Tag Archives: style

Spring Nails (SS16)

Spring is finally here with temperatures finally increasing and stabilizing.  Out with Fall/Winter vampy shades and in with bright, vibrant, pastel colors for spring.

(Clockwise from Top) Zoya Daisy, China Glaze Light as Air, Zoya Bevin, China Glaze Peachy Keen, China Glaze For Audrey, Zoya Blu, China Glaze Mimosas Before Mani’s, China Glaze Refresh Mint, Formula X Law of Attraction

Zoya Daisy+ (Creme with Glitter)– A pale yellow with light blue shimmer.

China Glaze Light as Air* (Creme) – A light lavender.

Zoya Bevin+ (Creme) – A muted light blueish green .

China Glaze Peachy Keen* (Creme) – A light peachy orange color.

China Glaze For Audrey* (Creme) – A classic and long time fave.  Similar to Tiffany & Co.’s signature blue boxes. 

Zoya Blu+ (Creme) – Pale light blue, similar to a robin’s egg.

China Glaze Mimosas Before Mani’s* (Creme with Glitter)- Bright Orange/Pink with subtle pink glitter.

China Glaze Refresh Mint* (Creme) – Beautiful Mint Green.

Formula X Law of Attraction (Metallic Gitter)- Ever just sit and stare at your nails as the light reflects on it?  Yes, this polish will have you doing that.  Gorgeous blue contrasts a yellow gold tone.

What are your favorite polishes for summer this year?

Your Diet: Friend or Foe?

You are Hungry.  You Eat.  Rinse & Repeat.  But when you get hungry, what exactly are you eating?  Are you eating to fulfill your body’s requirements of proper vitamins, nutrients, and nourishment?  Or are you eating until the hungry signal in your brain stops?  The reality is that many people are eating whatever is around so they no longer feel hungry.  Imbalanced diets and “food” with no nutritional value are significantly contributing to poor health (including diabetes and cardiovascular disease) and wellness.  

Artificial “Food”

A variety of prepared food, whether from the grocery store or a restaurant, is loaded with salt, sugar, and high in fat.  Whether it is “pink slime”, corn based “chicken” nuggets, entrees with 1000+ mg of sodium, or the massive amounts of sugar consumed per meal, artificial “food” is available in overabundance.  The inexpensive prices of these items also contributes to their popularity on the market.  Also remember that it is not just fast food, restaurant meals, or the prepackaged microwave/baked meals that are of concern.  Pasta sauces, barbeque sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and other condiments are often high in salt, sugar, and fat as well.  

But wait, there is more.  Refined grains is also a significant problem.  White bread, white rice, and non whole wheat pasta all contain refined grains which means they contain less fiber than their unrefined counterparts.  Why is this important?  Your body takes longer to process foods high in fiber and thus you feel fuller longer.  Refined grains also turns to sugar in your body almost immediately, and excess sugar in the body turns to fat.  That also includes many cereals, chips, and crackers.


A “proper” diet, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, should consist of a quarter each of fruits, vegetables, grain (whole and refined), and protein (meat, eggs, nuts).  Of course everyone wants a cookie or chicken nuggets every now and then, but artificial or low fiber foods should not make up the majority, or even half of your diet!  Be sure to have a fruit, vegetable, protein and grain with every meal, or at least 3 of the four.  For example, egg omelette w/ spinach and kale (protein & vegetable), strawberries (fruit), and whole wheat bread (grain) is a healthy balanced breakfast (even with the high cholesterol of eggs).  An imbalanced breakfast is a bagel with cream cheese and orange juice.  While a bagel may count as a grain depending on the type, there is no whole fruit or vegetable, or significant protein.  You can eat a balanced diet and spend the same (or less) with artificial food, and it will still taste good!

What do you eat everyday?  Is what you eat friend or foe?

Fall Nails!

It has officially been fall for over a month, though the temperatures have been fluctuating between spring and fall.  Fall means goodbye bright, vibrant colors and hello to dark, vampy, smoldering shades.

