Third Annual Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Depression Awareness Fundraiser and Polish

*Provided for Review

Happy Friday all! Today I have for you another polish from Blue Eyed Girl Lacquer. Julie at BEGL is hosting her 3rd Annual Fundraiser that raises money for  I Need A Lighthouse, Inc. an organization that raises awareness for Depression and Suicide Prevention. She has quite a large group of polish makers that have kindly donated polishes to the auction she will be holding on eBay beginning tomorrow, October 31st. I will list all of the participants at the end of this post along with more details of what will be up for auction. Today's post features one of Julie's original contributions to the auction, Siren's Guiding Light.

 

Siren's Guiding Light

is soft silver linear holo with blue and gold shimmer throughout. This polish is a great color for the upcoming holiday season and even for work. It's bling-y without being overwhelming. The formula was nice; I applied to effortless coats for full opacity and had no issues with application. I didn't apply any top coat so that you all can really see what the holo effect looks like on it's own. 

 

Auction details:

The auction begins on October 31st on the BEGL eBay shop and along with Siren's Guiding Light, will include all of the 2015 Sirens (yep- all of them even the sold out ones!), all of the BEGL Addicted to Holos box polishes, all BEGL Destination Duos as well as a Special Limited Edition polish that will be sold exclusively as a Buy It Now option on eBay and tons more. There will also be polishes from the following indie brands available:

Alter Ego

Ellagee

Chaos & Crocodiles

Ever After

Girly Bits

Monster Polish

Northern Star Polish

Paint Box Polish

Super Chic Lacquer

Superficially Colorful

Sweet Heart Polish

The Polish Bar

Wacie

So in other words - lots of goodies to purchase! All auctions will start at $15 and last for 4 days. The Special Edition BEGL will cost $12. 

Blue Eyed Girl Lacquer Spooky Siren and October Destination Duo "The Haunted Duo" Swatches & Review

*Provided for Review

Hi gang! I don't know about the rest of you but this week had been insanely busy for me. My company's annual Halloween party is tomorrow, which I am in charge of planning and hosting as well as a myriad of company meetings has made this week both fly by and feel crazy overwhelming all at once. But I managed to squeeze in a little swatching time and I have for you three gorgeous polishes from Blue Eyed Girl Lacquer. All three are Halloween-themed so you know, awesome timing. Yay!

 

First up is the October Siren, Spooky Siren. A milky gray linear holo with silver and green shimmer. I love this polish! Let me just get that out of the way right now. I generally am not a fan of silver holos only because I feel like they can all start to look alike. But this one has such a nice depth to it and the formula was amazing. This one coat - yes ONE COAT - with no top coat. It applied like a dream, I had no patches or streaks or bald spots. If you notice the slightly bare spot on my middle finger that was user error. I touched my nail while taking pics! 

 

Next up is the October Destination Duo "The Haunted Duo". The first polish is the collaboration polish by Polish Bar, Happy Haunting.This is a clear base with gold, bronze and silver flakies and holo glitter. I layered this over one of my favorite bases for layering, Chick Polish Hen House. The formula on this was pretty good. I was able to achieve fairly generous coverage with one coat, but I applied two for pictures. This would look great for Halloween over a black or even dark blue base. 

 

Wall to Wall to Creeps is the second polish of the duo and my favorite. It is a rich dark purple jelly packed with copper and pink flecks and color-shifting blue flakies. This is my kind of Halloween color. The formula was great; I used two coats for full opacity and had no issues with application. 

Great formulas on all three of these polishes, but my personal favorite of the three is Spooky Siren. It's such a unique color for a Halloween-themed polish and you can wear it pretty much year-round.

The October Siren and Destination Duo are available via the Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer website

 

What's Next for Valiantly Varnished - and a quick survey!

Hello dear friends! Today's post is a quick check in with you about a subject that I have been vacillating on back and forth for sometime now. I have been writing this blog for over three years now and while I love nail art and nail polish I have begun to long for the blog to be a bit more than just pictures of my nails. Don't fret this is not becoming a food blog or a blog about my cats (though that would be awesome). Nope. This is simply about Valiantly Varnished becoming MORE. And by that I mean offering you, my peeps, more info and resources and fun products for not only nail art enthusiasts who read this blog but for my fellow nail art bloggers as well. 

What's Next for Valiantly Varnished and a quick survey
And so... what should I offer you all first? Below is the link to a quick survey. I want your help deciding!  It's only 4 questions and will take a millisecond to complete. Simply click on the link in the picture above.

Thank you in advance for your help. Exciting changes are afoot here on Valiantly Varnished and I can't wait to share them with all of you!

Pretty & Polished Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream & Donut Ever Let Me Go Swatches & Review

Happy Tuesday everyone! I have not purchased a ton of polishes over the last few months. My discretionary funds have been going elsewhere as of late, but I definitely had my eye on the Pretty & Polished Dessert For Nails Collection. The collection is exclusive to Live Love Polish. And while I of course would have loved to splurge and purchase the entire five color set I opted on the side of reason and good will to my wallet and chose two. My choices were Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and Donut Ever Let Me Go

First up is, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Gold and bronze hex glitters in a soft mint green crelly base. The formula on this was fantastic. I didn't have to fish for glitter and the application was smooth. I used two coats for pictures. I will say that you will probably need two coats of top coat since this dried a little flat and slightly textured from the glitter. 

