Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fastest Holy Grail Addition: Badger Balm For Hardworking Hands

A couple of days ago I got my first order off iHerb. Needless to say I've been hearing way too many things about that website so I decided to give it a go. Delivery took a while, a while longer than I'm used to with packages from the US of A, but it got here so that was a good start.
I had only ordered a few things, to see how well the whole thing works, and amongst those "few things" was also the following balm I am going to show you: The Badger Balm

the badger company Badger Balm For Hardworking Hands review
                        
I took this picture to show you just how huge the tin is. I was truly expecting something small with some balm in it, but these guys deliver! Needless to say it's a bargain to get a fully organic 60g balm for just 7$.

What it does is smoothing,soothing and improving dry or rough skin on hands or any other parts of the body that need it. I mean, this is a balm not a body lotion so it's meant for parts that need a bit of extra love, like dry elbows, feet or hands.

My hands tend to get a bit dry and sometimes, being an overeager running, my feet feel the pain of too much stomping also. Those are actually my only dry areas that qualify for balm treatment and I have to say: it is MAGNIFICENT!
My biggest surprise came when after applying it on my hands the night before and washing them in the morning, I could still feel the smoothness the balm had provided. It wasn't an oily layer but I could feel that my skin was protected from drying out from the water...if that made any sense. Of course, my feet shared the joy because my stomp patches had gone from "ouch" to "aaaah" by the time morning hit.

And if that soothing wasn't enough, here's another immense plus in the form of Ingredients:

the badger company Badger Balm For Hardworking Hands review

 Can you tell how good that looks? I had been doing some reading about Wintergreen recently and I was amazed by what that oil can do. So all the more reason to be excited it was an ingredient here. And if you do some reading about Castor oil you will want to bathe in it all day,every day.

It smells incredibly familiar and soothing with a hit of beeswax and a bit of menthol to it. Not at all overpowering and when you smell it, it actually makes you think it can heal.

the badger company Badger Balm For Hardworking Hands review

I am in any case incredibly thrilled with this and I'm already planning on buying more of their balms. They do cuticle balms, balms for sleep, for sensitive skin (appropriately named Baby Balm ), anti bug balm, headache and a whole lot of other awesome balms. You can see them listed here if you're interested. All I can say is that I'm hooked and that come winter this is bound to be a lifesaver!




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Monday, July 29, 2013

I Want Candy! ... Nails

Tis the season to show you one more Barry M Gelly polish. This one is Grapefruit and it's bright and awesome pink. When I saw it, I knew I had to combine it with Greenberry because it was bound to look great.
So I decided to combine it in a way that would emphasize how candy like these two look together. 


Don't they remind you of candy?
The ring finger stripes were made less than perfect on purpose, because more often than not, the stripes in candy don't really look all that impeccable either.
And of course, I can't pass up an opportunity to put polka dots on my fingers.                      




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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Week In Pictures # 25

This is week two where I feel it's summer. Took a while, but here we are. Like I said last week, it's a bit difficult to realize how hot it is outside when you're in an air conditioned office the whole day, but I'm managing to be more outside so that's a big plus.



Summer Afternoon / The improvised lavender field


That car has been there for a while... / Haven't eaten these in years!


The breakfast view /  Should consume this every morning


Some sunny lunch reading / Pun of the day: it's peachy

                            
Goodies I cannot wait to try! / As beauty bloggers do....






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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Best of Last Month | BritSpiration

It's been a month ( Actually, I think it is exactly a month, go figure) since I got back from London and I have had this sneaky suspicion that ever since I've been having a slightly british theme going on. Maybe not obvious at all times, but there have definitely been some bits and pieces I've picked up and have kept using since. Which makes it even better that I get to go back to London next month!
In any case, if you've missed my BritSpired Month, you can find the recap of it right here:



Let's of course start off with the London Photo Diary where I tried my best to document my wild roamings around the city.

Then we have the two polishes I've been quite obsessed with since: Barry M Greenberry , proud product of the Kingdom, and Essie Mint Candy Apple, proud cult color on the island.

