Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pretty & Polished - Jawbreaker: Swatches and Review

This was one of those days where I felt like I couldn't find something that I'd be satisfied with on my nails. Then I decided to try out Pretty & Polished Jawbreaker, and it was PERFECT.



Pretty & Polished - Jawbreaker

Doesn't it look JUST like those jumbo jaw breaker candies? I love how it gives the jelly/glitter sandwich look in just one polish. This is three coats shown, but it really only takes two coats to be fully opaque. You can also layer it over white to conserve it, but I recommend using a white jelly like Essie Marshmallow to preserve that squishy look.  The glitter is random, but is dense enough that it's not hard to get the nails looking "even" but still unique.  Just a wonderful polish!  I wish I would have gotten the full size instead of the mini...

Jawbreaker is available in mini and full sizes ($4.50 for 5mL and $8.00 for 15mL) in the Pretty & Polished Etsy shop, but goes in and out of stock a bit because they're all hand made. Be sure to check the shop regularly!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lacquistry - Oh Yes I Did: Swatches and Review

If you haven't yet gotten into the Etsy/indie nail polish craze, you NEED to check it out (especially if you love unique glitter polishes)! This is one I picked up from Lacquistry's Etsy shop a week or so ago.

When I first swatched it on a stick, I thought it was incredibly unique and very pretty, but I didn't really understand how GORGEOUS it was until I put it on!

Lacquistry - Oh Yes I Did (shade)

Lacquistry - Oh Yes I Did (sun)

Oh Yes I Did is a combo of small brown and blue glitter with larger brown holo and blue holo hexes in a lightly tinted brown base. It took only two coats to get nice and opaque, but took a couple layers of Gelous and Seche Vite to get it perfectly glossy smooth (even a day later after fully drying).

This is one of those rare glitters that looks amazing both in the shade AND in the sun. I walked around the Arizona Renaissance Faire on Saturday and couldn't stop staring at my fingers all day. The brown in this is such a rich auburn brown and it's perfect paired with the bright sky blue holo glitter. I had no idea how much I LOVE brown glitter until I tried this beauty - now I'm HOOKED!

Lacquistry's Etsy's shop has been pretty busy lately so she's taking a break to fill orders, but you can sign up to be notified when she returns.  Oh Yes I Did sells for $7.50 (plus shipping) for 0.5oz (15 mL).

Monday, February 27, 2012

Clarins 230 / Max Factor Fantasy Fire Franken-dupe

This is a franken I made using the red to green color morphing powder I got from More Nail Polish (she is sold out of color morphing powders but also offers Spectraflair for frankening holo polishes. She has a link to someone who sells the color morphing top coats, though!).

There are a lot of pictures for this one! It is shown at two coats over Diamond Cosmetics Not Your "Hum Drum" Plum (a royal indigo creme).

The duochrome is awesome, but my favorite part is just the glowy red sparkles on the indigo background.
So insanely gorgeous!

Kind of a bad picture, but it shows the red and green togther!

Normally duochromes tend to show off their colors more in low/indirect lighting, but this one was even more vibrant in the sun! Check out the beautiful greens in this!

It also didn't show as much in the water as normal duochromes. Maybe I'll have to try and take a picture of it in water in the sun.

From the pictures I've seen, this LOOKS like a close dupe for Clarins 230 or Max Factor Fantasy Fire. I don't have either to actually compare, but I'm pretty sure it's the same pigment that they used (it's sort of a standard color change). What do you think? For those of you that have 230 or Fantasy Fire, do you think it compares?

The recipe I used was about three "scoops" (using a nail swatch stick) of powder with about a 1/4 bottle of Milani Rad Purple, a few drops of a blue jelly (like Barielle Berry Blue, but I can't remember which I used) and the rest filled with Glamour Base from TKB Trading (for glitter suspensions).

Friday, February 24, 2012

Zoya - NYFW Peter Som Collection: Swatches and Review

I'm not really sure what made me spontaneously buy the Peter Som collection from Zoya during NYFW (probably the fact that it was LE and had free shipping), but I'm glad I did!

