Friday, June 21, 2013

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CocoaPink Black Chocolate and Fluffy Green Tea Linen Sprays

While I mostly stick to MakeupAlley's Nail Board, I do occasionally cheat on my dear NBers with other boards. While trolling (in the Biblical sense, not the Internet sense) the Bath and Body Board, I've seen many raves about indie bath and body e-tailer CocoaPink. Since perfume and scented bath goodies are probably the only beauty product I love more than nail polish, I decided to give her a little business.

I furthermore took the B&B Board's advice on using her linen sprays as a way to try scents - a generous 2.5 oz is only US$4.50. While they're called linen sprays, the bottle says you can use them as a hair and body mist, which is what I intended to do all along - they don't dry out the skin or hair, and there's no burning or stinging when applied. They're quite powerfully scented - I can still smell my scent of choice in my hair after 24 hours, and I only need one or two spritzes to smell myself clearly. Therefore, these linen sprays are actually stronger than your average body mist!

As you can see, they're very cutely packaged in amber plastic spray bottles, which protect the scent from degradation somewhat, although I still wouldn't store them in direct sunlight. The labels are really cute and well-made, to boot. They don't seem waterproof, but apparently they really are.

As to the scents themselves, I'm most pleased with Fluffy Green Tea. The Web site describes it as "green tea...blended with marshmallows." The green tea is a true matcha (powdered green tea, as used in Japan) scent. Matcha is something you either love or hate; it's evocative of lawn clippings and soap, but like licorice and other acquired tastes, it's oddly addictive. While I don't get a marshmallow note per se, I do think Fluffy Green Tea smells just like the green tea Pocky or filled marshmallows one finds in Japan (or in my case, receives in care packages from BFFs living in Japan). It's not too sweet, though. I think it's perfect for summer because it reminds me of one of my favorite treats, a Starbucks green tea Frappuccino (to which I add java chips).

Black Chocolate turned out to be a bit more complicated for me to review. It's described thus: "Dark complex Belgian chocolate laced with two types of rich amber resin. Our chocolate does not morph on the skin, but remains a lovely true scent." There are a lot of gross fake chocolate scents out there, and this definitely isn't one of them; at first spray, it really smells like dark chocolate, complete with the slight floral undertone found in fine chocolate. As to it not morphing on the skin, that wasn't true for me. However, that likely has more to do with me than the scent itself. I have wonky body chemistry that renders many popular scents unwearable and typically unwearable scents divine, so I knew the odds of Black Chocolate working for me were 50/50 at best. While wearing it, I sometimes get a whiff of yeasty or mildew notes, which isn't something I want to smell like. Yet when I stick my nose close to my skin, there's a wonderful clean earthiness. Only my hair actually smells like chocolate. I actually bought this to layer with Fluffy Green Tea, but it totally overpowers it, even at two sprays of Fluffy Green Tea to one Black Chocolate. I'm not sure whether I'll keep wearing Black Chocolate as a personal fragrance, but I'll definitely keep it to use as a linen/room spray.

Finally, I have to rave about CocoaPink's customer service. The Web site said that turnaround time on orders was 5-10 days, but she got my package out in 2-3. She also refunded my shipping, which was unnecessary but greatly appreciated nevertheless. My order was beautifully and carefully packed in various colors of tissue paper, and included a few generously-sized samples. I would definitely recommend Fluffy Green Tea to anyone looking for a true, long-lasting matcha scent, but the affordability of the linen sprays means you can try any scent that sounds good at minimal risk!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Most Interesting Cleanser in the World

I have sensitive combination skin. It's about as difficult to placate as that description makes it sound. Most cleansers either give me pseudo-rosacea, break me out, or cause the skin to peel off my face. Literally peel off my face. Whatever do I cleanse with, then?

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Oil-Control Foaming Cleanser.

Now mind you, I said in Texas. If I visit/move someplace dryer or windier (like Toronto, where I lived for a rather long time), it's too drying. Not coincidentally, then, I notice that most of the low-star reviews on MakeupAlley say it strips the skin. However, if you're oily/combination and live in a warm and humid climate, it's a must-try.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Elevation Polish Haba Xueshan

So, yeah, there's a reason you only see my thumb here. I took off my whole mani and tried China Glaze Stone Cold again, this time with (matte) topcoat; it chipped just as quickly and as badly as before. This polish is so not worth it, especially since I don't care about The Hunger Games. Frankly, I think Zoya Freja, which is my favorite dark gray polish so far, would look just as good, or better, mattefied than the naturally matte Stone Cold - maybe I'll remove Stone Cold and try Freja instead. My Elevation Polish Haba Xueshan accent isn't going anywhere till it chips, though:

The base color on my thumb is Sinful Colors Cinderella. The glitter topcoat is, of course, Elevation Polish Haba Xueshan. Now, the black and white matte "confetti" glitter polish thing has been going for a couple of years now. I can name at least three of them off the top of my head, all close dupes. However, out of all of this category, Haba Xueshan is the only one that's ever made me want to snatch it up.Though its charms are subtle, you can see why I love it if you look closely - the few pale blue (described on the Elevation Polish Web site as "glacier") circle glitters. I'm crazy for the combo of blue and black, especially pale blue, so Haba Xueshan is the perfect marriage of "trendy" and "Merissa." What you see here is one thick coat, about half a brush-load.

The tricky part seems to be finding just the right polish to wear it over. Steel gray was too dark and hid the black glitter; the light blue you see here pretty much hid the glacier glitter. A bright polish to really show off all the colors, such as a neon pink or coral, would detract from the icy theme. Perhaps next time I'll try a silver.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Last night I produced a lovely manicure to show how I wear black, or rather, the closest I come to wearing black. It was China Glaze Stone Cold with Elevation Polish Haba Xueshan accent. Alas, I made the mistake of trying to get away with no topcoat---usually I would wear a matte topcoat over the matte Stone Cold---and had remove-worthy chips before breakfast. I never wear the same mani twice in a row, but I may do it this time...but with something else under Haba Xueshan to provide better contrast. We'll see.

Also to talk about: CocoaPink Fluffy Green Tea and Black Chocolate, and why Neutrogena cleanser is meme-worthy.