Saturday, 31 March 2012

NOTD: Black lace on nude

The refined yet sexy black-lace-on-nude look that Kate Moss etc. popularised a couple of years ago inspired these nails.

The base is OPI Malaysian Mist, which I hate when sheer but love with 3+ coats, and might be my long sought after HG nude! It's one of the polishes that got me into nails in the first place. The stamp is ulta3 Black Satin (new Made in PRC formula), which is super opaque and great for stamping.

I think a denser pattern would be better, but I really like this look. A few days later I got bored and layered my new China Glaze White Cap on top - it's a bit too fairytale for me, but still so pretty :)

What's your favourite nude polish?

Friday, 30 March 2012

Awesome beauty from your kitchen - Olive oil

I love it when a beauty product does double duty and well - lip/cheek tints, lip and cuticle balms, BB creams, cotton buds... I love it even more when DIY beauty turns out better AND cheaper than anything you buy!

I'm a big fan of oils, and olive oil is definitely near the top of the multitasking list. As well as salad dressing and bread dip, here are some things I use olive oil for...

1. Makeup remover - Put a few drops on a damp cotton pad, wipe over eyes and face, then wash off with warm water and pat dry. The oil dissolves any makeup that water can't.

2. Oil cleansing - Steam open pores (or if you're lazy like me, just use in the shower!). Massage about 1/4 teaspoon (a little puddle the size of a US quarter, Australian 10 cent coin, or base of an OPI bottle) into your damp face. If you have clogged pores, you should feel little bits of blackhead and other gunk loosen from your face - the oil helps the plugs glide out, and the massaging wiggles them loose. I rub for about 3 minutes, but I've heard that the longer you do it, the better the results! Rinse off with a gentle cleanser, pat dry and moisturise.

3. Hair conditioner - Mix a few drops into your regular conditioner, leave in for a few minutes then rinse off. Oil is a great conditioner!

4. Hot oil mask - Comb warm olive oil through damp hair. Clip up and wrap in clingfilm, allow to soak for at least 15 minutes. Wash out thoroughly with shampoo, condition. My hair becomes so soft and slippery :)

5. Body scrub - Mix some olive oil into a small handful of sugar (1 part oil to 2 parts sugar gives a nice crumbly texture). Add scent if you want (be careful if you're sensitive). Rub gently into skin, then rinse off with warm water - use cleanser if you feel too greasy. Be very careful if you decide to scrub your face, it can be too effective! Sugar doesn't dissolve in oil, so you get the scrubbing grains, plus the oil moisturises and softens old skin. My skin feels velvety smooth and soft afterwards!

6. Shaving - Rub a few drops onto wet legs, then shave. The oil lubricates and moisturises so you get less irritated skin.

7. Cuticle oil - After washing your hands, towel dry and rub a few drops into your cuticles for a quick conditioning.

Like with any other type of skincare, your individual reaction may vary! However, olive oil seems to work for most people who have tried it, but don't go nuts - incorporate any change in your skincare routine slowly.

Who else loves olive oil? What other uses have you found? Let me know! :)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Artsy Wednesday: A Clockwork Orange

This Wednesday's theme is inspired by a movie. I decided to use A Clockwork Orange, one of my favourite books and movies!

In the movie, the main character, Alex, wears a bowler hat and heavier eyeliner under his right eye. Bart Simpson dressed up as him one Halloween :)

I used Sally Hansen Sun Kissed for the orange base, and ulta3 White Lily and Black Satin for the design. I freehanded the hat and eye, and used tape for the stripes.

Check out these girlies for more movie nails!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Massive amount of nail mail etc!

I got a lot of nail polish in the last couple of weeks, and since I love getting excited over other people's haul posts, I thought I'd show you all what I got!

I won a giveaway from Viktoria at She Paints Her Nails - I never win giveaways, so I'm really happy! One of the prizes was Fantasy Fire, which I never thought I'd ever see in person! It's so gorgeous, but the Max Factor bottles are so tiny. Also my first Nails Inc. polishes - Kensington Caviar Base Coat and Garrick Street. Garrick Street is amazing - purple shimmer in blue duochromey goodness. I love the quintessentially English names. Thank you Viktoria! :)

L-R: Max Factor Fantasy Fire, Nails Inc Kensington Caviar Base Coat and Garrick Street

The lovely Alanna from Pretty Purple Polish bought me some polishes from China Glaze's OMG collection, thank you :) I also bought a few CGs off eBay: Atlantis and White Cap. China Glaze is quickly becoming one of my favourite brands! They have so many unique colours, and the brushes and formulas are usually excellent.

