Josie Maran Bear Naked Nail Wipes | Review

I enjoy painting my nails, but I hate removing nail polish. It’s tedious, and I hate the smell of nail polish remover and the way it dries out my nails and finger tips. Luckily I’ve found a product that makes the experience much more tolerable. Last Christmas, I bought a $10 Josie Maran set at Sephora as a gift and ended up keeping it for myself. Half of the two part set was the Bear Naked Nail Wipes – a totally different type of polish remover.
Josie Maran Bear Naked Nail WipesDescribed as a 3 in 1 product, these nail wipes remove polish and nourish nails at the same time. Formulated with Argan oil, and without acetone, they are unlike any polish remover I’ve used. There is no awful smell and it feels like I’m removing the polish with oil. When I’m done, my nails look and feel hydrated rather than dry. The wipes are easy to use with no danger of spills. I don’t use these to remove glitter, but when it comes to regular nail polish, the Bear Naked Nail Wipes do the trick. One wipe usually takes care of both hands.

They are called Bear Naked because a portion of sales go to the Polar Bear SOS Initiative of the NRDC, which makes these wipes even better. Mine are the natural lavender scent, which I think has been discontinued, but you can find the grapefruit scent at Sephora. I haven’t tried the grapefruit, but the lavender is not very strong at all, so if scents bother you, these shouldn’t be a problem.

Have you tried the Bear Naked Nail Wipes? What did you think?


AG Firewall and Argan Shine Flat Iron Spray | Review

My hair didn’t really get curly until I was around 13, and by that point I had already established myself in my head as a straight haired individual. I’ve tried on many occasions to rock my curls, but it never looks right, and most importantly, it never feels right. It’s also more trouble to fix and maintain. So from my early teens onward, I’ve been a regular flat iron user.

When I first started straightening my hair, I didn’t use any heat protection. I didn’t know I was supposed to, or even that such a thing existed. I soon learned the ropes of hair straightening and became a religious user of heat protection sprays. I started with a salon brand that my stylist used. It had a fairly even spray and didn’t make my hair wet, but it was a little sticky and could easily turn into a greasy mess if I applied too much in one area. It also left a residue on my flat iron. I switched to drugstore brands (mainly Tresseme and Pantene) for years, but was never happy with the concentrated spray and the fact that they made my hair quite wet. I switched again to the Agadir Argan oil spray that isn’t only a heat protector, but works well as one. (See my review here). I really enjoyed this spray, but when I ran out (it lasts a really long time) I felt like trying something new.
AG FirewallI found AG Firewall Argan Shine and Flat Iron Spray and I haven’t looked back. It isn’t sticky, it isn’t wet, it isn’t oily, it adds shine, protects my hair, and it’s even cruelty free. It is by far the best heat protector spray I’ve used. I’m now on my second bottle. The first one lasted months. Although it is a bit pricey compared to drugstore brands, the quality is well worth it to me. I purchased mine at Ulta for $24.00
I divide my hair into two sections, left and right, and spray each section concentrating on the ends. Then I gather the top layer of hair towards the back of my head and spray a bit more, again concentrating on the ends. The spray is wide and fine, so it doesn’t take much to cover a large area. No dry time required. I go right in with my flat iron and in about 15 minutes, I have straight hair!
If you’re in the market for a good flat iron spray I highly, highly recommend AG Firewall.

Sephora Color IQ, Marc Jacobs Genius Gel, and How (Not) To Buy Foundation

Disclaimer: this occurred on a Friday evening after work when I was tired, hungry, and not thinking clearly. I knew better than to buy a foundation this way, but with Sephora’s easy return policy and my sleep deprived brain, I did it anyway. Don’t let this happen to you!

I was in the market for a new foundation, so it seemed like a good time for a trip to Sephora. I normally try to avoid salespeople because I find that their recommendations often aren’t too good and I don’t like the pressure they sometimes put on you. But this particular day, I decided to trust the salesperson.

I explained that I was looking for a new foundation and she analyzed my skin tone using the Sephora Color IQ. It’s a device that scans your skin in three places to determine your color depth and undertone (how light/dark and how red/yellow you are). You’re then assigned a code that represents your skin tone and that corresponds to various foundation shades, which are pulled up automatically on the touch screen device the salesperson uses. It’s all very high tech looking, but unfortunately, not too accurate. I was matched as a 3R6. The R means I have a red undertone, the 3 represents how red I am, and the 6 represents how dark I am. Sounds great, except it’s totally wrong. I do have a lot of redness in my face, but overall I’m fairly neutral, and because I have a reddish face, I need yellow to correct the color, not red. I’m also quite fair, not a 6 on their chart. But I didn’t do my research beforehand and I didn’t know what the code meant.

The salesperson asked questions about my skin care, what type of foundation I wanted, etc. She tried a couple on me and decided the Marc Jacobs Genius Gel looked the best.

Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Foundation

Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Foundation

This is a lovely foundation. I only wore it once (when applied in the store), but from what I could tell, it gave good coverage and it didn’t settle into my pores. The packaging looks and feels great, and it should because at $48 it is quite pricey. (I knew I was returning it and couldn’t get the bottle out of the box without damaging the box, so I didn’t get a picture of the bottle.)