What I've also gotten very fond of has been Statement Jewelry and have managed to acquire quite the little collection in less than a week's time.

And of course, last but not least: The smell of the Queen. Well, I actually have no idea what the preferred scent of the Queen is but it would be quite funny if it would be Yardley's English Lavender.

Now, let us all raise a pinky and who's up for a cup of tea?

             




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Friday, July 26, 2013

Review | Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser

Last week I posted about How I Clean My Face and in that post, I think you could already sense my serious love for the cleanser I am about to show you. I can only say, my adoration has grown since.

Review | Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser
                          
What makes me go buy Burt's Bees over and over again are definitely the ingredients. I'm a huge fan of brands that keep it clean and select natural and/or organic ingredients for their products because you only get one skin, why would you not be as careful as you can be with it?

THE PROs

Perfect for dry skin! I have seriously dry skin and gel cleansers and cleansers in general are not my best friends but this is the only time in the entirety of my existence where I have used a GEL cleanser that has left my skin moisturized and clean! I mean...that's almost impossible and yet here we are!

The cleansing it does is definitely great cleansing. As I mentioned in the "How I Clean My Face" post, I prefer to reduce the rubbing to a minimum, especially around the eyes, so that means I will first take off my eye make-up before using this cleanser.  In all fairness though, this thing removes even that if necessary.

I am completely in like with the smell! It smells natural, it smells unprocessed and unaltered so that it corresponds to some not necessary fragrant wish people might have. It smells like the ingredients, obviously like orange also. It's so great to put something on your face that doesn't smell fake.

Ingredients! I will leave you with a picture of them,  you can see how magnificent this ingredient list looks:

Review | Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser









Another thing that makes me feel completely happy and giddy is the fact that I can feel the orange oil on my skin after cleansing. And let me tell you, orange oil is great for a number of things, like increasing the production of collagen and stimulating circulation. By stimulating circulation, not only will you look healthier, but that saggy, sad, tired feeling and look to your skin will be gone.It also sooths dry and irritated skin and does great things to acne prone complexions.

As far as cleansers go, this particular one comes at a pretty great price. On Feelunique.com you can get it for around 10 Euros and last time I've seen this was at the Whole Foods Piccadilly in London for around 10£. Not sure if you know this or not, but the Whole Foods at the Piccadilly Square has an upstairs filled with beauty. Definitely one of my favorite places to roam.

Here is what the actual gel looks like, pretty much a thick gel that you can apply on damp skin.



THE CONs

Let's not be ridiculous here, there is no con to this cleanser.



THE VERDICT

Magnificent! Definitely a keeper and a proud resident of my Holy Grail basket. It does a great job at cleansing, is super considerate to your skin and it leaves it in a state of supreme content. I say go for it if you have the chance!






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Monday, July 22, 2013

Fish Tank Nails

That sounded weird didn't it?
I've been reminded of a movie I had seen a while ago called ...yes, Fish Tank, and I supposed that stayed in my subconscious since I felt the need to draw on my pristine Mint Candy Apple nails.
As you can see, it's more of an abstract fish tank, especially judging from the colors used, but for some reason I really felt the need to recreate marine wildlife, Picasso style.



Apart from Mint Candy Apple, other polishes used were Sally Hansen Yellow Kitty, Barry M Prickly Pear and Barry M Grapefruit.


So what do you think of the sudden creativity wave that has hit my nails? A bit too abstract or does it work for summer?                     


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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week In Pictures # 24

This week I had the honor of a 3-day week-end, and it was the first time this summer where I actually felt like well...summer. When you're in an office for 8 hours you don't get a realistic sense of the actual seasons happening outside. Unless you freeze or you get soaking wet upon stepping out. There has been almost non stop gorgeous weather, for the past 2 months, but I only knew that in theory. Now I finally got to experience that first hand and even got a bit of a tan in the process. It feels utterly incredible and like a sudden boost of health to spend a day in sunshine. I wish much sun on all of you! Or at least as much as you want.     