Zoya - Audrey

Audrey is a pale, sheer pink jelly that has a nice glossy finish. This was the one I was most excited about because of its "revolutionary magical gel look." And the finish IS very nice, but the color is a bit uneven on its own. Not really streaky, but just more sheer in some spots and more opaque in others. Very light and feminine, and I like how it looks with three coats (shown).

Zoya - Katharine

My favorite of the collection. Katharine is a subdued plum/raisin jelly (it looks more eggplant in the bottle though) that is quite sheer on the first two coats, but builds up into a nice squishy jelly finish. For this swatch I used three thin coats, but I think it looked a little better the night before when I tried it with slightly thicker coats. Either way, it looks more even in person than in the pictures.  I love that this is a more dusty/greyed shade of red purple.  So chic and juicy.

Zoya - Evvie

Evvie is a very opaque dark sage grey creme. The only creme in the collection, it is completely opaque in two easy, thin coats. Again, very chic with a little bit of edge. Zoya really hits it home with their greens and this is no exception. I think it is also neutral enough to complement a variety of skin tones from cool to warm. Simple, but quite flattering.

Overall I'm quite impressed with this whole set. All of the shades are nice, and Audrey is so unique! Unfortunately, the set was limited edition for NYFW and is currently sold out, but I've heard rumors of these colors making it into the Zoya core line this fall or so.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pure Ice Yellow Polka and Catwalk: Swatches and Review

Here is another "set" from Pure Ice: a sunny yellow creme called Yellow Polka, and a yellow shimmer crackle named Catwalk.

Pure Ice - Yellow Polka

Wow. This is the perfect sunny yellow creme in my opinion. More warm and soft but still striking and lit up. All I can think of is summer and how much this color would look awesome with a bikini and a tan on a beach towel in the sun. My new favorite yellow creme.

The formula is pretty good on this one as well. I had only a tiny bit of cuticle drag and it was probably my own fault for not waiting in between coats. I did a thin third coat just to even it out and make it perfect, but it's probably not necessary if you wait for each coat to dry.

Pure Ice - Catwalk (over Yellow Polka)

Here is the yellow shimmer crackle called Catwalk. To be honest, I'm not sure I get this so much. I'm not even sure if it's supposed to be a "set" that's worn together like the Chinese New Year set. It's pretty, but I can't help feeling like anything added to Yellow Polka would take away from the creamy, dreamy yellow finish.

Pure Ice polishes retail for $1.99 and can be found at most Wal-Marts and on the Pure Ice Cosmetics site. If you don't have a perfect yellow creme yet, you may want to pick up Yellow Polka!

(This product was sent to me for review.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nostalgic - Bizarre Teenage Love Triangle: Swatches and Review

This is a set of nail polish that I saw awhile back on someone's blog and for some reason I passed on it (phooey!). Well, a few weeks later I managed to nab a set, along with the Truly Outrageous collection, which I will show later.

All three of these are multi size and color glitters in a sheer pastel jelly base. Because they are sheer, I decided to layer each one over one coat of a matching base color.

Nostalgic - Andie (over Color Club - I Believe in Amour)

Andie is a light pink jelly base with large salmon "pattern" hex glitters (click on the pic to see the crazy patterns on the large hexes!), and small lavender and magenta glitters. The small glitters are pretty prominent and are easy to get plenty on each nail. So light and pretty, yet with a bit of "pop" from the dark and large glitters!

Nostalgic - Blane (over OPI - A Grape Fit)

Blane is a lavender purple jelly with large dark blue hex glitters and small light blue and dark purple glitters.  I feel like I may have layered it over a color that was too dark, although I read somewhere that Nostalgic was going for a "moody" feeling with Blane. The glitters were a little bit harder to get even on this one, but not too bad.

Nostalgic - Duckie (over American Apparel - Office)

Duckie is a light teal jelly base with a sprinkling of large gold hexes, medium blue holo hexes and small gold glitters. The only one with a middle size glitter, it also has the most sparse glitter of the three. The application on this one is tough just because it's a bit difficult to get many glitter pieces in this one. But it's my favorite, so it's worth it.

