Saturday, October 5, 2013

Small Zoya/Ulta Haul - Nail Polish and Dry Shampoo!

Hello! As you may or may not know (depending on if you read my blog/watch my videos or not), I've been trying to branch out and try different brands of nail polish. I'm still a big fan of Julep, but at this point I'm nearing 60 different colors of their polishes (I technically have more, but they're duplicates so I don't count them) and...that seems like too much from one brand, even if it is a really good brand. One brand I recently tried for the first time was Zoya and boy did I fall in love!

When I bought my first two Zoya polishes, Hazel and Faye, I had kind of a hard time settling on which colors to get. I originally wanted to just pick up Neely, a beautiful mint green that a lot of people raved about on Youtube (admittedly, I think more people talked about essie's Mint Candy Apple). When I went to Ulta (which is the only place that I know of for sure that carries Zoya polishes. If you know of other places, please let me know!), my attention was immediately grabbed by Hazel. I figured I could swing getting two polishes instead of one because, conveniently, Zoya polishes are very reasonably priced. They're generally $8 for a normal polish and $9 for a Pixie Dust polish. I was going to get Neely and Hazel, but then looked at the main line of colors (Neely and Hazel are spring/summer polishes) and fell in love with Faye. After a short mental struggle, I went home with Hazel and Faye, but I kept thinking about Neely. After over a week had passed and I was still thinking about Neely, I knew I had to go back and get it.

And so I did! I waited until Ulta mailed me one of their $3.50 off a $10 purchase coupon and I'm glad I did! They ended up having a special where, if you bought three Zoya polishes, you would get a special Zoya nail care set that was worth $22 for free.
When I went to Ulta, I knew one of the three polishes I would get would be Neely. I also knew I'd be picking up at least one Pixie Dust polish because I was very interested in trying them out. Zoya's Pixie Dusts are very similar to OPI's Liquid Sand polishes (which I'm not a big fan of) and Julep's Sea Salts (which I do like!) in that they are a heavily textured, gritty polish that dry matte (though some have sparkle). I really like the idea of textured nail polish and, now that I have so many different colors, I find myself more interested in unique finishes.

I'll start with Neely since that's the polish I knew for sure I would get.
I've been into pastel/mint green colors all spring and summer and fell in love with Neely when I first saw it in some "unboxing" videos on Youtube (I forget which subscription box it was, though). It's more green than mint or blue like some other polishes I have, which helps make it unique in my collection. On Zoya's website they describe it as a "full coverage earliest spring green" and give it an opacity rating of 5 (1 being sheer, 5 being opaque). It's definitely an opaque color, but it takes at least two coats to get a nice, even finish (the first coat is kind of streaky). This is also the only color I got that wasn't a part of Zoya's new Fall collection.

Next, I picked out a Pixie Dust polish and ended up with a very unexpected color choice.
I got an orange polish called Dhara! I never wear orange polish; I don't think it looks very nice with my skin tone. I debated for a long time over which Pixie Dust to get, wavering between getting Tomoko (a beautiful champagne) and either Carter (a purple) or Arabella (a fuchsia). I was almost set on Tomoko when, for some reason, I decided to shake things up and get a color that I knew for sure I had nothing similar to. I also picked it up because I thought it would be perfect for the month of October since I really wanted to do some Halloween themed looks. I actually ended up loving the color all on its own! I wore it the first week of October (not sure what date will post with this blog entry...I started it 9/22 and now it's 9/5...) and it looked great with my skin tone! It's a very fall appropriate color, but it's not dark or jeweled toned like many other "Fall color" polishes. As for the finish, I think Zoya's Pixie Dusts are my favorite textured polish. They have the sparkle that I like in OPI's Liquid Sand, but it's much denser and fuller, like Julep's Sea Salt. It's also not a "harsh" grit; there's definitely texture to it, but it won't snag or scratch, it almost has a nice rounded feel to it, if that makes sense. My only issue with Zoya's Pixie Dusts is that they wear off pretty quickly if you don't use a top coat, which you're technically not supposed to do if you want to preserve the unique matte, textured finish. Zoya describes Dhara as "fiery orange copper with a matte, textured, sparkling metal finish" with an opacity of 4. They also describe this as a "cool toned" color, which might explain why it looks as nice as it does on me (I'm a cool-toned person).

The final polish in my trio is Neve.
Um...ignore the fact that you can kind of see a reflection of me in the bottle... Like Dhara, Neve is a color I wouldn't normally have picked out for myself. I don't really like deep jewel tones and that's pretty much what Neve is. Zoya describes Neve as a "sapphire blue metallic" and unfortunately doesn't list an opacity for it. Neve was also originally developed for the Zang Toi Autumn/Winter 2013 fashion show. I was drawn to this color, and pretty much the entire reason I purchased it, because of its name. I don't do it too often, but I will admit to buying a nail polish (or an eyeshadow or other such things) just because of the name of it. I happen to know some people named Neve in real life, and I thought it would be amusing to own a polish with the same name! Even though this isn't a polish I would normally buy, it's actually quite beautiful. It's a very deep sapphire/navy blue with a subtle shimmer to it and, while it doesn't look the best on my nails, could be gorgeous on someone else.

