Friday, August 30, 2013

Incoco Nail Polish Strips Review + GIVEAWAY

Hey everyone! Today I have 3 sets of Incoco nail polish appliques to show you! If you're unfamiliar with Incoco, they were the original nail polish strips. (I also received 2 sets of the nail file and orange wood stick combos with my strips.)

Each strip is comprised of base coat, nail color/design, and top coat which gives you the perfect 1-step manicure that will last for up to 14 days. Awesome, right?! There are a ton of great options to choose from: cremes, shimmers, glitters, frosts, sheers, neons, designs.. and they even have french mani and pedicure options as well! There's literally something for everyone!

The first set of strips I tried was Lemon Fizz. Lemon Fizz is a bright, neon creme yellow. If you've ever tried using a neon yellow polish, you know what a nightmare it can be: the polishes are sometimes streaky and they're sheer, so you have to layer them over a white polish.. which adds another step (and more time) to your manicure. Not with the Incoco strips! Put them on and your nails are good to go!

Next up, we have Paradise Found which is a fun, kaleidoscope pattern with pretty, summery colors. There's also a little bit of a shimmer to the strips as well, but it's very minimal. In real life, the background practically disappeared against my skin really making the design pop! These strips looked awesome!

Last up are the Paparazzi strips. My nails had grown out considerably by the time I used these, and they were much easier to apply with the extra length! Paparazzi is a gorgeous pink to silver glitter fade. These strips are solid glitter, and there's even a little bit of holographic glitter mixed in for some extra glitz! My pictures just don't do these justice.. they were crazy sparkly in person!

Incoco strips are awesome! If you're looking for fun and unique designs, or just a huge selection of nail strips.. there's no company I know of that even comes remotely close to their selection! I love that they're a quick "all in one" manicure, and I was able to get about 10 days of wear out of them before I voluntarily took them off.

Before doing this review, it has been a long time since I've used nail strips and I totally forgot that I needed to firmly press the edges down with the smooth end of the included nail files. You can see how they lift up in the first 2 pictures above, and that was totally user error. By the time I got to the third set of strips, I'd completely figured them out and they looked fabulous.

Now since the Incoco strips are real nail polish, they will dry out. They come sealed in foil packs and it says that you should use them as soon as they're opened. My nails were so short when I used the Lemon Fizz and Paradise Found sets that I was able to use half a pack of strips for both hands. I put the other strips in a Ziploc bag with the air squeezed out, thinking that I could reuse them later. I tried to reuse the strips after I took the Paparazzi strips off so that I could get better pictures for this review, but unfortunately the strips had dried out.

If I could change one thing about the Incoco strips, I would make each hand's worth of strips come sealed in their own foil packs like another popular brand of nail polish strips.. that way if you do have shorter nails, you could get 2 uses out of one pack.

Overall, I'm thrilled to give the Incoco nail polish appliques a 4.5 out of 5 star rating!

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 STARS

Incoco has graciously offered to give one lucky MandysSecrets reader their favorite shade of nail polish strips!

Here's how to win:


1. Be a public GFC Follower of MandysSecrets. (Click on the blue 'Join this Site' button under the 'READERS' tab in my right side bar! >>>)
2. Provide a valid email address where I can contact you if you win.
3. Leave a blog comment with your favorite shade of Incoco strips. (Or the shade you would most like to try if you win!)


1. 'Like' Incoco on Facebook.
2. Follow Incoco on Twitter.
3. Follow @IncocoProducts on Instagram.
4. 'Like' MandysSecrets on Facebook.
5. Follow @MMMandysSecrets on Twitter.
6. Follow @MMMandysSecrets on Instagram.

This giveaway is for one (1) set of Incoco nail polish appliques of the winner's choice and is sponsored by Incoco. Mandy McCullough is not providing the prize, nor is she responsible for its fulfillment. Prize is not redeemable for cash.

It is open from 12:00 AM EST 08/30/2013 through 12:00 AM EST 09/14/2013. Entries will be collected through the Rafflecopter widget below and then be validated by Mandy McCullough. Falsified entries and entries that cannot be verified will be removed without notice.

Once a winner is selected and emailed, they will have 48 hours to claim their prize and in doing so, understand that their email address will be passed on to Incoco for their prize to be awarded. Failure to respond within 48 hours will result in their prize being forfeited and a new winner selected. No exceptions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mandy's Secrets Gets a Makeover!