None of these are pictured with topcoat, but I've tried Duckie with Seche Vite and it came out perfectly smooth with only one coat.

All three of these require a bit of patience in application and moving the glitters around. The trick I found was to pull the brush out of the nail polish and wipe it on the edge of the bottle neck a few times and wait for some of the polish to flow back down leaving some glitter in the neck. Then scoop up the patch of glitter that has what you want in it. Getting it on the nail just right takes a little time as well, but the end result it completely worth it in my mind. It's not a "quick manicure" by any means, but if you have the time to give it some more attention it looks so beautiful in the end!

The Bizarre Teenage Love Triangle collection is available in the NostalgicLacquer Etsy shop, but is in and out of stock frequently (because it's home made!). I know there is a planned restock with many of each color available in two days (Friday, Feb 24th) so keep your eye out if want to grab any of these!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Color Blind Test

Sarah at Chalkboard Nails is having a contest with a theme of "dotting tool," and this is the one I'm entering. As soon as I heard "dot" I thought of the color blind tests that are made up of colorful dots, and I was so excited to create this!

I started with a white backgroung and used three of each "shade" (blue, green, red, and orange) to first draw out each number in dots then fill in the rest of the nail with the opposite shade.

Then, just because I wanted to see how good I was at picking the colors, I changed it to black and white to see if the numbers were still readable:

I dunno about you, but I can only MAYBE pick out the "8" on the pinky in this pic... the others seem to have disappeared!

The numbers in the picture are representative of the night of Chief's and my first date... can you see it?

Monday, February 20, 2012

500 Follower Giveaway WINNER!

Congratulations to the winner of my 500 Follower SensatioNail Starter Kit giveaway:

Katie from The Nailaholic!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

butter LONDON - Knackered

I don't really know why I NEEDED Knackered, but nevertheless I bought it when I made an Ulta order for Revlon Whimsical recently. I feel like it's similar to Wet n Wild's Gray's Anatomy (maybe with China Glaze Fairy Dust or Northern Lights topcoat), but without directly comparing I feel like Knackered is a bit more brightly duochrome and has a more metallic finish.

butter LONDON - Knackered over Essie Fair Game

Knackered is a somewhat sheer purple to green duochrome metallic with silver holo micro glitter.  I decided to layer it over Essie Fair Game because it didn't seem like it'd be easily opaque on its own (it'd probably take 3-4 coats to be fully opaque). Plus, at $14 for .4oz (11mL) of polish, I'd like to conserve it. Essie Fair Game is kind of a gunmetal blue/grey shimmer and I used one coat under two coats of Knackered.  The edges in person look a tiny bit more green than in the pics above.

The thing I love about this polish is that in low light the duochrome really stands out, and in bright sunlight the holo glitter brings it to life. Luckily, the glitter doesn't seem to make the metallic finish look too lumpy.

This picture in artificial light shows off the metallic finish and pretty green to purple duochrome depth nicely:

Knackered is a part of butter LONDON's spring/summer 2012 collection and is available at Ulta and the butter LONDON website.  I also got Disco Biscuit which I'll be showing soon as well!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cult Nails - Toxic Seaweed

This polish is part of Cult Nails latest collection Let's Get Nekkid and they've said that there are limited quantities available of this one, so I was super excited to get a hold of it. I knew I'd like it, but I didn't expect to be this blown away.


Cult Nails - Toxic Seaweed

This is just gorgeous. It's a teal jelly with gold glitter and orange flakies. This is built up to three coats, but it looks nice at two. It just seems to get deeper and darker with each coat. I don't know what else to say except that if you like jellies with glitter or flakies, you should definitely pick this one up.

As of now, Toxic Seaweed appears to be still available on the Cult Nails site for $10. Better grab one while you can!

Edit:  Wanted to add this cute bonus picture of the cute polish burrito that it came in!

Remember tomorrow is the last day to enter my 500 Follower SensatioNail Starter Kit giveaway if you haven't already!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nars Zulu dupe: Nfu Oh 569

I'm a HUGE fan of green nail polish, and I've always loved the color of Nars Zulu, but not the hype about it. So even when it was re-released I passed on it because I already had this one from Nfu Oh: 569.