And here's what I got for free for buying three Zoya polishes!
It's a deluxe/travel sized Zoya nail care kit that includes a 1fl oz bottle of Remove +, a 7.5 ml bottle of Zoya's Anchor base coat and Armor top coat, and a 7.5ml bottle of Zoya's Fast Drops quick dry drops. The quick dry drops also came with a little eye dropper applicator. I'm really glad I was able to get this kit and try out some of Zoya's "nail basics"; I've only ever used two brands of base coat/top coat (butter London and Sephora by OPI) so it was nice to add a third brand to my experiences. I think I like butter London's base coat and top coats more, but I do think Zoya's performed better than Sephora by OPI (which is kind of a moot point now since Sephora dropped the line). The Fast Dry drops were pretty meh. I've used Sephora by OPI quick dry drops and I've used Julep's quick dry and drops and I think I'm just bad at using them! No quick dry drops ever seem to work for me, even if I follow the directions exactly. The only good experience I've ever had with quick dry drops was when I had a manicure at a Julep nail parlor. By far though, the best thing in the kit was the Remove +. As you may or may not know (depending on how much of my blog you've read), my favorite nail polish remover ever is the Sephora by OPI one that is now no longer available. I love it because it takes my polish off quickly and effectively and it has a really unique and pleasant smell, kind of like black licorice. I am incredibly sad I won't be able to get it anymore, but I think Remove + might be a good replacement for it. Remove + seems to be just as effective in removing my polish, and it too has a rather nice scent (though no where near as nice as my Sephora by OPI).

While at Ulta, I wandered around a bit while trying to finalize my polish selections (I like to walk and think. I feel weird just staring at the same display) and I ended up over in the "drugstore" hair care section. All summer, people have been getting dry shampoo samples in their subscription bags. Except, somehow, me! I've been curious about dry shampoos; my hair is dry, frizzy, and quite curly when it wants to be and I struggle with "next day" hairstyles. When I take a shower and let my hair air dry, it usually ends up somewhat nice looking (depending on things like weather, the product combination I use, how much I touch it while it's drying. I still haven't really figured my hair out...). The next day, though, it's just super dry and frizzy and limp and the only way that I can wear it that really works is in a ponytail. Which is boring and lame. I have been interested in trying Ouidad's Botanical Boost spray, but I'm not sure if it will be powerful enough to make it worth the money (I've tried it once before and wasn't too impressed with it, but I also didn't know what I was doing).

What worried me about dry shampoo is that my hair doesn't really get oily if I don't wash it, it just gets dry and frizzy, and I didn't want to make things worse with dry shampoo (since the point of it is to soak up extra oil). I was debating whether dry shampoo was really something that was worth me even trying, when I saw this:
A special dry shampoo for people with wavy/curly hair! And it's even by a brand I wanted to try, Pssssst! I'm not sure how new of a product this is, but I hadn't heard of it before, and it has a little "New!" circle on it, so I'm assume it hasn't been around too long. On the back it says it's "specially formulated for textured hair" and that it has Argan extract to prevent over-drying. I was a little unsure of this product since I do have a sensitivity to Argan oil (it makes me break out and severely irritated my lips) but figured I'd try it anyways since a. I don't think this has all that much Argan in it (afterall, they said it was "Argan extract" not Argan oil and it's the second to last ingredient) and b. it will hopefully stay localized to my hair. I've used this product a few times now, and it definitely makes my hair feel clean and surprisingly soft, but I don't think it can be a stand alone product for a next day hair style. I'm thinking if I used it in tandem with, say, the Botanical Boost by Ouidad, I might be able to make it work. It does make my scalp feel a little itchy, but I'm not sure if that's just the dry shampoo itself or if it's the Argan oil. The skin around my scalp doesn't feel itchy, so at least it doesn't spread. I'm also not a big fan of the ingredients; I know aerosols need to use propellants like butane and propane, but it still feels weird spraying it on your head. I much prefer Alterna's method of packing their dry shampoo; it's just powder in a bottle, no aerosol (and thus no propane and butane) needed. Overall I'm pretty "meh" about this product; it does make my hair feel and look nicer, but it's not really a game changer. It wasn't that expensive, though, so that was nice.

After I got home, I immediately showed my husband my polish purchases because I wanted to know what he thought of the colors I had picked out (I was still feeling unsure of my choice of Dhara since it was so...unlike me!). He thought they were nice, until I told him about the other Pixie Dust I had thought about getting, Tomoko. After I explained to him what the color looked like, he was convinced that it was named after Tomoko Kuroki, from the anime "No Matter How I Look At It, It's You Guy's Fault I'm Not Popular", or, "Watamote". It's basically about Tomoko's attempts to become popular at school, even though she's awkward and has a bit of a perverse streak in her.
While I'm pretty sure that's not why Zoya named their polish Tomoko, my husband did make a good point in that the color is pretty similar to her school uniform, and it's a big coincidence that Tomoko would come out now since it is a newer anime. So, obviously, now I had to get Tomoko, too! My husband drove me back to Ulta the next day (it wasn't very nice out and I didn't want to walk) so I could get it. I even ended up getting it for free since I had so many points saved up! I don't keep track of my Ulta points because I don't really got to Ulta that much so when the cashier told me I could get the polish for free if I used my points, I was both surprised and very happy!
On Zoya's website, Tomoko is described as a "romantic champagne silver with a matte, textured, sparkling metal finish" with an opacity of 4. It's a beautiful color and I've worn it a few times now! My favorite thing to do with it is to do a sort of ombre tip, where I sponge it just on the tip of my nail. It's very wintery and delicate looking, especially over a matte nude (I put it over Julep's Florence after I used their matte top coat). I'm really glad I picked this color up!

Finally, here's a quick swatch of my four new colors. Dhara is a bit more vibrant in real life, otherwise I think this is a good representation color-wise. Overall, I am very impressed with my Zoya polishes and will definitely keep buying more! Zoya is quickly becoming my favorite, and go-to, brand of nail polish and I look forward to seeing what colors and finishes they'll release next. My favorite polish out of the four has to be Tomoko; it's so delicate and sparkling and it works really well for layered/sponged effect and I love the effect of the Pixie Dusts. I keep saying it, but if you've never tried Zoya polish, go out and get a bottle!

Thanks for reading! <3!

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