15 November 2010

Lowest toxicity Nail Lacquers or Nail Polish

In my search for less toxicity and better health, everything has come under scrutiny.  Including my polish collection.  I started collecting more than the typical bottle or two of polish about four years ago.

When the 3-free (toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate free ... perhaps it goes to show my own obsessiveness that I didn't even have to look up the spelling for those) craze started up several years ago, I tossed all my old lacquer formula (gave them away) and started collecting 3-free only.

Now the new 3-free formulae have reached the point where there is a big difference in toxicity levels. 

I run the ingredients list through the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com, and use that as a basis for my opinion of the lacquers.

According to ingredients lists, the lowest toxicity lacquers available today are: CND Colours & Effects, Nfu-Oh, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, and $ephora by OPI.  All four companies have a 3 out of 10 toxicity rating according to Skin Deep.

I think it is time for all those other companies to re-think their new formulas - Diamond Cosmetics, Ginger + Liz, Illamasqua, NARS, Orly, and SpaRitual ... along with anyone else who hasn't yet converted to a 3-free formula.

CND Ingredients
butyl acetate; ethyl acetate; nitrocellulose; acetyl tributyl citrate; phthalic anhydride/trimellitic anhydride/glycols copolymer; isopropyl alcohol; titanium dioxide; adipic acid/fumaric acid/phthalic acid/tricyclodecane dimethanol copolymer; adipic acid/neopentyl glycol/trimellitic anyhydride copolymer; sucrose acetate isobutyrate; stearalkonium hectorite; citric acid; ethyl tosylamide; iron oxides

I have found the new CND polishes to be fairly opaque with one coat and have little to no cuticle drag.  They dry quickly.  Longevity is a bit of a crap shoot, some last for close to a week, some last only two days before tip wear is obvious.  I have not had chipping problems with this new formula.

Nfu-Oh Ingredients
Ethyl Acetate; Butyl Acetate; Nitrocellulose; Acetyl Tributyl Citrate; Isobutyl Acetate; Isopropyl Alcohol; Adipic Acid/Neopentyl; Silica; Styrene-Acrylates Copolymer; N-Butyl Alcohol; Cl 26100

Nfu-Oh are a weakness inducing polish.  They have a huge amount of finishes and an absolutely astounding array of colors.  It is a good thing that more of the line is not carried here in the states, or my collection would be much bigger (and I've got plenty as it is TYVM).

I have had good luck with the Nfu-Oh formula.  It is fairly quick drying and long lasting.  I usually get a minimum of three days without tip wear.  I rarely experience chips with this polish.

However, their holographic polishes, in the low/mid 60s number range, have the same poor wear that every other company's holographic polishes display.  Nfu-Oh's holos are unique due solely to color range.  The seafoam, 66 is really too cool for my skin tone.  The peach, 62, is perfectly beautiful ... for about a day.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Isopropyl Alcohol, Acrylate Copolymer ; Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Ultramarines, Bismuth Oxychloride, FD&C Yellow #5, D&C Red #7, D&C Red #34, Ferric Ferrocyanine, Mica

I've only worn two OCC polishes, but they do have fairly good longevity, I think I got four days before tip wear became an issue.

I've had one polish dry very quickly, where another gave me sheet marks after drying for an hour.  So the formula is tweaked from one to the other.  The sheet marks weren't obvious to a casual glance.

I do have a problem with the brushes.  I had one replaced because it was so flyaway that application was practically impossible.  The other brush I tried was just of poor quality.  So application is a bit messy. 

Also, the formula on OCC polishes smells very strongly.  Much different from any of the other three on this post.

$ephora by OPI
butyl acetate, ethyl acetate, nitrocellulose, tosylamide/epoxy resin, acetyl tributyl citrate, isopropyl alcohol, stearalkonium bentonite, benzophenone-1, silica, trimethylpentanediyl dibenzoate, polyvinyl butyral, cl 77891, cl 15850, cl 77491, cl 77120.

$OPI is a fairly new brand for me.  I find their price too high to justify ... unless they are on clearance, or a deep discount.  As such, I do not expect to acquire a large or even medium sized stash of Sephora by OPI colors.  I have not yet worn one for a full manicure.