L-R: China Glaze White Cap, LOL, DV8, TMI and Atlantis

I also ran into the entire ulta3 Metallics limited edition collection at the pharmacy. I've tried out a couple but haven't gotten around to using them all.

L-R: ulta3 Enchanted, Jade, Cocoa and Antique Gold

L-R: ulta3 Burnt Orange, Copper, Pinot and Shiraz

I also bought a brandless magnetic polish off eBay, as well as some magnets which I forgot to photograph. The magnetic particles aren't too distinct in this one, it's pretty subtle. I put a star on the side of the bottle that you might see if you look closely!

Some accessories from eBay: rhinestones and dotting tools!

It feels like Christmas, I don't know what to try out first! Opinions?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Nails: Inspired by...

Hi again! Today I thought I'd show you lovelies my entry for More Nail Polish's "Inspired by..." contest! I had all sorts of crazy ideas, but procrastination happened and my ideas didn't work out (I'll post my fails later on for your enjoyment!), so I went with a safe, bold tape mani using ulta3 Midnight (dark blue) and Sizzling Red (red), W7 Neon Yellow (yellow) and TBN Rain on My Parade (bright blue).

Why yes, I was inspired by a dictionary! Please beat me up in the playground. Also, I was pleased to discover I was entrant 72, which is 23 x 32. Here are my glasses, throw them onto the roof at your leisure. I brought duct tape in case you were so inclined to stick me to the flagpole. I will save you the trouble and give myself a wedgie.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Vitamin A - what does it do for your skin?

Vitamins are amazing for your body, but what do they do when you rub them on your skin? Earlier we looked at vitamin C and what it does - now let's take a gander at vitamin A, one of the most amazing products for your skin!

Vitamin A is found in vegetables (such as carrots), egg yolk, liver and fish oil. It actually isn't one compound, but a range of different, related compounds which all act similarly in the body, and are generally referred to as retinoids. There are also some synthetic retinoids which do the same thing too. One of the most widely found retinoids, retinol, is shown below:

Vitamin A has a lot of important functions in the body, including in the eye and the immune system. It's also important in skin health.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Giveaway winner... round 2

The first winner didn't reply (tsk), so I get to pick a second winner!

Congratulations Kia! Email me back to claim your prize :)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Blue nails

Hey hey! It's Artsy Wednesday again! This time the theme is blue nails, and here's what my design looks like in the sun:

I first painted my nails with ulta3 Blue Marlin (medium blue creme) on the right, and a franken I made from Spring Shower and a few drops of black on the left. Then I taped a zigzag and painted it with China Glaze DV8, a gorgeous teal linear holo which the lovely Alanna from Pretty Purple Polish bought for me :) I finished with a coat of Poshe topcoat. In the shade:

Check out these blogs for more takes on the theme! See you next Wednesday, and remember, if you want in on the fun, just contact one of us :)

Alanna - Pretty Purple Polish
Holly - Hooked!
Maria - Maria's Nail Art
Tif - Polished Genius
Sofie - Swaafie
Catrine - Unnaked Nails

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Giveaway winner...

She gets all the swag in the picture above, congratulations!

I've emailed her and if she doesn't reply in 48 hours I'll draw another winner ;)

Hope to see you at my next giveaway!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Is mineral oil dangerous? Part 2

I'm looking at whether mineral oil, an incredibly common moisturiser - possibly the most common moisturiser, check your moisturiser's ingredients - is dangerous again. Read part 1 here!

