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Nail Polish

Nail Polish

Hand and Nail Care Routine Favorites

March 10, 2021

Sabrina's Hand and Nail Care Essentials

By popular request I have an updated hand and nail care routine roundup! My last one was a few years ago (time flies!) and while many of the things have stayed the same, I have stopped using a few things. I’ve been doing my own nails on my own for several years now – pretty much since we moved to Florida. I still haven’t tried gel nails, dip powders, acrylics or press ons. I usually keep things simple and use regular nail polish formulas.

Cuticle Care

Cuticle Care Essentials Sally Hansen, Tweezerman and OPI

I feel like a lot of the Deborah Lippmann formulas changed! I bought several replacements of the Cuticle Remover and Nail Polish Remover and they didn’t work the same. Recent reviews still seem positive but the bottles I bought had chunks of white product floating in the bottle. I decided to look for an alternative. My tools remain the same tried and true go-to’s! I did replace the cuticle trimmer recently, over time the tools become dull with a lot of use and just need to be replaced.

(I also love the Dior Huile Abricot Daily Nutritive Serum and CND SolarOil.)

Best Cuticle Treatments OPI, Dior, CND, Olive and June

Nail Polish Remover + Tools

Olive and June Nail Tools and Zoya Remover Plus

For nail polish removers and tools, my all around favorites are from Olive and June. You can buy their items from their website and they have also expanded their line at Target! I love the nail files, nail buffer, clean up brush and their nail polish remover! I recommend shopping their website for the best selection and customizable Manicure Systems and box sets. (I use their boxes to store a lot of my essentials to keep them all in one place!)

My next favorite polish remover is Zoya. It’s one that doesn’t make my nails peel or fingers dry out. It’s effective on regular polish and doesn’t feel harsh on the skin.

My favorite clippers and on-the-go tools are also from Tweezerman. I love this Mini Nail Rescue Kit for everyday use and love that it also travel friendly.

Hand Creams

Best Hand Creams Chanel, La Mer, LOccitane, Molton Brown

Best Hand Balm Guerlain Abeille Royale Repairing Hand Balm

above, clear stackable box in the last photo from amazon

I’m the biggest hand cream fanatic and always love trying new formulas. My current top 5 include:

  • Chanel La Crème Main Texture Riche – best packaging design and lightweight formula
  • La Mer The Hand Treatment – one of the most luxurious hand creams for ultra dry skin, I also love the La Mer Rejuvenating Hand Serum but ran out of it and will be replacing it soon!
  • L’Occitane Solidarity Hand Cream – is one of their new limited-edition formulas, it has a soft hibiscus sent which is really pleasant! I bought 2 but am going to order a few more backups since it’s limited-edition and I really like the scent and cause it supports. Every year they make a product where 100% of the profits help fund projects for women in Burkina Faso for education and professional development
  • Molton Brown Flora Luminare Hand Cream – I love a lot of the Molton Brown hand creams but this one smells like sunshine to me, it has a bright happy kind of sent with orange blossom, mandarin, ylang-ylang, frangipani, jasmin, rose, vanilla, cedarwood and musk. The formula is nice and not too heavy, I also adore this scent in the Shower Gel and Glowing Body Oil.
  • Guerlain Repairing and Youth Hand Balm is one of the best new discoveries I’ve had, the balm is pretty spendy, especially for the size, but I’ve found it to be the best for ultra dry skin, it has a balm-feel with honey concentrate and really does work to smooth and hydrate super dry hands, it’s lightly scented (not overpowering).

Base and Top Coat

Best Base and Top Coats OPI, Chanel, Smith and Cult

For base and top coat, I stopped using Essie’s Quick Dry Speed Setter. It worked so well to dry the nails fast and create a long lasting manicure but the formula was harsh on my nails and hands. If any product came in contact with my skin (even if I removed it with remover) it caused cracking and hardening wherever it touched.

Best Hand and Nail Care Essentials DIY Manicure The Beauty Lookbook

above expandable tray from Amazon

That wraps up my hand and nail care routine favorites! I hope you found this helpful! A number of you have also asked for my favorites for feet care. I still haven’t found my favorites to replicate a salon pedicure, although I really like the Spongables Pedi-Scrub and Tweezerman Sole Smoother Stone.

Let me know your favorites in the comments!

 

 

Press samples include: OPI Cuticle Oil, Guerlain Hand Balm, Olive and June tools.

Nail Polish

Pink + Red Nail Polishes To Try for Valentine’s Day

February 9, 2021

OPI Pink and Red Nail Polishes for Valentine's Day

I’ve swatched and rounded up some pink and red nail polishes to try for Valentine’s Day! OPI is one of my favorite brands for nail polish and they just launched their new Hollywood Collection. I received a few press samples to try but the ones that stood out to me were the lighter shades so I ordered them from Ulta (also available at Amazon). I decided to swatch of the new ones alongside a few of their classics. Colors I have swatched are all with two coats. I found they applied smoothly – I tend to prefer the opaque colors anyways!

For those interested in my DIY hand and nail care routine, you can see my Hand + Nail Care Routine and Tips post.