China Glaze Peace on Earth

I've just about killed my lemming for NARS Mash with China Glaze's new "Peace on Earth."

A true medium Olive green with gold shimmer, it is the much lighter brother of Wagontrail.

It applies beautifully in two coats with lovely coverage.  Exactly what I was hoping for.  Now I need a color in between POE and WT.  :)

It has no Avocado leanings.

CND Urban Oasis swatch and review and Teal Sparkle

CND's new "Urban Oasis" polish is a pretty, though dark, blue-green/teal leaning further to the blue side than green.

I expected to dislike the polish once I saw how much blue it had, but I've gotten several compliments and it is beginning to grow on me.  Kinda like a fungus actually ... but I'll still switch to CGs "Peace on Earth" when it arrives.

After adding the second coat, I almost immediately crashed my pointer fingers together.  Go figure, I tend to read between polish coats and books can be a challenge to pick up and put down.  With no small amount of dread, mostly because this is a creme and cremes just don't do passable touch-ups as well as shimmers/glitters, I looked at my nails.

No damage.  Wow, these dry as fast as OCC Chlorophyll.  No surprise, the formulas are very similar.

Two days later, I applied the Teal Sparkle top coat as a funky french.  I was noticing the slightest bits of tip wear, and decided to hide them rather than change.

Teal Sparkle has a great deal of green to it, so the combo is unusual, to say the least.  It does have a duo effect, with the plastic bits flashing from clear to green so the base color shows through.  It has also been growing on me.

These photographs were taken on day four of the mani, I believe.  Or day five, but I'll be safe and say four.  There was some minor tip wear, which is very common for me.  I'm always dragging my nails across something. 

Removal of these did turn my fingers blue for a bit, and I used three cotton balls to remove all the lacquer ... a bit more than is typical.  I was able to remove the vast majority of the polish, so I wasn't wandering around with asphyxiated fingers for long.

Barielle Ridge Filling Base Coat
Two coats polish
One coat Nubar Diamont

My refill bottle of Diamont seems to play more nicely with polishes than the original bottle.  It still dries as quickly for me, but the layering is easier and lasts longer.  I had massive peeling problems with the first bottle if I layered anything on top of Diamont, even a second coat of Diamont ... if you change your polish daily or every two days, no biggie, but I like to get at least four or five days from a mani.  This refill is definitely working better, but it is an older bottle.  Probably close to a year old or more.  I've read that Nubar changed the formulation of Diamont, and some bloggers were having a lot of problems.  If so, CND still makes "Air Dry" and I've had great results from that quick-dry as well.

25 October 2010

Christine Jonson, Travel Trio One #1204, Center Seam Pant Review,

Christine Jonson website http://www.cjpatterns.com/

Christine Jonson's Travel Trio One Pattern was on clearance at Nancy's Notions when I purchased a software title.

Drawing from Christine Jonson website.

I decided to take the plunge because I like the idea of having elongating seams on all pant pattern pieces, and at clearance price, I could not pass it up.  Even though I had a rotten experience with one CJ pattern, I decided to try one more time.  After all, you should give every pattern company two chances ... at least ... right???

My CJ failure was the old 419, Ruffle Top and Swing Skirt ... the sizing was so far off for me that I tossed the items I'd made.  The top was uncomfortably tight, and my fabric was washed, so shrinkage was no issue.  Anyway, onto the travel pant. 

Here is the line drawing from Christine Jonson's website.

When I measured the length of the crotch seam and compared it to my own body, I had my first "Uh-Oh" moment.  This pattern has a wide waistband, which is not the problem.  The issue was confirmed via tissue fitting ...  these pants came up to my waistline, without the waistband.  I really don't like high-waisted pants.  So the first issue was cutting down the upper band seam on the pants - two inches of length, gone. 

The second was pant length.  There are made to a typical 30.5" inseam, which is a bit highwater on me, especially for winter.  I want these to cover my foot and come to the base of my heel, so I added 2" at the knee.

I chose a heavy black RPL that has been long languishing in the stash.  It is not an exciting color, but it will give me the opportunity to test out the pattern.

