February 28, 2014

The Lacquer Legion February Challenge: Adoration

Hello readers,
It's that time of the month again... that is, it's time for another Lacquer Legion inspired mani! This month's theme was 'adoration'. To me, this meant something that you just can't take your eyes off of. Something that fills you with happy feelings and gives you a sense of awe. The thing that fit this idea perfectly for me was fireworks. I love these displays of glitter in the sky.

For my mani I used Morgan Taylor Under the stars as the background. Then I used my Nubar silver striper to make the whisps of the fireworks. I dotted A-England Encore Margot and Nubar Treasure to add more 'arms' to the fireworks. Finally I layered some Emerald & Ash Moonlit Snow and China Glaze Glistening snow in the center of firework to add some extra shimmer and sparkle. This was the final result.

If you want to join in the fun follow The Lacquer Legion on facebook to find out what next month's theme will be.

Happy polishing!

- Michelle

February 25, 2014

Girly Bits Cosmic Ocean Swatches & Review

Hello readers,
Today I have an awesome topper to show you. I love shimmery polishes and this one is shimmer amplified.

Girly Bits Cosmic Ocean is a sheer shimmery topper that shifts from blue to teal. When I say shimmer, I mean shimmery!  It does tend to pick up a bit of the colour that's underneath it so when I used it over Arcane Lacquer Headstrong, a deep tealy green, I ended up with a shimmer that shifted from blue to teal to green.  It is just gorgeous.  The formula was perfect.  No bald spots or streaks even with a single coat.  Photos show one coat of Cosmic Ocean over Arcane Lacquer Headstrong in natural lighting.

It looks amazing in the pictures but it's even prettier in person.  It gives off a kind of glow that's really hard to capture.  I found myself just staring at my fingers as I shifted them around in the sunlight.  You can find Girly Bits at

Happy Polishing!
- Michelle

February 24, 2014

Why I will no longer shop at Sephora

Hello readers,
I have a different kind of post for you today. Recently Canadians have been outraged to learn that Sephora has started charging duties on some online orders from the Sephora.ca website. If we were allowed to shop on the American site and pay the American prices I would be ok with this. However, we are only able to shop from Sephora.ca which charges higher prices and local sales tax. I decided to dive a little deeper into the numbers to see how much more we are paying. As a statistician, this is my cup of tea! It's not too often I get to combine stats with makeup! I gathered data on February 24, 2014 from both the sephora.com and sephora.ca for the 20 top best selling products according to sephora.com. I then recorded the prices for these products from both the US and Canada websites along with and taxes and/or duties charged on the Canadian site. The USD prices were converted to CAD based on the February 24, 2014 exchange rate of 1USD = 1.11CAD. Taxes and duties were determined by adding each item to the cart individually and proceeding to the final stage of check out before payment. You can see all the data I collected in the table below.

Out of the top 20 US products 2 were not available on the Canadian website so our final data set contains the top 18 products available on both sites. On average, even taking into account the exchange rate, Canadians paid 5.29% more for identical products. I also took a look at the local taxes charged. As an Ontario resident I should be charged 13% sales tax. Seven out of the 18 products got charged significantly more, ranging from 13.83% to 13.91%, ten of the 18 got charged the right amount (12.98% - 13.03%) and one was charged no tax at all. That means that Ontario residents have a 39% chance of being overcharged for their local taxes. Finally I took a look at duties. This is the newest charge that has been added to the sephora.ca checkout process. I checked my previous 5 orders placed between October through December of 2013 and none had any duties charged. Seven of the 18 items had duties charged at checkout. These charges ranged from 4.56% - 6.4%.

Why does this make Canadians so angry?  When Sephora was asked why Canadian prices were so much higher than American ones after taking the exchange rate into account they responded "At this time the Canadian price is based on the suggested US price, including adjustments for exchange rate, customs and brokerage fees."

According to this the higher prices we pay already cover border fees so why are we being asked to pay even more border related fees?  It feels like we are being double charged.  When I asked about the recently added duty charges I was told it was because they were planning to expand into other countries.  Why should their business expansion cost Canadians more when nothing has changed with regards to sephora.ca?

What's the point of even having a .ca website if we still have to pay import and border fees?  It's like we're shopping domestically and internationally all at the same time and being charged taxes for both aspects.  I would love it if Sephora let us shop on the American website, shipped via USPS and let Canada Customs deal with any additional border charges.  So many other American websites operate this way.  Or, if they want a separate .ca website where they charge us local tax treat it as if we are shopping from within Canada.  There are physical Sephora stores in Canada so they already have to send product across the border.

