September 2, 2008

Fall Blitzkrieg: OPI La Collection De France

Posted in Brown, Creme, Gray, Mushroomy Colors, Nude, OPI, Purples & Lilacs, Red, Shimmer, Trends, Vampies tagged at 1:15 am by pretear

I’m a little late to the party (check out Scrangie’s swatches) but, of course, I have to give you guys my take on one of the biggest collections to hit us this Fall. I wasn’t all that excited for OPI France when I initially saw the promotional images. OPI has a proclivity for releasing several reds and ‘almost blacks’ in just about every collection and, frankly, it gets old. The promos of France made it seem like more of the same. Consequently, I wasn’t expecting to like these. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this collection is actually pretty cool.

Sure, a few of the colors were fairly run of the mill OPI type stuff. I’m not doing back flips for OPI Louvre me Louvre Me Not (ducks to avoid thrown stones, tomatoes, assorted rotting vegetables), but there are several solid gorgeous, unique colors in this collection. There have been a few complaints about colors in the France collection being thick and difficult to apply but I didn’t have any real trouble with them.

As a side note, I really feel like OPI did a good job of designing colors that are representative of French culture and fashion. I say that because I felt like they could have done more with the Indian collection, it’s good to see that they were spot on with France.

*Dies* OPI You Don’t Know Jacques is my absolute favorite color from this collection. Seriously, every once a while an amazing color like this comes out and renews my passion for nail polish. The color is tough to describe, grayish, brownish, dirty, mushroomy? This is my current NOTD, 2 coats, love it. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, love these grayed out mushroomy colors. I just can’t get enough.

OPI Yes… I Can-Can! is a shimmery eggplant type color. The base color seems similar to OPI Lincoln Park After Dark. The shimmer seems multi-colored, I see flashes of green, silver, and violet in the bottle. On the nail, it’s silvery and serves to give Yes… I Can-Can! depth. This swatch is 3 coats but with careful application good coverage is possible at 2 coats.

OPI Tickle My France-y is my second favorite color from this collection. It’s a grayed out subtle nude pink – it is chic and sophisticated perfection. Earlier last week, when I went back into the professional nail color purgatory, Tickle My France-y was the first color I chose for the big switch. This color was so beautiful, so flattering that I didn’t even care about being forced to wear professional colors. This mani was 3 coats.

OPI Parlez-vous OPI?, another stand out color, is a grayed-out (or smokey as OPI puts it) plum. The application was slightly troublesome, my bottle was chalky and thick but it’s workable. This is 2 coats.

OPI Louvre Me Lourve Me Not is my least favorite color from this collection. Sorry guys, I know I’m completely alone, everyone else loves this one. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this color but I have a predisposition to disliking shimmers and I’ve just had my fill of shimmery mid-range purples this fall. You can’t really see it in my image but Louvre Me Lourve Me Not has blurple and violet shimmer. This swatch is 3 coats.

OPI I’m Fondue of You is a reddish light chocolaty brown with reddish brown shimmer. I don’t love this one. It’s pretty but not special. This swatch is 2 coats, I think the color would look better with 3.

OPI Eiffel for this Color is an ‘almost black’. OPI says it’s wine but it looks dark purple with violet shimmer to me. It’s similar to Yes… I Can-Can! but they’re different enough to warrant owning both if one is so inclined to do so. Normally, I would say boo to an almost black but I, surprisingly, like this color. This swatch is 2 coats.

Scrangie called OPI Crepes Suzi-ette a ‘mom’ color… it is – but – it’s hot. I think this one ventures into the realm of work appropriate. I’m actually surprised that I like this color too. I probably wouldn’t have batted an eye at this creamy reddish caramel in a store, but it’s actually very flattering on the nail. I would even dare say that it’s unique. This swatch is 2 coats.

There will always be reds in an OPI collection, shockingly there were only two in the France Collection. One of which, OPI Bastille My Heart, is a deep burgandy with violet shimmer throughout. Pretty, but standard.

OPI Baguette Me Not, a creamy salmon, is another shocker. Totally didn’t expect to like this ‘mom’ (haha) color but I love it. Very chic, very work appropriate. This swatch is 2 coats.

OPI A Oui Bit of Red, the other red in the France Collection, is a mid-range bright red. I love reds and I would have loved this one too, but for the shimmer. The saving grace is that the fuschia shimmer is very subtle, hardly noticeable. This swatch is 2 coats.

Finally, OPI We’ll Always Have Paris. Love. It. This is the color that I wanted the annoyingly almost black OPI Lincoln Park After Dark to be. I love LPAD but I always wanted it to be more noticeably purple and vampy. OPI granted my wish with We’ll Always Have Paris. Strangely, OPI says this color is dark coffee… definitely looks dark reddish purple to me.

Special thanks to OPI.