    
My friend is a huge Cumberbatch fan, so I sent some Cumbersweets and a Cumberface over on Monday / She then returned the favor with instant sugar rush lollipops


Girly cocktails have been acquired / THE most deliciously smelling body lotion, it's like coconut and vanilla frozen yogurt


Points for presentation / Mint Candy Apple is the new favorite of the bunch


Wildlife illumination provided by the man of the house / The Obligatory sunset picture





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Saturday, July 20, 2013

How I Clean My Face

I think all of us have gone through some testing phases until getting to the revelatory point where the cleansing routine has been satisfyingly settled.
Well, my experiment phase seems to have lasted until a couple weeks ago, when many wonderful pieces came together and formed : The Face Cleansing Routine

And with this I'm excluding the part where I remove my eye make-up and throw some micellar water on to be sure all is gone. I know many cleansers say they take off waterproof make-up and all, but I prefer to reduce the rubbing to a minimum, especially around my eyes. That's why I use an efficient removed for that area and then get into the real cleaning with other things so that my skin is breathing happily.


For the record, I do this routine mostly in the evening because my skin is quite good and doesn't need excessive cleansing.  I do sometimes use the Moa Balm under my BB cream in the morning tho, to replace the face oil when I want to change it up a bit.

Here we go then:

The Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser has got to be the best cleanser I have ever tried. As opposed to most cleansers, this thing actually has a real amount of orange oil and it was the first time in my life that after using a cleanser, I felt my skin still be a bit oily. And this is a  gel cleanser, so for the fact that it is so great for dry skin, it gets all the points from me.Not to mention that it also removes make-up effectively, but like I said, I prefer less scrubbing in order to get that one off. 

When I want my skin to feel squeaky clean I will opt for Good Things Fresh Start cleanser. This one doesn't dry out the face, but you feel that it has been cleansed and that you best add some extra moisture to it. Does a great job nevertheless.

Once or twice a week, I also go for the Burt's Bees Peach and Willow Bark Deep Pore Scrub simply because I want to clean things as deep as I can.The surface is a good place to start, but in order to keep the surface happy,you need to make sure the deeper layers are also content. What I completely adore about it is the fact that is has actual peach kernel pieces through it,which do the scrubbing.

And last but not least, my absolute favorite, the Moa Balm. If I were to chose one thing that can do all the cleansing from start to finish and moisturize, it is this product. Basically, it can take your make-up off, even better than the Burt's Bees cleanser actually, it cleans your pores (it is great for acne prone skin) and it moisturizes with its mix of oils.


What are your cleansing favorites?Have you tried any of these?




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Friday, July 19, 2013

My Yardley Fascination

Most of you might be familiar with Yardley, since it's the world's oldest cosmetics and perfume producing company. It's been around the UK since 1770. Now of course, if you're not from the UK or have grown up around people infatuated by the british culture, you might not have heard of Yardley. 
I'm one of those people who grew up with lavender love all around me. For a long while I was indifferent to the smell but it goes to show, as you grow older, your tastes can change drastically.



That's why, I'm  in a phase where I truly enjoy the smell of Yardley's English Lavender. 
For a lot of people lavender is associated with elderly citizens and I even had someone say that it smells like someone's grandmother. But I tend to disagree. Lavender has such a gorgeous smell that you can just inhale to the bottom of your lungs and it leaves you wanting more.
It's one of those smells that doesn't give you headaches ( if you don't overdose of course) and that is a perfect kind of subtle.
Basically, I'm very in like with this smell. Not to mention that it lasts on you surprisingly much. The preferred area of application for me is behind the ear as it has few "natural enemies" there that make it fade away. And the fact that 4 or 5 hours after applying it, someone still complimented me on the smell, is a pretty grand thing.


You can find these at any Boots in the UK and at some pharmacies around Europe. At least here where I live, I've seen them around pharmacies called Centrofarm if I'm not mistaken.
As for the packaging, it really looks gorgeously english and makes me go back in time a bit each time I hold it in my hand.

Have you used Yardley products yet? And if you want to know my take on some other scents they offer, I still have a couple here.
                           






