Loving lately: Reviews of L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil, JINsoon nail polish, Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara

I’ve recently discovered a few new favourites!

1. L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil

L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil review

Newly reformulated earlier this year, the L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil is a long-time beauty lovers’ favourite. Formulated with more than 50% almond oil, this body oil is super hydrating and makes my skin very soft and supple. It works great in all seasons because it is moisturizing without being greasy (no residue at all!) and is never heavy because it absorbs completely. The only downside is that it does take a while to absorb, but once it does, it’s just perfect.

P.S. The bottle comes filled to the top, I just got greedy and couldn’t wait to start using mine when I first received it, which is why it looks more sad and empty than usual.

L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil ingredients

2. JINsoon nail polish

I am absolutely loving JINsoon’s nail polish formula. It is ultra glossy, fast-drying, super long wearing, and very easy to apply. The brush applicator is the perfect width and length for a smooth application with no streaks. The shade I have is Cherry Berry, part of their spring 2014 collection, a jelly-creme berry-pink shade. I definitely see myself adding more shades to my collection!

JINsoon nail polish cherry berry swatch

3. Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara

Asian lashes rejoice! This new mascara by Clarins is amazingly great for lengthening, curling, and most importantly, maintaining a full curl through a full 12-hour day. I didn’t notice much volumizing, but it does layer pretty well without clumping. I haven’t tested out whether its really waterproof or not, but the curling properties of this mascara is enough to keep me as a repeat customer. Its also super effortlessly removable via cleansing oil. Available now at Clarins counters in black (permanent) and blue (limited edition for the summer).

clarins truly waterproof mascara review

Review: L’Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer

L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review

At home gel nail polish systems have always fascinated me, especially since at-home salon-style nail DIYs are all the rage now. I’ve been playing with L’Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer for the last couple of weeks and truth be told, I’m not all that impressed.

My thoughts:

  • This polish applies velvet-matte, and becomes glossy with the top coat.
  • The top coat is very glossy with a mirror shine, and the shine lasts throughout the entire duration of wear (much longer than other top coats I’ve tried).
  • The nail polish applies mostly opaque on the first coat, but I do a second coat anyways just to smooth out the colour and application.
  • While it’s advertised as a gel lacquer, it doesn’t “puff up” like gel nail polish, even with a copious layer of top coat.
  • The polish started showing tip wear on the SECOND day after application, and there was severe tip wear starting to show around day 3-4. It definitely does not have the long wear-time of gel nail polish.
  • The colour collection is comprised of mostly darker shades; there are only 2 light shades. This means if you want a bright summery manicure, you’ll have to wait until they release more colours.
  • It removes relatively easy with just regular nail polish remover (I use Zoya Remove+); no soaking required. There was a tiny bit of staining on my nails but it was easily removed with some vigorous rubbing of polish remover. This is to be expected with some dark shades so I wasn’t completely surprised.

Priced at $8.99 for each polish shade and $15.99 for the base/top coat duo kit, this isn’t exactly the most expensive but isn’t the cheapest nail polish either. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend the L’Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer just because of how fast it starts to wear away, especially for a formula that is touted to be comparable to gel lacquers. There are other, much better nail polish formulas out there.

Swatches of: Fashion’s Finest (top) and Hot Couture (bottom)

L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review
L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review

L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review
L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel Lacquer swatch and review

Thoughts: Anna Sui Base Coat, Nail Polish and Gel Top Coat

anna sui nail polish review and swatches
I am completely enamoured by Anna Sui’s newest nail polish bottle design; as mentioned in my fall preview, the bottles look like little ball gowns! I have about 3 other bottles of Anna Sui nail polish so I was excited to see how the new formulas compare to the old one, and also try out the new base and top coats.

The Anna Sui Base Coat is a pale pink shade that mattifies down after it dries on the nail. The brush is extremely easy to use, as it has a clean, flat edge that allows you to get as close to the cuticle as possible. It dries down quickly, and creates a smooth base to apply nail polish on top of.