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August 17, 2008

Fall Blitzkrieg: Zoya Vibe Collection Swatches

Posted in Creme, Red, Vampies, Zoya tagged at 3:51 pm by pretear

As I said in the previous post, I like simple red or vampy cremes – they’re classy, sophisticated, and almost always appropriate for any occasion. No, they aren’t unique, and yes, we’ve seen these colors before but as far as I’m concerned polish companies can continue to make as many vampies as they want with no criticism from me. I suppose the problem is most people, Scrangie for example, don’t feel the same way, which is why Zoya Vibe hasn’t gotten as much love as its shimmery sister collection Pulse. I prefer Vibe over Pulse a million times over, but I think might just be the only person on earth that feels that way. I didn’t have any application issues with Vibe, except where noted. Almost all these colors applied perfectly with 2 coats.

Zoya Sam and Zoya Nina look deceptively similar but that’s due to my inadequacy as a photographer. In person, they are noticeably different with Sam being more berry toned and Nina being very visibly brown. This swatch is 3 coats. Zoya Sam gave me some cuticle drag, so a third coat was necessary to even the application out. I think good coverage with 2 coats is possible, I was just being impatient with my swatches. I think Sam will always be slightly darker on the nail than the bottle color because it darkens as it dries.

If you read my blog often, you’ll know that brown is one of my white whales. Even though I passionately love all browns, I have a tough time finding browns that flatter my skin tone. I’m finding that darker browns like Nina and Essie Chocolate Kisses suit my skin tone pretty well. As stated above, Zoya Nina is visibly brown despite it’s darkness in my image. This is two coats – I didn’t have any issues with the application.

Zoya Riley is a magenta based deep vampy red. This is 2 coats.

The difference between Dakota and Riley, for those who are wondering, is that Dakota doesn’t have the magenta undertones. They look very similar in the bottle but they actually are different colors. This swatch is two coats.

I don’t know what it is with this collection but there are 3 pairs of colors that look similar to each other in the bottle but not on the nail. Two pairs I’ve already addressed, the last pair is Zoya Asia and Alix. They look pretty similar in the bottle, but Asia is brighter. Both are true reds. This swatch is 2 coats.

And finally, Zoya Alix, I did have some issues with this one. I had a wonky brush, which was shocking because I love Zoya brushes. I’ve never had a wonky Zoya before. Even when I passionately hated Zoya, I was still a fan of their brushes which are the perfect shape and size for my nails. The brush I got in Alix had a crooked bristle, ultimately it wasn’t a big deal. The wonkiness was easily fixed by just trimming the rogue bristle. The other issue was that Zoya Alix was a little tougher to apply than the other colors in this collection. I didn’t get full coverage at 2 coats and I had a significant amount of cuticle drag. However, a third coat fixed everything to my satisfaction.

Special thanks to Zoya.

August 4, 2008

Lippmann Collection Fall 2008 Swatches

Posted in Black & Charcoal, Lippmann Collection, Red, Vampies, White tagged at 5:38 pm by pretear

Sorry about that hiatus, I started a new soul-destroying job and I’ve had zero free time and zero sunlight with which to take swatch images. I’m going to invest in a light box so that I don’t have to be so sun dependent, until then, you guys will have to make due with sub-par indoor lighting.

Ok no more excuses for the moment, let’s get back to the Fall Blitzkrieg. That’s what I’ve decided to dub the insanity that is about to ensue when all the fall colors hit the shelves. It’s really like all the nail polish companies got together and conspired to empty out some bank accounts.

Here’s Lippmann Collection’s 4 new shades for fall:

Lippmann Collection Rhapsody in White is a frosty white with a tinge of silver. This is two coats in sunlight, (the only sunlight picture I was able to get today.) It’s a great color but I got a lot of noticeable brush strokes. I am not a fan of brush strokes.

Lippmann Stop and Stare is a magenta based bright jelly creme red. Gorgeous. This is 3 coats, but it’s wearable at 2 coats if you don’t mind VPL. This one had great application, not a streak in sight, smooth and perfect. I’m tempted to say that Lippmann Stop and Stare is dupish to Essie Jelly Apple, but I’m hesitant because JA is more a true red, and SaS has a magenta tone to it. I’ll do comparison swatches soon.

To be honest, I was a little surprised to see a true black in Lippmann’s fall collection. Not to hate on Lippmann, but black is black is… black. However, black is supposed to be making a come back this fall so I guess it makes sense. This is a normal, glossy, unadulterated true black creme. The application was excellent, it’s opaque in coat, but I preferred it with two. Now that I think about it, I wonder if every black really is created equal. I’ve never actually done side by side comparisons of my black cremes. My HG go-to black for layering is Milani Black Magic. It’s cheap and gets the job done so I’ve never really questioned the difference between tones, application, and wear in blacks. *light bulb goes on for article*

Lippmann Collection Pump Up the Jam is definitely the stand out color from the new Lippmann fall shades. I’m really loving these shimmery vampies. Judging by the enthusiasm for them on the nail board, I expect that vampy shimmers are going to be big this Fall. Lippmann describes this color as “Boysenberry Bijoux”. Not really sure what that means, but man, I love this color. It’s aubergine shimmer with a blackish base. This image does not do this polish justice, this one is a definite ‘must have’. I’ll definitely revisit this color for you guys when the sun comes back out, darn Florida weather.