3. Mineral oil is comedogenic and will make you break out - FALSE

Mineral oil appears on a large range of "comedogenic ingredients" lists. Once upon a time (well, in the 1970s), cosmetic companies noticed that a lot of women started getting acne from their makeup products. One scientific study on comedogenicity used the inside of a rabbit's ear to test whether products caused pimples, and this quickly became the test of choice. However, later on, they found that sometimes the results on a rabbit and the results on a human were different. (Lab Muffin loves rabbits, and this made her sad, because an awful lot of rabbits got ear pimples for no good reason!)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Nails: Glitter franken

My giveaway is over! Good luck to everyone who entered, I'm going to be going through the entries, hopefully will have a winner posted soon! :D

Shatter Me Claire is holding a franken competition, and the entries have been posted - they all look AMAZING! This was my entry:

Click for larger version - you can see the macro better that way!

I'm calling it Mardi Gras because of the colours. It contains green round glitter, big green hex glitter, medium purple hex glitter, medium gold hex glitter, gold holo microglitter and Ulta3 Gold Digger. Head on over and take a look at everyone's frankens (warning: your socks WILL be rocked off!) and vote! I'd appreciate it if you voted for me, but I totally understand if you were overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of everyone's creations :)

Friday, 16 March 2012

Is mineral oil dangerous? Part 1

Mineral oil gets quite a bad rap... why? We're going to take a look at the most common reasons people give for why you should avoid mineral oil this week in a 2-parter:

1. Mineral oil comes from crude oil... I'm not putting gasoline on my face! - FALSE

While it's true that mineral oil comes from crude oil, it doesn't mean that its properties are the same, or even similar to gasoline!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Animal print

Theme: Animal Print

I'm not really a full out glamour girl, so leopard print is a new area for me (discounting my Manic Street Preachers phase in high school). I went for muted neutrals with a very trendy neon highlight. Freehand leopard print is easier than it looks! I also managed to do the whole design in ulta3 - Aussie represent!

Base: ulta3 Earl Grey
Spots: ulta3 Cocoa Bean and Sunset Coral
Outlines: ulta3 Wild Berry

Check out these Artsy Wednesday blogs for more animal print:

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Guest post at Shatter Me Claire!

I'm the guest blogger today at Shatter Me Claire, for Frankenmarch! I made a shimmery purple franken called Mercury:

Check it out here :)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Big 3 - Formaldehyde

Reminder: Only a few days left to enter my giveaway! Good luck everyone :)

This is the last of the Big 3. The other two were covered earlier: DBP - Toluene

Formaldehyde - form-AL-de-hide - MSDS

Other names: methanal. When mixed with water, formaldehyde forms methanediol, which is also known as formalin, methylene glycol or formaldehyde monohydrate.

Not to be confused with: formaldehyde resin

Where is it found? Formaldehyde, as it's drawn above, is never found in cosmetics in any large amount (it's a gas) - however, methanediol is found in nail hardening products, biology labs (as a preservative), and Brazilian keratin treatments. Formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, such as quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea, are often found in tiny amounts as preservatives in all sorts of things (shampoo, perfume, body lotion...).

Friday, 9 March 2012

Big 3 - Toluene

Second in Lab Muffin's Big 3 series is toluene. Part 1 - DBP

Toluene - TOLL-lew-een - MSDS
aka toluol, methylbenzene, phenylmethane

Where is it found? Nail polish, permanent markers, paint.

Why is it there? Toluene is a solvent - in other words, it dissolves up all the other bits in nail polish so you’re not putting chunky powder across your nails. It has a relatively high boiling point (BP = 111 °C) so the nail polish dries slower than if only ethyl acetate (BP = 77 °C), for instance, was used.

Is it toxic? LD50 = 636 mg kg-1 - don't drink it!

Although the two main solvents used - ethyl acetate and butyl acetate - are quite safe (although smelly!), toluene is less friendly. The strong smell of nail polish is actually the solvent (liquidy part) of nail polish entering your nose, and inhalation is the main route of exposure to toluene in nail polish (as long as you don't drink it!).

Like a lot of other solvents and the alcohol that you drink, toluene is a central nervous system depressant - it makes you drowsy, and slows down your breathing and heart rate. It can also cause confusion, slurring, headaches, dizziness and nausea - a lot like drinking too much! Luckily, like alcohol, it doesn't hang around the body for too long, and the effects stop once you go outside for some fresh air.

In the long term though, if you inhale it too often for a long period of time,toluene can cause damage to your lungs, liver, and kidneys. However, the amount used in nail polish is probably too small for this to be an issue.

