Each weekend I test out a few of the latest beauty products to hit my desk. Here's the latest results:
Ciaté Sequined Manicure ($15, available at Sephora in October)
Most glittery nail polishes never get opaque enough despite multiple coats of the stuff, but Ciaté's latest launch includes a mini-tub of loose multi-colored glitter so you can literally dunk your nail in sparkles. All it takes is two base coats (one nail at a time) with the brand's Glitter Grip (included) and then one quick kerplunk in glitter. A little brush in the set allows you to wipe away any excess, but good luck with that because the sticking power of glitter is relentless. If you're interested in trying this, be sure to keep some Scotch tape around to clean up wayward sparkles from cuticles, fingertips, hands, boyfriend's faces, your face. The result: nails that might get mistaken for tiny disco balls.
Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Cleansing Balm ($53, Aromatherapy Associates):
Based around the concept of probiotics (the idea that healthy bacteria can fight the bad stuff on skin), the latest addition to the London-based skincare line is a gentle and hydrating cleansing balm. Packaged in a squeezable tube, this balm is considerably more bathroom-friendly than having to unscrew a jar. Once applied, the balm, comprised of omega, chamomile, and sweet-almond oils, immediately melts into the skin with a liquidy texture. Just splashing water to the skin won't be enough to get it off, so you really do need to use the soft muslin cloth it comes with to make sure you wash it all off, otherwise it just feels like there's filmy layer of residue left on your face. I found the herbal scent soothing the way that aromatherapy is, and the balm got the most stubborn eye makeup off while leaving my skin clean and hydrated.
La Bella Figura "Paris" Perfume Oil ($90, La Bella Figura):
Handmade in Chicago, La Bella Figura makes all of their products with organic, natural, and fair-trade ingredients from around the world. They've recently added a roll-on fragrance oil inspired by the Parc De George Brassens in Paris. Based around tree notes (sandalwood, oakmoss, fir), it smells like an old library whose fireplace has just been snuffed out. Despite a certain smokiness and the usually gourmand notes of cognac and vanilla (which can sometimes be a turn-off because of its richness), this fragrance actually comes off rather crisp and a bit floral, too. I chalk this up to the lavender, magnolia, and tuberose notes that perfu-magically don't get drowned out.