Special thanks to Lippmann.

July 29, 2008

Misa Poisoned Passion Collection Swatches and the Horrible Tale of How I Broke a Nail

Posted in Black & Charcoal, Blue, Green, Misa, Purples & Lilacs, Shimmer, Vampies tagged at 8:33 pm by pretear

So everyone and their mom has already seen this collection and sadly, I don’t feel like my swatches are going to add anything to the interpretation of these colors. First, Scrangie and Misa Masa, already did an excellent job of photographing and discussing these, but the real issue is, it’s like every thing on earth was working against me to get these swatches done. (I’m about to launch into a tirade here so if you’re not interested scroll down for the polish porn. XD)

I got this collection almost 2 weeks ago but with the move and starting a new job, I just haven’t had a minute to post them yet. Finally, this past Sunday, I sit down and get to business. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, swatches are progressing on schedule. The article was nearly complete, ready to be posted that same Sunday. And it really would have been posted since everything was going according to plan, until, for no apparent reason at all because there wasn’t one dark cloud in the sky, we get a deluge. And, of course, this happened right as I was about to take the very last swatch photo for this collection. I was planning on doing a holo mani that day because my new job as the assistant for my school’s trial practice program doesn’t restrict my nail bling. So I say to myself, “Well ok, I’ll just put on a strengthening basecoat and wait to finish these swatches tomorrow.”

Monday, not one ray of sunlight all day long. At that point, I thought… crap, if I don’t get my nails painted soon, I foresee a break in my future. I could have just done a Misa Dying Love mani and taken the image the next day but I really don’t like wearing very dark or extravangant colors when my nails are so long, so I decided against it. Instead I opted to wait and added another coat of clear polish. Monday afternoon, as I was driving to the post office to drop off some swaps, to my unspeakable horror, I look down at the steering wheel only to see that my right hand index nail broke. ‘Broke’ is not really the right word, it’s like the nail breakage gnomes took a mini sledge hammer to my nail. It split-peeled in half, horizontally. Yes, imagine that break for a second. Oh, the horror.

There was no saving this one, I had to cut them all off. I’m not bitter about the break this time, it gave me an excuse to rock Misa Dying Love, which I actually got compliments on – believe it or not that is a rare occurrence for me. People really seem to love dark colors on short nails.

Ok enough nail breakage ranting, let’s get down to today’s order of business:

First let me say, that I love the concept behind this collection – Poisoned Passion, um, awesome. Not to mention that I love the names of the actual polishes – A Sin Worth Committing – wow, I would have bought that one for the name alone. Misa gets 5 points for naming creativity.

I thought all the polishes applied well, I do wish the formulas were a little thinner. However, they weren’t so thick as to cause serious application issues. I just prefer to apply very thin coats and it was nearly impossible to do that with these. I needed 3 (as thin as I could get) coats for all of these colors except for Dying Love which was perfect in 2.

Without further delay, here they are:

As a lot of you know I’m not really into shimmer, but man, this color is pretty. Misa Masa says that this shade looks really similar to OPI Yoga-ta Get This Blue. I don’t own that one, shocking, I know, but now I’m glad I never took the plunge because I can’t imagine that it will look or apply any better than A Sin Worth Committing. Plus, the name cannot be beat.

Not sure if this one is called Fatal Attraction or Fatal Affair. It’s a very deep purple with blue microshimmer. This image does not do the color justice. It’s very, dark, like sexy macabre dark.

Misa Forbidden Lust is rumored to be fairly similar to Zoya Yasmeen (Here are Scrangie’s and Misa Masa‘s comparisons). This color really isn’t me, but I can appreciate a color that I know other polish addicts will go go nuts over and I suspect that to be the case with Forbidden Lust.

Misa Love Bite didn’t get as great a reception as the other colors from this collection, but I really like it. That might have a little something to do with the fact that it is a vampy jellyish creme, to which I am partial. Unlike Misa Masa, I didn’t have any trouble with the application. Vampies tend to be streaky, but I didn’t have issues with this one. I also like the name to color relationship: Love Bite – Dark Dried Blood Color – Vampires – Vampy! Get it? Get it? Ha.

Misa Toxic Seduction is, hands down, my favorite from this collection. Shimmery green with a dark gray base, it’s calling my name. L.o.v.e.i.t.

And finally – Misa Dying Love, my mourning color.

Misa Dying Love, my current NOTD, is closer to black than to charcoal, the shimmer is grayish in tone. You really can only see the shimmer in the sunlight, so indoors this shade is like a muted black creme. Surprisingly, I got compliments on this one today. That’s surprising only because I never get compliments and very few people (who aren’t into nail polish as a hobby) can appreciate a good almost black shimmery polish. I really like this one. I think I might make it, and colors similar to it, my official broken nail mourning color. For this mani, I used Misa BACKbone Natural Nail Base Coat and BREAKneck Fast Drying Non-Yellowing Top Coat for the first time. I’ll let you guys know how these worked out for me.

Special Thanks to Misa.

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.

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?