Friday, March 30, 2012

butter LONDON - Bumster and Flawless Basecoat: Swatches and Review

Today we have butter LONDON Bumster:

butter LONDON - Bumster

Bumster is a peanutbutter/mustard creme that is fully opaque in two coats. It has a marvelous formula and glides on very easily. This is one of those colors that looks good on some and not on others, though. The warm tones in it tend to clash on cooler skin tones. I personally love how it looks on me! Very chic, egdy, and out of the norm.

I was excited to try Bumster, but once I actually got it I noticed that it looks quite familiar. Bumster is a near dead-on dupe for American Apparel Trenchcoat (which in turn is a dupe for Finger Paints Catwalk Queen).

butter LONDON Bumster and American Apparel Trenchcoat

Trenchoat is a tiny bit cooler than Bumster, but if I didn't know I had two different polishes on I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.  Also, you can see the orange pigment has separated in my bottle of Trenchcoat, so it could be even closer than you see here!

butter LONDON also sent me the base and top coats to try out.  I'm not too big of a fan of the top coat.  It dries on the surface fairly quickly, but it tends to leave brushstrokes in the shiny finish as it dries (you can actually see them if you click on the first picture of Bumster above)

However, I'm kind of in love with the base coat (Nail Foundation Flawless Basecoat).

butter LONDON - Nail Foundation Flawless Basecoat

First of all, it's a GREAT ridge-filler.  It fills in all imperfections and gives you a nice smooth base for under your nail color of choice...  if you choose to wear one.  Which brings me to my next point:  I love how this looks on it's own.  It's a nude jelly that dries to a silky finish.  The bottle claims "matte results so beautiful, you can wear it alone."  And I have, and it looks so elegant!  It's a wonderful palette cleanser in between all the crazy colors and glitters that I wear!

I'm notoriously bad at testing wear (because I like to change my nail polish so often), so I don't have a good grasp yet for how well this holds on nail polish.  I have had it on under Expecto Patronum (with a coat of SV on top) for three days now with no chips or tipwear at all, though!

butter LONDON polishes can be purchased off of their website or at Ulta (in stores and online).

(These products were sent to me for review.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dollish Polish - Expecto Patronum: Swatches and Review

I just can't get enough of these indie polishes... especially the pastel/white jelly bases with glitter! (I'm currently on a mission to get NailVenturous Robin Laid an Egg!)

Dollish Polish - Expecto Patronum

Like Pretty & Polished Jawbreaker, this is a nice squishy white jelly that is opaque in 2-3 easy coats (3 shown). There is a mix of small and medium teal holo glitter, as well as some larger teal hex glitters, and subtle orange flakies. The flakies don't show well in the picture, but then again they don't show too much in person either - just a flash of orange every once in awhile. I love how some of the glitter from the first coat(s) get buried underneath the white jelly to give it different shades of teal and some depth.

The only quirk with this polish that I've found is that the large hexes are not flat... instead they are very chunky and ruin the smoothness of the polish. I think Dollish was having a problem with some glitter in another of her polishes, Hip Hop Hippity Hop, and this one seems to have the same issue. I think she was working on resolving the glitter issue in Hip Hop, so I imagine Expecto Patronum will be fixed as well. For now, I just don't shake the bottle and let the big hexes fall to the bottom so I don't get any on the brush. The other glitter and flakies still seem to suspend nicely.

Here is a picture of the cute mini bottle. These bottles are pretty tiny, but it's great to be able to sample lots of polishes for less! I love Expecto Patronum so much that I'm looking to buy a full sized bottle once the glitter is fixed!

Expecto Patronum is available on the Dollish Polish Etsy shop, but business has been booming so much that she's been opening and closing the shop to be able to keep up with orders. Sign up to be notified when she reopens if you're hoping to get this beauty!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Layla - Flash Black: Swatches and Review



Layla Holo Effect - Flash Black

Holy rainbows, Batman! Isn't it incredible?! I can't get over it.  It's too perfect.  I've worn it three times in the last two weeks, which is a record for me!