I used this base coat with my other nail polishes, in addition to the Anna Sui one and I found that wear time was neither decreased nor increased. It is a super cute bottle to keep on your vanity, so bonus points just for that. Priced at $15 for 8mL, you don’t get a significant amount but you don’t need much to cover your whole nail. In fact, this is probably one of the base coats where you need a lot less product each time you use it. Bottom line is, I would still recommend it even though it is relatively expensive; it is a good product at the end of the day and I can see myself re-purchasing this.

The Anna Sui Nail Polish shade I received was 402, a beautiful jelly finish burgundy with gold specked glitter. I actually have a similar one from Anna Sui’s old formula in the heart bottle, but the finish is completely different. The old formula is more of a cream finish while this one is a jelly finish. I absolutely love this colour and think that it’s perfect for fall. It’s different from most other fall polish shades because it is a jelly finish, and because of that it looks younger. The polish came with a flat edged brush that made applicator a breeze. I used two coats in the swatches, which, because of the jelly finish, is medium opaque. The polish lasted about a week with minimal tip wear.

As you can see from my fall preview, there is an army of different shades that you can choose from; there’s likely to be one that suits your skintone and preferences!

anna sui nail polish review and swatches

Lastly, the Anna Sui Gel Top Coat is a whole different story. In the same kind of bottle and flat edge applicator, it applies super smoothly and easily but you do need a lot more product for it to be more of a gel-effect. It is extremely shiny, almost glassy, but that’s where the good stuff ends. This stuff takes FOREVER to dry. I’ve washed my hands 2 hours after my manicure and it still smudged. You can see in my swatch photos that there are little marks on the surface of the nail and that’s from my bedsheets… hours after my manicure. At today’s fast-moving pace, I didn’t feel that that was acceptable. I didn’t try UV-curing it but it’s not supposed to be UV cured in the first place, so I got a little confused. If you’ve tried this before and you’re happy with how it turns out, please let me know what I’m doing wrong!

Overall: I recommend the Base Coat and Nail Polish shades, but not the Gel Top Coat.

Have you tried Anna Sui’s nail products?

anna sui nail polish review and swatches

Chanel Le Vernis in 575 Starlet… a preview of summer!

Chanel Le Vernis in 575 Starlet swatch and review

Chanel released a capsule collection for Spring/Summer 2013 called the Avant Premiere de Chanel. The collection is comprised of four new and limited edition nail polishes, with complementing Rouge Coco and Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks. From the collection, I picked up a nail polish (surprise, surprise) called Starlet.

Chanel Le Vernis in 575 Starlet swatch and review

Starlet is a watermelon-coral shade with beautiful gold pearl that has become almost a signature for Chanel’s polishes. The gold pearl is subtle but brings depth and uniqueness to a colour that is pretty commonly seen around this time of year. Even though it is a relatively bright colour, I still think it is office-appropriate enough to wear during the daytime.

Chanel Le Vernis in 575 Starlet swatch and review

The formula is not the best I’ve seen from Chanel (that honour goes to Rose Cache). It is slightly more viscous and not as liquidy and light as most of my other Chanel polishes that glide on effortlessly. This one takes a bit more work to get it evened out and smooth. Wear time on average for my Chanel polishes is about a week.

Do you need this? Probably not. You can likely find very similar colours in drugstore or other non-luxury brands. When I brought Starlet home, I noticed that it looked super familiar, so I brought out my stash of polishes and found that under my bedroom lights, it looks like almost a dupe of Paul & Joe Marrakesh polish from Summer 2010. When I did a swatch of it side by side though (see comparison shots below), it looks very different so now I feel better about my $30 indulgence. Marrakesh is much more orange and the gold pearl is much more pronounced than the subtle gold pearl in Starlet. Marrakesh is borderline shimmer/metallic, I would have to say, especially under sunlight.

Chanel Le Vernis in 575 Starlet swatch and review
Chanel Le Vernis in 575 Starlet swatch and review

Starlet on left, Marrakesh on right
Chanel Le Vernis in 575 Starlet swatch and review

I also did a comparison with Rose Cache and Distraction below as well. You can see that Distraction is a cooler pink with iridescent shimmer, whereas Starlet is warmer and leaning towards almost a rose under certain lights.

From left to right: Starlet, P & J Marrakesh, Distraction, Rose Cache

 Chanel Le Vernis in 575 Starlet swatch and review