The Genius Gel foundation didn’t come in a shade that matched my Color IQ code, so she went one shade darker (and my number was already too dark). The lighting isn’t great in the store and I was looking more at the texture of the foundation and how it sat on my skin than I was at the color (big mistake!). But the salesperson said it looked good so it must be okay, right? She didn’t even really ask if I wanted to buy it, she just grabbed it for me and asked if I wanted anything else. I caved under pressure and bought it, knowing that Sephora has a great return policy. As soon as I got in my car and looked in the mirror, I knew I’d made a big mistake. My face was completely orange. Luckily, I was able to return the foundation, but even so, I felt pretty annoyed with myself for buying it in the first place.

So how should you buy a foundation? Here are some tips:

  • Know your skin type, your coloring and undertone, etc.
  • Know what you want in a foundation – how much coverage, what texture, type of application
  • Don’t just go along with whatever the salesperson says! Take a really good look in the mirror and either ask for a sample or look at yourself with the foundation on in daylight outside the store (or both) before you make a purchase
  • Know the return policy. As disappointing as it was to end up with a foundation that was completely wrong for me, I was able to make an easy return. I’d hate to have been stuck with a $48 foundation I couldn’t use!
  • Lisa Eldridge has a great foundation course on her YouTube channel that is really helpful, whether you’re a makeup newbie or a dedicated enthusiast (and if you haven’t already, you should check out her channel and blog – she’s amazing!)

In case you’re wondering, I ended up purchasing a completely different product, a BB cream I’d been using a sample of. Look out for a review coming soon!

Fall In Love by Phantogram | Music

I admit that on first listen, I wasn’t really into this song. The second listen caught my attention, and by the third I was hooked. Fall in Love by Phantogram was my treadmill jam for much of last week. This is the first single from the duo’s upcoming album Voices, which will be released February 18. You can buy the single and preorder the album now on iTunes.

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer | Review

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Tarte products, so I was excited to give this tinted primer a try.

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer - SPF 30

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer – SPF 30

The specifics, according to the Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer packaging:

  • Healthy treatment
  • 12-hour primer
  • Buildable coverage
  • Oil-free moisture
  • Pore minimizer
  • Skin brightener
  • Chemical-free sun protector

I’m quite pale, so I got the lightest of the five shades, Fair. The coverage is very minimal, but it is called a primer, so typically you’d use this under foundation. You could certainly use it on its own if a very sheer coverage is all you need/want. I found the coverage too sheer, so used it under a mineral foundation.

I like this product, though I do have a couple of issues with it.

It feels very smooth and does a pretty good job at minimizing the appearance of pores, though my pores are something special, so mine were still very much visible. It isn’t greasy or shiny at all, and it sets quickly to a powder-like finish. My mineral foundation applied far better over this primer than on its own.

The color is a bit too pale and pink for me. If the color was better, it might provide slightly better coverage. Although putting foundation over it allows me to correct the color, it would work better if the color was a better match. Light, the next lightest shade, might have been a better match for me.

The main problem I have with this primer is it’s ability to stick to and accentuate peeling skin. I have oily skin, but occasionally my skin will peel a bit around a healing blemish or after exfoliating. The primer clings to the skin in a really obvious way, and I’m not talking about major skin peeling. In fact, many of the times this happened, I didn’t even realize I had any peeling until I applied the primer – didn’t feel or see anything prior to application.

Overall, the Tarte BB Tinted Treatment Primer is a good product, but if you have any peeling skin, due to dryness, blemishes, over exfoliation etc., this might not be the best one for you.

Music | Stereotype by Samsaya

I’m not down with the stereotype.

Neither is Samsaya, the Indian-born Norwegian singer whose single, Stereotype, off her upcoming album, Bombay Calling, is as empowering as it is catchy. This feel-good pop song, with a fun beat and singalong chorus, is a great track to get pumped to as we (eventually) head into spring. Whether you’re struggling with personal identity issues, or just getting up the courage to try a new hairstyle (and let’s be honest – those situations often go together), Stereotype is just the song to get you energized and ready to go.

Samsaya is offering a free download of Stereotype. If you’re not down with the stereotype, head over to her website and check it out!

Review | L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara

I’m on my second tube of this, so you know it’s good.


L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara claims to provide length, volume, and an extra winged effect at the outer corners. The brush is plastic with a unique design. Shorter bristles on one side and longer, comb-like bristles on the other, which are shorter at the tip and get longer at the edge. I was very skeptical at first, but pleasantly surprised to find that this mascara really does a good job.

The wand is tricky to get used to, but I’ve found that the best way to apply is to start close to the roots with the shorter side to coat the lashes and achieve volume, then flip to the longer side from about mid-lash to the ends to provide length. I haven’t had a problem with flaking, and clumping has been minimal.


L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara in Blackest Black



If you’re looking for a mascara that gives good volume and length, and you don’t mind a funky wand, I recommend you give this one a try.