August 18, 2008

Color Discrepancies in the Essie Fall 2008 Collection

Posted in Essie tagged at 8:42 pm by pretear

There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding the differences between my swatches of the Essie 2008 Collection and Scrangie’s swatches. The differences can be attributed to discrepancies between the colors we each received.

Both of these bottles are labeled Essie Lacy Not Racy – as you can see the colors are completely different. Girls on MUA have reported seeing both shades in stores. Two colors existing under one name actually occurs fairly often, as does one color existing under different names. I’m *still* angry that my bottle of OPI Bubble Bath is pink, instead of off-white. I’m still hunting for the off-white Bubble Bath. *sigh*

The difference between the two Essie No Boundaries is amazing. These colors aren’t even in the same color family. People overwhelming prefer the darker plum version of No Boundaries to the pink version, that shouldn’t be shocking to anyone. According to Essie, the pink version is the official version of No Boundaries. The plum version was a pre-release sample color sent to salons and the press, it’s not the official version. Strangely, the Essie Website exhibits the two versions of No Boundaries, one on the main seasonal collection page, the other on the ‘shop now’ page. Not to hate on Essie but the decision to release the pink version as the official color seems to indicate, at least to me, that Essie isn’t too familiar with their consumer base. I haven’t spoken to one person that prefers the pink version to the plum version. As soon as I was made aware of the difference, I immediately knew that most people would prefer the plum version. I think Essie should consider releasing the plum version, perhaps under the different name.

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August 13, 2008

Enormous Lemming Fulfilled: Essie Starry Starry Nights

Posted in Blue, Essie, Glitter, Jelly tagged at 11:18 pm by pretear

So I thought we could take a break from the awesome but overwhelming 2008 fall collections and just do a simple NOTD post – something I haven’t done since the fall insanity began last month.

Essie Starry Starry Nights is one of those highly sought after polishes that has become an expensive hard-to-find. Essie did re-release it, along with Viva La Vespa, but since the retail was bumped up to $10 and the shipping was so extravagant, I’m not sure that many people took Essie up on the offer. I, for example, debated it for a while then ultimately decided against making the purchase. I’m glad because one of the amazing girls over at MUA found it for me at dusty for a great price.

Now here’s the part of the story that makes me want to kick myself: I lemminged this color for the longest time but when I finally got it, I put in my ‘untried’ box and completely forgot it even existed! D’oh. To be fair though, that only happened because I haven’t be able to wear any non-professional looking colors this whole summer. Now that I can finally wear ‘out of the ordinary’ colors again, I went hunting in my ‘untried’ box and rediscovered Starry Starry Night. “Wow” is all I can say. Dark blue jelly with small silver glitter makes for an amazing polish. I can definitely see what all the hype was about.

The jelly-ness gives the glitter at different coats varying degrees of visibility, which really makes this polish look the way the sky does in places where there are no lights to drown out the shining light of the stars. One of the girls on MUA said that my nails looked like they came straight out of the Van Gogh paining. Love the reference, and so very true.

As great as the color is, Starry Starry Nights is not without its pitfalls. A lot of people complain that Starry Starry Night is hot streaky difficult to apply mess. I didn’t have too much trouble with mine. For this manicure I used 1 coat Essie ‘First Base’ Base Coat, 3 coats of Starry Starry Night, and 1 coat of Seche Vite. The first two coats of color were semi-streaky but everything evened out perfectly with the 3rd coat. I’m not sure if the non-streakiness was due to the base coat or whether my bottle was a magical non-streaky version of Starry Starry Night.

If you love this color but don’t have access to it or don’t want to shell out the mad cash, I’ve read that Jessica Twilight is a good dupe. I can’t vouch for it myself because I, sadly, don’t own any Jessicas… yet. However, I’ve only heard good things about the brand. There are actually several known dupes of Starry Starry Night but the others are just as difficult to find as Starry Starry Night once was, so I’ll spare you the pain of lemming a hard-to-find polish with several equally hard-to-find dupes by just omitting that information from this post. <3

July 21, 2008

Alternatives to Chanel Kaleidoscope

Posted in Adoree, Comparison Swatches, Essie, Ghetto Fabulous, Gold, Green, Metallics, Milani, Silver, Trends tagged at 8:28 pm by pretear

Like I said before, I usually don’t buy Chanel nail polish *but* Chanel Kaleidoscope was so beautiful and unique, I just had to have it. The minute I saw a swatch of it taken by MUA’s Mrs_Brightside, I called Nordstrom and put a bottle on hold. That was incredibly out of character for me but it was totally and completely worth it. Even though I can honestly say that I love Kaleidoscope, I want to show you guys some possible alternatives to it. With the economy the way that it is right now, a luxury item like a 20 dollar bottle of nail polish, is probably not the most prudent way to spend money. Of course, some colors are must-have, recession or not, but if you can settle from something less extravagant, why not do so? (I’m a hypocrite, I know.)

