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Thursday, 6 December 2018

Alter Ego Snowflake Soap

Press Sample/Review

Hi everyone! Today I have a festive soap from Alter Ego to show you! This product was originally meant for IPU but will now not be part of that but available from the Alter Ego site.

The Snow soap is inspired by the snow in Cynthia's garden.


The snow soap has a sweet and minty scent with hints of vanilla and chocolate in a snowflake shape. It has glitter too which is really pretty. I really like the scent which is clean and fresh, not too strong. I mostly smell the mint. which is a nice change, I have never had a soap with a similar scent before.

This soap is already available for purchase for $3.50. 

You can use code The Mani Cafe for 20% off!!

Where to Buy:
Alter Ego Body Care Products (20% off with code The Mani Cafe)

Alter Ego on Social Media:
Facebook
Instagram
 
The products in this post were provided for my honest review
 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Alter Ego Dreamscape - Fan Group Exclusive December 2018

Press Sample/Review

Hi everyone! Today I have the Alter Ego December Facebook group exclusive to show you! 


Dreamscape is a light blue with golden flakes and various glitter. Cynthia held a contest in her group and the winner got to design a polish. The winner chose a painting and named the polish 'Dreamscape'.

The formula was nice. I used 2 coats, no topcoat. This one does dry with a slightly textured look so you'll want to add topcoat for a super smooth finish.  


Dreamscape is available for the month of December in 2 sizes and for Cynthia's regular prices 8.5ml for $4.75 and 17ml for $9.50. Don't forget to join the Alter Ego Facebook group to be able to purchase.

You can use code The Mani Cafe for 20% off!!
Where to Buy:
Alter Ego Body Care Products (20% off with code The Mani Cafe)

Alter Ego on Social Media:
Facebook
Instagram


The products in this post were provided for my honest review

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Deborah Lippmann Flashdance & One-Stroke Flowers

Hi everyone! Today I have some fun nail art to share with you. If you've been following me a while you might remember that I love one-stroke nail art and florals. It's been ages since I've had much time to do this kind of nail art. I recently found myself with an evening alone and a craving to do some fun nail art. 


I had put on Deborah Lippmann Flashdance earlier in the day and I love the colour so I thought it deserved some nice decoration. I set out to do a couple of accent nails on each hand but it turned into a full mani! No regrets. I loved wearing this. The only thing I didn't think through well was using peel off base coat because Flashdance is a glitter polish and it meant my mani didn't last as long as I would like. But at least removal was easy and I didn't loose any polish by accident! 

So, from the beginning, I used a coat of Dance Legend Peel-Off base coat then 3 thin coats of Flashdance. Flashdance is a mix of purple and fuchsia glitter in a clear base but it is just about opaque on me in 2 coats. I added a third to be sure. 


I then used some topcoat and matte topcoat to smooth and mattify my base for the one-stroke painting. I chose purple and white acrylic paint to pop against the base colour. I used a slanted brush, a fine detail brush and a dotting tool. I finished with topcoat as always. I ended up using a couple of coats of topcoat because the glitter polish eats it. You might want to try something thicker for this polish if you have it or get it. Next time, I think I'll wear this one matte, I loved how it looked when I was doing my painting but I prefer a shiny finish for nail art. 

Anyway, I was quite happy with how this turned out. I'm a bit out of practice so it's far from my best but it was nice to wear a whole one-stroke mani for a change! 

Where to Buy:
Deborah Lippmann & various other retailers

Deborah Lippmann on Social Media

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

STELLA CHROMA Gemini with Arc Magnet

Hi everyone! I'm back today with another look at one of the beautiful magnetic multichromes from STELLA CHROMA. I hope you're not sick of me raving about these yet but they're just so pretty and unique in my stash! I'm loving them for Autumn/Winter and can't stop staring at my nails when I wear them. 

I decided to post this one again today as my swatches were with a bar magnet and in sunlight so I thought I'd show you the effect when I used my arc magnet and took my photos in artificial lighting as well. So here goes...


I used 2 thin coats of Gemini over a black creme base, plus topcoat. I love how the colours shift along with the cat eye/magnetic effect. Plus flakes. Can't forget the flakes. 