Flash Black is an amazing charcoal linear holo.  It applies like butter in two easy coats over an aqua base coat such as Nfu-Oh Aqua Base or the Jessica Hologram Chic base (although I've heard it's a pain to apply without the aqua base).  It also doesn't dull with a topcoat!   In short, it's perfect, and I need a backup bottle.


And here's a shade (indirect sunlight) pic to show that it still has a holo effect even in lower lighting:

Layla Holo Effects can be purchased at Harlow & Co, as well as on Aveyou.  They run about $15-16, and there have been rumors that Ulta may carry them soon as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nailventurous - Floam, Pinkerbell, Orange You Unique, and Humble Bee: Swatches and Review

The polishes featured in this post are all handmade by a blogger friend of mine named Amy from Nailventurous. She recently opened a shop on Etsy and in her first sale she sold out in less than five minutes! It was absolutely crazy! I was incredibly lucky and snagged the set of three (Floam, Pinkerbell, and Orange You Unique) as well as Humble Bee.

Nailventurous - Floam

Floam is one that's slipped just out of my reach a few times, so I'm REALLY excited to finally own it! Floam is a mix of neon blue and green matte glitter (in other words, it's not metallic) in a shiny clear base. It's a bit thick, but it makes application really easy and Floam only takes two coats to be fully opaque. I love this polish so much!

Nailventurous - Pinkerbell

Pinkerbell is a mix of the same blue and green glitter in Floam, but with some smaller neon pink glitter as well. From a distance I think it has kind of a greyish blue look, but up close you can see all the beautiful specks of color. Very fairy-esque to me. Kind of light and dainty, but bright and playful at the same time. It had the same slightly thick formula that covered nicely in two coats

Nailventurous - Orange You Unique

This one, a mix of orange and blue matte glitter, looks to me like a summer day by the pool. At a distance, this one kind of blends into my skin and is a neutral orange color, but the blue really pops against the orange up close. I think it has white glitter in it, but the base is tinted a slightly neon coral color so they look a bit pink. Again, two (kind of thick) easy coats for opacity.

Nailventurous - Humble Bee

This is the one that's not part of the "original three" set. This is one of Amy's newer creations, and it won me over instantly! It's a combination of small neon yellow glitter and small and medium black glitter in a clear base. As much as I was excited for Floam, this one may be in a tie for my favorite one here. I really want to try layering this over a bright blue or coral! This one is two coats as well.

All in all, I'm SO incredibly impressed with Amy's unique frankens and their wonderful formula! It's important to wait a few minutes between coats so you don't drag the glitter around, and a topcoat of Gelous then Seche Vite is required to make them glassy smooth.

As I mentioned, these are a tad bit hard to get ahold of, but not impossible. Amy should be stocking the Nailventurous Esty shop again in the near future (for Humble Bee), and you can also watch out for Floam, Pinkerbell, and Orange You Unique on Ninja Polish (you can sign up for email notifications on both sites).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Katniss, Girl on Fire: Hunger Games Midnight Release Mani

Edited to add sun pictures.

After re-reading the Hunger Games in the last couple of days, I was reminded that Katniss herself had her nails done for the interview directly preceding the beginning of the Games. In the book, Katniss says Cinna's team decorates her by "painting flame designs on [her] twenty perfect nails." So of course, I had to do a flame design.



(artificial light)

For a background, I used Orly Iron Butterfly. I wanted it to look a bit like smoke and ashes as well as being representative of District 12's coal industry. It's an easy one-coater matte black with silver shimmer, and it resembles China Glaze Stone Cold from the Colors from the Capitol collection.

(artificial light)

I wanted a flame design but I wanted it to look a little more natural than the typical hot rod flames. So I opted to paint the flames right over the charcoal instead of using a more opaque base. I started by freehanding the flame design in China Glaze Riveting, a red-orange glass fleck.  At first I'd planned the flames coming up my nails from the tip, but decided since Katniss was the girl on fire, the flames should be coming from her nails instead.