Whilst sewing, I ignored the directions for the most part.  The pants were together and trialled before I realized that according to directions, the top of the waistband was only supposed to be serged, which meant my 5/8" seam shortened the waistband by 1/2", too much according to the pattern and directions.

Happy results with the too short waistband.  The pants fit about where they should, just below the waist, but I'm going to make some additional adjustments for the next pair.

The legs are a little too wide, so I'll trim down a touch.  But first, I need to shorten the back pant length at the inner thigh.  I've got lots of excess below my rear, but not quite enough rear room.  So what I remove in the back leg, I'll add into the back crotch.

They are comfortable and easy to move around it.  I could see these as yoga pants, easy.

As drafted, they are made for a long crotch length individual with some hip curve and regular length legs.  The only thing that threw me was the crotch length.  I'm used to adding length at the crotch or leaving as is, NOT subtracting.

I guess for CJ's draft I have a short pelvic length?

I wore them to work with a tunic, and did not feel hideously exposed.  This RPL is of lower quality as I wore them two days in a row and they were somewhat stretched out by the end of the second day.  I'd recommend staying with higher quality fabrics with great recovery, because this pattern will look pajama-ish when stretched out.

These aren't going to hide any "issues" the media has convinced you you have, but they are fairly good at flattening out lower belly bulge.  I'm just not this skinny at the abdomenal area.  Probably just doesn't add any extra thickness at the waist region.

I stitched down the front, side, and back seams (not the inner side seams) and used a domestic machine to do so ... hence the ripples in the seams.  For my next pair I will mostly use my industrial straight stitch.  It will do a much better job with this fabric.

If you stretch the leg forward just right, you can mimic incredibly long legs ... at least until you stand up straight.  

Side back view, here the excess in the back is more obvious.  And it looks like my calf shape is causing some pulling.  Hmm ...

Yes, yes, I know all the experts say there is no such thing as a wearable muslin.  But most of the time I think you need to wear it for a while to figure out how and where everything is going to move on your own body.  So take that, here is my wearable muslin.

Now to make the changes and try again.  And make a couple shorties up for working out.

OPI "Who the Shrek are You?" swatch

OPI, I am very disappointed!  (Fifth Element Oldman flash!)

Who the Shrek are You? is so ugly, you want to like it for that alone.  You want to reassure the color, "While others may turn away, I will wear you with pride!"  Except, WTSAY? is not just the green monster, but the green pigmentless monster!  RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!!!

Probably the worst balding color I have ever seen, except for a couple of sheer nudes ... Zoya Lulu and Revlon Sheer Nude spring to mind.

Three mid-thick coats later, and I still have bald spots ... with a pea green nail polish.  Ick.  Unfortunately, this color is a waste of time, energy, and money.

I can only see it being used in nail art ... preferably as a background color, NOT a base color.  Foliage perhaps?

This is being jettisoned from my collection as I write.  I'll try China Glaze's "Treehugger" instead.

I could not imagine taking a photo of my right foot.  From five plus feet away, you cannot tell much.  But inch a little closer and baldzilla rears its head on my big toe ... "Aarrrggg!"  Can Mothra be far behind?

Bye, bye, baby, bye, bye ...

China Glaze "Far Out" Swatch

"While the last rays of the sun lay dying ..."  I feel like I'm writing my dime store novel.

It is that time of year where the media is hyping Fall!  Fall color, fall texture, fall temperatures.

Houston does not feel very fallish, mid-summer perhaps, but NOT fall.  Not even fall anticipatory.

So I'm caught in a Fall mood, without a Fall environment with which to back it up.  Enter, China Glaze "Far Out" - a color I've never worn, and cannot now explain why.

Far Out is a lovely in-between color.  It is not as deep as a vampy, nor is it a light spring or summer color.  It is a muted rust color, neither too bright, nor too deep, nor too bronzey.  A Goldilocks color, or, perhaps more accurately, a baby bear color.

This almost fits my definition of Chestnut.  A deep reddened orange brown with a flash of fire.  The flash made obvious by the setting sun.

Far Out is usually quite tame and serene, until that sun lights it from within.