First, here she is (are bottles of nail polish female? hmm) in all her glory:

*Heavy Sigh* In the sunlight, Kaleidoscope shimmers with ultra bling. Indoors and in the shade, it’s more of a subtle mirrored greenish platinum color. It’s beautiful but I have no idea why it’s called Kaleidoscope, neither does Scrangie. If the other shade is Gold Fiction, why not call this one Platinum Drama.

Essie Steel-ing the Scene is the closest thing to Kaleidoscope in my stash. These are actually fairly close color siblings. The main difference is that Kaleidoscope has the greenish tone and a lot more shimmer. However, if you really want to follow this trend but don’t want to blow the cash, Essie Steel-ing the Scene is a great alternative.

Here is Kaleidoscope and Steel-ing the Scene side by side. Despite several attempts, I couldn’t get the image to show the differences between these colors. I blame the inferior camera. While these colors are very close they really don’t look as similar in real life as they look in the image. Steel-ing the Scene has a smoother finish, less bling, less shimmer and is less mirrored.

AdorĂ©e Rockport Gray doesn’t have a mirrored finish. It’s a pseudo-metallic light silverish gray with some mossy shimmer throughout. Rockport Gray is not a dupe but it’s a pretty good alternative, especially for people who don’t want to go full out metallic. This is my NOTD right now, it’s subtle enough that I was able to get away with it at work. The application and wear is excellent.

I first lemminged Milani Key Lime Shine when I saw it on FiveZero. The polish doesn’t show the brush strokes, the lines on the surface are actually my nail ridges. If I did this as an actual mani, which I will soon, I would use Camo as a base to eliminate that issue. Key Lime Shine is a highly mirrored metallic light lime green. This is the only one of the colors exhibited here that is available at drug stores, although it is rumored to be hard-to-find.

July 20, 2008

Essie Fall 2008 Collection Swatches

Posted in Essie, Pink, Red, Vampies tagged at 8:43 pm by pretear

What is this collection named? I have no idea. It’s a very mysterious collection, but the colors are great. While other polish companies are doing grays, purples, dark colors, and metallics for fall, Essie stayed true to form and maintained their usual palette range. These colors are more classic than they are exciting but these are colors that should be standard staples in all stashes. Scrangie has reviewed these already and I agree with her insights. The reds are *hot* and I, too, love the jelly-like finish that these colors sport. I wouldn’t call them true jellies per se because the colors aren’t completely translucent, but the finishes definitely have a unique quality. I imagined that these colors would be ultra glossy, but strangely, they weren’t. I know some people like the finish to be somewhat matte but I like my nails to blind oncoming traffic, so I plan to top these with an ultra gloss top coat. Finally, these were all 2 coaters, excellent application. Well played, Essie. This collection should be out in August.

Essie – Big Spender is a sophisticated purple-y pink. It’s not a neon shade, but it reminds me a lot of the neon colors that were so popular this summer. For that reason, I think it would be good transitional color to wear from the switch between Summer to Fall. Even if you don’t have those sorts of seasonal concerns, it’s still a sexy color.

LOOOOOVE this red. Essie Forever Young, a tomato red, is gorgeous, plain and simple. I used top coat for this swatch because of the matte drying. I’ve noted where I’ve taken the images with top coat, notice the contrast?

In my swatches, Essie Lacy Not Racy looks deceptively similar to Essie Tomboy No More pictured below. Both are ridiculous sexy colors, but they’re very different. Lacy Not Racy is more of a true red, while Tomboy No More is a deeper more vampy red. This swatch was taken with top coat, if you look at the swatch of Tomboy No More in contrast to this swatch, the matte drying is really apparent.