  • Movie Buff (Hollywood Collection) – pale creamy pink mauve
  • Hollywood and Vibe (Hollywood Collection) – pale cool-toned pink
  • I’m An Extra (Hollywood Collection) – medium pink peach
  • Suzi Calls the Paparazzi (Hollywood Collection) – neutral creamy pink rose
  • Princesses Rule – sheer sparkling light pink with microsparkles
  • 15 Minutes of Flame (Hollywood Collection) – metallic fuchsia pink
  • OPI Red – classic red with a tiny hint of pearl
  • Emmy Have You Seen Oscar? (Hollywood Collection)- perfect bright bold red
  • I’m Really an Actress (Hollywood Collection) – sparkling plum gold shimmer
  • I’m Not Really a Waitress – deep metallic wine

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Movie Buff (Hollywood Collection)

OPI Movie Buff Nail Polish Swatch | The Beauty Look Book

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Hollywood and Vibe (Hollywood Collection)

OPI Hollywood and Vibe Nail Polish Swatch

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I’m An Extra (Hollywood Collection)

OPI I'm an Extra Nail Polish Swatch

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Suzi Calls the Paparazzi (Hollywood Collection)

OPI Suzi Calls the Paparazzi Nail Polish Swatch

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Princesses Rule

OPI Princesses Rule Nail Polish Swatch

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15 Minutes of Flame (Hollywood Collection)

OPI 15 Minutes of Flame Nail Polish Swatch

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OPI Red

OPI Red Nail Polish Swatch

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Emmy Have You Seen Oscar? (Hollywood Collection)

OPI Emmy Have You Seen Oscar Nail Polish Swatch

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I’m Really an Actress (Hollywood Collection)

OPI I'm Really an Actress Nail Polish Swatch

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I’m Not Really a Waitress

OPI I'm Not Really A Waitress swatch

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It has been ages since I did a nail polish wheel swatch! I thought it might be helpful to do a side by side with a few other shades mixed in for reference:

Pink and Red Nail Polishes for Valentine's Day The Beauty Lookbook

You can find the new Hollywood shades available at Ulta Beauty and Amazon. Other classic colors are more widely available. Do you like pinks or reds for nails? What are your favorites? (I’ve linked a few of my favorite base and top coats below as well.)

Shop the Post:

 

 

Press samples include OPI Princesses Rule, I’m Really an Actress, 15 Minutes of Flame. All others purchased by me.

Nail Polish

Holiday Nail Polish Swatches OPI, Smith & Cult + Dior

December 27, 2020

Holiday Nail Polish Swatches OPI, Smith & Cult, Dior

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Holiday! Andrew and I had a nice Christmas eve with close family. We made Christmas dinner at our house this year and tried making gingerbread houses too which was fun but super messy! I have a nail polish swatch roundup of a few colors I’ve been loving this season. I have been sticking with my usual neutrals for the most part this year but thought it was time to switch things up and play with some sparkle and shine.

OPI Naughty or Ice? is a pretty semi-sheer pearlescent white. It’s similar to OPI Happy Birthday but the holiday Naughty or Ice pulls a little more champagne/warm.

OPI Naughty or Ice?

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OPI Snow Falling For You is a metallic light pink. It has minimal visible brush strokes so it applies pretty smooth. I love this pretty pink!

OPI Snow Falling For You

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OPI Tinsel Tinsel Star* is a light blue-grey shimmer. It pulls on the sheer side with 2 coats (shown below). You can get more opaque coverage with 3.

OPI Tinsel Tinsel Star

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OPI To All A Good Night* is a beautiful complex metallic gunmetal shade. It flashes different sparkles of silver, blue, grey. I love it for a deeper but fun color.

OPI To All A Good Night swatch

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OPI Merry In Cranberry is a pretty pearly cranberry shade. It has full smooth coverage with 2 coats.

OPI Merry In Cranberry Nail Polish swatch

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Dior Golden Snow* is a top coat. It has larger chunks of iridescent glitter. I applied it alone but it’s fun over another color too!

Dior Golden Snow Nail Polish swatch

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Smith and Cult Ceremony of Secrets* is a beautiful metallic pink. It has smooth full coverage with two coats.

Smith and Cult Ceremony of Secrets swatch

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Smith and Cult A Little Lovely is one of the prettiest pink gold glitters I’ve ever tried. It has a beautiful pink gold base and tons of glitter mixed in.

Smith and Cult A Little Lovely Nail Polish swatch

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What have you been wearing on your nails this holiday?

 

 

Press samples have a * next to them. All others purchased by me.

Fashion Nail Polish Roundup

Favorite Summer Sandals + Polish Combinations

July 7, 2020

Best Summer Sandals + Nail Polish Colors to Try

With summer in full swing I thought I’d put together a summer sandal roundup with my favorite nail polish pairings. I’m all about flat sandals for comfort and love how easy they are to wear for a casual summer look. When it comes to shoes I tend to find a couple styles I like and buy them in multiple colors. The basic white, neutral, tan and black colors are the most versatile for me as they’ll go with pretty much any color for outfits.

I’ll make a note on sizing for each style I’ve tried below. I’m usually a 6.5 or 36.5 in most brands for sandals like Tory Burch, Splendid, Joie, Hermes, UGG, Cole Haan. For sneakers depending on brand I usually size up to a 7 in Nike, APL and Saucony. For all of these I either try to shop directly from the brand if I know my size or somewhere like Nordstrom that has an easy return/exchange policy in case the shoes do not fit.

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White Wide Strap Sandals + Bright Red Orange Polish

Sam Edelman Gala Sandal White

Sandals: Sam Edelman Gala Two Strap Slide ($59.95 at Nordstrom and Sam Edelman)

Sizing & Fit: Runs true to size (I wear a 6.5). These are comfortable with a slight cushion in the sole. I’ve worn these out for several hours at a time and love them. No break in period. Strap is comfortable and soft with an elastic cutout in the back strap so it can move with your foot. Also worn in my Miami Travel Diary (last year). They’ve held up really well over time!