 

Next is Donut Ever Let Me Go,  a soft pink crelly with multicolor bar glitters. This was the polish that first caught my eye in this collection and I was really excited to try it out. Unfortunately I had issues getting the bar glitter on my nails. This was even after I'd turned the bottle upside down for a few minutes before applying. I used three coats and while the crelly base applied well, the glitter did not. 

There are still a couple of other colors from the collection that I would eventually like to buy. But of the two I've tried, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream is my fave. I wore it for two full days I loved it so much!

The Pretty & Polished Dessert For Nails Collection is sold exclusively on the Live Love Polish site. Each bottle retails for $12.50. Unfortunately I think a few are currently sold out, but they are pretty great about re-stocking them so check back if a color you want is sold out.

Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo and Silk 18 Conditioner Review

*Press Sample

Hi all! Today I have a different kind of beauty post for you. I was recently contacted by Maple Holistics and invited to try out a few of their hair care products. They have a wide range of choices, but I opted to try their Sage Shampoo and the Silk18 Conditioner.

                                                                      Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo and Silk18 Conditioner Review

                                                                     Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo and Silk18 Conditioner Review

A quick rundown of both products: 

Sage Shampoo

Sage- Which is a natural astringent and reduces dermatitis (the condition that causes dry scalp and/or dandruff.

Rosemary ct. Verbenone - Stimulates hair follicles and circulation.

Spikenard - An aromatic herb with properties that combat dandruff and restore pigmentation

Tea Tree - A go-to cure for dandruff for many many years, it contains over 98 all-natural compounds that fight dandruff.

Jojoba and Peach Kernel -  Moisturizes sensitive scalps and  has anti-microbial properties.

Botanical Keratin - Naturally replenishes nutrients in hair.

Silk 18 Conditioner

Silk Amino Acids - Eighteen naturally derived silk amino acids that strengthen hair fibers. 

Shea Butter, Alove Vera and Green Tea - Shea butter contains vitamins A and E and is a natural moisturizer. Aloe Vera is a great conditioning agent, and green tea contains EGCG which strengthens hair roots and promotes hair growth

Pomegranate, Sea Buckthorn and Hibiscus - Pomegranate prevents moisture in hair from drying out, Hibiscus helps dryness and also prevent dandruff and split ends. Sea Buckthorn contains high levels of Omega 3,6,7 and 9 as well as Vitamins A,B,C,D,E and K that promote healthy skin and hair.

Some quick background on my hair and why I chose these two products: I am currently growing my hair out after years of cutting it short, adding layers, etc. This has taken some serious patience since in the past every time I have vowed to grow my hair out I'd wind up getting bored or annoyed with the awkward in-between phase and cutting it all off again. This time I decided to stay the course and my hair is now just at my shoulders (it just kisses them lol!). I also opted to start relaxer stretching and limiting my hair's heat exposure which has improved the health of my hair immensely. But - I have for the last 5-6 years or so suffered with severe dry scalp issues. I tried a ton of various medicated shampoos and home remedies and nothing really seems to work for very long. Which is why I decided to give the Sage Shampoo specifically a shot. I added the Silk18 since I was intrigued by the ingredients. I only wash my hair once a week to limit dryness and stripping of the hair's natural oils, so I used both products for three weeks straight, once a week.

Week One 

I usually use a co-wash on my hair but left it aside to see what the Sage shampoo was like on it's own. I used the Silk18 in lieu of my normal deep conditioner (but added a leave-in for extra conditioning). The shampoo has  a soft and light herbal smell (very tea tree oil- like) which I enjoyed. The conditioner smells amazing (my cats went crazy for the smell!) and it left my hair feeling crazy silky. I blow-dryed my hair and applied my organic coconut oil as I normally do after washing and blow-drying.  Unfortunately, the dry, itchy scalp and flaking came back almost right away with no real improvement. My hair also looked really dull which it normally doesn't. I seriously considered just not using either product again but decided to give them another shot with a few tweaks.

Week Two

This time I added the shampoo and conditioner into my normal routine. I first washed with the Sage Shampoo and then used my As I AM Coconut Co-Wash. After that, I applied the Silk 18 Conditioner and let it sit for 1 minute before washing out. I then applied my normal Africa's Best Deep Conditioner and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing out. I blow-dryed and applied my coconut oil as usual. This time, I still had itchy scalp - but a significant reduction in flaking! I felt like this might be my holy grail regimen but wanted to give it another week just to be sure.

Week Three

I did my same routine from Week Two. This time the results weren't as great. My scalp felt itchy and dry immediately after I washed it and the flakes were back by the next day. Also as in week one, the shampoo left my hair feeling dried out, thought my scalp felt very clean. The Silk18 conditioner and my Africa's Best Deep Conditioner remedied this. I was disappointed as I had hoped this would help my scalp over the long term. 

Overall Review

While I liked how clean the Sage Shampoo left my scalp feeling I don't feel like it made a difference as far as flakiness. This could be because I don't wash my hair everyday to prevent drying it out and my results may have been better with daily use. At the same time - I feel like the shampoo would only add to the dryness factor if I used it everyday. The Silk18 Conditioner was the star for me in this duo. It left my hair feeling so soft and hydrated and it smelled amazing. My mom actually borrowed it the other day and raved about how great her hair felt. This will now become a regular part of my hair washing regimen. I will probably only use the Sage Shampoo when I need a good clarifying wash to remove product from my hair. 

Maple Holistics is sold via Amazon as well as their website. The Sage Shampoo retails for around $16 and the Silk18 Conditioner retails for around $13. Also - Maple Holistics offers free samples of their products when you order directly from their site. This is a great way to try something out before committing to purchasing it.