Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NotD – Mighty Dorkiness

This so-called nail art baffles me a bit. It’s random and not related to a fandom I actually know/follow. Bloody Power Rangers, I haven’t seen a single episode. I have, however watched every episode of Linkara’s History of the Power Rangers. That guy can make anything amusing to me… I also don’t really read comics, especially not your classic American stuff since I grew up with Belgian comics (like Yoko Tsuno or Gaston) and now prefer manga, but still watch his reviews like an obsessed maniac.

So for this manicure I painted my nails in some of the traditional Ranger colours and then agonised over the decision of whether to use the designs from only one series or to mix them up. After actually looking the costumes up it became quite obvious that most would have been a real bitch to paint, so I decided to use the diamond shape from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on my left hand and to try out the weird whatchamacallit from Lightspeed Rescue on my right hand (which I subsequently completely messed up, so I won’t show you). And even my left hand isn’t as neat as I’d like, but here it is, pure dorkiness:

2010-11-30 NotD Mighty Dorkiness

If you like snarky critique you should check out Linkara’s videos, they’re beyond amusing. Ever since I watched his Amazons Attack review I automatically add ‘my god’ whenever I read or hear someone say ‘bees.’ Such is the power of that guy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A B3 Interview with Helen

Once again it’s time for a Beauty Blogs’ Backstage Interview! This month I was sorted to interview Helen, co-author of Just Nice Things, which happens to be among the first blogs I followed after I got addicted to nail polish, and fellow polish addict. Unsurprisingly I especially enjoy Helen’s in-depth nail polish reviews and highly recommend taking a good look at her comparison of quick-drying top coats, which is incredibly detailed and critical.

Now let’s see what Helen shared with us.

1. How do you feel about seasonal colour schemes?
In terms of makeup and nail polish, I always reach for golds and smokey browns during the Autumn. Red glitter at Christmas. Pinks and corals in the summer. So I guess I'm an inadvertent  subscriber!

2. What's your secret weapon when it comes to keeping your nails that long?
OPI Nail Envy. I've been using it for years. It got me through the pain of acrylic recovery and I've been using it ever since. Oh, and wearing gloves when cleaning. And persuading my husband to do all the washing up!

3. Describe your ideal nail polish formula, please.
Rescue Beauty Lounge. Or the OPI foils from the Burlesque collection. And recently I've discovered Nina Ultra Pro which is pretty amazing. Illamasqua also have nailed the perfect formula   - it's awesome. I'm not bothered about chips as I change it so often, so for me, application is king.

4. I'm sure you too spend rather large amounts of time writing and reading blogs. What do you do when you need to get away from it all for a bit?
Go to work! Seriously though, I love eating out, seeing my friends and shopping.  I'm an avid reader too. Plus my husband's obsession is AV stuff so we watch a lot of films on our big screen. Bliss. Oh and I love to cook. It's a busy old life.

5. Which language do you hope to learn one day?
I learned German & French at school. I'm always jealous of people who are bilingual as their job prospects must be awesome but I'm ok with the fact that I'm probably not going to learn another language now. Although I never knew the language of nail polish til two years ago. Creme? Jelly? Foil? Duochrome?

6. Who makes you all fangirly?
Nikki Sixx from Motley Crüe. He's laminated.

7. Tell us something about living in the UK that non-Brits might not know.
You can buy charcoal for a barbecue at petrol stations at any time of year.

Thank you, Helen, it’s been fun! And I absolutely agree with you about Nail Envy, by the way, it’s the best base coat I’ve tried so far.
And lovely readers, please head over to Just Nice Things and enjoy Helen and Sheenie’s posts.

Friday, November 26, 2010

NotD – Temporal Confusion

… or: The early 90s threw up on my nails.
I have no idea why I did this, but it seemed to be good idea at the time. Which might be a clue about the unhealthy nature of my current mindset. ;-)

Here’s what I used for this mani:

  • ArtDeco repair & care nail lacquer
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • Eyeko Coral Polish for resort nails
  • Seche Vite
  • a bunch of bright crème polishes
  • different kinds of rhinestones
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Shine

I started with a triple strength base, i.e. one coat of ArtDeco and two of Diamond Strength. Then I applied three coats of Coral Polish and one of Seche Vite.