As a Canadian I've had enough.  I really love some of the products I can get at Sephora but it's just not worth paying more, paying local taxes and potentially paying duties. What's even worse is that recently the Canadian dollar has lost value.  This means that historically there has been an even greater difference between the sephora.ca and sephora.com prices.


This is why I vow to never shop at sephora.ca again.  Considering that most of my purchases were online impulse buys instead of things I actually needed this means a loss of business for Sephora.  I know there are many fellow Canadian makeup addicts who feel the same way.

- Michelle

February 20, 2014

Arcane Lacquer Headstrong Swatches & Review

Hello readers,
Today I have another one of the Arcane Lacquers from my boxing day haul to show you, Headstrong.

Headstrong features a dark teal jelly base with a sprinkling of tiny iridescent blue glitters.  I wasn't a hug fan of the formula on this one.  I found it difficult to get an even coat and even after three coats there were still a couple of sheer spots on my nails.  What really disappointed me though is that the little blue glitters pretty much disappear on the nail.  That is, except for the little bumps in the polish that some of them leave behind.  I really wish they had been more visible.  Photos show three coats of Headstrong with one coat of CND Super Shiny in natural lighting.  It does lean slightly more green in real life.

I really wanted to love this one but I just can't.  The formula is tricky to get opaque, the glitters are barely visible on the nail and it doesn't dry quite smoothly.  I think the same base would have worked a lot better with some sort of shimmer added.  It feels like it's just missing something.  This is the first Arcane Lacquer that I wasn't happy with so I'm definitely not writing off this brand as a whole.  Hopefully this is just a fluke. You can find Arcane Lacquer at:

Happy polishing,

- Michelle

February 18, 2014

Darling Diva Killer Queen Swatches & Review

Hello readers,

I took a little break from blogging over the long weekend but I'm back with an awesome linear holo from the Darling Diva Polish Queen inspired collection to show you.

Killer Queen is a colour shifting holo. Who could resist that combo? It shifts from purple to coppery orange. In sunlight the holo aspect of this polish definitely takes over but in muted lighting the duochrome aspect comes out to play. The formula was great and I had no issues with application. Photos show three coats of Killer Queen with one coat of CND Super Shiney top coat.  Unfortunately the bright sun doesn't make too many appearances during winter so I also took some photos under halogen lighting to show the linear holo's full potential.

The holo in this polish is very strong. If you want to see more of the colour shift a single coat over black will help bring that out more. You can find Darling Diva Polish at:

Happy polishing,
- Michelle

February 13, 2014

Lucky 13 Lacquer Public Anemone Number One Swatches & Review

Hello readers! Today I have another simple custom from Lucky 13 Lacquer to show you.  For a refresher on what constitutes a 'simple custom' go and check out this post.  If you remember what I'm talking about, let's check out the third simple custom I designed - Public Anemone Number One.

Public Anemone Number One features the base from Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey with the shimmer and glitters from I am no man.  The result is a blue jelly base with a subtle shimmer, small and medium gold glitters and medium emerald hexes.  This polish was little on the thick said but it still dried quite quickly so this wasn't an issue for me.  It went opaque after two coats but I added one more to get a little more glitter coverage.  Photos show three coats of Public Anemone Number One with one coat of Seche Vite in natural lighting.

I really like this polish.  Definitely a perfect bright rich blue for a beach vacation. If you want a simple custom of your very own get in touch with Kyoti via the Lucky 13 Lacquer website, or you can always send her a message on facebook.  I highly recommend.  Making these was so much fun!

Happy polishing,

- Michelle

February 11, 2014

Different Dimension Mr. Grumble Swatches & Review

Hello readers! I'll admit it. I'm not usually a fan of thermal polishes. I personally think the ones with very drastic colour changes can look a little bit tacky. However, there are some that catch my eye. Different Dimension's Mr.Grumble is one of them. I love the flecked shimmer and the fact that the colour change stays within the same 'colour family'.

Mr.Grumble is a very shimmery flecked polish. When cold it's a medium blurple and when warm it turns to a pink and gold duochrome. I don't think I've seen anything like it before. The formula was fantastic. No issues with streaks or sheerness. Photos show three coats of Mr. Grumble with one coat of CND Super Shiney top coat in natural lighting.

Because my nails aren't very long int he pictures you don't see the gradient effect you can get with thermals on longer nails.  To give you a good idea of the contrast from warm to cold check out the video below where I run my warm fingers under cold water.

Transition from warm to cold.

This is my kind of thermal polish! I think my favorite of the two states is the cold colour (which is good, because thermal polishes lose their ability to change colour over time).  You can find Different Dimension at:

Happy polishing,

- Michelle