), or instant extensions ($390), that’s available onlinealthough the company encourages you to seek a professional for extension installation. For professionals, there are classes to teach you how to install their products. I’ve watched some of their tutorials, it looks very involved. There are 5,000 hair salons worldwide (300 in the US) that carry Balmain Hair, and “Prestige Salon”  has been created to place their products in exclusive style focused salons.

 

 

Balmain joins the likes of  Wendy Williams, Jessica Simpson, practically the entire cast of RHOA, and Beverly Johnson – who have been on the hair extension/wig train for quite some time. Balmain has stepped up as a response to the apparent explosion of couture wig and hair extensions. Well, when everybody is trying to be Beyoncé, that’s gonna happen, and Bey ain’t wearing Sally Beauty Supply hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Must Haves: Valentia Royal Rose Hydrating Serum

 

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Valentia Royal Rose Hydrating Serum

Today, I am reviewing another product from Valentia; the Royal Rose Hydrating Serum. I was so impressed with the True Glow Eye Cream, and the Ultra Plumping Hydrating Mask that I jumped all over the opportunity to write another sponsored post. After applying the serum for a couple of nights,  I decided to approach evaluating it differently than instructed because applying it at night and then waking up to perform my morning beauty regime left very little time to determine its effectiveness. Instead, I implemented the Valentia serum into my morning regimen; washing my face with Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover, applying the serum on my face, neck, and ears, (let’s not neglect the ears) and applying Neutrogena Naturals  Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Moisturizer, and finally Valentia True Glow Eye Cream. This method allowed me to evaluate the serum while I was awake and I could judge the effectiveness throughout the day.

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Valentia Royal Rose Hydrating Serum and ILNP Fall Semester on my nails.

My impression of the Valentia Royal Rose Hydrating Serum is that it is a great moisturizer booster. My skin was more hydrated at the end of the day with the serum than with my moisturizer alone. Typically, if I feel I need a bit more moisture I will add a drop or two of 100 percent Argan oil, but that wasn’t necessary during the testing phase. The serum is lightweight and absorbs quickly, my moisturizer glided on and the slight rose scent disappeared quickly, unfortunately for me.

The company claims that the ingredients in the serum; Rose Damascena, Rosehip seed, Lavender, Vitamin B, Bearberry, and Evening Primrose oil:

  • Calms and soothes skin,
  • Deeply moisturizes and nourishes skin
  • Smoothes skin tone and texture
  • Provides antioxidant protection
  • Fades away sun spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation

Many of the benefits the serum claims to offer (heals the skin, skin lightening ) couldn’t be determined within the time allotted for the campaign, but what I did notice was that in addition to being a great moisturizer booster, it had a “calming effect” on my sensitive skin when I  applied it after using my exfoliating cleansing brush.  My skin didn’t feel as “inflamed” once I applied the serum. This product has become a permanent part of my daily skin care ritual.

As a thank you for reading my review, I am offering a 20% off of the purchase of Valentia’s Royal Rose Hydrating Serum. Use Promo Code  8MLVQYLC at checkout and hurry, the coupon is only good until 4/11/2016, and let me know how the serum worked out for you.

 

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Must Haves: Valentia True Glow Eye Cream and Ultra Plumping Hydration Mask

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I’m one of those skeptics when it comes to anti-aging products primarily because most of the products I have tried have been more hype than anything else or they don’t mesh well with makeup. Not this one. I received two products from Valentia, the True Glow Eye Cream, and Ultra Plumping Hydration Mask to try in exchange for an honest review. I am honestly impressed.

 

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Valentia True Glow Eye Cream
Valentia True Glow Eye Cream:

The eye cream has a slight scent, nothing overwhelming and it is extremely  hydrating. The consistency is smooth and creamy and it instantly absorbs into the skin. I can still feel the effects of the morning application when I go to do the evening application. A little goes a long way and it doesn’t cake up or leave a residue when I apply foundation or eyeshadow. I have also found that it also does double duty as a primer because my eyeshadow had more staying power.  I used it every day for two weeks and I really like it. It’s not overly expensive and it is well worth the money. This won’t be sitting around unused in my cabinet.

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Valentia Ultra Plumping Hydration Mask:

I was skeptical about the pumping aspect but what I will say is that my skin did look more radiant after the first use of the Ultra Plumping Hydration Mask. As proof, this picture of me putting on the eye cream shows dry flaky skin. Three days later, I used the mask and there was a noticeable difference immediately, I mean immediately, without a moisturizer and my skin was glowing.

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Before: This image of me applying the Valentia eye cream shows dry, flaky skin.
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After: Image of my skin after using the Valentia mask.