Coral Polish is one of those colours that appear very different depending on the light they’re under. It can range from a pinkish red to a clear red to a slightly orangey shade. But overall I find that calling it coral is quite fitting, just keep in mind that this is a coral reminiscent of the polyp-y colony kind rather than the pinkish orange one usually referred to in cosmetics. This polish is very bright and glowy without being neon. Folks who can’t stand VNL will need an opaque base, Coral Polish is a bit jelly-ish and not opaque in three coats (you can’t see it on the photos, but I could easily see the tip in RL). I doubt that four would suffice, either.
This polish applies wonderfully. The first coat was almost perfectly even and the second one most definitely was. Those who like a semi-sheer finish can easily wear Coral Polish like this without worrying about streakiness. I love the formula, it’s a tad runny, but not so much that it’s prone to cuticle flooding, and levels beautifully. The round brush is, as usual for Eyeko, easy to control and supple.
If you like bright reds or have always loved the beauty of coral reefs, I think you’d really enjoy this polish.

Here’s Coral Polish in two coats without top coat:

And this is Coral Polish in three coats with Seche Vite:

I wore this polish plain for about half a day before adding the other colours to make sure it dried thoroughly, as I knew I’d need a few coats of top coat over the rhinestones. I used a striping brush to apply random lines and dots of my crème colours until my nails looked like a late 80s or early 90s shirt. I’d like to state that I never wore such patterns after I started picking out my own clothes. I like to think so, anyway.
After I had finished the pattern I applied one coat of Diamond Shine, stuck two or three rhinestones (most of these I wouldn’t normally wear, bows are so not me) to each nail and sealed the manicure with two coats of Seche Vite.

As I’m writing this I’ve worn that mani for about 42 hours and I’m feeling the urge to put on something more serene. I do like this bout of naily insanity, though.
What’s your favourite crazy nail idea?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NotD – Frosted Petrol

Those of you who follow me on twitter have already heard my excuses. I’m a bit busy right now with cleaning and my presentation. Therefore I might just do simple quick manis over the next couple of weeks (but don’t be surprised if I suddenly do lots of complex stuff just to procrastinate). So for today I decided to do a very subtly gradient mani.

Here’s what I used:

  • NailTek Intensive Therapy II
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Shine
  • LOOK by BIPA Nail Quickie 30 Petrol
  • MaxFactor Nailfinity Shimmer Finish 133 Extra Frost
  • Seche Vite

Petrol is a pretty colour somewhere between a light teal and a rich aqua. This crème polish is very flattering, and not just with my skintone. Petrol is fully opaque in three coats.
I found Petrol to be a bit tricky to apply, it didn’t level very well, despite being of average viscosity. Also, I had some issues with bubbling. Petrol is not very streaky, though. The brush is pretty short and round, but usable enough.
The colour is fantastic and as long as this is covered by a decent top coat the finish is beautiful. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who prefers drying drops over top coat, though.

Here’s Petrol in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Petrol in three coats with Seche Vite:

Then I partially layered Extra Frost over Petrol until maximum (possible) gradation had been achieved and sealed it with another coat of Seche Vite. It’s not very obvious (practically invisible) on the pictures, but the bright blue flash really is stronger near the base of the nail.

Yeah. I can’t see the gradation on the photos, either. And the blue flash looks like light turquoise. How annoying is that?

Friday, November 19, 2010

NotD – Glitzy Stripes

Isn’t it annoying when you’re mid-nailpainting, reaching for your camera and it’s out of charge? It’s not like you can easily change the batteries without ruining the polish. So I got to wait for a few hours until I could continue. Boo.
But enough with the lame excuses. I’m also rather lazy right now, so I did some quick diagonal stripes with very petty colours.

Here’s what I used:

  • NailTek Intensive Therapy II
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • claire’s super speed nail polish black
  • LOOK by BIPA Nail Quickie 16 Poison
  • s-he 471
  • Seche Vite

Today I started with one coat of NailTek, then two coats of Diamond Strength (since my nails are break-tastic right now) followed by one coat of claire’s black and Seche Vite.

I’ve reviewed claire’s super speed nail polish in black before, so I won’t delve into that sucky application and brush again (pretty black, though). But here’s another photo of it in one coat with Seche Vite:

There’s not much skill involve here, I simply applied Poison more or less diagonally across the nail…

…and then repeated the step with 471, leaving a stripe of Poison visible, and added some Seche Vite.

Though this is not the most thrilling mani ever I love how these colours look next to each other. Stark black crème perfectly complements the teal shimmer and foil-like icy blue silver. I especially like how the dark base enhances the otherwise fairly subtle bright blue sparkle in Poison (which I really need to swatch, btw).
Anyone else feeling autumnally sleepy? I’d get a caffeine drip, but that would make me even sleepier. ;-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NotD – Droplets on Denim

You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to come up with this. I got this Catrice polish last week and just couldn’t think of anything to do with (or to) it. In the end a very simple mani was the answer. Sorry, this first image is too bright and cool-toned, the other ones are accurate. Make sure to embiggen them if you want to see the glittery loveliness.