Nfu Oh - 569

Nfu-Oh 569 is a super deep (almost black) green jelly that definitely looks GREEN in direct sunlight or a camera flash, but looks nearly black in all other lights.

Like I said, I love the color of this, but this application just sort of turned me off to it for awhile. It looks pretty nice indoors and in dim light, although the shiny top (China Glaze Fast Forward) has gotten a little scuffed and it just doesn't always look shiny and pretty. But then I stepped out into the sun and HOLY BUBBLES, BATMAN. It ruins the awesome deep green jelly that would look so squishy in the sun. Instead it looks more like a green sponge... not pretty.  Over a couple hours some of the bubbles even breached the shiny surface. I remember I've had the same problem with another one of my favorites: Illamasqua Rampage. It's probably my own fault for not waiting long enough in between coats.

The formula is kinda hard to work with. It's a little thick and tends to end up looking streaky. The best color was at two coats, but to get rid of the uneven parts I had to do three. It also likes to run into cuticles a lot, and is a real pain to clean up.  And it tends to shrink away from the tips.  Maybe I'll add some thinner and wait longer between coats next time... like next winter, haha.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Jelly/Glitter Sandwiches

After my successful black and white jelly/glitter sandwich I really wanted to try more. Here are some that I came up with:

Deborah Lippmann Yellow Brick Road and Spoiled Trust Fund Baby

I now have a reason to LOVE Yellow Brick Road (if you remember, I didn't care for it too much on its own). This is a coat of YBR then one coat of Trust Fund Baby (close to Wet n Wild Correction Tape, except the black glitter is hex instead of square), then two more coats of YBR. It looks like candy or sprinkles or Easter eggs. So springy and pretty! This is my favorite sandwich I've done so far

New York Summer Hot Baby Blue and Milani Jewel FX Gems (with purple)

This one came out looking a LOT like Deborah Lippmann's candy shop except in a light sky blue. Great if you want the look but don't care for pink (although it's fairly easy and cheap to franken a dupe or a similar effect with whatever base color you like). I liked the overall effect a lot. One coat of HBB, one coat of Gems, one coat of HBB.

OPI Too Hot To Hold 'Em and Love & Beauty unnamed (red, silver, and black hexes)

I'm not usually one for pinks but I do love the hot pink jelly base of this polish, and I like how the silver and red hexes all turned to shades of pink. Very Valentine's-ish. One coat of THPTHE, one coat L&B (which is similar to Spoiled Shuffle the Deck except that StD has slightly smaller black glitter), two coats THPTHE.

Deborah Lippmann Call Me Irresponsible and Lynnderella The Glittering Crowd

This one didn't wow me so much. The Glittering Crowd is such an eye-catching, stunning combination of glitters (the best multi-colored glitter EVER in my opinion), and the purple over top just seemed to wash it out a little. Maybe some top coat would have helped but I'm not sure. It still looked pretty, just disappointing compared to what I'd hoped for. One coat CMI, one coat Glittering Crowd, one coat CMI.

Remember you can always try adding depth to the sandwich by doing and extra glitter coat then another jelly coat.  It's really fun seeing the different effects with various glitters and jellies!

Remember to enter my 500 Follower SensatioNail Starter Kit giveaway if you haven't already!

Glitter Gal Type O (in the sun!)

Yesterday was so cloudy that I didn't even get to see how this looked in the sun. So today I was just doin' my thing and walked into the sun and holy gooses! This red gets even MORE deep and rich and sparkly. The picture kind of shows the depth, but not the sparkle factor.

Glitter Gal - Type O (sun)

Yep, this is one really freaking awesome red.

Remember to enter my 500 Follower SensatioNail Starter Kit giveaway if you haven't already!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day & Glitter Gal - Type O

Happy Valentine's Day! I know this holiday can be both loved and hated, but I personally think it's wonderful. It could possibly be because my sister sent me a Valentine's voice mail this morning of her singing "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. It made my day :o)

On the other hand, Chief loves red nail polish, so I figured I'd put on a new one that I just got a couple days ago: Glitter Gal Type O.