(L to R) Zoya Yuna, Zoya Lidia, China Glaze Manhunt (top), Zoya Sansa (middle), Formula X Law of Attraction (bottom), Zoya Ibiza, Zoya Aggie

China Glaze Manhunt*  (Creme)- This is a true royal blue that is simply gorgeous on the nail.  The wear of this polish is terrific!

Zoya Ibiza+(Shimmer)- This color is a deep blue with true blue glitter that gives the polish depth and looks “lit from within.”

Zoya Lidia+ (Creme)-  This is a gorgeous true purple.  Purple nail color has been high on my must have list for a while and this color delivered!

Formula X Law of Attraction (Metallic Glitter)-  Ever just sit and stare at your nails as the light reflects on it?  Yes, this polish will have you doing that.  Gorgeous blue contrasts a yellow gold tone.

Zoya Aggie+ (Metallic)- I have yet to wear this color but the duochrome gold/green goes great with a fall wardrobe palette while still giving a nice pop of color.

Zoya Sansa+ (Creme w/ Glitter)- A deep purple with red and silver glitter.

Zoya Yuna+ (Creme w/ Glitter)-  Muted green with subtle gold shimmer.  Very fall!

+Big 5 Free

*Big 3 Free

What are your favorite fall nail polishes?

Triphenyl phosphate, found in ‘eco-friendly’ nail polish, spurs worries

Welp.  I am slightly unsettled reading this article, but not at all surprised.  No one should use nail polish of any kind, whether 3-Free, 5-Free, 8-Free, etc., and think that it is “safe.”  The same reason you do not want interior paint on your skin, or you wouldn’t take a deep breath in a freshly painted room or over an open can of paint.  There are chemicals!  Some are really bad, some are minorly bad, some innocuous.  I regularly review nail polish here and when it comes to “Envirofactor” no polish gets a perfect score!

It also isn’t surprise that companies took out the ingredients plagued with bad PR and replaced them with chemicals that can also be detrimental to health.  However, before I place blame on the nail polish manufacturers I must look to the federal regulations in the United States that allows untested chemicals to be used in consumer products without any testing (scientific or otherwise).  The “good” news is that avoiding TPHP is fairly simple since it enters the body through dermal exposure: either paint neatly or tape the skin around your nails.  Another good measure to avoid inhalation exposure is to be in a well ventilated room with a face mask on.  This was longer than expected and really deserves its own post, look out for that soon!

By Michael Hawthorne, 10/23/2015 — Some cosmetics manufacturers and beauty salons promote “eco-friendly” nail polishes that are free of a handful of chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive problems.

Copyright Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune 2014

But a new study suggests a replacement for one of those toxic compounds might be just as worrisome.

Signs of triphenyl phosphate, known as TPHP or TPP, turned up in every one of the 26 women tested a few hours after they applied nail polish commonly sold at department stores and pharmacies. The chemical, used to make polish flexible and durable, also is an ingredient in a controversial flame retardant added to furniture cushions.

Scientists are increasingly concerned about triphenyl phosphate because animal studies indicate it is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can mimic natural hormones and scramble the healthy development of cells. One study showed the chemical can trigger obesity by causing immature bone cells to transform into fat. Another linked exposure to fertility problems.

The new study’s authors said popular nail polish lines — including OPI, Sally Hansen, Revlon, Maybelline and Wet N Wildswitched to triphenyl phosphate during the past decade after pressure from consumers and retailers forced them to phase out the use of another compound, dibutyl phthalate, which is banned in cosmetics in Europe and listed as a developmental toxin in California.

“The emerging science seems to be moving toward TPHP being problematic for similar reasons,” said Heather Stapleton, a Duke University chemist who co-wrote the exposure study, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International.

Though researchers acknowledged the small sample size in their study, they said exposure likely is widespread. Triphenyl phosphate is listed as an ingredient in half of the 3,000 nail products reviewed by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that collaborated with Stapleton on the new study and has pushed for years to overhaul regulation of cosmetics.