I’m wasn’t sure about the plumping aspect initially, but I did notice that my forehead friends were less prominent. To be sure, I used it again six days later, and once again, my skin did have a radiance, I didn’t imagine it. I loved it so much I didn’t want it covered up with makeup. The tingling concerned me initially because I always associate that sensation with an allergic reaction, but the tingling is expected according to the instructions and frankly, if a little tingling is going to make me look more alive, I’m fine with it. For me, this worked better for me than my glycolic peel. 

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Valentia Ultra Plumping Hydration Cream

Valentia claims that the combination of a Silk Protein Amino Acid blend, Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, and Organic Sea Buckthorn Oil in their mask boosts collagen production, increases skin radiance, reduces fine lines, and secures skin moisture and it absolutely does. I can’t say enough about the eye cream, I love it. It definitely hydrates and tightens and brightens the eye area. It has a powerful antioxidant, Astanxanthin, Vitamin C, and Organic Rose Hip making it an intense and effective anti-aging tool. If you are looking for better results from your skin regimen, try the Valentia True Glow Eye Cream, and Ultra Plumping Hydration Mask.

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EOS Lip Balm Facing Blistering Criticism But Who Is At Fault?

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Britney Spears using EOS Summer Fruit lip balm. Image: EOS

I was shocked to see the news reports about EOS lip balm causing blisters and rashes. I love the stuff, it was an impulse buy last Christmas while shopping for others and I’ve always found it to be a great product. The egg shape is cute and attention getting and the vibrant colors are cheerful. Otherwise known as Evolution of Smooth, the brand has an extremely high customer rating and a plethora of celebrity brand ambassadors. The EOS site has an entire section “EOS BUZZ-CELEBRITY FANS” where celebrities like Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus post selfies with the pod in hand, helping to elevate the popular pod to cult status.

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EOS Summer Fruit lip balm.

All the excitement is about the “Summer Fruit” version which seems to be causing blisters, rashes, and extreme dryness in some people. Rachel Cronin says it caused her to develop a rash all over her mouth within hours of applying it. She kept reapplying it not thinking that a product that was made from natural ingredients and touted to keep lips smooth and soft would be the cause of her dry coarse lips. Within 24-hours, she had a severe rash and blistering all over her mouth that took 10 days to go away.

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Rachel Cronin and her EOS rash.

Cronin isn’t the only person experiencing adverse reactions to the product. Celebrity vulture attorney Mark Geragos is behind a class action suit claiming a “substantial number of consumers” have experienced allergic reactions to the product that include loss of pigment, bleeding, and cracking with symptoms lasting anywhere from days to months, and some claim to have permanent scars. The suit is asking for damages and corrective advertising.

There seems to be some confusion and skepticism about what is causing these reactions because the EOS lip balm is 99 percent natural, gluten-free, and organic. It is approved by the FDA and according to the company’s tweet about the matter, goes through rigorous testing and exceeds the industries quality and safety standards.

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Dr. Marie Jhin told Huffington Post that people can be allergic to natural products and the most likely culprit is Vitamin E, listed as tocopherol in the EOS lip balm.  Jhin suggests avoided products that contain Vitamin E, beeswax, perfumes, and fragrance, and use products like petroleum or Aquaphor.

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My ‘collection’ of products: Burt’s Bees lip balm, Aquaphor healing ointment, Neutrogena lip moisturizer, and Blistex medicated lip balm.

Clearly, that isn’t my mindset and that’s why this lawsuit irritates me. I have a lot of allergies and I have suffered severe reactions, including but not limited to rashes and blisters that covered my body and it never occurred to me to sue anybody, I simply stopped using the product. If I eat lasagna I itch, get congested, tired, and experience stomach cramping; that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the lasagna, it means there is something wrong with me. It never occurred to me to sue Pepperidge Farms because eating their raspberry strudel gave me the runs.

Every mishap isn’t the fault of someone or something else. Sometimes it’s on you. I really like this product, and Geragos always goes on a publicity witch hunt when he sees dollar signs because he thinks that enough bad publicity will make his latest ‘mark’ cave in and pay up. The problem with being a victim for profit is that the majority suffers and the minority cleans up. The company is forced to change a product that was fine to begin with and their reputation is tarnished simply because there are people in our society that prefer to adopt a ‘victim mentality’ instead of using common sense and taking responsibility for their own maladies. If your lips don’t like EOS or any other product,  stop using it. Use your powers for good. It’s as simple as that.

 

 

Microbead-free Options

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Using my Conair Power Facial Cleanser with St. Ives Apricot Scrub Nail color: Jessie’s Girl Black Satin.