(indirect sunlight)

After doing all the red, I used Zoya Tanzy to fill in all the flames, leaving a bit of a red outline around the edges. I went over it twice to make it a little more opaque.

(indirect sunlight)

Lastly, I added some Milani Gold Glitz to the base of each flame (at the cuticle), to make it fully opaque and add a little bit of extra sparkle. It also toned down the fire to a bronzey-gold. Again, I didn't want bright hot rod flames, but more natural coppery flames.

(indirect sunlight)

I tried so many "versions" of flames (including the "hot rod type" which were made by painting black over the flames instead of the flames on the charcoal), but these actually came out exactly how I wanted them to.  I had a heck of a time trying to get pictures of these in natural light because the glare wanted to wipe out the flame shapes.

I won't lie, these were NOT easy, and it took a LONG time. But the result made it all worth it to me. I feel like the Girl on Fire.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

China Glaze Prismatic Chroma Glitters: Skittles over Black

This is my FAVORITE way to wear the China Glaze Prismatic Chroma Glitters: as skittles over a black base. While they're also gorgeous on their own, I love how the black really brings out the colors in the duochrome glitter base on each of these.

(natural light)
China Glaze Prismatic Chroma Glitters

All of these are shown at one thin coat over one coat China Glaze Liquid Leather. All of them are made up of a duochrome micro glitter base sprinkled with multi-colored medium glitters. These are the colors I see in each of the bases:

Full Spectrum (thumb) - lilac lavender that shifts to pink and gold
Prism (index) - periwinkle that shifts to pink and orange-gold
Liquid Crystal (middle) - sky blue that shifts to blue to purple to pink (most prominent color shift)
Optical Illusion (ring) - bright seafoam teal that shifts to purple
Ray-diant (pinky) - golden chartreuse green that shifts to green and teal

The next three pictures I took in my new tabletop studio light box with artificial lights.  I'd like to know your opinion on which pictures you like better.  I know I don't want to rely on the sun anymore (I like swatching at night!), but now it's a question of whether I should get a couple daylight lamps to use for my pictures.  What do you think?

(artificial lighting)

Part of why I wanted to revert to artificial lighting is so that I can set up the lights in a position that will show the duochrome nature in some of my favorite polishes (including these).  I thought the next two pics showed the multiple colors a little better than my natural light pics.

(artificial lighting)

(artificial lighting)

So what do you think of my new photography setup?  Do you like how the pictures look overall?  Or how they catch the duochrome a little better?  Let me know what you think because I'm still deciding on some daylight lamps!

I haven't yet seen the China Glaze Prismatic Chroma Glitters yet in stores.  I was frantically searching for them and found my set on Phoenix Beauty Lounge.  They are based in Canada but shipping was reasonable and super fast!  When I ordered, one of them showed out of stock, but a few hours later they emailed me to say they did have it and asked if I'd like to add it to my order before it shipped out!  Seriously, GREAT customer service!  They are also available on Transdesign, and Wet n Wild has come out with a Coloricon set that are dupes to these.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nerd Lacquer - Holy Grail: Swatch and Review

Sorry for the absence!  I was snowed in at my parents house and couldn't get to my camera or computer.

Yet another one where I'm not sure WHY I got it, but it sort of just jumped into my Nerd Lacquer order (I think I was in the "BUY ALL THE NERD LACQUER!" mentality... haha).

Anyway, I actually ended up wearing it for a few days because I loved it so much!

Nerd Lacquer - Holy Grail

Holy Grail is a whole bunch of different shapes/sizes of silver holo glitter in a dusty light teal holo AND glow-in-the-dark base! At first I thought the base color was a little bland, but after wearing it I realized that it toned down all of the crazy holo in this just enough to make a really pretty, classy polish. Not everyone may like it (and it actually took me a couple hours of wearing it for me to fully appreciate it), but I'm very happy I picked this one up.  I actually ended up being very pleased with EVERY Nerd Lacquer polish I got!  This only took two coats to be fully opaque (like all of the Nerd Lacquers I currently have), and the glitter lays nice and flat although it does need a couple coats of topcoat (Gelous and SV) to be smooth.