Glitter Gal - Type O

This is my first Glitter Gal of the 3D Sparkle Type (I have a couple of the linear holos), and it is so awesome! The sparkle in this one is hard to describe. It sort of reminds me of the Milani holos with the "fleck" or "shard" type of holo particles (not the smooth linear or the glitter type). It's also a warm cherry red, which I love over the more common cool-toned reds. Just like A England Saint George, this holo seems to add more depth that in-your-face sparkle, giving it a kind of 3D appearance (just like it's name!)

What are you wearing for Valentine's Day?

Remember to enter my 500 Follower SensatioNail Starter Kit giveaway if you haven't already!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A England - Saint George

I know everybody and their dog has swatches of this already, but I can't help it.  It's truly amazing and has jumped into my favorite polishes of all time.

A England - Saint George

This is the perfect rich teal with a subtle holo effect in low lighting.  Even in the sun, the holo creates more depth than sparkle so it's not over the top at all.  Also, it's a one-coater (but I did two out of habit). Too beautiful for words. *swoon*

Remember to enter my 500 Follower SensatioNail Starter Kit giveaway if you haven't already!

Groupon: Cute studded leather bracelets!

I don't normally share stuff like this, but I was just captivated by these really cute leather bracelets.

They're normally $70 each, but available on Groupon for the moment here (or by clicking the picture). I got the black with silver studs but I'm considering getting the tan with gold as well!

Remember to enter my 500 Follower SensatioNail Starter Kit giveaway if you haven't already!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

500 Follower Giveaway - SensatioNail Starter Kit + Extra Color - CLOSED

My last giveaway went really well, so I was super excited to put up one for 500 followers (which I hit sometime on Wednesday night)!

I have had such success with SensatioNail that I decided a while back that I wanted to give away a Starter Kit for those who might like to try soak off gels, so here it is!

The winner will receive a SensatioNail Starter Kit with either Scarlet Red or Raspberry Wine, and one extra color from the choices below.  The names for the colors can be seen on the SensatioNail website.  I have found both Starter Kits and all the colors available in my local Wal-Mart and CVS so I shouldn't have a problem finding them for the winner.

Here is a swatch of Taupe Tulips.  It's a nice slightly greyed nude color and makes great underwear for jelly or sheer polishes!  So far I've found the colors to be pretty accurate to those presented on their website and boxes.

If you'd like to read my full review of SensatioNail or see a swatch of Scarlet Red, you can check it out here.

All entries from the giveaway must be entered using the rafflecopter widget below.  No tweets, shares, or blog posts will be counted unless a link is provided in the widget.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 10, 2012

SensatioNail Starter Kit Review

Recently, Nailene came out with a new DIY at-home soak off gel system called SensatioNail. I was hesitant to try it, but the $50 price tag for the entire starter kit (including lamp) won me over in the end and I decided to give it a shot.

The SensatioNail website advertises "2 weeks of dazzling, damage-proof wear," and "super gloss shine, no dry time" which are what you'd expect from a soak off gel, but the kicker here is "professional salon quality nails at home." I've been wanting to try soak of gels for a while, but I don't like going to salons because of the cost, and also because I don't quite trust others with my nails. I know that Shellac and Gelish have been available on, but the expensive lamps and all the equipment are still such an investment! Like I said, it was really the $50 price tag that convinced me to try SensatioNail.

Here is a picture of the starter kit and all that it includes:

SensatioNail Starter Kit

The starter kit includes everything you need to do a complete gel manicure (actually, it says enough for 10 manicures): a Pro3060 LED lamp, primer, cleanser, clear base/top coat, color coat (Scarlet Red or Raspberry Wine), lint free wipes, buffer file, and orange stick.

A note on the lamp:  it's wonderful.  It is small enough that I feel like I could take it with me if I was going on vacation, and because it's an LED lamp instead of a UV fluorescent lamp, it cures gel polishes in half the time or less.

