June 30, 2008
I apologize for the sloppy application – this was the first mani I did after the tragic nail breaking incident of 2008 – I’m still adjusting my application style to my new length. Length actually makes a difference in these things. I became used to using a larger amount of polish on the brush, now that my nails are shorter, the extra polish is pooling at my cuticles. Also, some of you may notice that this image looks different from my other images. I live in Florida, summer for us means constant thunderstorms in the afternoon. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to take sunlight images, so from time to time, I’ll have to make do with these indoor shots. I prefer sunlight images because they tend to give more accurate depictions of color and shade but the sun never comes out anymore. I’ll try my hardest to catch it when I can.
*Sigh* I was inspired to purchase Essie Chocolate Kisses after I saw it on Fivezero (one of my nail polish idols, that unfortunately pulled an Amelia Earhart). Essie Chocolate Kisses is a brownish slightly red vampy. This mani is 3 coats. The application was excellent aside from the difficulties I had due to my own application shortcomings. Even though this is an indoor shot, this image is an accurate depiction of the color and shade of Essie Chocolate Kisses. This one is a definite keeper, it’s pretty much the first brown that has not looked horrible on me. Yeay!
June 29, 2008
Some of you may have already heard of the tragedy that befell my nails last week. My left hand pinkie nail broke while I was doing research for my internship. This happened, of course, after I made this post tooting my own horn about the fabulousness of my natural nail strength. Hubris: it’ll do it to you ever time.
At first I was all woe-is-me-wah but now I’ve accepted my new short nails and have decided to embrace them. I’m in the nail polish school of thought that reserves darker colors for shorter nails, not per se, but just as general rule it’s my personal preference. However, I loved my long nails so much I didn’t want to cut them in order to break out my vampies. My unexpected break gave me an excuse to not only break out my vampies but also to put aside my anti-strengthener rhetoric and give some of my dusty strengtheners a try. Nailtek is 25% off right now at my local CVS and I have a brand new untried Color Club Vitabase. Might as well give it a shot, not like my nails can get any shorter than they are now so I have nothing to lose.
Without any further delay I present you the first image of my new shorties in vampies.
Although Color Club Killer Curves and Essie Wicked look dissimilar in the image, they look almost exactly the same in person. They also share deep red as a base color. They both have good albeit similar application so I don’t prefer one over the other. Essie Clutch Me if You Can looks dupish to the others in the bottle but it’s visibly a dark berry red on the nail where as the others border on being almost-blacks. I had to use 4 coats to get Essie Clutch Me if You Can’s depth of color to even out. Which is strange because I wouldn’t classify the polish as streaky. It applied well but for whatever reason it took 4 coats to get the color to even out to be the same shade throughout the nail. The big disappointment here is Essie Material Girl. I had HORRIBLE cuticle drag with it even though I waited ages between coats. To get it to look normal I had to battle the application to an unheard of 6 coats. That’s right, 6 coats.
Now, my Essie Material Girl isn’t a full size bottle, it’s a mini. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about mini bottles (particularly OPI minis) being of a lower quality than their full size counterparts. I’ve personally never had that problem with any mini I’ve tried. I’m hestitant to blame my application troubles on the fact that this was a mini Essie. Especially since Essie is notorious for its streakiness and difficulty of application anyway. The simple fact is that I think minis are the best thing that ever happened to nail polish (with the exception of Seche Vite.)
To be honest, I just don’t know what the issue was with Essie Material Girl. I plan to eventually give it a shot using a good base coat like Barielle Camo. Do any of you guys own Material Girl? Have you had similar results? Do you feel like minis are defunct in comparison to full size bottles? Anyone had bad luck with a particular brand’s minis?
June 27, 2008
So, like I mentioned below, lilacs and browns are my White Whales. I chase these colors endlessly, hoping that one day, I will purchase a magical brown or lilac that will flatter my skin tone. Alas, I always get the same unflattering result. And you know what, I just don’t care. I love these colors so I will continue to purchase them regardless of how they look on me. Especially lilacs, I will always look undead in lilac and that’s fine. ‘Undead’ can be the new ‘chipped polish mani’, in fact it’s better – nothing is edgier than undead.