It is unclear what, if any, hazards the chemical poses at the levels detected in women who participated in the new study. But the discovery that levels spiked shortly after they applied nail polish shows how difficult it can be even for diligent consumers to avoid chemicals in cosmetics and household products.

Stapleton and her colleagues focused on nail polish after an earlier study found that women tend to have higher levels of TPHP in their bodies than men. In the new study, levels remained stable when the participants wore gloves fitted with synthetic nails, suggesting the chemical is absorbed through the skin rather than inhaled.

The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement that federal law doesn’t require manufacturers to prove that cosmetic ingredients are safe before putting them on the market or even file product formulations with the FDA.

Echoing earlier statements about other chemicals in personal care products, the chief trade group for cosmetics manufacturers called the Stapleton-EWG study “speculative” and “misleading.”

“The makers of nail polish stand behind their products and take pride in providing Americans with access to a wide variety of safe, high quality and innovative products they trust and enjoy,” the Personal Care Products Council said in a statement.

In recent years several companies have started labeling nail polish as “3-free,” meaning the products do not contain the toxic chemicals toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate, the compound that triphenyl phosphate replaced in some product lines.

Several other common nail product ingredients also pose health risks to salon workers and customers. A 2007 safety brochure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists 17 chemicals that can trigger a burning throat or lungs, labored breathing or shortness of breath.

“For women using nail polish regularly, this represents a source of chronic exposure,” said Joseph Allen, a Harvard University researcher who has documented toxic air in nail salons but was not involved in the new study. “Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, consumers often can’t make informed decisions about the products they purchase and use due to a lack of reporting and transparency; workers in nail salons simply have no choice at all when it comes to avoiding exposure.”

The EPA is concerned about triphenyl phosphate for different reasons. The chemical is an ingredient in Firemaster 550, a flame retardant the agency once touted as safe but has since determined could pose significant health risks.

A 2012 Tribune investigation revealed the EPA endorsed Firemaster 550 even though the agency’s own scientists were deeply skeptical of its safety. Studies conducted by its manufacturer found that exposing rats to the flame retardant can lower birth weight, alter female genitalia and cause skeletal malformations.

Independent scientists, including Stapleton, later found that small doses of Firemaster 550 administered to rats can trigger obesity, anxiety and other problems.

Last year the EPA added triphenyl phosphate to a list of chemicals targeted for in-depth reviews based on widespread exposure and potential toxicity.

“This is another example of why we need better cosmetics regulation and chemical regulation in general,” said Johanna Congleton, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group who co-wrote the new nail polish study. “We shouldn’t allow industry to keep replacing one bad chemical with another.”

via Chicago Tribune


Beware of Halloween Makeup Hazards

No Copyright Infringement Intended

By Devon Kelley

If costume makeup is on your agenda this Halloween, you may want to reconsider your getup or at least be cautious with your cosmetic choices. Side effects of toxic costume makeup can be extreme, so take some tips from the pros this Halloween and be thoughtful when you’re dressing up. We spoke with New York City dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah, an expert in skin conditions and diseases such as acne and rosacea, as well as those affecting hair and nails. Shah filled us in on the hazards you might encounter through your Halloween costume — it turns out the scariest part of your costume might be what’s in your makeup. Here’s what to look for, and how to avoid the risks.

Colorful makeup and dyes
“Besides color additives, makeup contains a number of base ingredients, such as fillers, fragrances, binders, emollients, and preservatives, to name a few,” says Shah. “In cheap Halloween makeup, it’s usually these base ingredients that are lower quality and likely to cause skin problems. Halloween makeup has also been found to contain detectable levels of heavy metals that can cause problems.” As far as reactions go, Shah says that the heavy texture of Halloween makeup makes it more likely to cause acne. But a few pimples should be the least of your worries. “The FDA does not require cosmetic products and ingredients to be FDA-approved before going to market,” she warns. “The exception to this is color additives, which do require FDA approval, but it is possible to have reactions to dyes.” Shah advises checking the FDA-approved list of color additives. She says red dye is known for causing reactions (it’s also found in other colors) as is PPD (paraphenylenediamine), found in black and dark colored cosmetics and dye.