The process is pretty simple:
  1. Clean nails of all nail polish and debris with acetone, then wipe off with cleanser and lint-free wipe
  2. Apply primer around edges of nail (cuticle edges and free edge)
  3. Apply one THIN coat of clear base/top coat and cure for 30 secs (until the beep) in the LED lamp
  4. Apply one THIN coat of color gel and cure for 60 sec (until light turns off).  Repeat for a second coat
  5. Apply one THIN coat of clear base/top coat and cure for 30 sec
  6. Wipe off the tacky layer that's left after curing final coat with cleanser and lint-free wipe
While it's really simple and easy, it does take some time to do a full manicure.  On myself (I can't paint my other hand while one is curing in the lamp), it takes me a good half hour to finish the whole thing.  But the results are pretty spectacular!

SensatioNail - Scarlet Red

This was my first time ever trying a gel manicure, and I was pretty pleased with the results.  However, there is a slight learning curve.

Tips for Application:
  • I found it easiest to do my nails in twos because the gel sometimes runs into my cuticles while I'm doing my other nails because it stays in fluid gel form until it's cured in the lamp.  It's possible to do all four fingers on a hand at a time if you work quickly and/or do thin enough coats so that it doesn't run.  Thumbs are best done separately from fingers (but both thumbs can cure at the same time).
  • If you get any gel on your cuticles, make sure to wipe it off with the orange stick (I found a brush and acetone to work as well) before curing.  If any is stuck to your cuticles it can cause lifting and decrease the wear time of the manicure.
  • If you apply too thick of a coat, over time (while doing the rest of your nails before curing) it will run all over into your cuticles.  At this point I think it's easiest to wipe off the entire product with the wipes and cleanser and start over on that nail.  Remember that it will not dry AT ALL until it's cured in the lamp.
  • Applying primer is essential (I learned the hard way), but removal is easier if you only apply it around the edges of your nail (including the free edge!).
The removal is very important as well.  If you try and peel the product off without soaking it in acetone correctly (the instructions say 15 min), it can cause damage to your natural nails (I learned this the hard way as well).  After buffing off the shine, I find it easiest to put bits of cotton soaked in acetone on each nail and wrap them in foil to keep the acetone from evaporating.  After soaking for several minutes, you can just "push" the product off with the orange stick or cuticle pusher.

Besides the two starter kit colors (which are also available in full size), there are ten other colors in their current line that retail for $10 each:

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with the system!  I like to change my polish every other day or so, so it's not perfect for my lifestyle, but it will be great for those who want a manicure to last for a week or longer.

  • No dry time - enough said
  • Super shine that lasts for longer than quick dry top coats like Seche Vite
  • Some added strength but not bulky feeling at all
  • Not just reds and pinks - we get some interesting colors, too!
  • Pretty easy to apply once you get the hang of it
  • Only $50 for the whole system including an LED lamp!!
  • Mini LED lamp is compact AND cures very quickly
  • Manicures last 1-2 weeks easily
  • Manicures last 1-2 weeks...  I get bored with a color and like to change my polish about every other day
  • Removal is more time intensive and more difficult than traditional nail polish
  • Could be even more interesting colors (green!) and maybe some glitter.  Also, some French tip colors (white and sheer pink)
  • Little bit of a learning curve to get the right thickness so it doesn't spill into cuticles
  • Limited colors in the Starter Kit - I would have skipped the red and pink and started with one of the blues or purples
SensatioNail Starter Kit and colors are available at Wal-Mart and CVS, but their list of retailers may be expanding.  For more product info, you can visit the SensatioNail website.

 Stay tuned for my upcoming 500 follower giveaway!  I'll be giving away a SensatioNail Starter Kit as well as an extra color of the winner's choice!

As a side note:  I've tested Red Carpet Manicure gel polish (from Ulta) and Harmony Gelish and both APPEAR to cure correctly in the Pro3060 lamp.  I'm NOT a professional or licensed tech, so I cannot say for sure whether the systems are ACUALLY compatible or whether they can be used in conjunction with each other. 


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