Sorry that I've been a little MIA lately, but I've been doing a lot of "behind the scenes" work on Mandy's Secrets by cleaning things out and getting ready for the big change that you see today!

My old layout just wasn't doing it for me anymore. I still liked (well, more like tolerated) it, but the sidebars were junky and it just didn't fit the vision I have of my blog like it used to. If we're being honest, I'm not quite sure this layout is entirely perfect either. There are still things that I don't love, but I'm considering this one a work in progress for now.

So what do you think?! Love it? Hate it? Let me know!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 2013 Ipsy Bag

Hey everyone! Today I'm sharing this month's Ipsy bag with you. Since it's back to school time, this month's bag was "Glamour Academy" themed. The bag is purple and has a repeating pattern of a makeup themed coat of arms with the Ipsy logo and "Glamour Academy" on it.

NOYA Lip Balm. It's vanilla scented, all-natural, and kosher. Cool, but I have about 938 lip balms already. I REALLY wanted the Urban Decay lipstick sample, so receiving this instead bummed me out. Promo offer: 20% off at with code.

MICA BEAUTY Eye Shadow. The shade I received is "bronze." I'm not a fan of loose shadow, so this one will probably go in the donate pile. Promo offer: 25% off at with code.

PIXI BEAUTY Lash Booster Mascara. Black mascara. I love hoarding mascaras (seriously, it's like my 2nd job), so I'm pretty excited about this one.. but I haven't used it yet to see what I think about it. I like the  brush, though. The bristles are very stiff! Promo offer: 20% off at with code.

CHELLA Eye Brow Pencil. The color I received is "Dazzling Dark Brown" which is actually the appropriate color. Way to go, Ipsy! I generally prefer powder over pencils because I already have decently thick eyebrows on my own and pencils tend to make them overpower the rest of my face. Occasionally I use a NYX brow pencil, so I'll give this one a try as well.  Promo offer: 20% off at with code.

MICHAEL TODD TRUE ORGANICS Jojoba Charcoal Exfoliating Facial Scrub. So along with mascaras, I also enjoy hoarding face scrubs and I've been wanting to try one with charcoal. I'm super excited to use this! I can't quite place the smell of it, but it's not unpleasant. This is a good size sample, too: 1 fl oz. Promo offer: 30% off at with code.

Overall, not a bad bag. I am really bummed that I didn't get the Urban Decay lipstick, though. Or the Smashbox PhotoFinish Primer sample. I love me some Smashbox primer, and it would have been nice not to have to go out and buy another mini. Oh well.

I'm giving this bag 4 out of 5 stars. Obviously, the UD would have made it a 5 star bag. And I promise I'll stop whining about the lipstick now, haha.

RATING: 4.0 out of 5 STARS

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Giveaway Winners!

 Hey everyone! Super quick post announcing the winners of my two recent giveaways! I'll be back to normal posting by the end of this week. :)

ADRIENNE C. won the $50 Shabby Apple gift card. Her winning entry was 'liking' Shabby Apple on Facebook.

SARAH I. won the pearl and ribbon choker from Rebecca & Penelope. Her winning entry was providing her email address.

Both ladies have been contacted and have claimed their prize! Thank you all so much for supporting MandysSecrets!

Friday, August 16, 2013

August 2013 Birchbox

Hey everyone! Today I have my August Birchbox unbox-ing. This month's theme is "the art of the details" and it's all about highly-polished, yet low-maintenance looks. Here's what I received:

KMS California FREESHAPE Hot Flex Spray | $18.99. Thermal protectant spray that also provides medium hold. I don't really use a heat protectant anymore like I should, but I'm a fan of KMS products so I'm willing to give this a try. Plus, it smells good! Always a plus. :)

OC8 Professional Mattifying Gel | $41. I'm assuming this is kind of like a primer? The instructions say to apply it after your moisturizer and before makeup. It's supposed to absorb shine for up to 8 hours. I could totally use this for my oily skin, but if we're being honest.. foil packet samples bug the everloving crap out of me. Why give me 2 dinky packets when you could put the same amount in one tiny tube?

stila stay all day liquid lipstick | $22. I've really wanted to try these! We got them in at my work right before I went out on maternity leave and at that point, I was too miserable to bother playing with them.. but now I have my very own! The shade I received was beso.