Polish: Smith and Cult Poppy Papi* ($18 at Smith and Cult, Beautylish) – Smooth opaque coverage with two coats. It has a slight translucent feel as it is more like a jelly. Love how fast it dries and sets. Reminds me of a slightly more red version of Chanel Espadrilles (discontinued).

Other Details: ClareV Petite Sandy Tote and Rayban Phantos Sunglasses.

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White Lace Up Tie Sandals + Baby Blue Polish

Marc Fisher Marina Lace-Up Sandal White

Sandals: Marc Fisher Marina Lace-Up Sandals ($65.48 on sale at Nordstrom)

Sizing and Fit: True to size with a squared off toe, thin leather lace up style with a cushioned footbed. I normally don’t like square toe sandals but found these super cute! I’ve only had these for about a month now but I love how they feel. Super comfortable and chic! Also available in a few other similar styles Marg (two straps at the front, one buckled ankle strap) and Monty (no ankle straps).

Polish: Chanel Le Vernis in Bleu Pastel* ($28 at Chanel.com, left foot) is one of my favorite light blue polishes. It’s like a soft washed baby blue with a warm undertone. Reviewed and swatched on the hands in this post here.

Olive and June Honest and True* ($8 at Olive and June, right foot) is pretty close in color to the Chanel option, the Olive and June one is a bit deeper and more blue in undertone. Full coverage with two thin coats.

Other Details: Towel by Dusen Dusen (old style), Mita Visor is from Helen Kaminski, Black Sunglasses Celine

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White + Gold Splurge Sandals + Orange Polish

Gucci Leather T-Strap Sandal White

Sandals: Gucci GG T-Strap Sandals in White Leather ($520 at Nordstrom and Gucci)

Sizing and Fit: True to size, I wear a 6.5. These were quite the splurge and I had them on my wishlist for so long. I splurged on these for my birthday and love them. They have a couple grips on the sole so it prevents you from sliding around on slippery floors or tiles. I think they’re really well made and they aren’t painful on the feet. However there’s no cushion or padding so your mileage may vary on wear.

Polish: Chanel Le Vernis in Cruise ($28 at Chanel.com) is part of the Les Beiges 2020 Collection. So many of you loved how bright and summery this orange was. I think it goes best with white or tan sandals. It has full smooth coverage with two coats. It’s the closest match to the color of a real orange – super glossy and shiny in the finish too!

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Tory Burch Millers in Bleach + Classic Coral

Tory Burch Miller Sandals in White

Sandals: Tory Burch Miller Leather Sandal ($149 to $198 at Nordstrom and Tory Burch)

Sizing and Fit: The Millers fit true to size on me as well, but I can wear either a 6.5 or 7 – both are really close in fit. My right foot is a little bigger than my left foot and sometimes I will opt for a slightly larger sandal if the fit is really close. The Tory Burch Millers are my favorite sandals that I wear almost all the time. The large medallion helps it stay on the foot better than a traditional flip flop and the leather material makes it a little more dressy.

The Bleach color may be a bit hard to find in your size as it’s been marked down on a number of sites so it sold out really fast. The good news is there are multiple colors available (many also marked down) so if you’ve been eyeing these there’s a good chance you can find it on sale! I saw it restock a couple times – so you may want to check back on sites like Nordstrom or Tory Burch.

Some of you have asked whether the regular leather or patent is better. I’ve found the patent lasts longer and is more resistant to wear, however if you get caught in a rain storm (which happens frequently in Florida) they can get pretty slippery on the foot.

Polish: Dior Vernis in Diorcharm 675 on the toes ($28 at Dior) is a pretty bright red coral with a hint of shimmer. I used to be the biggest fan of Dior nail polishes and still think the formula is phenomenal. The new colors seem harder to find these days, most of the fun colors only launch at Dior.com (at least in the US). The formula is a one-coat wonder and I love the brush.

OPI We Seafood and Eat It* ($5.25 at Ulta) is a fun cream coral red color. I think OPI makes some of the best more budget-friendly colors and the formula lasts a long time on me.

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Light Beige Lace Up Sandals + Neutral Cream Sand

Marc Fisher Marina Sandals Nude

Sandals: Marc Fisher Marina Lace-Up in Light Leather Latte ($65.98 at Nordstrom)

Sizing and Fit: True to size, I wear a 6.5 in these! Details above listed under the white sandals – I had to buy in multiple colors.

Polish: OPI Samoan Sand ($5.25 at Ulta) – one of my most worn light beige nude cream polishes. Goes with everything! Swatched on the hands with my other favorite neutrals in my Top 5 Best Nude Nail Polishes post.

Other Details: Bag is the Tory Burch Perry Bombe Bag (color is Perfect Sand which was limited-edition, also have it in Black reviewed here showing what fits inside), Lip Gloss is Pat McGrath LUST Gloss in Faux Real* (swatches here), Visor is Helen Kaminski

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Tan Platform Slide Sandals + Bold Reds

Ugg Kari Sandals Tan Chloe Mini Marcie

Sandals: UGG Kari Sandals in Natural ($109.95 at Nordstrom)

Sizing and Fit: Runs True to Size, I wear a 6.5. These are in my Top 2 most comfortable sandals I have. I love them so much I bought a backup pair just in case they become discontinued. I’ve had these for over a year and have worn them almost to death but they’ve held up really well. They have a platform about 1 inch so it’s not too chunky or hard to walk in. The sole molds to the foot giving you support and making it easy to wear. Also shown in a few outfits in my Miami Travel Diary (from last year).