I just can’t get enough of these reds. Essie Tomboy No More would be perfect to use for the half moon mani, well actually all three reds would be. Love it.

This color is just one huge mystery. Scrangie and I, apparently, have different colors both named No Boundaries. My bottle was a hot pink as you can see above, but hers was a vampy plum. I like my version of No Boundaries but I really like Scrangie’s, so boooooo. I’m a little confused as to what happened, I’ll let you guys know when I figure it out.

People haven’t been very excited over Essie Swept Off My Feet but it’s my absolute favorite from this collection. It’s a muted pink, Scrangie describes it as dusty – I completely agree. I love these muted dusty colors that been released as of late. There’s just something about them, to me they seem edgy but classic. I love it.

Special thanks to Essie.

July 8, 2008

Hard-to-Find Week Pre-Party: Essie Barbuda Banana

Posted in Creme, Essie, Hard-to-Find, Pastel, Yellow tagged at 5:46 pm by pretear

Every once in a while I’ll see a color on someone else that will stir the addict inside me. Essie Barbuda Banana wasn’t that polish – it was actually Maybelline Banana Puddin’. I searched everywhere for it to no avail. Scalpers aren’t big on carrying discontinued drug store brand polishes, so it’s really tough to find these colors once they are off the initial market. I decided to settle for a dupe instead – that’s when I heard about Essie Barbuda Banana which also happens to be discontinued and hard-to-find, of course. I knew I would have more luck searching for this one since it’s a higher-end brand, and so I renewed my search for a pastel yellow.

Essie actually makes finding discontinueds fairly easy because they sell them on their website under Bye Buy Colors. You just have to let them know what you’re looking for and they’ll message you back if they have it. The catch, and of course – there is *always* a catch, is that Essie ups the retail price from $8 to $10 and charges you an arm for the shipping. Dejected, I turned to evilbay (from hereon – “the place that shall not be named”) where I found Essie Barbuda Banana for about 15 bucks shipped. Normally, I wouldn’t pay that much for a discontinued but I was really jonesing this color. The day after the auction ended someone put up an auction for Maybelline Banana Puddin’ at $3. D’oh.

Do I regret the purchase? No. The application, to put it plainly, sucks, this swatch is 4 hard-as-hell-to-apply coats. But what I can say, I love the color. I hear that Maybelline Banana Puddin’ has equally crappy application so it might just be a function of pastel yellow. This picture isn’t a very accurate depiction of the color, both Banana Puddin’ and Barbuda Banana are a slightly brighter, yet still pastel, yellow. If you don’t want to shell out the mad cash and you just can’t find Banana Puddin’ the easiest way to go about sticking it to the man is frankening your own. This is a really easy franken, you just need a yellow, take your pick there’s about 80 on the market right now (Color Club Yell-oh, Essie Shorty Pants, Zoya Creamy, Misa Hangin’ With the Girls, OPI the ‘It’ Color, OPI Need Sun Glasses, China Glaze Solar Power, Rescue Beauty Lounge Yellow Fever, NYC Taxi Cab and on and on and on) and a white (I would choose one from whatever brand your yellow of choice comes from.) You need roughly 2 parts yellow, 1 part white to end up a pastel yellow.

June 30, 2008

More Vampy Love: Essie Chocolate Kisses

Posted in Creme, Essie, Vampies at 8:30 pm by pretear

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

A Sad Day at the Polish Addict: Shorties in Vampies

Posted in Color Club, Comparison Swatches, Essie, Vampies at 9:43 pm by pretear

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?

May 28, 2008

Variations on a Theme: The Traditional Essie French Manicure

Posted in Creme, Essie, Pink, White tagged at 4:56 pm by pretear

I know I’m in the minority when it comes to love for french manicures. I even like french for… *gasp*… pedicures, blasphemy, I know. In hopes of convincing more people to come to the dark side (rather the light pink and white side), I decided to do a series on the various types of french manicures. We’ll be looking at different polishes that can comprise the set as well as different application styles and looks. Today, we’re looking at, what is in my opinion, the quintessential french manicure: The Traditional Essie French Mani.