The Constellations Trio, including Gemini, is available now. Each of the polishes are retail $13 and they will be available together as a set for $36 until December 7th. 
 
Do check out my original swatch post to see pictures of this one in sunlight and of the other two polishes from the trio!

Pam also has variety of magnets available to purchase as well. 
 
You can use the code THEMANICAFE to get 15% off your order!

I also wanted to remind you again about the STELLA CHROMA fan group on Facebook called stella chromatics. We’d love to have you join if you haven’t already!

Where to Buy:
STELLA CHROMA (code THEMANICAFE for 15% off!)

STELLA CHROMA on Social Media:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

The products in this post were provided for my honest review

Monday, 26 November 2018

Alter Ego - Top This! Flakie Topper Collection - Swatches & Review

Press Sample/Review

Hi everyone! I have the new flakie topper collection from Alter Ego. This collection is made up of different clear-based polishes with multichrome metallic flakes. I'll note now that unfortunately I'm missing one of the polishes, Fall for Fall, which was unfortunately broken in the package. So please do check out swatches from other bloggers for that one! Meanwhile, here are the rest of them! 


I swatched each polish in one coat over a one coater black creme. I love flakes over black as they really pop. I didn't use topcoat for photos. The formulas were good and I didn't have to fish for flakes at all. I feel like one coat gives the perfect amount of flakes for my liking, the result isn't too busy but not too sparse either.

Moon Mother is a clear base with silver metallic flakes.




Payola is a clear base with gold metallic flakes.



Envy This is a clear base with purple-green-blue shifty flakes.



Fire Light is a clear base with pink-orange-green flakes.




The Top This polishes are available now in 2 sizes and for Cynthia's regular prices 8.5ml for $4.75 and 17ml for $9.50.

You can use code The Mani Cafe for 20% off!! 

Where to Buy:
Alter Ego Body Care Products (20% off with code The Mani Cafe)

Alter Ego on Social Media:
Facebook
Instagram


The products in this post were provided for my honest review

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Alter Ego - Chione (Polish Pickup December 2018 - Enchanted Forest)

Press Sample/Review

Hi everyone! I have the November Polish Pick Up Exclusive from Alter Ego for you today

The Polish Pick Up theme for December is 'Enchanted Forest'. Cynthia from Alter Ego has made a polish inspired by Chione the goddess of snow. Very seasonal!


Chione is a sparkling white-silver holo with a real glimmer to it. This is so delicate and pretty. The way it sparkles in the light is stunning. I used 3 thin coats, no topcoat. Formula was great, no issues to report. I think this would also make a nice topper over other colours. I'll definitely be trying it out soon! 
 

This beauty will be available from December 7th at 11am EST until December 10th at 11:59pm EST along with polishes from other brands with the 'Enchanted Forest' theme! It will retail for $11. The December Polish Pickup works a little differently for shipping during the festive season and makers are required to decide on a cap and send stock ahead. Cynthia has made a provisional cap of 50 polishes. This may be increased if wishlists show greater demand. I'll try to edit this post if I receive any information on this.

Polish Pickup:
Store
Facebook

Alter Ego:
Store
Facebook 
Instagram

 
The products in this post were provided for my honest review
 
 
 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

STELLA CHROMA Body Care

Press Sample/Review

Hi everyone! I've been super excited to prepare this post for you and share some of my favourite products from STELLA CHROMA and some new things in the body care lineup! There are also some super yummy new autumn/winter scents!


You've probably seen me post before about STELLA CHROMA cuticle oils and balm so I'm going to start off with those! I'll include Pam's info and ingredient lists and then let you know my thoughts for each product and the fragrance I received for review!

Cuticle Oil - 2 ml brush pen for $4.50
100% pure, natural, organic apricot, almond, & jojoba cuticle oil in a brush pen for easy application and no worries about leaking if you take it on the go!
Ingredients: Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E, fragrance

The cuticle oil comes in an amazing variety of scents (28 plus unscented if I counted correctly!!!). This is one of the things I find the most exciting with Pam's products. I love to try new ones along with my firm favourites. I keep these cuticle oil pens in my bag and around the house for quick, easy moisturising. It means I don't forget and the format is super handy for carrying with me. I have enjoyed all the scents I've tried so far. This time, I tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte scent. I'm a sucker for coffee and anything spiced/wintery. I love the scent as much as I thought I would. It's not sickly and smells exactly like my favourite autumn beverage!