Again, Nerd Lacquers can be found in the NerdLacquer store on Etsy, on NinjaPolish, and Harlowe & Co, but are kinda of hard to catch in stock. All of these sites offer some way of being notified when it IS in stock, so sign up for the emails if you're really itching for some Nerdiness!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

OPI - Crown Me Already! Swatch and Review

Just like I have polishes where I wonder WHY I bought it in the first place, I also have ones where I can't figure out why I DIDN'T buy it immediately.

This is one of them. I passed it up in the store many times only to buy it on ebay about a week ago because I couldn't stand it any longer.

OPI - Crown Me Already

Crown Me Already is a mix of super shiny silver micro glitter and all different sizes of hex glitter. The biggest hexes are probably about 2mm wide and they look like tiny little mirrors or coins amongst the micro glitter. It is truly eye-catching and bling-tastic, and I love it. I have a coat of Gelous and Seche Vite over it and it's not completely smooth, but you can't really tell because of how extremely reflective the silver is. I'm so glad I got this one, and now I wish so badly that OPI would make a nice, rich gold version of this! The formula was great as well; it's opaque at two coats and not lumpy or thick at all. It's also not one of those where you have to "place" the glitter to make it look nice.

This one made me realize just how much I appreciate almost every brand of nail polish because each one has it's own "gems" that are particularly wonderful. I'm not at all an OPI fan girl (I can't stand all of the "Suzi" names... and I actually don't like the name of this one much, haha), but every once in a while they bring out a beautiful doozy of a polish that really wows me.

I was only able to find this one on ebay (at a reasonable, typical OPI price - $8 with free shipping), but it may be available at other online retailers as well.

Another quick question. Which do you prefer: pics with the bottle or without? I've automatically done them with the bottle because that's what a lot of bloggers do, but think I like how I can "pose" my hand a little better without it. Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Nerd Lacquer - FROM SPAAAAAACE Collection: Swatches and Review

This is, I believe, one of Nerd Lacquer's first collections. All three are beautiful jelly bases packed full of glitter.  I was lucky enough to nab these the last time Nerd Lacquer opened shop.

Nerd Lacquer - Nebula

This is my favorite (surprising since I usually go for greens)! This one is incredibly juicy and sparkly! It's a rich red grape burgundy jelly base with lots of small red, blue, and holo multicolored glitter as well as medium red and royal blue glitter. The royal blue glitter is my favorite because it's a wonderful indigo color when it peeks out of the layers of jelly! This is two easy, smooth coats - one of the best glitter formulas I've seen in a nail polish! A coat of Gelous then Seche Vite makes it glassy smooth

Nerd Lacquer - Event Horizon

My second favorite. Event Horizon is a dark teal jelly base with teal and silver and gold holo glitter (from what I can tell). Again with the juicy, gorgeous jelly base! I didn't put a top coat on for this swatch, but it is just as smooth as Nebula with Gelous and Seche Vite. Two easy coats with the same fantastic formula. It's a tiny bit more green than it shows in the picture.

Nerd Lacquer - Quasar

Quasar is a swampy green jelly base with tons of green and silver holo glitter. Two coats and no topcoat shown. Even though greens are normally my favorite, this one had tough competition with Nebula and Event Horizon. Even so, it's quite beautiful, and I'm really glad I got the set of the three.

This collection is so yummy. I love the squishy jelly bases in all of them, and the glitter combinations are just stunning. Chunky large glitter is cool, but my favorite glitters are the mixes of small or micro glitter with some medium contrasting glitters mixed in (like Big Money and Diamond in the Rough).

