Review: Collection Cosmetics Nail Polish

Sunday, June 1st 2014 Nails

Recently Collection Cosmetics (re)launched in New Zealand, and as part of this they did a big giveaway on their Facebook page. I was lucky enough to win a nail polish – shade number 12 which called Purplicious. I have had this on my toes for the last few weeks but figured that once was probably enough when it comes to posting pictures of my toes on the blog, and took some pictures when I put it on my fingernails.

I really liked this polish, it was beautifully opaque in two coats, not at all streaky, and dried very quickly. I liked the chunky top of the bottle as it was easy to hold while painting, and the brush is just a very standard size/shape – not too big or too small. The longevity has been good so far, I’m 3 days in and no sign of a chip despite my propensity to do reckless things with my nails.

Here’s how it looks on my nails before I cleaned up around the cuticles, and added a top coat:

Collection Cosmetics Nail Polish Purplicious

Two coats

This is the final result, which I’m very impressed with for such an affordable polish – they’re only $6.39! I would rather have 4 or 5 of these polishes than just one OPI polish.

2 coats of Collection Cosmetics Purplicious nail polish and Sally Hansen Instadry Top Coat

2 coats of Collection Cosmetics Purplicious Nail polish and Sally Hansen Instadry Top Coat

Collection Cosmetics don’t test on animals which is good for those who are on the look out for cruelty free products. There are 24 shades of polish in the range and I think I’ll be buying a few more of these. Collection is exclusively sold at Countdown in New Zealand, you can find out if it’s available in your area on their website. I’ve heard good things about their concealer and mascara, and seeing as it’s so cheap I can imagine it’ll be easy to pop a few in my trolley.

Have you tried anything by Collection – what else should I try?

Lena x

As seen on

Beauty Review Vault haul

Monday, May 26th 2014 Nails

Beauty Review is a great New Zealand-based website that sends out full sized beauty products for people to review on their website. You can also review products not sent to you by them, chat on the forum or read the interesting articles that they put up. Four times a year they have a ‘vault’ sale which is where you use the points you earn by reviewing and participating on the site to buy products. They held one a few weeks ago and today I’m going to review the products that I received.

Left to right Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit Ballet Bare, Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet, Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quads - Romantic Mauves, Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quads - Romantic Mauves.

My haul from the Beauty Review Vault

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set – RRP $59

eth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set

I chose this with the intention of giving it to my mum for a belated Mother’s Day gift – a bit of a cheapskate, I know, but my mum loves a bargain just like I do. And yes, she knows I was going to swatch them for the blog. She’s so long suffering. Anyway, on to the review – to be honest I was a bit disappointed with it – the glosses are quite small and weren’t anything special compared to just about every other lip gloss I’ve tried before. They work out to be $3.70/ml, whereas an Australis lip gloss is $2.50/ml. At least with this set you get to try a variety of colours, which is nice, because who ever finishes a lip gloss – not me that’s for sure. Passion Fruit and Coral Kiss are my favourite colours out of the set.

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set – swatched on hand

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad – Romantic Mauves. RRP $35

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad - Romantic Mauves

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad – Romantic Mauves

This eyeshadow quad is another gift for my lovely mum. I know she likes pinkish eyeshadow shades and they really suit her green eyes, so I thought I’d grab it for her. The packaging is nice and sturdy, and it comes with a good sized mirror which would be useful for travelling or doing your make up on the run. When I swatched them they didn’t appear to be terribly pigmented, but they might be better applied with brushes rather than the little sponge applicator that the quad came with.

 Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad - Romantic Mauves swatch

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad – Romantic Mauves swatch

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick – Very Violet. RRP $25.00

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick – Very Violet

When I saw this lipstick listed in the Vault I knew that I just had to have it. An Avon lipstick is one of my favourite lipsticks, and I have had ‘purple lipstick’ on my wishlist for months because they are such a hot trend for this winter. When I opened it and swatched it on my hand, I was in love. It’s a fairly warm purple, compared to the darker colours that are out there, but it’s a good way for me to dip my toes into the world of bolder purple lipsticks.

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet swatchI eagerly applied it and posted this picture to instagram, despite my lack of makeup – that’s how excited I was! I really like the way this looks, and it’s going to be in frequent rotation this winter.

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet on lips

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick – Very Violet on my lips

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit Ballet Bare – RRP $35

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit Ballet Bare


I am yet to actually use this product, as I had newly painted nails when it arrived. So really, all I can comment on is the value. Sally Hansen polishes are usually around $12-14 each, and the top coats are more like $16-19 each, so buying it in the kit is as if the white tip pen comes free. I have always found French manicures difficult, having to use the little sticky strips that can ruin the base coat, or having a wobbly line for the white tips. I’ll be trying this out soon and posting a full review when I do.

 If you would like to join Beauty Review and start earning points from reviews to use at the next vault sale, you can use my affiliate link to sign up here.

Lena x

How to make your manicure last!

Sunday, May 25th 2014 Nails

There are few things more upsetting than spending time painting your nails with a gorgeous colour, and having it chip off within a day or two. I want mine to last for about a week, and using these techniques I generally achieve that.