Polish: Smith and Cult Kundalini Hustle* on the toes ($18 at Smith and Cult) is a pure poppy red with a slight blue undertone. I love that it’s a bright red that doesn’t darken too much when it dries.

Chanel Le Vernis in Gitane* on the tips ($28 at Chanel.com) is a bold bright red. It’s a true neutral red so it’s not too warm and not too cool. When it comes to red polishes I think Chanel does it best!

Other Details: Chloe Mini Marcie (reviewed here also worn here) and Rayban Phantos Sunglasses

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Tan Medallion Sandals + Coral Pinks

Tory Burch Miller Sandals Tan Brown

Sandals: Tory Burch Miller in Vintage Vachetta ($198 at Tory Burch, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s)

Sizing and Fit: True to size, I usually wear a 6.5 in these. This color and style is the one I’ve worn the most. The quality is exceptional and I love how it goes with everything. I’ve worn these so much I have gone through several pairs already – with most people I do think they will last a lot longer. I’ve shortened the life span by wearing these pretty much everywhere – on trips, while moving, in the rain etc. I try to take better care of my other shoes to make them last longer.

Polish: Chanel Le Vernis in Coralium 562 on the toes ($28 at Chanel.com) is my most-worn coral nail polish. Anytime you see a peachy coral on my toes, it’s most likely this one. It has a hint of pink to so it’s not a pure peach/orange. (Also reviewed here.)

Chanel Le Vernis in Turban 524 on the tips is similar but has more pink. I think both of these are my perfect go-to’s for summer. (Turban also reviewed here.)

Other Details: Sunnies are Celine, Hat is Helen Kaminski, Beach towel is Tory Burch and Mini Bag is also Tory Burch

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Black Lace Up Sandals + Lilac/Lavender

Marc Fisher Strappy Marina Lace Up Sandals

Sandals: Marc Fisher Marina Lace-Up Sandals ($65.48 on sale at Nordstrom)

Sizing and Fit: True to size.

Polish: Essie U’V got me faded on the toes ($9 at Ulta) is part of the summer Sunny Business collection. It’s a pale lilac color with a white base so it’s pastel. On my fingers it looks paler than on my toes for some reason. If you want a deeper lilac with shimmer the Essie Spring in Your Step is slightly darker.

Olive and June Fierce and Loving* on the fingers ($8 at Olive and June) is a lavender color with a more pinkish tinge. Two coats covers the nail entirely. I love how fresh and pretty this one is!

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Black Miller Sandals + Hot Pinks

 

Tory Burch Black Leather Miller Sandals

Sandals: Tory Burch Miller in Black Leather (also available in patent black)

Sizing and Fit: True to size!

Polish: Chanel Le Vernis in Camelia* ($28 at Chanel.com) is my most-worn deep pink. It’s a classic go with everything color! I know a lot of you like brighter pinks versus deeper pinks. I think OPI Strawberry Margarita* is a few shades lighter and brighter for the perfect bright summer pink.

Other Details: Cult Gaia Mini Ark in Natural and Celine sunglasses (on the face here and here)

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Rockstud Black Sandals + Off-White Cream

Valentino Rockstud Slide Sandals Black

Sandals: Valentino Rockstud Slide Sandal ($675 at Nordstrom)

Sizing and Fit: Varies depending on style. I took these in a Size 6/36 because the straps fit better on my foot for this color combination and it fits my foot as well. These are the fanciest sandals I own and I was debating whether to buy the leather or patent jelly version (cheaper but slightly different style). I’ve only worn these out one time – I have been waiting for a more special occasion to wear these but we have been staying at home more so I haven’t really taken them out. Can’t wait to wear these more! I find they stay on the foot pretty well.

Polish: Essie Talk to the Sand ($9 at Ulta) is a pale cream with a slight peach/pink tinge. I looked up swatches online and I think it’s so interesting how this looks different on everyone depending on your skin tone and undertone. On me it looks more peach on the fingers, on the toes is almost looks like a pink-white, on some others it looks more peach or beige. It has a lot of contrast with my tan skin tone so if you’re fair it will most likely look less white against your fingers/toes.

Other Details: Purse is the Gucci Supermini.

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Comfortable Everyday Wear-Around-The-House Slides

APL Techloom Slides

Sandals: APL Techloom Slides ($100 at APL)

Sizing and Fit: These are the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever worn – but they’re more of a casual sport slide rather than an everyday sandal. I have these in multiple colors (like I do with all my shoes) and wear these in a Size 6. They only have these in whole sizes and since I have fairly narrow feet the next size up was too wide for me. In their sneakers I wear a 7 for APL and Nike because I like extra room for movement, socks and swelling with activity. I also bought these for Andrew and he wears a 12 in APL sneakers and the slides – so for him they were True to Size (he’s usually a 12 or 12.5 in most brands).

I’d recommend reading the sizing reviews on their website if you’re a half size. They’re so comfortable I’ve been able to walk long distances in them without any issues. To clean them you can put them in the washing machine or hand scrub the sole if they get super dirty. Just make sure you air dry (don’t put in the dryer).