I’m sure you’ve heard that the senate has just passed the Microbead-free Waters Act of 2015 that bans the production of products containing microbeads. If exfoliation is part of your beauty regimen (and it should be) you may have products in your home such as body washes, scrubs and toothpaste that contain microbeads. You may have noticed that your favorite scrub is suddenly unavailable and that is because most major brands have already started to phase out their products that have microbeads, either way, it’s time to find other products to remove dead skin without killing ourselves and wildlife.

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St. Ives Apricot Scrub made with ground corn kernels and walnut seeds infused with apricot extract.

I use St. Ives Apricot Scrub by choice, not because I was aware of the dangers of microbeads; I like the consistency and texture and it works. I have used products in the past that contained microbeads but I didn’t feel there was enough of the exfoliation ingredient to make me feel it was buffing my skin.

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Lush Cosmetic’s Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub has the ingredients for a mean cocktail.

Lush Cosmetics has taken a very public position on this issue in addition to making an all natural face and body scrub, Ocean Salt is infused with vodka in addition to sea salt and coconut.

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Microbeads are tiny plastic beads found in personal care products that are toxin magnets and non-biodegradable.

So, are you contributing to a very serious health and environmental problem? How do you feel about the microbead ban? What products do you use to exfoliate? Share in the comment section below.

 

Happy New You! Jumpstart Your Personal Style

 

Image source: Kevin Michael Schmitz Photography.
Image source: Pinterest ~ Kevin Michael Schmitz Photography.

I’ll be honest, 2015 was rough, but I’ve had tougher. It was also exciting, enlightening and showed me that I am resilient, gullible, and an optimistic pessimist. I’ve learned that my refusal to give up is not always a good thing, but my stubbornness isn’t something I’m willing to change. Armed with more wisdom, I’m looking forward; 2015 is over and 2016 is just beginning.

Now is the time when we typically take stock of what we did the previous year and what we would like to do in the present one. Regardless of whether we habitually make resolutions we most likely won’t keep, there is a collective reset, an ‘after a rainstorm’ freshness in the air. I tend to clean house metaphorically. I get rid of people who are toxic and I look at what I can do to improve my physical and mental health.

I’m going to really focus on pinpointing my personal style which means putting more energy into myself, better known as being selfish. I’m a nurturer by nature, so I tend to take care of others needs before my own and I’m not alone in that. If I were one to make resolutions, this a resolution I would always break. I think most of us try to revamp or refresh our look. Unfortunately, coming right off of Christmas, trying to decide which trends I want to embrace or create contrast with my yearly thought to be fiscally responsible, another resolution that wouldn’t stick.

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Unretouched photo of me just after finishing a four-day braiding project wearing body jewelry.

I  found myself on Born Pretty Store when I was researching a story on ‘glitter roots‘ and spent way too much time in their jewelry department. I usually purchase nail art supplies here, but as a person who recently got into body jewelry, I was hooked on their selection. If you are not familiar, get familiar. Beauty and fashion enthusiasts rave about Born Pretty Store for a reason. They are on top of the current beauty and fashion trends: matte lipsticks, glitter for nails and hair, club clothes, and body jewelry, and the quality is great for how inexpensive it is. Their inventory of beauty and styling tools is pretty impressive as well.

As a thank you to my followers, I have a 10% off coupon for non-discounted items. Just use DFBT10 when checking out and know that you have exercised fiscal responsibility on top of welcoming the new year with a new you.

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Happy New Year!!!

 

 

Countdown to St. Patrick’s Day With Incoco Nail Polish Appliqué: Part 2 – Pot Of Gold

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Incoco St. Patrick’s Nail Polish Appliqué in Pot Of Gold.

As promised, here is the swatch of Incoco’s St. Patrick’s themed nail polish appliqué in Pot Of Gold. It is a mound of fine and chunky gold glitter with a few green specks sprinkled throughout. The green glitter also picks up shades of teal, light blue, pink, and silver, lavender, depending on how the light catches it.

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These were not as easy to apply as Happy Go Lucky most likely because there is a lot more chunky glitter. Even after several top coats of Pink Armor, it still had a rugged edge the next day. This also chipped right away because I didn’t immediately apply the top coat after application. Hey, there were some serious BBQ ribs calling my name and I had to answer. I assumed that because Incoco’s are concentrated nail strips with a base and top coat they would be more durable. Regardless, they last longer than any manicure I have ever had with traditional polish.

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This appliqué might work as a heavy-duty top coat because you can see through it. As a matter of fact, I just might do that. However, it is dense enough to stand alone. This is a glitzy glamorous manicure and I would wear this if I were going somewhere special, without a doubt. Again, if you want to try these appliqués, you can only get them from Walgreens. Next up, Green With Envy.