Whish Exfoliating Body Wash | $22. This smells like a rich, creamy coconut and has sugar cane and bamboo powder to brighten and exfoliate. It says it's a great prep for self-tanner, which is convenient because that's exactly what I'll be doing today! I'm definitely going to give this a try beforehand.

Whish Hair Inhibiting Deodorant Swipes | $16 ($22?). These are supposed to tackle odor and slow hair growth all in one convenient wipe. The product card says the full-size is $16, the website says it's $22. (Full-size is 30 wipes, btw.) I'm curious to try this and see how well it works, but I think it would be impractical for every day use. I'll probably just toss this in my purse for an emergency.

All in all, not a terrible box. I will probably use everything in it, which is rare. I just think the deodorant wipe is kind of silly, and I seriously hate foil packet samples. Am I alone in that? Is it seriously that hard to put things in tubes? I'm going to start rating my boxes, and I'd give this one a 4 out of 5 star rating.

RATING 4.0 out of 5 STARS

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

REVIEW -- YES TO CARROTS Lip Butters & Balms!

Clockwise from top: Soft Plum Color Balm, Sweet Fig Lip Butter, Mint Lip Butter, Melon Lip Butter, Carrot Lip Butter, Berry Lip Butter, Rosy Bloom Color Balm

Hey everyone! Today I have a review of several YES TO CARROTS lip balms. By now I'm sure you know that I'm lip balm obsessed.. and that I might just have the driest lips ever. So naturally, lip balms are a must for me! 
The YES TO CARROTS lip butters come in a variety of flavors, and they also come in three colored balms as well. You can purchase them online or at a variety of stores, and prices may vary.

Formulated with certified organic fruits and veggies to keep your lips in soft, smoochable condition, they contain all natural ingredients and are paraben, phthalate, and petroleum free. Sweet Fig and Pomegranate also have SPF 15 UVA/UVB protection as well!

The tinted lip balms contain Vitamin E, Jojoba Oil, and Sunflower Seed Oil and they are also 99% natural and free of parabens, phthalates, and SLS.
Most lip balms I try start off great and then eventually end up drying out my lips, which makes me slather on more balm.. and it turns into a vicious cycle until I switch to another balm. I've been using the YES TO CARROTS lip butters and balms for just over 3 months now, and I have never had softer lips! 

The lip butters glide on smoothly with no tugging, and moisturize without being heavy or greasy. I love layering them under lipsticks to provide some extra hydration. And the tinted lip balms provide all the benefits of the regular lip butters, but with a sheer pop of color:

Rosy Bloom, Soft Plum
There's also a third balm which I did not receive called Peachy Keen. These are definitely "your lips, but better" shades, and I think they are subtle and complimentary enough to where they would look nice on all skin tones. I love them for when I'm doing minimal makeup and want a little color on my lips to look pulled together, but nothing too pigmented to wash the rest of my makeup out.
I. Love. These. Balms. They are fantastic! End of story. I love them so much that I have them scattered everywhere around our house so that I never have to be without one: by my chair in the living room, on my nail desk, in the bathroom, on my night stand, by the rocking chair in the nursery, and (of course!) in our diaper bag. 

I also like that these are all natural so that when I give the Care Bear kisses I don't have to worry about wiping my lips off first or smooching weird chemicals all over his delicate skin. I'm thrilled to give these a perfect rating of 5 out of 5 stars! There's nothing I don't like about them!
RATING: 5 out of 5 STARS

Monday, August 12, 2013

REVIEW -- ROCK YOUR HAIR Styling Products

Hey everyone! Today I'm back with a review of some Rock Your Hair styling products. To see my review of the Rock Your Hair "Big Hair Rocks" shampoo and conditioner, click here.

I got 4 products to try: Size Matters Root Lift, Spray It Hard Big Volume Hairspray, Miracle Leave-In Conditioner, and Bombshell Big Hair Powder.
Unlike the shampoo and conditioner, all the styling products I received for review are full size. The Size Matters Root Lift is a 13 oz volumizing mousse and retails for $20. Spray It Hard Big Volume Hairspray is 10 oz and retails for $20, Miracle Leave-In Conditioner is 7.5oz and retails for $20, and last but not least the Bombshell Big Hair Powder is 0.9oz and retails for $17.