It's also a possible teratogen, which means that you shouldn't expose yourself to large amounts of it when you're pregnant, as it might harm your unborn child. Again, this is more of an issue for people who inhale toluene as a recreational drug than those who are exposed to small amounts while painting their nails - however, if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon, be cautious.

Toluene is sometimes classified as a possible carcinogen, although it hasn't been conclusively linked to cancer yet (see here for more info). On the other hand, the carcinogenic activity of benzene, a very similar molecule (cover the "antenna" on toluene and you have benzene), is well documented. What a difference that little line makes!

Lab Muffin's Verdict: It's the least scary of the Big 3. Don't huff nail polish, girls! And don't drink it.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Inspired by a book

Theme: Inspired by a book

I'm a nerd, and part of my duties as a nerd is to be a bookworm, so it was quite a task to work out my favourite books, and figure out how to present one visually (if anyone knows a way to depict Ulysses on their nails, please share).

I settled on a nerd classic: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. H2G2 was one of the books I reread the most when I was in high school. And I still wouldn't recognise half of the minor characters! It's full of tangents and side notes, and is so bellyachingly clever and funny.

In high school (and some of university) I faithfully carried a towel around on Towel Day, until I realised it might've been interfering with my social life. (And yet, I never managed to pick up a cute nerd boy. How does that work?? :( ) It was turned into a movie later, narrated by Stephen Fry and starring Martin Freeman, Mos Def and Zooey Deschanel (synchronised nerdgasm NOW).

The non-freehanded nails are a sort-of repeat of my earlier outer space nail design (view here).

Monday, 5 March 2012

How does the "vampire facelift" (aka PRP) work?

The "vampire facelift" (aka Selphyl, platelet-rich plasma injections) is an increasingly popular wrinkle-reducing treatment that involves taking your blood, separating it with a centrifuge, then reinjecting it into your face.

It's not a "real" facelift (i.e. it doesn't involve cutting you open). It sounds really weird and mucky, but it's actually fascinating how it works! Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been used in surgery for 20 years, and more recently it's been used to promote healing in sports injuries and cosmetic surgery as well.

What's in blood?

Human blood contains a lot of things. The part we usually think of are the red blood cells, which give the blood its red colour, and transport oxygen around your body. There are also white blood cells which are important in the body's immune system, and platelets, which help with clotting. These are the main three components  floating in a watery goop called plasma, which contains lots of things like electrolytes, nutrients, proteins and waste materials.

Using a centrifuge, you can separate all the components of blood by spinning it really quickly so the.denser bits sink to the bottom. This is what blood looks like after you give it a whirl in a centrifuge:

Sunday, 4 March 2012

NOTD: Glitter wedge tape mani

I warned you there'd be tape manis! :P

Sandwich dissection:
CND Stickey
ulta3 Gold Rush Fever (gold shimmer)
Milani Gems (chunky rainbow glitter)
ulta3 Confetti (fine fuschia/gold/blue glitter, to try to give a more defined "edge" at the cuticle)
Orly Bonder (smoothes the glitter out so well!)
Seche Vite
(dried overnight)
(tape wedges added)
ulta3 Orchid (cool purple with gold shimmer)
(tape wedges removed)
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Flashback: Big 3 - DBP

I've decided to finish off the Big 3 (maybe even Big 4!) series I started on at the beginning of this blogging journey, and thought revisiting my original DBP post would be a good way to start - read on...

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

Thursday, 1 March 2012

NOTD: Circusy nails with added elephants!

I thought I'd try something fun in between all the sober-ish manis I've been doing...

NOTE: I am not a Republican! I'm Australian, it didn't even cross my mind that elephants were associated with the GOP until I finished... I just like elephants! :(

The base is a franken I made from ulta3 Spring Shower. I love light blue, but this one on my nails was a bit too bright, so I toned it down by adding a tiny bit of black. It looks fab on me now, though I doubt anyone can tell the difference!

I freehanded the elephant using ulta3 Earl Grey and TBN Nails Rain on My Parade, and used two coats of Milani Gems on the ring finger. Then I stamped BM-203 using Earl Grey on the rest of my fingers and mattified the whole lot using Rimmel Matte Pro.

Ridiculous? Or wearable? I'm still undecided!

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