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Monday, July 15, 2013

Double The Blue Nails

You might remember my post on the Farmec Summer Nail Collection  a while ago and you might recall two shades of blue that I really liked. Well, today I wanted to show them to you. Initially, it was just going to be the dark blue, but then I said "bright one deserves some attention too!" and slapped it on the ring finger.


What you see here is the dark Deep Dive and the electric Pool Party. Pool party is such a cool shade! And initially I thought it looked like China Glaze's Sunday Funday, but that one is much more toned down in many respects. This is a serious pop of color and ideal for summer.Like I said before, I like to think of it as the little brother of Nails Inc Baker Street.

farmec pool party deep dive nail polish swatches lac unghii colectie vara oja

How glorious are these two shades? I can't get over the gorgeousness of the deep blue and the vibrancy of the other one. I'm definitely super impressed with these Farmec polishes!




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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Week In Pictures # 23

Week 23 already! That's almost six months of doing this and I have to say, it still is my favorite post to do. Don't know about you, but I really like these kinds of posts.Maybe it's my innate curiosity, maybe my general fascination for pretty pictures but if you do a week in pictures kind of post,please let me know!                               

Everyone, meet Yoda. Alexandra like to call him that / Shakespeare, you evil man,I like you much


THE tiniest thing I've ever seen / My babies arrived!


Sabon is many things,and a pretty packager for sure / My new favorite shirt


Unbelievably beautiful / My little DIY project








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Friday, July 12, 2013

Muji Candles - My Two Favorites

I'm sure many of you are not familiar with Muji, much like I myself wasn't either until that one evening trip to Selfridges.When going out of the book department, I saw a pile of tin cases with the most perfect label on them. I soon realized they were candles and that they had combined some of my favorite things: Scented candle, great packaging and the cuteness of Asian products.

muji tin candle review pomelo lychee jasmine black olive muji candles
 The fact that they only cost £ 3,50 is pretty incredible to me, and I would have gotten many more, just that, in my moment of vast inspiration, I had only flown to London with a backpack. You can imagine how little fits in there. That's why I ended up getting just two: Jasmine & Black Olive and Pomelo and Lychee.
Now, I just want to tell you, there was one called Log Fire and it was the exact and absolute smell of the one achieved during actual log fire. I think I might want that one for winter.
I'm happy I was able to resist because once I start sniffing candles I have an urge to buy them all and the only reason no Diptyque ones were purchased was because I was afraid they wouldn't survive the transportation.
If I'd live in London, my place would be an altar dedicated to gorgeous smells and an endless array of candles. So many options, love it!

But back to my candles

muji tin candle review pomelo lychee jasmine black olive muji candles

I think my color palette OCD also kicked in when it came to picking them because once I had fallen for Pomelo and Lychee I of course needed a second one. 

Pomelo and Lychee is slightly sweet, tender, fruity and floral all at once. It smells a bit like blooming trees in spring, but a bit sweeter and fresher. I'll be honest and say pomelo and lychee both smell of nothing to me,or of very little, but the combination offered here is pure perfection. I'd call it the smell of well-being actually.

Jasmine & Black Olive  smells like what you'd expect it to: Jasmin. But it's not too overpowering, like most jasmin scented things tend to be. I think the "black olive" part tones it down and gives it a very subtle bitterness. Which for me is very welcome, as I'm not a fan of sweet smells anymore.

Of course, the favorite of the two is Pomelo and Lychee  simply because I'm into fresher smells but the next time I get to Selfridges, there will be a Muji haul.

muji tin candle review pomelo lychee jasmine black olive muji candles
And can I just ask: how great is the packaging? Simple and spot on. I love the combination of raw materials and metal with raw paper is just ideal to me. If someone would have added leather to this, I would have looked like that meme that goes "Take my money!"

You can find Muji candles at Selfridges or online On their Website as I have just noticed.

So, are you too fans of candles?





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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

June Favorites

It's July. Just take a moment to think about that. More than half of the year has passed and I really can't believe it. It's like spring was just starting yesterday. Crazy! But it also means it's time for some new favorites to appear.


Of course, by the time summer hits, I use less and less things on my face and as you can see, there's almost no make-up in here.