And man, there is no better way to pull off the undead mani than to do it with a really excellent shade of lilac polish. I present you Orly Bonbon. I wasn’t expecting much from this color. I previously made comparison swatches on a white nail board. I wasn’t impressed; the whiteness of the board distorted the beauty of the color. Orly Bon bon is also not very impressive looking in the bottle, but that too was deceiving. When I applied it on the nail, to my astonishment, I found that it’s actually a really gorgeous, ethereal color. Honestly, I could not stop staring down at my mani, that’s how other-worldly it looked on my nails. If angels wore nail polish, this would be their go-to shade. Like the actual color, the application was also heavenly. It took 4 coats for opacity but it wasn’t annoying. The smoothness and ease of the application was so perfect that it caught me off guard since I had been really disappointed by the application of the Love Collection. The quality of application with Orly polishes seems to vary widely from collection to collection. Some shades are like butter while others are impossible to work with, however, I hereby absolve Orly of its sins (can the undead do that?) – that’s how much I love this Orly Bon bon.
Do you guys have white whales, colors you love as colors but look bad with your skin tone?
June 26, 2008
One of my favorite MUAers posted a picture of Sally Hansen Dusk. I lemminged it for *weeks*. It was limited edition (of course) so I couldn’t find it anywhere. After endless laborious searching, I finally snagged one on evilbay for a shockingly reasonable price. I haven’t had a chance to wear it until recently and to my unspeakable horror, this shade of brown… looks… awful… with my skin tone. I died a little inside, honestly. I’ve only encountered one other color that just doesn’t suit my skin tone, lilac. It just so happens that lilac and brown are my favorite nail polish colors. I keep buying these colors, thinking that this time when I apply it, it will be different. This time – it will look amazing. But no. Lilac makes me look like a corpse and brown, well, brown makes me look like I finger paint with poop.
Why, oh why.
(This polish had amazing application although it was a bit thick – It applied beautifully after a few drops of thinner. I’m a bit of a closet nail polish snob so I don’t have many drug store brands, but I’m really impressed with the quality of Sally Hansen’s Salon Formula (a bit of a misnomer because, as far as I know, this line isn’t sold in salons, only drug stores). I don’t have anything against drug store brands, I just think that people mistakenly believe they are saving money by opting for these brands instead of the higher end brands. I personally find that belief to be a patent fallacy. Sally Hansen’s Salon Formula sells for upwards of 6.50, I pay way less than that for “higher end” non-drug store brands online. Even with the ultra cheap set like Sinful Colors which runs about 1.99 at drug stores, for me, isn’t worth purchasing just because of how cheap it is since a few higher end brands sell for about that much online too.)
June 25, 2008
This is just disgraceful and aggravating. After I read that ridiculous article from the New York Times, I thought, ok whatever, ultimately people should do whatever they want with their nails. I said that because I really did not believe that this trend would actually pick up any followers. It’s one thing to let your nails chip when you don’t have time but purposefully wearing chipped polish is lame. This photo of Vanessa Hudgens isn’t a candid, it’s from an actual photo shoot. Look at her hair, makeup, accessories and clothing – chipped nails, when the rest is done up to the nines just looks bad. I mean really, how could this ever been seen as appealing?
In any case, I was being a nail polish hippie before when I decided to just accept this trend for what it is, stupid but ‘to each their own’. I’m taking my original stance back and instead officially aligning myself against this trend. Ugh. If Stars have to be unoriginal lemmings why not at least copy someone like Fergie or Rihanna that actually do interesting things with their nails. I hope this trend goes away ASAP and that the Hollywood lemmings pick up elaborate Japanese nail art instead, now there’s a trend I wish would get some national exposure. And sorry, but regardless of what Deborah Lippmann may say, black chipped polish doesn’t look edgy, especially not on people who are famous for doing children’s musicals.
Special thanks to blushingblondie for pointing this abomination out on MUA.
Most people that are into nail polish stick to the biggies: OPI, Essie, China Glaze, Color Club, Orly, Zoya, and the Drug Store brands. I know I’m particularly guilty of not venturing away from those very often. So I’m always excited to try out new brands. I’m pretty impressed with Adorée. First and most importantly, they aren’t expensive at 5 bucks a pop. The line is big 3 free but the polishes applied as if they had all the chemically goodness of which we are all so fond. I had good wear time with Seche Vite as a top coat and my typical work horse base coat. I’m also really impressed with the range and variation of color in their line. They actually have really unique polishes. We’re talking duo/multi-chromes, mutli-glitters here, people. I only have three polishes to show you guys but definitely check them out at Esther’s Nail Center (they’re also having a sale on Nubar).
Adorée Wild Inkberry is my favorite. It reminds me of a purple version of Essie Starry Starry Night. It’s a glitter polish but doesn’t dry with a rough finish, a plus. You can control the amount of bling by adding coats. This swatch is 4 coats. Normally that would drive me UP the wall but the polish looked good with 2 coats, 4 coats just made it a deeper purple and extra bling. Love it.