It has held up well with very little tip wear.  The first day I wore one coat atop Nubar NuNails (to retard any staining).  I finally got a second coat of lacquer on the third day (this semester is just really weird, I cannot settle into the schedule) ... a bit of tip wear on the first coat.  Here is two days after second coat application and four days after first coat application.  I applied CND "Air Dry" after the second coat of lacquer.

I do like to space out my coats if possible, which I believe leads to greater longevity.  However, the second coat took way too long.  I'm pleased with the wear I've gotten from this odd application schedule of mine.

McCall's 4304 Kimono Pattern becomes a summer robe

I made this pattern when it first came out many, many years ago.  I used a transparent deep turquoise rayon and have worn the kimono top when I remember it.  Being that it located in a drawer and not hanging in the closet, it is a bit easy to forget about.

Forward to the last year or so, when I kept saying to myself, I need a summer robe.  And after checking and re-checking all the robe patterns, I had only one thing to say, "Yuck!"

I dislike most shawl collars, and all I could think was Granny wear and I are not ready to get cozy.

Having set aside a cotton sheet after its useful life came to an end (where did all those stains come from?), I had planned to use it as muslin or something wearable.  It became my comfy summer robe.

Going by my earlier use, I traced a straight medium, added length for my long torso, and took out an inch for my sway back.  I also lengthened the pattern by about 8" and gave the skirt a little more of an A line shape (more flattering to my full hips than a straight shape).

I made french seams throughout this garment, it will keep that slinky cotton from disintegrating at too fast a rate.  The only difficulty came in matching the sleeves at the armhole.  Getting the two seams to play nice at the armpit was an exercise in patience, but it is done.

Behold, the summer robe ...

I like the loose fit and the big kimono sleeves.  Houston can be agonizingly hot in the summer so the ease is necessary for comfort.  It also covers enough that I would walk to the mailbox without too much discomfort. 

I used a quilting cotton for the neckline, both to reinforce the flimsiness of this fabric and to give me some color up near my face.  As much as I like my sheet, it is not the best color for me - the cotton neckline is a great contrast. 

So here I am, wrapped in comfort.  I recommend this as a lounging outfit.  Works great.  :)

You can find Kimono patterns in costumes, jackets, and tops.  June Colburn usually has an offering with Simplicity (though you can also get them directly from her website).

17 September 2010

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Chlorophyll Polish Swatch

I have a first look at Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) new lacquer, Chlorophyll.   As if I could turn away from something with that name ... though I originally placed the order for Swamp Thing.  The new Chlorophyll just jumped in the cart to ride along ...

They have very low toxicity, some really unique colors, but still a fairly narrow color range in toto.

My first order arrived with five bottles of polish and one lip tar side by side and surrounded by pop-corn. Needless to say, not every bottle arrived intact. Chlorophyll broke and oozed onto and in every other part of the order.

What a stinky, icky mess!

I emailed OCC and requested that they replace the entire order and refund my shipping (I placed my order with their emailed free shipping code, and they charged me for shipping anyway).

I got a lightening fast response from Anthony at OCC that they would replace the order at no charge, and refund my shipping due to circumstances ... Huh?

So my replacement order arrives today and I am thrilled to tear into my package. This time the order arrives properly protected in a cardboard lacquer shipping box surrounded by popcorn. I paper swatch all of my new colors and try out Chlorophyll.

All my new colors have beautiful flow on the swatch, except for Chlorophyll. It is a thicker polish and the brush is a nasty flyaway mess (it looks like it was caught in a blender on the way out). However I was able to swatch my left hand and I am impressed.

Chlorophyll is a lovely, highly pigmented, medium blue-green that rests just a touch on the greener side. It also dries to a satin finish. Considering how thick the polish was and the funky problems the brush added to the mix, I did one coat and settled down to await a long dry time ... And promptly rammed my pinky nail into the table. No dent, no smudge. Wow, quick dry time.

There is the slightest hint of VNL with this one coat. I would not expect any trace to remain following a second coat (and a second coat does indeed eliminate all VNL). Brush issues aside , I love this color and its application (and dry time, do not forget that). With the satin finish, you have the option to gloss it up with a top coat or leave as is.

 And I believe this polish has a future date with an Nfu-Oh flakie ... which ones to try?!?