You will need:

  • A base coat – I use Orly Bonder
  • Nail polish, whatever you fancy.
  • A top coat – I use Sally Hansen Insta-Dri
  • Nail polish remover and cotton balls
  • Tiny paint brush
  • Paper towel/tissues

Products for a long lasting manicure

The very first step is to make sure that your nails are free of any oils before you start – use nail polish remover on a cotton ball even if your nails don’t have polish on them. If there is any oil on your nails, from hand cream or even food then that will cause the polish to not adhere as well to your nail, and that can cause it to chip. Next you apply your base coat – I really like Orly Bonder, I’ve tried a few others but this is the best so far. I buy mine from eBay as it’s about half the price as buying it in store, but you can easily get it at Farmers.

Now there’s the big step, which is using your polish. Apply it carefully, and try to avoid getting any on your cuticles. If you do, that’s okay because you can clean it up later. I typically do two thin coats, and don’t generally leave much time between them – not as a conscious decision, more just because I don’t like waiting around a lot. I generally make sure to ‘wrap the tips’ – that is, to paint the edge of my nail with polish. I find that it’s one of the things that has made a major improvement in the wear time of my manicures. A post from Michelle from All Lacquered Up is what inspired me to start doing this, and it has been really valuable advice – her post is here. The picture below is from her tutorial and gives an (exaggerated) idea of what to do.

Manicure Tip Wrap Nail Edge with Polish

Wrapping your tip – picture by

Top coats also make a big impact on the length of time that a manicure will last. For a long time I used Seche Vite, the top coat that is touted all over the internet as being the best ever, but I found it very frustrating at how it got gluggy quickly and required excessive use of nail polish thinner. On that note, don’t add nail polish remover to your polish to thin it as it ruins it. A proper thinner like Orly’s will mean that your polishes will live long and happy lives. Aaaaaanyway, nowadays I use Sally Hansen Insta-Dri topcoat which I think is better than Seche Vite. It makes my polish dry very quickly and makes my nails really shiny, as well as making it last for a long time. You should wrap your tips in the topcoat too, like in the tutorial I linked above.


Despite my best efforts I typically get some polish on my cuticles, or even on my skin. I used to just peel it off, or leave it there, but I found that doing so meant polish would peel off my nail to which is not what I intended! So now I use nail polish remover to tidy up by removing any polish in my cuticles – it looks better and helps my manicure to last longer too. I pour a bit of nail polish remover into the cap of the bottle and use a tiny brush I got with a nail art kit. A cotton bud will do it a pinch but it’s not as precise. Wet the brush with nail polish remover and work your way around the nails, wiping off the polish from your brush onto your tissue or paper towel. If you want to see how this is done, aLoveTart has a good tutorial on youtube: How to: Remove Nail Polish From Your Cuticles

I hope these tips help you to have a longer lasting manicure! Try them and tell me how you get on in the comments section, or Facebook or Twitter.

Lena x

Product review: Sinful Colors Nail Polishes

Thursday, May 15th 2014 Nails

Today I’m going to do a review of a couple of Sinful Colors nail polishes that I purchased recently. It’s a brand that I had seen online, but never seen in person until recently. They were $5.99 each, which is a really good price considering OPI and Orly are around $25-$30 each. The colours are Dancing Nails #835, which is a shimmery red, and Frenzy #922 which is a glittery purple.

Sinful Colors Dancing Nails and Frenzy polishes

Sinful Colors Dancing Nails (left) and Frenzy, (right) polishes

The formula of Dancing Nails was a little bit difficult to work with. I found that it was a bit runny, which meant my manicure looked a bit sloppy, until I got the hang of using much less in my brush. The photos below show that it my application wasn’t amazing but I think in future it’d look better.I wore Dancing Nails on my fingernails for 4 days and then removed it as my friend wanted to use me as a model for her nail tech course. My polish was just starting to show wear on the tips of some of the nails, and I think I easily could have worn it for a week without it chipping. I did use Orly Bonder base coat and Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Top coat, as I always do, and that prolongs wear. I hate chipped nail polish, I always take it off as soon as possible when it happens as I think it looks really unprofessional. I’m planning an article about how I paint my nails to have long lasting manicures soon, so keep an eye out.

dancing nails

Dancing Nails

Frenzy on the other hand was terrible, and I didn’t actually finish painting my toenails with it. The polish was really runny, it just ran right into the cuticles even though my foot was flat on the floor. Despite how it looked in the bottle, on the nail it looked more like a clear polish with glitter in it rather than a solid glittery purple, if that makes sense. I will probably keep this to use over the top of other polishes but I doubt I’ll use it on it’s own again as I have other, far superior glittery purple polishes. I strongly suggest avoiding this polish or others that look similar as it’s pretty much unusable. The picture only shows two nails as I gave up with it after that. It looks like I’m the sloppiest nail painter ever but really it’s just the worst polish ever. Also, my toes look gross that close up – sorry!

Sinful Colors Frenzy

Sinful Colors has a great range of colours, and you can buy them in NZ at Kmart and also some pharmacies – I got these at Life Pharmacy in Takapuna, Auckland. Their website informs me that their polishes are free of formaldehyde, toluene and DBP, if that’s something that’s important to you. Although, Brightest Bulb in the Box says that polishes that do contain those ingredients are generally pretty safe anyway.

My overall conclusion is that glitters from Sinful Colors should probably be avoided, but their other kinds of polishes are worth a try. I’d like to know if any of you have tried them, and what you think – let me know in the comments section.

Lena x


follow along @lenatalks