You can purchase the products through the Rock Your Hair website, or most places that fine hair care products are sold.
I'm definitely always trying to get more volume out of my hair.. except.. well, I'm really lazy and the extent of my hair "styling" is flipping my hair over to dry it and then straightening it. Are you seeing a problem with my methods? Yup.. not much volumizing going on there.. so I was very excited to try the Rock Your Hair products to see if they could give my hair a boost with not much extra effort on my part. Here's how they fared:

Size Matters Root Lift Volumizing Mousse -- First, maybe I'm doing it wrong.. but this stuff is kind of hard to get out of the can! No matter how long or hard I shake it, every time I spray it I get blasted by cold, compressed air and then eventually some extremely light mousse comes out. It's not thick at all, and has a very unique smell. Almost like the juice from a watermelon.

Even though the mousse is light, when it dries it makes my hair sticky and that's something I'm not a fan of.. but it does give me some extra volume. If I want to pull my hair back into a pouf after using Size Matters, I don't have to tease it unless I want a BIG pouf. (And that's saying something!)

Spray It Hard Big Volume Hairspray -- This is a great light/medium hold hairspray. It holds well, but  leaves your hair touchable enough to where you can still brush or run your fingers through it. I love that it controls flyaways and gives hair enough texture to really hold teasing well (for those big poufs I was talking about a second ago!). The scent is pleasant and smells very similar to the shampoo and conditioner.

Miracle Leave-In Conditioner -- This promises to give you shinier, stronger, healthier hair and is parenben, sulfate, and formaldehyde free. It protects heat styled, color treated, and chemically processed hair. And it smells fun and perfume-y, too!

The Miracle Leave-In Conditioner is a regular liquid (not thicker like It's a 10), and when paired with the Rock Your Hair Conditioner that I felt didn't do much for my hair, I do finally notice an improvement. The Leave-In Conditioner not only makes my hair easier to comb through, but it does leave my hair softer and shiny. However, my (severely damaged) ends still look rough so I have to use a heavier conditioning balm on them, but I have to do that with my regular products as well.

Bombshell Big Hair Powder -- I've never used a volumizing powder before, but I know they're very popular with customers at my work. I think I've shied away from them until now because the product itself is sticky and I was always afraid that it would make my fine hair look dirty and greasy. Or that the white powder would make my dark hair look like I put baby powder in it. Well, there's a first time for everything! 

Imagine my surprise when I ended up LOVING this product! The white powder is actually a little bit damp, and once it's completely rubbed in, it's invisible! Not only that, it gives my hair texture, volume, and a bit of shine without making it look dirty! Win win, I tell you! And it smells awesome just like the shampoo and conditioner.
Overall, I think the Rock Your Hair styling products are pretty awesome! As far as purchasing these products myself, I would pass on the volumizing mousse since I don't care for the stickiness it leaves in my hair and probably the leave-in conditioner since I have several others already that I think do a better job on my severely damaged locks. However, I really like both the hairspray and the volumizing powder and will definitely implement them into my everyday hair routine!

I'm going to give them a 4 out of 5 star rating, deducting only for the volumizing mousse. If you're looking for a fun line of salon haircare products that will really ROCK YOUR HAIR(style), I definitely recommend Michael O'Rourke's line!
RATING: 4.0 out of 5 STARS

Saturday, August 10, 2013

REVIEW -- ROCK YOUR HAIR Big Hair Rocks Shampoo & Conditioner

Hey everyone! Today I have a review of Michael O'Rourke's Rock Your Hair Shampoo & Conditioner. Michael is truly an iconic stylist and has been contributing to the beauty industry for over 50 years. In fact, he even created (and eventually sold) the Big Sexy Hair line.. but now he's back with Rock Your Hair to give women another way to get the big, bold hair and volume that they desire!
I got the 2 oz travel sizes of the products to try, which retail for $7.20. The full 10.5 oz sizes retail  for $17 (shampoo) and $20 (conditioner). You can purchase the products through the Rock Your Hair website, or most places that fine hair care products are sold.

Both products volumize and are paraben and sulfate free. They won't deplete moisture or fade color, plus they contain vitamins for strong, shiny hair!
First of all, I am in LOVE with the packaging! It's glam and looks super cute in our shower! But what good is an awesome looking bottle if the products suck, right? Right. Moving on..