Intense Butter Balm - 1 oz jar for $13
An unscented balm rich in shea, mango, and cocoa butters that can be smoothed onto your lips, cuticles, elbows, heels... Anywhere that needs an extra boost of moisture and protection! T
Ingredients: Shea butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, Beeswax, Mango Butter, and Vitamin E.

This is my all time favourite cuticle product. If I could choose only one to use for the rest of my life, no hesitation, it would be this. It is perfect. Super moisturising without being greasy, unscented (yeah, sometimes I don't actually need a fragrance). I often use this on my nails and cuticles then right after I use a scented hand cream for my hands. It's nice not to be mixing scents in that situation as well. I also use this on my dry elbows and lips. I've even used it on a sore nose when I had a cold and my skin was irritated from tissues (I know, gross, but it happens and this product works for that so there you go!)

Sugar Scrub - 5 oz jar for $9.00
Packed with good for your skin ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, and beeswax, this emulsified sugar scrub will slough off tired skin cells and plump up the fresh layer underneath.
 
To use this product you just scoop some out, mix with a bit of water if you want (often I don't bother) and smooth over your skin, rinse with warm water and pat dry. I love these scrubs and use them easily once a week. A pot lasts quite a while, depending on how much scrub you use obviously. These are a must after swatching sessions for me and they make you feel pampered but it doesn't take long to use. Win win for when you're busy! This product is available in all of the fragrance options and also unscented. I tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte in this as well. I love how the scent stays on my skin afterwards! 



Luxe Hand Cream - 4 oz for $9, 2 oz for $5.50
This luxe hand cream is crafted in small batches by Amani Soaps for STELLA CHROMA. It is free of phthalates, parabens, and harmful chemicals. Available unscented or scented with essential oils or phthalate free and paraben free fragrance oils.
INGREDIENTS: Distilled Water, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Emulsifying Wax NF, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Oryza Sative (Rice) Bran Oil, Sodium Lactate, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Tocopherol
 
This was my first time trying this product and I have to say, I've absolutely fallen in love with it. It is easily one of the best hand creams I have tried, and I've tried a LOT. The scents are amazing, the fragrance really lingers on the skin. The cream is so moisturising but doesn't leave a greasy feeling. I tried the Cinnamon Baklava scent and I love it even more than the Pumpkin Spice Latte scent! The fragrance of sweet cinnamon is just delicious. I also purchased the Cranberry Salsa hand cream which is fresh and zingy. I took photos before and after using the cream so you can see the difference. Goodbye dry cuticles and skin!



Perfume Oil - 10 mL for $12.00
A blend of oils that hold scents on your skin for hours. Glide this perfume oil on your inner wrists, the base of your neck, behind the ears, or the crooks of your elbows to carry your favorite STELLA CHROMA scent with you all day. 
Available in 10 mL amber glass rollerballs to keep harmful UV rays from spoiling your perfume.
Ingredients: Fractionated Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E, and Fragrance. 
 
Again, this was my first time trying this product. I hadn't used a perfume oil or rollerball perfume in YEARS. I'm really enjoying the format. It makes a nice change from my regular perfumes (eau de parfum sprays) and I think I'll definitely be taking it with me when I travel. It's so much more practical than a heavy glass bottle of perfume. I tried the Cranberry Salsa scent. It is a nice option for this product as it is fresh and zesty with a hint of orange. Especially nice this time of year. You don't need much to get amazing scent payoff and the fragrance really does last well.  


Body Polish - 9 oz for $22.00
STELLA CHROMA has crafted their body polish with the same rich oils and butters we know and love, but with added turbinado sugar and... coffee! Coffee is rich in antioxidants and is said to help tighten the skin. Perfect!
Scoop some scrub into your hands and massage into skin while you’re showering. When you’re done, pat dry to take advantage of the moisturizing oils. 