Adoree Peony is impossible to photograph. The color has strange texture, as though it were pearlescent but it’s not. It also has loose holographic glitter in it so it dries bumpy a la China Glaze Flying Dragon and Blue Sparrow. The bumpiness is easily fixed with a thick coat of Seche Vite. This color isn’t really me but I know a lot of you peeeenk lovers are going to go bonkers for this. It’s a great pedi color.
And finally a subtle one, Adoree Pink Pansy, a buildable sheer pink with a blue flash. I needed 4 coats to cover the whites of my nails, but like with Wild Inkberry, Pink Pansy applied very well and looked great at two coats. As a personal preference, I don’t like sheers, so buildable sheers are great for me. Since this color has a blue flash, at two coats, it’s perfect for a Funky French. I know I have a white with blue flash somewhere so I’m going to try it out.
June 17, 2008
First is first: Checkout Scrangie’s Post on Upcoming China Glaze Collections. Can I just tell you guys how ridiculously excited I am for all of these collections!!!!!! FORREST GREEN!!! (Well ok, I wish it were creme but I can deal with shimmer!), BLUES… A WHOLE COLLECTION OF BLUES. EVERYTHING LOOKS AMAZING. So…overwhelmed…with… joy… *gasp* cannot…. contain… self… *dies.*
Now for the main topic of this post – the Zoya Color Lock System. This is kind of long so bare with me.
Where to start? Zoya contacted me about some of my negative reviews on the Polish Addict concerning their polishes. I felt in general that their polishes took too many colors to achieve bottle color and I’d heard from other nail board girls that Zoya polishes chipped easily. My hatred for Zoya was infamous, and so the joke about Zoya having killed my family began.
I decided to give Zoya the benefit of a doubt and try out their polishes using their Color Lock System. Scrangie got really bad bubbling with her test run. (I swear I’m not blog-stalking her but for a full feel of the product I recommend reading both reviews.)
My results with Anchor and Armor were very different. I only got bubbling on two nails and as you can tell from the picture it wasn’t very noticeable. Scrangie’s bubbling was so bad she actually had to change her polish. I only changed my polish because I have Nail Polish ADD, the bubbles bothered me in principle but they were subtle enough that I didn’t feel the need to whip out the remover. Like Scrangie, I got good wear results after two days. No tip wear at all, I usually get tip wear instantly because I type like my life depends on my word per minute count. I did get top layer scratches which is a problem I don’t usually have with Seche Vite, my holy grail top coat.
I think application style accounts for the difference in results. I usually do very fast manis, but the night I tried the Zoya Color Lock System I was also watching Stephen King’s Misery (my other beat is horror movies, go figure). So I applied a coat, got distracted by the movie for a while, then applied another coat, so on and on. The nails that I got bubbling on, left hand middle and ring fingers, were also the nails that I had to redo due to an unfortunate denting incident that occurred after the movie ended. I redid them quickly because it was getting late. Speed of application is definitely the bubble culprit here.
I also disagree with Scrangie about Hurry Up. It dried my nails to the touch fairly quickly. However, my nails were still vulnerable to denting within, I’d say, about 15 minutes after application of the drops. That amount of time is not unreasonable but I wish it worked faster. I don’t usually use drying drops so I didn’t like the way it made my nails feels after using it. I think people who usually use drying drops would be pleased with the Hurry Up’s results.
Finally, Remove is, hands down, the best nail polish remover on the market. I received a mini bottle of Remove as a gift with a Zoya purchase in the past. I loved it then too, but there was only enough in the bottle for 2 or 3 removals. So when it ran out, I just sort of shrugged and went about using my regular off-brand cheapie remover. Then, I swatched 12 different polishes this past Sunday. I used Remove after each one and my cuticles are intact. Granted my cuticles are shockingly resilient to my constant abuse even though they do dry out a bit during swatching. Normally, after and during a marathon swatch session I have to double up on cuticle oil, creams, etc. Remove didn’t dry out my tips at all, *at all*. I think once this current bottle runs out, I’m just going to suck it up and splurge on the huge bottle of Remove. To me, it’s worth it because I change my polish a lot more often than the average bear. Plus, it smells good.
As an aside, I really like the names of the these products: Anchor, Armor, Hurry Up, and Remove – very clever.
Those are my preliminary results. Before I can say anything more definitive, I will need to do a comparison between the wear time I get with the Zoya System versus my usual base and top coats.