Masks, prosthetics, plasticizers, and adhesives
Even if you’re not wearing makeup, you may be putting your skin at risk with low-quality masks, plasticizers, or prosthetics when worn for an extended period of time. “Absorption of these plasticizers through the skin from wearing a mask for a short time is low, but the risk is still there,” says Shah. “A poorly fitting mask can [also] cause skin irritation.” Another risky Halloween add-on may be your faux eyelashes or nails. “Glue can damage the nails or cause loss of the eyelashes, either due to pulling and traction [or cause a] skin reaction at the lash line or eyelids,” says Shah.

Be on the look out for heavy metal
And no, we don’t mean the loud music. “The scariest and most concerning substances found in Halloween makeup are heavy metals, which can be toxic,” says Shah. “For example, lead has been found in these makeups, and although lead poisoning doesn’t commonly occur via the skin, it can be absorbed through the skin.”

How to be safe this Halloween

Do a patch test
Shah suggests doing a patch test any time you are using a new product or have sensitive skin. “I recommend applying a small amount to your inner arm — the inner elbow or inner wrist work well — to see if you develop a reaction,” she says. “Some people may develop a reaction immediately; whereas in others it might take a few days, so it’s a good idea to test it out for a few days, even up to a week.”

Check your ingredients
There is a list of approved color additives on the FDA’s website, so check your makeup’s ingredient list against this list,” says Shah. Be sure to bring the list with you when shopping for costume makeup, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Don’t be too frugal
If you spend more money on face paint or Halloween makeup, you can expect better quality ingredients. “If your regular makeup isn’t going to complete your Halloween costume, try to go for high quality theater makeup,” says Shah. Look for natural-based makeup to be safe.

Treat your skin right
Be mindful of the instructions on your costume makeup — they’re there for a reason. “If you must use inexpensive low quality makeup, don’t use it around your eyes or mouth, especially if it’s not meant for that area,” says Shah. For example, certain dyes are only FDA approved for certain areas. When it comes to removal, wash your makeup off as soon as possible. “You may need to double up on the cleansing (such as a makeup wipe or remover followed by cleanser) to ensure all the makeup is off, and apply a gentle moisturizer with calming ingredients to reduce any mild irritation or dryness. If you have a more significant reaction you may need to see your dermatologist.”

via Yahoo!


Product Review: Zoya Armor (Lidia Preview)

Product Review: Zoya Armor Brand: Zoya Product: Armour ZoyaArmor4 Every nail polish aficionado knows that a good top coat is everything.  A good top coat adds shine, protects your nail color, extends wear, and preferably dries quickly though all layers of polish.  After my main top coat in rotation ran out, I decided to try a new top coat.  What better than a big 5 free top coat from one of my favorite nail brands?

“Nails are ready to take on the world with Zoya Armor Topcoat & UV Blocker. Add a protective, ultra-glossy, flexible shine to nail color and prevent exposure to yellowing UV rays. The super-brilliant, ultra-strong and flexible topcoat provides a chip-free coating to defend nail color against wear and tear.”

Bottle Shot
Bottle Shot

Formula The formula is easy to work with, it is not as thick as other top coats but at the same time is not thin.  This product lived up to part of its claims and maintained the integrity of the nail color it was applied to and did not yellow at all.

.7 Globe

Application Applying this top coat was very straight forward, it applies evenly in 2-3 brush strokes

1 Globe

Shine Armour leaves a nice shine on the nails rigt after application and after completely drying.

1 Globe

Zoya Armor over Zoya Lidia
Zoya Armor over Zoya Lidia

Wear “Chip-free coating to defend against wear and tear?’  “Armour” is nothing short of a misnomer.  I can overlook this polish taking 3+ hours (!!!!) to dry, which resulted in a small nick in my polish, but this product did NOT protect my nail polish!  My polished chipped within 24 hours!  This is simply unacceptable!  I have tested this product with Zoya and other salon quality polishes with the same results.