Polish: Olive and June Honest and True on the left, Chanel Resplendissant on the right

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Favorite Summer Sandals + Polishes to Try

I hope you enjoyed this sandal review and polish swatch roundup! A lot of you have asked for DIY pedicure tips – unfortunately I haven’t found anything that I’ve loved. All my mani/pedis these days are DIY. While I have my hand care routine down, I don’t have a good pedicure routine. I’ll link my tools, top and base coat below. But for scrubs and pumice stones I haven’t found any really good ones yet.

What is your favorite polish color to wear for summer? I think I need to try more purples and perhaps a yellow.

Shoes and Accessories:

 

Polish Colors:

 

Press samples have a * next to them. Other shades purchased by me.

Nail Polish

Spring Polish Colors to Brighten the Mood

April 9, 2020

Best Spring Nail Polishes

acrylic display stand from Muji

Doing something as simple as painting my nails these days has some kind of calming effect on me. I’ve been painting my own nails for several years now and since we’re all stuck at home this might a good time to try and improve your own technique! I’m rounding up my favorite spring polish colors to brighten the mood. I’m kinda into softer shades and pastels at the moment. If you have any ones you love let me know in the comments!

First, if you want tips and info on a DIY mani, you can check out my hand and nail care routine roundup.

Chanel

Color-wise, my favorite colors right now are the Chanel Fleur do Pecher and Petale from the La Fleur Et L’Eau Collection. However many of you asked me for more budget-friendly recommendations so I’m sharing some colors I’ve hauled recently from Essie, OPI, Olive and June below.

Chanel Le Vernis Fleur de Pecher and Petale swatch_______________

Essie

Essie is a favorite among many of you. Color-wise I think there are some really nice shades. Formula-wise it’s not my favorite simply because I find other brands last longer/better on my fingers. They recently launched a new quick-dry formula called Expressie and it really does dry faster! I picked up 3 colors to give a whirl and love all of them. I can get full opaque coverage with 2 thin coats.

Buns Up is a neutral beige cream, similar to OPI Samoan Sand, but the Essie is not as yellow and also has more opaque coverage.

Essie Expressie Buns Up

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Crop Top and Roll is a nice everyday neutral pink beige cream, I can get full smooth coverage with 2 coats as well.

Essie Crop Top and Roll

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In the Time Zone is a blue-based cream pink, but isn’t too blue on my golden skin tone.

Essie Expressie In the Time Zone

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For the spring color launch I think all the colors are really fun and fresh. I limited myself to 2 of them including Kissed by Mist, a light blue-based pink with tiny violet sparkles.

Essie Nail Polish Kissed by Mist

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Spring in Your Step is one of the prettiest smooth pearl lavender colors I’ve seen. It flashes a very subtle hint of pink in the shimmer.

Essie Spring In Your Step

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OPI

OPI is my favorite affordable nail polish brand. I think they have the best color selection and lasting power. I’ve used a number of their base and top coats in the past and love them to extend wear. My most-worn neutrals are Samoan Sand, Machu Peach-u and Tiramisu for Two. In case you missed the swatches, check out my Top 5 Best Nude Nail Polishes post. They recently launched a Neo-Pearl Collection and since everything is online only these days I relied on YouTube swatches to pick a couple colors. I normally prefer the regular formula, but it appears the Infinite Shine 2 options for this launch are better and less streaky. I ordered these from Ulta but it looks like they are sold out right now. You might have to do a bit of searching to find these.

I’m a Natural is the perfect pale pink polish color. It’s a soft pink that flashes a slight hint of blue. I think it’s perfect! This one is best with at least 2 coats. In online swatches and photos I’ve seen it flash more purple/blue. I guess it depends on the angle and lighting!

OPI Infinite Shine 2 I'm a Natural

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You’re Full of Abalone is a pale ivory white that has a flashes a tiny bit of blue/violet. It’s sheer so I like it best with 3 coats. It’s a nice clean white that isn’t too stark or sharp on my skin.

OPI Infinite Shine 2 You're Full of Abalone

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Olive and June

The Olive and June nail salon in LA is one of the cutest places I’ve ever been to. I’ve only been there once and it was the most expensive nail treatment I splurged on with a friend. We both still remember it! They launched their own line of polish and nail care products and I think they’re super cute. You can see a previous review of their Tool Box here. A few of their polishes are now available at Target, but the vast majority of their products are online at their website Olive and June.

GH is a pale pink that’s almost white on my skin. The formula is buildable so don’t be shocked if the first coat looks streaky. Just apply 1 thin coat, let it dry completely. The 2nd coat will smooth out to smooth coverage.

Olive and June Nail Polish GH

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TT is a pale lilac, also almost off -white on my skin, but looks clean and fresh!

Olive and June TT

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SE is a baby blue-based pink, best with 2 thin coats. You may need a third on this color.

Olive and June SE

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BI is a perfect peach cream. The formula on this one was difficult for me to work with, but if you have patience to apply slowly and let each coat dry completely, I think the end result is pretty!

Olive and June BI

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Favorite hand cream of the moment is Chanel La Creme Main in Le Lift or the La Mer Rejuvinating Hand Serum. Favorite cuticle moisturizer is Olive and June’s Cuticle Serum and Dior’s Huile Abricot. More recommendations here.

Colors shown in bottom photo:

Acrylic Mini Bottle Stand from Muji (measures 6.9″ wide x 2.6 ” deep x 9.1 inches tall)

Top Row: Essie Buns Up, Crop Top and Roll, In The Time Zone, Kissed By Mist, Spring In Your Step

Middle Row: ChanelPetale, Fleur de Pecher, OPI I’m a Natural, You’re Full of Abalone

Bottom Row: OPI Natural Base Coat, Olive and June GH, TT, SE and BI

Spring Nail Polish Favorites

Swatch comparisons for you!