How about Nfu-Oh 41, a yellow glitter based red/orange flakie topcoat?

I've been awaiting the shipping refund and decided to check my account one last time before complaining about how those no good so and so's still have not refunded my shipping costs. Only to find out they comped the entire order. Oh OCC, mea culpable for all those little irritating notions I mentally sent your way. Honestly, this is the best customer service I have ever gotten from a domestic cosmetic or lacquer/polish company. I've sent dozens of emails to nail polish and other cosmetic firms (usually regarding ingredients or color suggestions), and if the company is US based, I'm blown off 90% of the time. This goes for other companies as well, btw.

I will contact OCC and see if they will replace the brush, none of the other polishes has a wonky brush, so I suspect it is the luck of the draw that landed me with this unusual issue (the only other wonky brush I have run into was an RBL polish).

I cannot begin to explain how thrilling I find the short ingredients list in OCC polishes.  So while their packaging may leave a bit to desire from time to time, I cannot complain at ALL about the level of customer service OCC extended this new customer.

Consider me a happy to return customer, OCC.

Update:  OCC quickly replaced the brush for Chlorophyll.  I did have some difficult detaching the existing brush from the handle but I am not very strong in my hands and have some nerve issues.  Once I finally popped it out, the new brush slid into place without too much difficulty.  Much better application with a non wonky brush, btw. 

28 July 2010

Burda 7834 Review

Pattern Link to Burdamode.com

The photo above is from Burda's website, as is the description, "This blouse comes in the new cut, ready for your fashionable appearance next summer! Broadly curved panels, particularly decorative in contrasting fabric, cleverly shape your figure. The blouse is easy to put on and take off due to its back zipper.
Recommended fabric:
Viscose, crêpe fabrics, batiste"

I've had this pattern since it first came out, and it has intermittently called my name for several seasons.  There was always something else to work through first.  I finally came to the conclusion that if I didn't start on it now, I never would.  And considering the rate at which I acquire new patterns, I REALLY need to make some of those older purchases worthwhile.

I have completely changed the order in which I put this together.  I did not want to piece the neckline, so I took out the back neck seamline.  I also shortened the zipper by a bit (or actually, I did not have a long enough zipper, and decided to work with what I have rather than buy new).

I lengthened the bodice by one inch and interlined the front bodice with cotton lawn since my rayon is crepey and thin.

I also sewed the sleeve bands last.  The pattern directs you to put them on flat, which mean visible seams at the armpit ... noooooooo!  Ick, ick, ick!

And I decided to punish myself by lining the inner band.  It looks nicer as I slide it over my head.

I deepened the hem by an inch, interfaced it with my lightest weight interfacing (Pam's Pro-Sheer Elegance) which still makes the hem too heavy with how crepey this rayon is, but mini hems always flip on me and drive me nuts.  So I shall adjust.

Strange how I never really noticed until a friend pointed it out, but this pattern is pretty low cut ... perhaps not as low cut as some Vogues, but still ...  I guess that explains the really large necklaces that the models wear in both photos.

I suppose in a mirthful moment I might feel a bit like the love child of Purple Rain era Prince and Jennifer Lopez.  But only when I glance straight down.  Usually I realize that most people get this view, which isn't completely immodest:

When I lengthened the bodice by one inch so the band would appropriately fit under my bust rather than across it, this also lengthened the neckbands.  I then took a perpendicular half inch pie slice out of the neck band and bodice pieces at the upper chest for my concave chest adjustment.  But really, I could have taken more.  The band doesn't snug quite as closely as I would like.

Two things that I should have done: narrow the shoulders by an inch or so, and a sway back adjustment.  I forgot about my shoulders ... oops.  But the sway back, I thought the hem was wide enough not to need the sway back, but since the wideness is confined to the center front quite well, there is obvious pulling at the hips from the needed adjustment.  It won't keep me from wearing the top, but it is something I notice.

It is a cute top in fun, summery colors.  The bands were done in a linen, so the facings are all done in the rayon fabric. 

It is something I'd wear teaching only with a camisole or camisole mimicing bralette underneath.

I don't know if I would make this again.  Because the front is so poofy, I might redraft it, perhaps adding in gathering at the side waist to keep some summery fullness in the piece.