.2 Globes

Tip-wear chipping within 24 hours
Tip-wear chipping within 24 hours

EnviroFactor ZoyaArmor3 The polish is big 5 free as it contains no Formaldehyde, Camphor, Formaldehyde Resin, Tolune, or Dibutyl Phthalate.  The remaining ingredients are typical of what you would find in a nail polish and some are likely toxic to the lungs and nervous system, which is not at all surprising considering it is nail polish.  It is best to polish nails in a well ventilated area and do not inhale over an open bottle.

.8 Globes

If I had no prior experience with Zoya products I would be turned off from the brand, however, all of their polishes have been great albeit this is the first top/base coat or treatment I have used from the brand.  I had to go and buy another bottle of my usual top coat weeks after purchasing this product. This product retails for $10 and should be of much better quality, period.  Armour is part of Zoya’s color lock system and is followed by quick dry drops.  It should be noted these quick dry drops retail for $16 for .5 ounce bottle.  :/  I will not be purchasing this product again nor will I try the quick dry drops

3.7/5 Globes

Fashion Brand Pushes Growth, Talks Sustainability

We typically don’t delve into fashion here, but since it is New York Fashion Week, here is an interesting article discussing brand responsibility to people and the environment.  How many of you have thought about the point of origin of your clothes, beyond the store or retailer you purchase it from?  What do you think of this company’s actions on sustainability and human rights?

Sharon Edelson, NEW YORK — H&M’s ambitious agenda — which includes expanding its product offerings, creating another stand-alone brand and opening more and more stores worldwide — may seem at odds with sustainability and human rights.  But not to Karl-Johan Persson, managing director of Hennes & Mauritz AB.

The Swedish retailer this year will open nearly 365 stores — almost one of every day of the year — and the size of those stores is increasing.  At a time when retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. are building smaller units, H&M in June unveiled a 57,000-square-foot flagship on Fifth Avenue and 48th Street here, and a 63,000-square-foot unit will bow on West 34th Street here next year. H&M delivers dozens of new styles daily to its stores, a massive logistical effort repeated 3,388 times around the world.

Persson defends the retailer’s seemingly endless quest for growth — even as he acknowledges most consumers have enough “stuff.”  In his view, H&M needs to grow because “consumption creates lots of jobs.  To consume less of everything could have a negative effect on the economy. Sometimes, when we’re speaking about fast fashion, it’s connected to a negative impact on the world. The customer is getting good value for their money. It creates taxes and jobs in developed countries and creates a lot of jobs in the developing world. The one thing is the environment. The right response is to continue consuming, but to consume from companies that are responsible. Tesla is a great example. They’re cracking the code.

Of course, Persson believes H&M is another responsible company. “On the environmental side, we want to continue to grow while respecting planetary boundaries,” he said. “We have to change how fashion is made. We have to make more with less. We have to go from a linear model to a circular model. We recycle in all stores the H&M brand and other brands. We’ve collected 8,000 tons of garments.  We’re closing the loop, getting fibers or yarns back into production again. We’re investing in finding new materials and recycling Tencel. Our R&D is finding solutions for fibers that can be reused and at scale. We’re optimizing this so it can be scaled up. If we do this, we’ll have a major positive impact on the world.”

To the frequent contention that fast fashion is disposable, Persson said, “We want to make fashion affordable, so it’s not throwaway fashion. We see a trend of a lot of companies growing in the low-price area. We want to offer good design and affordable, good quality. We’re investing in improving the quality.”

Persson discussed H&M’s future in an interview following a speech he gave at the BSR 2014 Conference here.