These can be a bit tricky to get a hold of because of the shop's popularity. Last time the shop opened, they sold almost 1500 bottles in 18 hours and had to close to make sure they could meet their 5-7 day shipping quota. These can be purchased directly from Nerd Lacquer's Etsy shop, as well as at Harlow & Co, and Ninja Polish. You can sign up to be notified when Nerd Lacquer's shop reopens or when the products are in stock on the other two sites.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mirror Nails: Day 4 Review

Well, I'm back from Disneyland and I wanted to let you know how my mirror nails are holding up!  (Good news - not one single nail came even close to popping off!)

Here is a picture on day 4:

Nail Bliss Silver nails w/ Elegant Touch Super Adhesive Tabs (Day 4)

If you remember, I applied them Friday mid-day and wore them throughout my Disneyland vacation. I must say, they still look nearly as perfect as when I first applied them. You can see a tiny bit of wear in the gel top coat on my middle finger near the cuticle, but I have a feeling I could touch that up with another layer of clear gel easily. Also, the gel has become a TINY bit scuffed on most of my fingers, but it's not noticeable unless you're looking at them up very close. Scrangie shows the chrome finish wearing off and being very scratched after five days of wear, so I think the gel top coat helped IMMENSELY. I would recommend ALWAYS putting some sort of protective top coat over chrome or mirror nails to protect the finish. It seemed to work wonders in my case!

The second half of my review is actually of the Super Adhesive Tabs that I bought at Ulta. They claim to be water resistant and can last up to 7 days. In this case, I've only had them on for 3-4 days, but I really don't see any deterioration at all yet. These nails are stuck on good! Granted, the fake nails I'm wearing are filed down to nearly my natural nails' lengths on most fingers, so there's not much of a "free edge." If they were longer they might have more of a tendency to pop off, I don't know. I also like that there is not much "give" in the adhesive. They pretty much don't budge, so you don't get that weird feeling of the nail getting pushed into your cuticle when you press on something (if you've ever worn fake nails, you probably know what I'm talking about). Right now as I'm typing, they feel like my natural nails to me.

So here is my overall review of this mirror nails effect:

  • Awesome quick fix for when one of my nails broke WAY down right before my vacation
  • Mirror finish is super eye-catching and fun.  Very Star Wars or Tron -esque
  • Super Adhesive Tabs by Elegant Touch are nice and strong and make the nails comfortable to wear
  • Wore for at least three days easily - would probably be good for up to a week with no problems (perfect for a vacation!)
  • Nails are long but can be very easily clipped and filed to your ideal length without any damage to the nails
  • No glue needed!
  • Fake nails are still a bit "bulky" and don't look completely natural
  • The adhesive tabs create a tiny bit of a gap around the edges (between your natural nail and the fake nail) where lint can get stuck.
I guess my only wish is that they could make both the adhesive tabs and the nails themselves a bit thinner to give a more natural look.  Other than that I loved these SO much and have ordered more because they were so fun!  I was surprised the adhesive lasted so well, even through showers and dishes and Splash Mountain!

Here are some tips for a longer lasting manicure that I picked up from trying these out:
  • Adhesive that claims to be easily removed with "warm water" will NOT last and won't hold the nails in their proper place very long (they seem to "slide" around on the nail quite a bit).  Be sure to get ones that can handle multiple days worth of wear and are water resistant. An alternative is to use nail glue, but it can be more difficult to remove, especially if you'd like to keep the fake nails for future use.
  • Mirror/chrome finishes are VERY susceptible to scratches and wear and it's very important to put a clear top coat over the nails to protect the perfect shiny finish!
  • The adhesive tabs are somewhat long and can be trimmed with clippers to the length of the natural nail before sticking on the fake nail. This makes it so there's not too much exposed adhesive to gather dirt and lint, etc.
For more info on the products reviewed in this post, see my original Mirror Nails post.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

butter LONDON - Disco Biscuit: Swatch and Review

This was another that I'm not sure WHY I decided to order it but ended up being very happy I did!