What I was incredibly astounded by was the Real Techniques Shading Brush. I mean, you hear things about a product and you hear everyone hyping it up but you don't really expect it to be THAT great.And then you try it and it's beyond that great.

Let's stick to the face and say that I've found a surprisingly good white pearly eyeshadow. Just perfect for that little highlight on your inner eye corner and on the brow bone. It was sitting there in Boots, at the Natural Collection stand and basically, I just accidentally looked at it as that display really doesn't look too appealing. But guys, the shade is magnificent! It's called White Opal and that is basically what it looks like also.

One more for on the face is the Mario Badescu Enzyme Revitalizing Mask. My thing with Mario Badescu products is that some contain parabens and I prefer not interacting with those, but this mask is clear of that and leaves my skin in the most splendid condition!

Moving on to lips and not only, I think you've seen me swoon about the Moa Balm  a lot, and for good reason. It cleanses,it hydrates, it heals, it basically does everything in just one miracle balm. If I use it as my last step in removing makeup I get the happiest skin you could think of, and it seems to work wonders for acne also.

Balm-wise, I'm overjoyed to have gotten the Nuxe Reve de Miel because it's so thick and efficient, you just need to apply it once a day to get immediate results. Needless to say, I've gotten to the stage where balm is not a necessity anymore, all thanks to this little pot.

Then the nails of course. Favorites have been Essie's Mint Candy Apple and Barry M Greenberry. If my mint obsession was not obvious until now: here you go! You can see the Essie swatch Here and the Barry M one Here .

Hair - wise, I'm a devoted Aussie user, but since on my trip to London I only had hand luggage with me, it meant I could only do minis. And so it came to pass that the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner and John Frieda Full Repair met and formed the most beautiful pair in hair history. I cringe at the thought that my 3 Minute Miracle is about to run out, but one cringeworthy thought at a time I say. Keeping it optimistic.

The same kind of London circumstances happened with me buying the Body Shop White Musk Libertine Eau de Parfum. It was there, I was there, I saw it, I smelled it, and even if I usually am not a fan of musky things, this pink thing somehow attached itself to my nostrils in quite a convincing manner. And here we are, still as happy as ever with each other.                  



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Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Nail | Essie Mint Candy Apple

To this party I truly am late. Mint Candy Apple is one of those shades that have reached complete cult status for one reason or the other. I hadn't gotten it simply because I felt I had a whole lot of mints in my collection. But who am I kidding, I can always have more mint polishes. That was also the reasoning behind purchasing this particular Essie shade.


Monday Nail | Essie Mint Candy Apple nails gold ring swatch review
                                
The fun thing about it, is that it's mint, but then it's not really mint. And it's different. It's kinda pastel but it's also kinda bright. What I'm saying is that I can get the fascination around it. It's definitely a girly shade, one of those that you can wear if you're a girly girl, but also if you're a cool girl and I'd go as far as to say you can probably pull it off at the office also. 
Not to mention, do you see how awesome it looks with gold?


Monday Nail | Essie Mint Candy Apple nails gold ring swatch review

Of all the Essie formulations I've tried (for they have changed them a lot), this one is one of the favorites. Great coverage, almost not streaky at all on the first coat and just the right amount of fluid.This one and Barry M's Greenberry  have "Summer polishes" written all over them!
I'm also noticing that these two angles are not too  flattering on my  almost paw looking hand but I'm kinda liking playing with backgrounds. I might trade the paw for sequins more often.





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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Week In Pictures # 22

This week falls under the constant recurrence of "Go Do". Don't know if you are familiar with the song, but it's one of those things that surprise you and give you a very clear feeling. You know exactly what it is about even you haven't heard or understood the lyrics yet.You can listen to the song Here and the funny thing was realizing that the chocolate I had been munching on all week was indeed also called Go Do.