When it comes to demure, but sophisticated, nudes, pinks, and neutrals – Essie is the go-to brand. To me, Essie is also synonymous with french manis. I’ve tried several french mani combinations, nothing compares to the look you get with Essie Mademoiselle and Essie Marshmallow. Most people would refer to this combo as being an American French Manicure. (For an explanation for the differences between french mani styles check out this link.) The combo is soft and natural looking, definitely among my personal favorites but also widely popular with just about everyone who like french manis. Essie Pink Glove Service can also be used as a base color for a french mani but here I used it as the over-layer. Generally, I like flashy stark white tips but since I’m temporarily stuck in realm of professional looking manis, I decided to layer Pink Glove Service to dim Marshmallow a bit. I like the way it looks but ultimately I could have done without the extra PGS coat because Mademoiselle and Marshmallow look very professional all on their own.

As far as application: This is base coat plus one coat of Mademoiselle, perfectly smooth and even. Mademoiselle looks very pink in the bottle but applies translucent. I needed two coats of Marshmallow for the tips to look solid. I did this free hand so, as you can imagine, it was a huge pain in the butt. Stickers are great but they work best for the very patient. I find it easier to just do it free hand. Doing free hand correctly takes some practice but that’s better than fumbling with the stickers. The nail board wisdom tip for getting a good solid white tip is too move your finger instead of the brush, that’s also what works best for me.

May 15, 2008

Essie Body Language vs. OPI Moon Over Mumbai

Posted in Creme, Essie, Gray, Mushroomy Colors, OPI tagged , , , at 6:06 pm by pretear

These colors belong to collections (OPI Indian Collection and Essie In the Mood Collection, respectively) that came out roughly at the same time. Since these colors were among the first light grays on the easily accessible market, they are often compared to each other. As I told you guys before, I’ve been working at the State Attorney’s Office so I’ve been dipping into my professional-looking nail polish colors. However, we were discussing here last week whether gray nail polish can be acceptable in a professional environment – I decided to test my hypothesis. I wore Body Language today to court. First, no one cared about my nail polish, which is in no way surprising and completely expected. Second, Body Language looks NOTHING like OPI Moon Over Mumbai. Essie Body Language looks more like a creme grayed-out ultra light pink, almost like what I would expect Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge to look like. OPI Moon Over Mumbai is a true light gray with very subtle shimmer, dupish to Essie Great Expectations which is also from the In The Mood Collection. I had a tough time with the application of both polishes, so one isn’t superior to the other in that aspect. Moon Over Mumbai is ultra streaky. My bottle of Body Language was really thick so it was difficult to even out coats. (Yes, I know, I should thin it, but I’m still a little scared of thinners.) This image is a good representation of what the color looks like even though it was taken in the shade. Sadly, I’m getting home from work too late to take day time pics – I promise, I’m working on it.

Below is Moon Over Mumbai and Body Language juxtaposed. The images were taken in different lighting at different times but both are accurate depictions of the colors.

Finally, here are the two bottles.

April 25, 2008

Purple and Lilac Comparison Swatches

Posted in China Glaze, Comparison Swatches, Creme, Essie, OPI, Orly, Purples & Lilacs, Rescue Beauty Lounge, Zoya tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:36 am by pretear

Purple and lilac have been pretty popular this spring. I made these swatches originally to help the girls at MUA find a cheaper alternative to the ever prohibitively expensive but wildly popular Rescue Beauty Lounge – Purple Haze. We were all pretty sad to find that there really isn’t a cheaper alternative to that particular color. No other brand has a shade of purple that even comes close. That is not to say these other colors aren’t worth it, all these purples and lilacs are beautiful in their own right. The only one missing that I really feel should have been included for comparison is Essie – Looking for Love. In the bottle, it’s a really beautiful vivid lilac – but – I had to decide against purchasing it because of its notorious and irreparable streakiness.

3 Coats China Glaze – Spontaneous (The Flirt Collection), 2 coats Rescue Beauty Lounge – Purple Haze (The Spring ’08 Collection), 3 Coats OPI – Do You Lilac It? (The Original Brights Collection)

4 coats each for these: Zoya Miley (4 coats required for bottle color with a Zoya? No…… you don’t say? – This one is from the Blissful Collection), Orly Bon Bon (Sugar Coated Collection), Essie St. Lucia Lilac (Permanent Collection).

Purple Haze is the fan favorite. I can’t say I was really impressed with the color on myself. The application and wear-time were flawless as always but I just didn’t LOVE it. I’m going to give it one more go, and perhaps let it go if I still don’t love it.