The shampoo cleans my hair well, and I do think it gives me a little more volume than usual. However, the conditioner doesn't seem like it's moisturizing enough for my super-porous hair. Even if I let it set on my hair for a couple of minutes, I still find my hair slightly difficult to finger comb through while wet and the ends look dry when my hair is dried and styled.

I wouldn't say that the products "strip moisture" from my hair or "exacerbate" the dryness of my hair.. because trust me, it's pretty damaged. I just don't think it does much to help repair or moisturize it. Does that make sense?

Moisture (or lack thereof) aside, both the shampoo and conditioner smell amazing! They have a very fun, clean, and slightly spicy scent that lingers in my hair for most of the day.
Overall, I like the Rock Your Hair Shampoo & Conditioner. I think they're fun products that provide some extra volume to your hair, and the conditioner would be great for hair that's not very porous or damaged. People with fine hair would find it especially beneficial, since it conditions without weighing your hair down or making it look greasy.

The prices are on par with other salon hair care products, and I give them a 4 out of 5 star rating!
RATING: 4.0 out of 5 STARS

Have you tried any of the Rock Your Hair products? If so, what so you think of them? And stay tuned.. Monday I'll have reviews of some Rock Your Hair styling products!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

NOTD -- Ninja Polish Mystic Glacier

Hey everyone! Today I have a gorgeous polish from Ninja Polish to show you. Mystic Glacier is one of the most unique and amazing polishes I know of, and I definitely think it should be on everyone's wish list. 

Here I have 2 coats of it layered over 2 coats of China Glaze Bermuda Breakaway since I was looking for something a little more fall-ish, but Mystic Glacier is actually a light blue polish with a pink shimmer and a color shift that changes from red to gold to green. It's basically glorious polish perfection.

Mystic Glacier dries a bit dull, so I added some rhinestones to each nail and topped everything off with 1 coat of my favorite top coat of all-time: Revlon's ColorStay Gel Shine Top Coat.

What do you think of Mystic Glacier?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

400 Followers / Rebecca & Penelope Pearl Choker GIVEAWAY!!!

Hey everyone! I'm so flippin' excited to share with you that I now have over 400 Google Friend Connect Followers! I wish I could personally thank each one of you for following along with my beauty adventures and supporting me in, but that would be kind of hard. Instead, I have another giveaway for us to celebrate with! Huzzah! :D

The amazing gals over at Rebecca & Penelope have offered me one of their stunning pearl and ribbon chokers (pictured above) to gift to one very lucky MandysSecrets reader! And those are 8mm cultured freshwater white pearls!

I know the saying is that "diamonds are a girl's best friend," but think of the beloved beauties who have adored pearls: Jackie O., Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Grace Kelly.. these women have made them both luxurious and iconic! And personally, I adore wearing pearls! My late grandmother gave me a beautiful pearl necklace as part of my college graduation present and it is definitely one of my most prized possessions.

Pearls certainly make the perfect accessory with almost any outfit, and Rebecca & Penelope's pearl and ribbon choker has the versatility to be a great addition to your everyday wardrobe.. from a cocktail dress to jeans and a cute shirt!

So here's how you can win your very own amazing choker!


1. Be a public GFC Follower of MandysSecrets. (Click on the blue 'Join this Site' button under the 'READERS' tab in my right side bar! >>>)
2. 'Like' Rebecca & Penelope on Facebook.
4. Provide a valid email address.


5. 'Like' MandysSecrets on Facebook.
6. Follow @MMMandysSecrets on Instagram.
7. Leave a comment on this post with your favorite way or occasion to wear pearls!

This giveaway is for one (1) pearl & ribbon choker from Rebecca & Penelope and is sponsored by Rebecca & Penelope. Mandy McCullough is not providing the prize, nor is she responsible for its fulfillment. Prize is not redeemable for cash.

It is open from 12:00 AM EST 08/04/2013 through 12:00 AM EST 08/19/2013. Entries will be collected through the Rafflecopter widget below and then be validated by Mandy McCullough. Falsified entries and entries that cannot be verified will be removed without notice.

Once a winner is selected and emailed, they will have 48 hours to claim their prize and in doing so, understand that their email address will be passed on to Rebecca & Penelope for their prize to be awarded. Failure to respond within 48 hours will result in their prize being forfeited and a new winner selected. No exceptions.