Nail Polish Swatches Neutrals

What are some of your favorite nail polishes for spring? Have you been trying any DIY at home manicures recently or are you already a pro/expert?

Chanel Petale, Fleur de Pecher, Olive and June SE and BI provided for review. Others purchased by me.

Nail Polish Skincare

Hand + Nail Care Routine Tips and Favorites

August 27, 2019

Best Nail Care Products | The Beauty Look Book

I get so many questions about my hand and nail care routine I thought it was time for an updated post. Readers ask me on a weekly basis whether or not my nail polish is done at the salon or at home on my own. I do most of my nail polish and hand care on my own and I have for a couple years now. Most as in practically all – the last time I was at a salon was at least a couple years ago! When I lived in San Diego I had my go-to salons that I went to almost weekly. It was the best way for me to relax, unwind and unplug! However since moving to Florida I’ve never really found anything that comes close and with the frequency that I change my polish it is just easier, more affordable and saves time for me to care for them them on my own.

I did a complete roundup and tutorial a couple years ago. Most of my go-to staples are still the same although there have been a few changes as formulas become discontinued and brands change. I used to never be able to wear Essie polish without getting horrendous tip wear within 1 hour, but I finally found a way to make it work. This goes for most brands of polish, some take different steps and combinations of base/top to make it last.

I have a full list of what I use, some good runner ups and tips on how I maintain my hands and nails. I will say that it will all get better with practice. I used to not be able to paint my right hand well because my left hand was clumsy and shaky. It’s still not perfect but it does get better with time!

Cuticle Care

Cuticle Care Essentials Deborah Lippmann Tweezerman Revlon

Cuticles can be a pain to keep healthy, especially if they’re dry or peeling. I think keeping hands well moisturized is key. If you’re cuticles aren’t in the best shape and you don’t know how to trim them I would suggest going to the salon to have them trimmed professionally. Observe their methods and steps until you’re comfortable doing it yourself at home. Key products I use:

  • The Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover is my holy grail cuticle softener/remover of all time. I’ve tried a number of highly raved about brands but this is the best. This loosens and softens dead skin around the cuticle making it easier to push back to trim. For me this is essential.
  • Tweezerman Pushy and Nail Cleaner is also my holy grail (flat sided tip) for pushing back cuticles. Some prefer a rounded version but for me the flat tip gives more control. Often times the rounded end ones are too big for my fingers too. There’s a nail cleaner tip on the other end which is rounded (versus sharp) so it’s super gentle.
  • Revlon Cuticle Clippers have been a go-to for years, they have sharp tips to precisely cut away dead cuticles once they’re pushed back. They will cut well all the way so there’s no pulling the skin from partial trimming. These were actually my second choice because I needed a pair but couldn’t find my favorite Tweezerman Cuticle Nippers. The drugstore I went to only had ones from Revlon so I decided to give the a try. Both brands are really good.
  • Not shown but to cut and trip the tips I use a Revlon Deluxe Nail Clipper. I also like Tweezerman tools as well.

You can see a full step by step tutorial in this post here but I’ve reposted some of the steps below. Depending on how dry your hands are or how long it’s been since your last manicure you may want to soak, clean and moisturize your hands first.

Cuticle Care Steps Trimming Tutorial

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Nail Polish Remover and Filing Tools

Best Nail Polish Remover Zoya

Finding a good gentle remover is essential, especially if you have sensitive nails or fingers. You don’t want to dry out the hands or use something too harsh. Unfortunately the best ones aren’t always easily accessible for me so I’m always ordering online.

  • Zoya 3-in-1 Formula Remove Nail Polish Remover is one of my top two holy grails. It comes in a few different sizes and this one has a pump dispenser which is super handy. It’s gentle and effective and works on all polish brands that I use. It removes polish, preps and conditions the nails.
  • Deborah Lippmann The Stripper (not shown) is the other in my top two. She often has bundles available which makes it more affordable. This is also an excellent non-drying version (if I had to pick one this would be my top pick). She also has these in packet forms called Stripper To Go. They’re packaged in a very small packet but the pads are well soaked and the are really convenient for travel or if you need to change polish on-the-go, there’s no need to worry about a bottle leaking or exploding. One individual packet has enough to remove polish for all my fingers.
    • With these 2 removers I find I don’t need to use a nail cleaner to clean the residue/oils off.
  • For filing, buffing and cleaning excess paint I’ve always used what I could find at the grocery or drug store. Olive and June launched a line of polish and nail care products that are super convenient and well made. They sent some of their products to try and I am completely obsessed with The Tool Box. I use it to store most of my nail care tools and basics in one place. I think you can find alternatives for less at Ulta or Target, but for me I really like the Buffer Cube and Clean Up Brush. You can buy the Clean Up Brush individually and for me it’s perfect to clean the edges where polish may have transferred or look a little messy.