butter LONDON - Disco Biscuit

Disco Biscuit is a bright (almost neon) fuchsia jelly with iridescent blue micro glitter. I LOVE the glitter in this one. I would have never thought of this combination of colors, but it's quite stunning! I used three coats to build up the opacity (it IS a jelly after all), then did a coat of Gelous and Seche Vite to make it perfectly glassy smooth.

butter LONDON polishes can be purchased at Ulta (in stores and online) as well as the butter LONDON website. They retail for $14 each.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mirror Nails

No, this isn't a polish. Yes, they are fake nails.

If you remember, I tried one of these fake "mirror nails" on the other day and compared them to other mirror-like finishes. These are actually a different brand than the one featured in that post.

Nail Bliss - Silver Chrome Nails

These are the same nails that Scrangie reviewed in her post here (although hers were the "Platinum" color, and these are the "Silver"). They are a bit thick, and don't look too incredibly natural (they're a little too wide), but I love them all the same. I also had the same problem I have with most fake nails which is that most of the sizes are too large, so I have to use the smallest sizes available and hope they look ok.  Because Scrangie remarked that the chrome finish was easily scratched, I decided to put a layer of my SensatioNail UV gel top coat over them to protect the finish and keep it nicer longer.

I attached these with Elegant Touch Super Adhesive Tabs because I didn't want to fuss with nail glue but still wanted them to stay on for a few days while I'm on vacation. I'll comment on the wear after I have them on for at least a couple days.

The nails featured in this post are here on this site, though not available for purchase. I found mine at Sally's, though I looked for them recently in the local store and didn't find them.

At Ulta I was able to find a similar brand (that actually fit my nails even better) called Elegant Touch. The metallic ones I found can be ordered from their site here. They are a little closer to the "Platinum" color of the Nail Bliss nails (the color in Scrangie's post).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chrome Nail Comparison

I was looking for the perfect design to do on my nails for my Disneyland trip this weekend when I broke my middle fingernail... dang! The break was so far down is was barely even on the free edge, so I decided to try out some chrome false nails I got from Dashing Diva a while back. So while I'm doing the wear test on the falsie to see whether it will last for my vacation, I figured I'd do a little comparison of various "chrome" nail looks.

Chrome Nail Comparison

Obviously, the fake nail has the smoothest, brightest shine and the most "true" mirror-like finish, but it also has some drawbacks: it's thicker and less natural than the others, and the wear time on it is next to nothing since it just has the adhesive tab on the back. There's an another brand at Sally's that comes with adhesive tabs but you can also use glue (that may last a bit longer).

The silver foil (ring finger) actually looks more like the Dashing Diva chrome from a short distance. The wrinkles are not as prominent if you're not viewing it as an extreme close up. If my nail hadn't broken, I'd probably be opting for this method this weekend. It provides an ALMOST mirror finish and the foils are relatively inexpensive while enough to do MANY manicures.  A lot of the "flaws" that appear here are my own fault for not waiting for the foil glue to dry enough before sticking it on, btw.  The part towards the cuticle is more of an accurate representation of the shine.  I think this is my favorite of the four pictured.

It amazes me how dull the two polishes (China Glaze Millennium and Zoya Trixie) look compared to both the foil and the fake nail. Neither actually has a "mirror" appearance at all, but they both have the ease of regular nail polish.

The false nails are from Dashing Diva, but I don't see the silver chrome on their site right now. Like I said, there's an alternative available at Sally's by a brand called Nail Bliss (though it doesn't appear to be on their site).

The silver foil I bought at Dollar Nail Art. They have a $25 minimum purchase online (or you can order by mail with a check), but they have so many awesome foils, beads, glitter, etc. it was easy for me to find plenty that I wanted!

Zoya Trixie can be ordered from their website, and I'm not sure if China Glaze Millennium can be found easily anymore (it was from their Khrome collection a couple years ago).


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