25 July 2010

Ginger + Liz and Diamond Cosmetics Comparison for dupes

I placed a ten piece order with Flossie Diamond Cosmetics.  I've seen lots of reviews of their polish, and the price is a bit hard to ignore.  While adding my choices into the cart,  I decided to test the "dupe" quotient of two polishes for myself, so I now own Don't Teal My Heart Away (listed as a possible dupe to Ginger + Liz's "New Money" on several sites) and Not So Evergreen (listed as a possible dupe to Ginger + Liz's "Tough Luxe" on several sites).  I own both of these Ginger + Liz polishes, and I purchased the two directly from their website shortly after they went online.

I swatched each of these color sets side by side, photographed them outside, and ran a smear on paper.

The most obvious differences in the bottles have to do with 1) the logos - the logo appears to be silkscreened on the Ginger + Liz (G+L) bottle but the Diamond Cosmetics (DC) logo is a the peel and stick label, and 2) the brushes.  The Ginger+Liz brushes are wider and apply wider swipes of polish than the Diamond Cosmetics brushes.


This brush comparison photo was taken indoors and lightened.

The G+L shaft is ovoid and grasps the fibers in an ovoid shape.  The fiber count in the G+L brush is higher than the DC brush.

The DC shaft is circular and the fibers are held in a circular shape.

Here are my swatching results:

Ginger + Liz "New Money" and Diamond Cosmetics "Don't Teal My Heart Away"

The above photos are taken outside and were both two coats of the respective polish above a single base coat.  I could not tell a difference between them visually after application.  Diamond Cosmetics "Don't Teal My Heart Away" is an excellent dupe for Ginger + Liz "New Money."

Ginger + Liz "Tough Luxe" and Diamond Cosmetics "Never So Evergreen"

The above photos are taken outside and were both two coats of the respective polish above a single base coat.  I could not tell a difference between them visually after application.  Diamond Cosmetics "Never So Evergreen" is an excellent dupe for Ginger + Liz "Tough Luxe."

The above photo is the two polishes side by side on the same finger, my thumb.  I cannot remember which is which, but the bald spot at the upper side leads me to believe that is the DC side.

The formula between the two polishes did apply differently, but I do not yet know if that is chemistry or the physics of the brush.  Both polishes dried quickly and gave fairly good coverage in two coats.  The DC polishes were a little more prone to balding.  I think this could be due to the smaller brush and the higher number of strokes required per nail for full coverage. 

A third coat may have covered all visible balding spots, but I prefer to use two coats for quicker drying speed.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos are untouched but for cropping and adding text.

Flossie's Diamond Cosmetics Ingredients list was obtained by emailing the company.  Ginger+Liz Ingredients list was obtained in the first order from packaging material.

As the ingredients lists match up very closely, I must assume that the different feel of the lacquers was due to the brush differences.

Diamond Cosmetics Ingredients
Butyl Acetate; Ethyl Acetate; Nitrocellulose; Acetyl Tributyl Citrate; Phthalic Anhydride/Trimellitic Anhydride/Glycols Copolymer; Isopropyl Alcohol; Stearalkonium Hectorite; Adipic Acid/Fumaric Acid/Phthalic Acid/Tricyclodecane Dimethanol Copolymer; Citric Acid; colorants; Polyethylene Terephthalate; Calcium Sodium Borosilicate; Titanium Dioxide; Tin Oxides Silica; Aluminum Powder; Iron Oxides; Aluminum Powder; Fragrance 

Ginger+Liz Ingredients
Butyl Acetate; Ethyl Acetate; Nitrocellulose; Acetyl Tributyl Citrate; Phthalic Anhydride/Trimellitic Anydride/Glycols Copolymer; Isopropyl Alcohol; Stearalkonium Hectorite; Adipic Acid/Fumaric Acid/Phthalic Acid/Tricyclodecane Dimethanol Copolymer; Citric Acid; colors; Polytheylene Terepthalate; Calcium Sodium Borosilicate; Titanium Dioxide; Tin Oxides Silica; Aluminum Powder; Iron Oxides; Aluminum Powder; Fragrance