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My Favorite Base and Top Coats

Best Base and Top Coats Essie, Smoth Cult, Chanel and OPI

My favorite base and top coats often rotate as I use things up or formulas become discontinued. What I have in rotation right now is listed below (for regular nail polish, I don’t use gel):

  • OPI Natural Nail Base Coat is a good gentle but effective base coat that works with all of my polish formulas. It works well to prevent nails from yellowing from polish.
  • Smith and Cult Basis of Everything is another favorite for Base Coats and Above it All is an amazing top coat to make tips ultra shiny and manicures last.
  • Chanel Le Gel Coat is not really a gel coat, but it is a long-wear top coat that will give the nails an ultra glossy gel-like shine and effect. This works best with Chanel polishes and I’ve gone through many bottles.
  • Essie Speed Setter is the best fast-setting top coat that won’t cause major shrinkage.
  • Others I’ve tried and liked are Nails Inc (but my favorites have been discontinued), CND Sticky Base, CND Super Shiny Top Coats. The Christian Louboutin Loubi Kit is probably the best one I’ve tried and it’s been on my list to repurchase.
    • With the Chanel, Essie or Smith and Cult Top Coats I usually get at least a week of wear without chipping or tip wear. At the day 2 or 3 mark I recommend reapplying a layer of top coat to help protect the color and extend wear.

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Hand Creams and Moisturizers

Best Hand and Cuticle Treatments

I’m the biggest hand cream junkie! I’ve tried so many and have a lot in rotation at any given moment. I did a massive purge right before our move in June and gifted a lot of my products away. These are the ones I have in rotation right now. I apply hand cream daily, I use a scrub once a week, cuticle oils are used as needed.

  • Chanel La Creme Main is the best lightweight hand cream with a velvety soft dry down. I like this because it doesn’t leave any sticky residue. If you have ultra dry hands this is not the one for you though in which case I’d recommend you try La Creme Main Texture Riche or Le Lift (new). Both are better for dry skin and I love the packaging! I keep at least one of these in my purse. The new Le Lift does the best job at smoothing the skin. I’ve only used it for about a week now but I’m completely in love.
  • Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is the best unscented option for ultra dry hands. I like this in the winter or when my hands are super dry. The fact that it’s unscented is a huge plus, especially if you work in an environment that needs to be fragrance or perfume free. Or if you’re just sensitive to added fragrance. (Comes in different sizes.)
  • La Mer Rejuvenating Hand Serum is one of the most expensive hand splurges I’ve tried. It’s also one of the most luxurious treatments I’ve owned. It is heavily fragranced with the signature La Mer scent but is really soothing and does indeed work to smooth and soften the hands. I’m still not over the sticker shock but I think it is quite amazing.
  • For cuticle oils I’ve tried so many. There are a lot of great options out there whether you want a thick cream, shea butter, oil, etc. I prefer oils because they absorb easily and aren’t goopy. My two favorites are the Dior Huile Abricot Daily Nutritive System and L’Occitane Shea Nail and Cuticle Oil. They come with a brush tip applicator so it’s less messy than the dropper or bottle/brush style packaging. For the dropper style the Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil was the best one I tried.
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter One-Minute Hand Scrub is amazing. This is my second tube and it makes such a huge difference in the texture and smoothness of your hands. I often neglect exfoliation on the hands but getting rid of the dead skin cells with a gentle scrub makes a world of difference. This is hydrating without having any residue and it’s very very gentle.
  • Other loves include Molton Brown, the Kiehl’s Scented Hand Creams, Aesop, L’Occitane Hand Creams (for winter). For one with SPF the Supergoop! Hand Cream is amazing (I’m all out, I often run out of this one). Moroccanoil is also great.

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Application Tips

Nail Polish Application Tips from Sabrina The Beauty Look Book

For application I will say practice makes perfect. I think the biggest mistake people make with application is getting the brush too close to the cuticles. Wet lacquer will move a little when it’s wet, so to prevent bleeding leave a tiny little gap between the brush and cuticle. For me I start a little farther from the cuticle than I think I should and it prevents the polish from moving/bleeding into the nail beds. Sometimes it is impossible to not get excess polish on the skin so I clean it up with a brush or my thumb nail in which case sometimes it’s best to paint the thumbs the last. Different formulas have different textures, some are ultra fluid, while others are thicker so your mileage may vary with application.

I recommend applying thin coats. Sometimes I’ll have to apply 3 depending on how sheer the formula is. As long as your coats are thin and even it should still dry relatively fast. I let mine air dry and try to do them before I think I’ll be typing for a long time or hands free while watching TV.

Applying on a flat surface is the best way to apply polish. The Olive and June Tool Box comes with a handy coated thick sheet to protect your surface. I also just use paper towels at home. Anytime I think I can just do my polish on my desk, on the couch or on the floor I end up spilling product. I dropped a bottle on a concrete floor once and it was SUCH a mess to clean up as the entire bottle shattered.

How to Paint your Nails

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Closer look at the Olive and June Tool Box (you can customize your picks online):

My own nail care selects, I use the box to store my tools:

Best Nail Care Products | The Beauty Look Book

I hope this updated roundup gives you some tips and ideas on how to do a DIY manicure at home! With things like cotton pads, nail files or buffer, I pretty much use what I can find at my local CVS or drugstore. I wish there was a complete one brand kit that I could find that has everything in a convenient box or pouch but I’ve found no single brand has everything I need. My top essentials for my routine include the Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover, Tweezerman Pushy Stick and the Revlon or Tweezerman Cuticle Trimmers.

So many of you ask what my favorite polish brand is and I don’t have one. I love trying all kinds of brands! High and low. The three I wear the most these days are Chanel, OPI and Essie. I still really like Louboutin polishes but the packaging isn’t convenient so I find myself reaching for other brands more.