If you haven't heard about this product yet or seen the sneak peeks, where have you been? This new product from the brand is super exciting and I know it's going to be a favourite of mine! Coffee Body Polish is available in a 9 oz jar in the following scents: Straight Up (black coffee), Cinnamon Dolce, Salted Caramel Latte, Peppermint Mocha, and Pumpkin Spice Latte. I tried the Straight Up coffee version and let me tell you, as a coffee lover, this is bliss. It's like a hit of coffee in your shower before you've even had coffee (or after, whatever!). The scent lingers on your skin after use and the rough grains of coffee and sugar are perfect for exfoliation. My skin feels so soft after I use this! 
 

So that's it for the roundup of body care items from STELLA CHROMA! All of these products are available now. Concerning the amazing list of scent options, Pam has made a super handy page on her site where you can find detailed descriptions of all the fragrance choices. But just a warning, it's a dangerous list and if you're like me, you'll want to try so so many! 
 
You can use the code THEMANICAFE to get 15% off your order!

Concerning Black Friday and Holiday deals - STELLA CHROMA will be lowering the free domestic shipping threshold from $50 to $25 from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. No code required.  

There will also be a free upgrade to domestic priority shipping from December 14th-19th. December 19th is the last day to order with arrival by Christmas.

As always, a portion of STELLA CHROMA proceeds are donated to charity.  For the last quarter of 2018 the donation will be made to GirlStart, a non-profit based in Austin, Texas that has after school and day-long camps to help young girls develop a love for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

I also wanted to remind you again about the STELLA CHROMA fan group on Facebook called stella chromatics. We’d love to have you join if you haven’t already!

Where to Buy:
STELLA CHROMA (code THEMANICAFE for 15% off!)

STELLA CHROMA on Social Media:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

The products in this post were provided for my honest review

Monday, 19 November 2018

STELLA CHROMA - The Constellations Trio

Press Sample/Review
Hi everyone! I am excited to share more of the STELLA CHROMA holiday releases with you today! This is the Constellations Trio consisting of 3 beautiful multichrome magnetic flakie polishes!
I was so excited when I heard that Pam was making some magnetics as I have really been enjoying them lately and I just knew she would do them well, and with a twist! Each polish in this collection has a black jelly base but then the colour is different with the shimmer and flakes! 

These polishes can be worn alone in 2-3 coats or as a topper with 1-2 coats. I decided to swatch them over a black base and I'm glad I did! They really pop like this! Each swatch shows 2 thin coats over a black creme, no topcoat! I used a simple bar magnet for the magnetic effect.

Orion is a 'black jelly polish with violet-blue-green shifting magnetic flakies'. This is like the best colours of multichrome polishes in my opinion but with the added twist of being magnetic. The effect works really well and is very striking (the same is true for each one of the trio). 



Gemini is a 'black jelly polish with green-gold-red shifting magnetic flakies'. I didn't think I would love this one as much as green and gold don't tend to be my favourites but I actually wore this as a full mani as soon as I'd finished swatching. The colour combined with the magnetic effect really reminds me of cat's eyes! 

Perseus is a 'black jelly polish with gold-red-violet shifting magnetic flakies'. I knew I'd love this one from when I saw the first swatch Pam sent out and I wasn't disappointed. The shimmer is so strong and it just glows! 

The trio will be released on Black Friday (November 23rd) at noon EST.
Each of the polishes will retail for $13 and they will be available together as a set for $36 until December 7th. 

Pam will also have a variety of magnets available to purchase as well. I tried out an arc magnet on my full mani of Gemini. It also worked perfectly and looked beautiful. I'll try to post pictures of that soon! 
You can use the code THEMANICAFE to get 15% off your order!

Concerning Black Friday and Holiday deals - STELLA CHROMA will be lowering the free domestic shipping threshold from $50 to $25 from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. No code required.  

There will also be a free upgrade to domestic priority shipping from December 14th-19th. December 19th is the last day to order with arrival by Christmas.

As always, a portion of STELLA CHROMA proceeds are donated to charity.  For the last quarter of 2018 the donation will be made to GirlStart, a non-profit based in Austin, Texas that has after school and day-long camps to help young girls develop a love for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

I also wanted to remind you again about the STELLA CHROMA fan group on Facebook called stella chromatics. We’d love to have you join if you haven’t already!

Where to Buy:
STELLA CHROMA (code THEMANICAFE for 15% off!)

STELLA CHROMA on Social Media:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

The products in this post were provided for my honest review