Starting off well with chocolate and fudge. THE most amazing fudge that is


It was moving day at the office / Warnings were put on the moving boxes


What pretty cupcakes, what nasty frosting / The neon flying fish egg sushi. Looks legit


Quite a bit of sushi was consumed on that occasion / Arts and crafts time got golden


The Go Do choc / My new favorite accessories 





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Friday, July 5, 2013

Barry M Gelly Polishes - My 4 Favorites + Swatches

You have no idea how long I've waited to get my hands on these and because Barry M is mainly found in the UK, it was only on my trip to London that I managed to get my paws tightly clenched around them.The one color I knew I wanted was Greenberry  and you can see the post I did on it Here, but there were a couple of others that I also wanted to try out.

barry m gelly gellies nail polish Lychee, Prickly Pear, Grapefruit,Greenberry

We have, from left to right:  Lychee, Prickly Pear, Grapefruit and Greenberry
They are definitely perfect summer colors and as I was saying in the post on Greenberry , I'm also impressed with their texture and lasting power.

barry m gelly gellies nail polish Lychee, Prickly Pear, Grapefruit,Greenberry
                            
As per usual, the last two don't really look like in reality, Grapefruit being decidedly more pink and Greenberry...well more green. And both are much brighter.
Lychee is a sandy nude that is in itself quite light and looks good with and without a tan. Prickly Pear is that relaxing shade of lilac that looks very natural (even if it is purple) and organic on your hand. Grapefruit is definitely THE summer popper of the bunch. I mean, everyone needs that sort of bright pink for when the sun is shining. And Greenberry is just mint green perfection with saturation turned up.

They generally just need 2 coats, or 3 thin coats. I recommend the 3 very thin ones, as they will increase the time these polishes will last, chip free.

I think Boots still have the 1 + the second at half price on these so you can definitely mix and match if you want to try them out. I for one am very happy about getting them and I might even dare say that my summer color palette is covered. Or is it?


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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

London Photo Diary

As I mentioned on Sunday in the Week in Pictures post, there was going to be an actual,proper post about my last London trip. And what better way to do that than in pictures! I could also use a thousand words to describe each picture, because I'd have the inspiration to do so, but I think this paints a much clearer,faster and literally more colorful image.


1. You have to start at Baker St. 2. The slight fish&chips fail 3. My favorite photo of the trip
4. The Globe: destination of our 3hr walk 5. Mother of all bagels 6. Sunset from my window
7. What a glorious sight 8. Hey box,aren't you a Tardis? 9. Joanna Streetview
                        

1. Few things beat St.Paul's in grandeur 2. Becoming very british very fast 3. My favorite place on the South Bank
4. Nightwalks 5. My little SouthBench 6. Ben being Ben
7. Was preparing for greatness,wasn't that great 8. Transylvanian Vampires in the middle of Hampstead 9. The begin of a beautiful sushi friendship


1. I take sushi friendships very serious 2. Soho: bucket of inspiration 3. And Pimm's
4. My most used: feet and the south bank bench 5. And then came chocolate 6.And some more
7. And let's not forget a bit more chocolate 8. The last snack on the tube 9. Attempting artistry at night






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Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Color Alert - Barry M Greenberry

Oh how I've waited to get my hands on this polish! Ever since I first saw the the Gelly collection I knew I had to have this one. And right I was! The second I put it on I couldn't stop staring. Even with my unflatteringly short, nay, very short nails, it looks good. A task many a polish has failed before.Let me show you what it looks like first.


barry m gelly spring collection barry m greenberry swatch review nail polish
This is, of course, one of those shades that will never photograph in its true color. I can tell you it's slightly greener and a lot brighter. Basically, it's an absolute summer must have color.

Two coats have been used this time, like with most of the other polishes from the Barry M Gelly collection. I got 4 in total and will be showing you the swatches later this week.
Can't really say if it has more or vastly more shine than other polishes. I can say that it is shiny in a very lovely manner and that it lasts incredibly well. Prickly Pear for example, a pale lilac from the same collection, has endured 5 days on my nails, including a plane trip, which is where most polishes fail. It's also a reason I hate painting my nails before a flight, because I know that by the time I land, much of the polish will have flown away also.This had stayed on with no top coat and on longer nails.So that in itself is very impressive.

What can I say, I'm immensely happy I've got my hands on this glorious thing. Do you like it as much as I do?

                             
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