On storage, I used to have a lot of nail polish wall racks I found on Amazon where I stored my polishes. I got rid of them when we moved from San Diego to Tampa – we had to edit what we kept/tossed. These days I just keep them in drawers.

For the toes I also do them on my own, although I prefer salon treatments to get rid of callouses etc. I haven’t been to the salon in a while though – I broke a toe a year and a half ago and was so hesitant to let anyone touch my feet even after it healed. Let me know if you have any questions or if you have any hand/nail care holy grails! I’d love to hear about your favorites.

 

 

Olive and June Kit provided for review. All other products purchased and repurchased by me.

Chanel

Chanel Cruise Collection 2018 Beauty Picks

June 5, 2018

Chanel Beauty Cruise Collection Review 2018 | The Beauty Look Book

Happy Tuesday! I’m back from a week of travel from NYC. Trip recap to follow soon but I have a few beauty reviews to share first. Chanel Cruise 2018 launched a few weeks ago with some limited-edition pieces. I ordered a few items sight unseen and have been playing with them over my trip. Quick take is that the Cruise 2018 Collection has some really beautiful pieces but in general my heart gravitates more towards the colors of the Les Beiges 2018 Collection for a glowing summer look.

Items featured today are from the Cruise Collection along with one lip pencil that’s new but not part of cruise:

Up first are two eye picks including the Les 4 Ombres in Eclat Enigmatique and Le Volume Waterproof Mascara in Gris Voile. The Eclat Enigmatique is a soft sheer but buildable eyeshadow quad with beautiful shimmery colors including a soft ivory, gunmetal shimmer, medium bronze and reddish shimmer. With a brush they can apply on the medium to sheer side so I recommend either using a damp brush or layering on top of a cream shadow for more color. The quad can create a variety of looks depending how much red or gunmetal you use. I found they all layered well together.

Chanel Cruise Les 4 Ombres Eclat Enigmatique review

Le Volume Mascara in Gris Voile below. I’m always a fan of the Le Volume Mascara and was thrilled to find a waterproof version this season. Gris Voile is a greyish color almost with an olive green tint. On my lashes it looks pretty dark, not quite black, but it does look dark enough that it could pass for a light black color. I love this formula because it really does add volume without clumping. The waterproof version doesn’t smudge on me.

Chanel Le Volume Waterproof Mascara Gris Voile

Chanel Cruise Eclat Enigmatique and Gris Voile swatches | The Beauty Look Book

There are three Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colors in Halo which is a baby pink, Legerete a dusty green, and Chicness a medium purple mauve cream. As much as I adore Chanel nail polishes to me these have to be some of the most boring colors I’ve seen. The quality and smoothness is on point and excellent but these colors just don’t excite me. Halo is a really pretty pink but very dupeable, it looks practically identical to some of the OPI Lisbon shades. Legerete and Chicness look like they are just different variations of New Dawn and Horizon Line from Fall-Winter. In all fairness the new colors do wear really well, I think I just expected something a little more fresh and unique.

Chanel Cruise Le Vernis Halo, Legerete and Chicness

Chanel Le Vernis Swatch Halo

Chanel Le Vernis Swatch Legerete

Chanel Le Vernis Swatch in Chicness

 

The L’Eau Tan Chanel Refreshing Self-Tanning Body Mist is an interesting product. It’s a body mist that is supposed to enhance your natural glow. It’s almost like the same concept as Dior Addict Lip Glows but for the body. It has a light fresh floral perfume scent that makes me feel like I’m on vacation mode. It can get a little sticky if you spray too much but within a few minutes skin looks like it has started to develop a natural glow. It’s not quite like a self tanner for me where you see dramatic results. It’s more subtle but this may react differently on you depending on how light or deep your skin is. It is refreshing smelling and feeling. I really like it.

Chanel L'Eau Tan Chanel Spray

Two Cruise Le Rouge Crayon de Couleurs are No 17 A La Rose and 19 Au Naturel. I also ordered one of the new neutral shades No 21 Warm Rosewood. In case you’re new to these and missed the first launch reviewed here these are amazing twist up pencils. They’re creamy, opaque, glossy and hydrating. A La Rose is a bright peachy pink, Au Naturel is a nude brown that pulls warm. Warm Rosewood isn’t part of cruise but it’s a gorgeous wearable nude pink.

Chanel Le Rouge Crayon A La Rose, Au Naturel, Warm Rosewood

Chanel Le Rouge Crayon A La Rose, Au Naturel, Warm Rosewood

Swatch comparisons to some other Le Rogue Crayons, Rouge Coco Stylos and the Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist in 19:

Chanel Le Rouge Crayon Lip Swatches Comparisons

Chanel Beauty Cruise Collection Review 2018 | The Beauty Look Book

Overall nice quality pieces that I think are very wearable for the upcoming season but classic enough to take you into fall. Individually the products are gorgeous, easy for me to wear and everything can be worked in with other makeup items from my current stash. However as a collection I don’t really feel like the colors are tied together that much for a cohesive theme but that’s just me. The nail colors were a disappointment for me simply because they look like recycled colors from past seasons. I still think Halo is really pretty, just not that unique.

The highlights for me are the Le Rouge Crayon de Couleurs in all three shades with Warm Rosewood being my new favorite everyday neutral pink. The new L’Eau Tan Chanel is really fun and I love the way it smells.

You can find the Chanel Cruise Collection out now. I believe most items are limited-edition. Available at Chanel, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Have you tried any of these pieces yet? What did you think?

 

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