Saturday, 31 December 2011

NOTD: NYE nails

These are a bit boring... but I like them! :) Unfortunately the metallic doesn't photograph too well.

ulta3 Black Satin + ulta3 Metal stripes (freehand), ulta3 Metal + Spectraflair topcoat on ring finger.

I should've probably done holo on the silver stripes as well... but I couldn't be bothered. This pic shows the holo better:

Happy 2012 everyone, and thanks for reading!

Friday, 30 December 2011

My top 8 of 2011

These are the 8 health/beauty things I couldn't do without this year, in no particular order:

1. Seche Vite - quick dry, smudge-fixing, shiny goodness.

2. Shea butter - all-round awesome moisturiser. I use it straight out of the tub, but I'll probably scent and whip it soon.

NOTD: Purple glitter gradient

Hello! I'm really loving glitter at the moment. Unfortunately my favourite no-guilt budget brand ulta3/NYC Color doesn't have any glitter with good coverage and varied glitter sizes so I've had to make do with using a couple glitters together to get interesting effects.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Review: China Glaze Wagon Trail

Application - 3 coats, easy

Colour and finish - olive green shimmer, darker in shade, glossy
Drying time - pretty quick
Packaging - skinny brush, easy to handle
Price - $0.57/mL

China Glaze Wagon Trail is a dark olive green shimmer. The shimmer is a warm gold, like liquid honey. 

Sunday, 25 December 2011

NOTD: Christmas manicure!

This manicure is tacky and ridiculous... and I love it. Happy silly season!

"All I want for Christmas is someone to hug."

Friday, 23 December 2011

Lab Muffin guide - the science of face washing

One of my friends recently asked me why you can't solely use oil for cleaning your face. The answer is quite simple - water doesn't dissolve oil, so you need something that does.

If you've been on this planet for more than 10 years, you should have noticed by now that oil and water don't mix (if you haven't, please go to your kitchen and pour some oil into a glass of water IMMEDIATELY. Then come back and read the rest!).

The reason for this is that there are two basic categories of chemical - polar and non-polar. Polar things mix together, and non-polar things mix together. Water, salt, sugar and vinegar are examples of things that are polar, while oils, fats, butters, grease and turpentine are non-polar. Some things, such as acetone, can mix with both categories.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

NOTD: Gold and black crackle

My boyfriend suggested this when I received my China Glaze Cracked Medallion in the mail from eBay, and despite my initial skepticism (his other good ideas include things like rainbow board shorts and jumping off tall buildings in wingsuits), I think it turned out really well!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Review: Orly Space Cadet

Application - 4+ coats alone, 1-2 coats over base; not mistake-friendly

Colour and finish - olive/purple multichrome glittery foil; slightly gritty

Drying time - long! Quick-dry recommended

Packaging - grippy lid, good brush

Price -
$0.56-1.11/mL on eBay
Space Cadet was released in 2010 as part of Orly's Cosmic FX collection, and quickly made its way onto lots of must-have lists. And rightly so!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Review: Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Balm

Main moisturisers - sweet almond oil,

Texture - greasy balm
Packaging - cute tin
Price - $0.88/g, but you won't need to use much
Burt’s Bees is an American company which has gotten a lot easier to find here in the last couple of years. Their Lemon Butter Cuticle Balm is the first product I’ve tried of theirs. I received an 8.5 g sample tin as part of a Priceline promotion.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Nail product ingredients – how bad are they?

If you’ve ever looked at the ingredients list on the back of any of your cosmetics, you’ll see a massive block of scary-sounding names, with a few familiar ones in the mix (hello water!). Nail polish is probably the most unfriendly cosmetic product most people own - it smells nasty, and it’s hard to clean up after. You’ve probably heard of the "Big 3", and how you should avoid them, and buy products from companies which sell Big 3-free. But what are these things, and important is it to avoid them?

The Lab Muffin likes to stay safe, but at the same time, the Lab Muffin doesn’t want to be a paranoid parrot. Unfortunately, finding good information on chemicals in health care products is difficult. On one end of the spectrum, there are websites run by trade associations which try to play down the risks to keep costs lower for manufacturers. On the other end, there are scare-mongering groups who turn every "possible link" into a death knell.

So the Lab Muffin has decided to take a close look at the nail polish ingredients most commonly said to be "dangerous". First up... dibutyl phthalate!

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) - die-BOO-til THA-late - MSDS

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

NOTD: Ancient urn

A simple NOTD today. This has the distinction of being the only manicure of mine that a 70 year old man has complimented :) Unfortunately since it was so simple, I wasn't too impressed by it until I recevied compliments on it, but by then it was all chipped and nasty. So only one picture of the completed manicure for you, I'm afraid.

Monday, 12 December 2011

DIY: Easy Microwaveable Lip Balm

Recently I was asked to be a bridesmaid for one of my best friends. Of course I accepted! :D For her hens event, we decided on a DIY pampering weekend in a country cottage. To keep costs down, we wanted to try some homemade skincare projects.

The easiest pampering activity I could think of is making homemade lip balm. These were my test runs:


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Review: Kit Cosmetics Shop Loves Sunset

Application - 3 coater, easy

Colour and finish - opaque pink-orange creme, glossy
Drying time - moderate
Packaging - square bottle, good brush, grippy lid
Price - free, but the rest of the range is $1.33/mL

Shop Loves Sunset was a giveaway recently on the Kit Cosmetics blog, and a freebie with the May issue of Shop Til You Drop, so maybe not enough people claimed them the first time round? (I got mine from Myer Sydney on December 6th, so they may still have some available if you’re quick!) Anyway, they missed out - this is a full-sized 12 mL bottle (usually $15.95), and the first Kit product I’ve tried.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Chemical vs. natural

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that, as a science geek, it irks me when I see scientifically incorrect things in popular media (I have been known to yell at the TV during Mythbusters). But what really upsets me is when advertisers and marketing gurus try to use scientific terms and absurd claims to bamboozle people into buying their products.

The concepts of natural, chemical, organic, synthetic are thrown around a lot these days, not just in health and beauty, but also with household products and food. Here are a few of the phrases and claims that really annoy me:


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

NOTD: Tortoiseshell nails

My first NOTD! (Excuse the raggedy cuticles.)

I didn’t really have anything in mind when I did this design, I was just playing around with drag marbling and getting frustrated (I keep forgetting - if your base layer is really gloopy, everything sinks!). It’s a simple drag marble using ulta3 Black Satin (thick, opaque, black creme) and Sunkissed (metallic bronze shimmer).

Monday, 5 December 2011

Lab Muffin 1.0

 Hi internet!

I'm a PhD student who spends all her time either in the lab or buying/reading about/playing with beauty products.

I started this blog because, being a geek, I ask “why” and “how” a lot, and when I asked these questions about health and beauty issues, the answers I usually got were along the lines of “_____ technology”, or “it works on a cellular level”, or “it performs well in clinical tests”. These answers are probably jargon-y enough to put off a lot of people from asking more, but this just annoyed me. I kept Googling. It got to the peer-reviewed scientific journal article stage.

And as I was wading through endless PDFs and search results, I realised that I couldn’t be the only one asking these questions. So I started this blog as a way of sharing the information I found, and presenting the science in an easy-to-understand way, so hopefully even the non-sciencey non-geeks (or as they’re commonly known, “normal people”) can get something out of it.

I also like painting my nails, and mixing things, so there’ll be a lot of manicures and DIY projects here as well!

I’m new to this blogging thing, wish me luck!

And leave questions or topics you'd like me to cover in the comments!

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