June 16, 2008
The application was excellent on all of these. This collection didn’t have any 4 coaters (hallelujah). My sole complaint is a superficial one: I absolutely loathe that this collection was named after the ultra-wealthy rabble from yet another reality tv show that glorifies being worthless and vapid. (No offense to the people who like the show.) Regardless, the colors are very pretty and within the spectrum of this summer’s trend palette. Also, I must say that this collection is very well arranged; all these colors look like they belong together. I really appreciate when companies put thought into color arrangement – a collection is not a collection in the absence of a common theme or connection that relates the colors to one another.
Zoya Audrina is a pinkish purple borderline neon. This is 2 coats, it applied really well. This swatch was taken with a coat of Zoya Armor since the color is little bit neon, it dried matte.
Zoya Elodie is a bright salmon color. This swatch is two coats plus one coat of Zoya Armor. This is the only one I wore as a mani – it’s actually a funny story. It looks demure and inoffensive in the bottle so I thought to myself… I could probably get away with this one at work. Wrong. It’s much brighter on the nail than it is in the bottle. I liked it – but totally not work appropriate with my nails as long as they are right now. I totally could have gotten away with it if my nails were shorter.
Zoya Heidi is a creamy redish orange. The picture makes it look like a coral but it’s actually much more orange in person. I think it would be an excellent color for people who want to try orange, but are extravagant color shy.
For me, Zoya LC was the stand-out color from this collection. This swatch is two coats. LC is a very bright fuchsia red. The application of this color was actually the best of all the colors in the collection – very smooth and creamy.
Zoya Lo is a standard bright mid range pink, colors like this are always popular but this season they’ve been all over. Since I know this might come up in discussion, let me preemptively say that no this color is not similar to China Glaze Mom’s Chiffon. To me, it looks brighter than OPI Strawberry Margarita, OPI That’s Hot Pink, and OPI In-dia Mood for Love. Although it is my personal opinion that it’s not worth owning all of those (I know that the entire nail board will probably disagree with that statement). For example, I own OPI Koala Bear-y and OPI That’s Berry Daring so with the addition of Zoya Lo, I pretty much have that color range covered, no need for the others. This swatch is 3 coats.
And finally, Zoya Whitney. This is 2 coats. This color, like the previous one, has also been very popular this season.
Man I wish I could get away with wearing this kind of stuff. : ( I’m totally missing out on all these awesome summer colors. *kicks dirt* *grumbles* *stupid professional environment, stupid* */grumbles*
Special thanks to Zoya.
June 15, 2008
Wow. I haven’t been this impressed with a collection in AGES. I love all the colors. The application of most of the colors was amazing, like butter. This collection hasn’t gotten that much hype from the nail polish community (yes, there is such a thing) and I’m a little bit at a loss as to why because every color is worth owning, each one unique and beautiful.
I also really love that China Glaze made minis of this entire collection. Most companies make minis. It seems to me that Color Club and Essie choose the colors that are expected to be most popular and sell those in mini packs. OPI seems to pick 1 popular color and 2 useless colors and offer those in a mini pack with a completely useless mini Rapid Dry. China Glaze is the only company I can think of that is offering entire collections in mini form. I love this concept because I like to own entire collections but without mini packs, doing so is restrictively expensive. Well played China Glaze, well played.
China Glaze Atelier Tulle was my absolute favorite from this collection. The application was -*PERFECT*-, on par with Rescue Beauty Lounge’s formula. Recently I’ve been wearing a lot of really difficult to apply polish so I had forgotten what applying a really excellent polish is like – it’s fun instead of frustrating. I also really love *LOVE* the color, the image simply does not do it justice. It’s been a really long time since I’ve worn a color that made me just stare down at my nails constantly in awe. I also felt like it was work appropriate even though I would not consider it to be a traditionally professional looking color. Great, just great.
China Glaze Designer Satin is my second favorite from this collection. Such a deep dramatic dark fuchsia – same amazing application as Atelier Tulle.
China Glaze Heirloom Organza is really unique. It’s sort of a dimmed grayed-out brown. It took 3 coats and was moderately hard to apply, but the final product made it worth it.
China Glaze Mom’s Chiffon is probably the most accessible color in this collection. Excellent application.
China Glaze Second-Hand Silk actually caused a bit of a stir online. The promotional images made this color look like a grayed out lilac so a lot of people were really disappointed to find that it’s actually a barbie pink. I had a tough time with the application. It wasn’t streaky but the formula was too watery so I got a lot of cuticle drag. A third coat evened everything out.
Finally, China Glaze Vintage Crepe. This is a muted orange. Like the others, excellent application.
Special thanks to China Glaze.