The company’s portfolio includes H&M, COS, Monkey, Cheap Monday and & Other Stories. “We’re looking into new ideas to broaden the H&M concept portfolio,” Persson said in the interview. “It’s too early to talk about, but we’re developing another concept. It’s a new brand. We’re also broadening the H&M brand and developing new categories. We’re constantly growing at H&M, and when we find new concepts that the consumer likes — like sportswear, shoes and home — we’ll make sure we have the space in stores to showcase them.”

H&M was slow to join the e-commerce wagon, launching a transactional site 13 years after its arrival in the U.S. in August 2013. “We’re working a lot on omnichannel,” Persson said. “We’re working on scanning and buying products in store, click and collect, and returning in stores.  All stores will be able to access online [e-commerce]. We see our online shop growing faster than our physical stores. We have to find ways to make the in-store experience better and more exciting. One way is customer service. It’s a work in progress.”

The retailer is looking for growth in the U.S. and China, and new markets such as Australia, India, Peru and South Africa. With global sales of $17 billion in 2013, H&M is the second-largest apparel retailer in the world after Zara parent Inditex. The global apparel market is estimated to be $1.1 trillion.

“Do [we] want to be the number-one fashion company in the world,” Persson asked, rhetorically. “When I’ve said, no, people have looked at me like I’m not telling the truth. We want to become the biggest and we could expand quicker in the race to be number one, but who knows where that will take us. If we become number one, we become number one. If it’s three or 10 or one, it will happen [organically].”

Regardless of Persson’s attitude toward growth, the retailer has been castigated for its emphasis on low prices, which naturally lead to low wages in third-world countries where it sources, especially Bangladesh and Cambodia.

“When you look at costs, H&M produces different materials but using the same suppliers as some high-end brands,” he said, arguing that the price consumers are charged for a product doesn’t necessarily impact wages.

During his speech at BSR, Persson said that H&M last year launched with experts and global trade unions a fair living wage road map. “It’s a complex issue,” he said. “It’s based on a four-way collaboration between H&M, our suppliers, the suppliers’ workers and the government [of Bangladesh].

“Higher wages will mean higher prices,” he added. “Are we prepared to pay higher prices without passing them along to the consumer? Yes. It’s already impacting margins. All the pressures are coming from analysts and investors. You have to be prepared to sacrifice short-term profits for long-term profits. There’s too much short-term thinking, especially in the fashion industry. It’s bad for the environment. There is a lot more that can be done from the standpoint of the industry. We’re not in any way alone, but there are companies that are not doing enough.”

Persson said H&M has to “buy more evenly, buy smarter and work with suppliers and the Fair Wage Network, an independent organization. Extreme poverty is falling by 90,000 people every day. We’re leading the way in countries like Bangladesh.  Since 1991, the number has been halved. I was in Bangladesh a month ago to visit factories. Overtime has been reduced and wages have increased. We’re investing in training for technical skills and negotiating skills. We’re working with the government to make sure they enforce the labor laws and that salaries are revised annually.” 

In its 2013 sustainability report, H&M surprised the fashion industry by listing the names of most, but not all, of its 1,700 factories. “We were a bit hesitant about releasing the list of factories where we do business due to the competition,” Persson said. “We thought we should get it out there and make the fashion industry more transparent and hopefully inspire others to do the same.” The company is now working with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to develop consumer labeling called the Higg Index that takes into account everything from a product’s raw materials to its end-of-life solutions. 

H&M is the world’s biggest buyer of 100 percent sustainable cotton, and the fiber’s share of the total H&M collection is growing and will continue to increase. “We don’t charge more for organic cotton, even though it’s costing us more,” Persson said. H&M is also developing new care labels with Gintex, called Clevercare that remind consumers of the climate impact of washing clothing, and encourages behavioral changes to reduce the environmental footprint of fashion consumption.

H&M’s goal of 100 percent sustainability by 2020 is ahead of schedule, Persson said. His commitment to sustainability and human rights, he said, comes from his grandfather, who in 1947 founded the company. “My grandfather often spoke of the importance of long-term thinking,” he said, “that a business must have wider responsibilities than just building profits.

(via Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)