Here’s what I used today:

  • NailTek Intensive Therapy II
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer 350 Hip Queens Wear Blue Jeans!
  • claire’s blue glitter polish
  • essence nail art glitter mix 01 glam it up!
  • Seche Vite

First I applied one coat of NailTek and Diamond Strength, two of Hip Queens Wear Blue Jeans! and one of Seche Vite.

Hip Queens Wear Blue Jeans! is sneaky. The base is a deep, muted, inky blue and not quite a typical denim blue as the name suggests. It’s a sleek, classy colour, but at the right angle a smattering of fine bright blue glitter appears (plus a few rare non-blue particles). I was pleasantly surprised when this polish proved to be opaque in two coats.
I found Hip Queens Wear Blue Jeans! to be a bit runny, which can lead to pooling, but that’s easy enough to avoid. Also, this polish isn’t all that shiny, so if you want the glitter to show up I suggest using a nice glossy top coat. Otherwise Hip Queens Wear Blue Jeans! applies very well. Catrice’s flat brush made for a quick mani, it’s not as wide as OPI’s which is good for folks with narrow nail beds.

Here’s Hip Queens Wear Blue Jeans! in two coats with top coat:

As this colour is gorgeous on its own I didn’t want to do anything too flashy and I felt that my frequently used nail art colours - black, silver and gold – wouldn’t work with this. So in the end I added a line of blue glitter polish to the tip of each nail and a row of droplet-shaped foil glitter in blue/green before adding another coat of Seche Vite.

Told ya it was extremely basic. And don’t you just love Catrice’s product names?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Swatches – essence TE metallics

I don’t know how many of these are still available (bad swatching procrastinatrix!), but here are the polishes from essence’s latest trend edition metallics. Like the last few times there are five colours, and all are gorgeous (even the browns, which I don’t normally love).

essence metallics magnetic nail polish

All five apply like a dream, smoothly and almost perfectly even in one coat. The round brushes seem to be a bit smaller than most of essence's LE ones, but they are supple, easy to control and do their job admirably. Only one colour really shows brush marks. These polishes dry quickly, but you’ll probably want to use a top coat nevertheless as they are not very shiny. All polishes are opaque in two coats.
Unsurprisingly there’s also a small magnet available which attracts parts of the glitter and thus causes parallel lines to appear on the nail when held closely to the still wet polish. The magnet is not very strong, though, and I found that just holding it stationary will not work very well, the lines only appear on those parts of the nail closest to the magnet. I think a flexible magnet sheet that can be shaped to follow the curve of one’s nails would be more useful than to slowly move the magnet (which really doesn’t work that well).

For these swatch photos I applied two coats, magnetised the ring finger nail and applied top coat. The index finger nail is matte for your viewing pleasure.

01 iron goddess

This gentle brown is just packed with silver shimmer particles. I would have expected a more rusty reddish colour rather than this very cool brown, considering the name iron goddess.
When confronted with a magnet, the shimmer jumps to attention and forms silvery lines, leaving the spaces in between a clear brown.

02 copper rulez!

The base colour of copper rulez! is a darker brown than iron goddess’. And though I again disagree with the name - this isn't truly coppery - it gains a lot of warmth through the golden shimmer and orangey-golden glitter particles.
Here the golden specks accumulate and leave stripes of darker brown behind.

03 steel me

steel me is an interesting shade of darkish grey with a bit of beige – though it can look like a proper blueish steel grey in the right light - and silver particles ranging from shimmer to medium-sized glitter.
The silver glitter seemed to react more strongly to the magnetic field, I actually saw little ridges rising with this one. And as you can see, the lines are more visible than with the other colours.

04 nothing else metals

I had to sporfle in a rather undignified way when I read the name of this polish. Epic Win! And the colour is fab, too: nothing else metals is a shimmery gold with an sweet olive tone. This was the polish with the most visible brush marks.
Amazingly, exposing this polish to a magnet reveals holo microglitter that is virtually invisible normally. Fantastic effect!

05 metal battle

This is the only one that isn’t magnetic, so don’t bother trying (I did and *gasp* nothing happened). metal battle has a black base with multicoloured microglitter – lots of green and pink. Just my kind of polish! It reminds me of one of The Body Shop's old shimmer cubes, which contained a gorgeous charcoal eyeshadow with multicoloured sparkles. This polish is slightly less opaque than the other four colours, so if you tend to apply very thin coats you may need a third one.
I absolutely adore this colour, and it’s also divine with matte top coat.

If you can find any of these polishes, grab ‘em, they’re worth it. Unless you only wear crème polish, of course. ;-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

NotD – Preening in Green

This is so not my month. I’ve been sick and sporadically almost-healthy since late October, I can’t seem to sleep like a relatively normal person (seriously, I slept through most of today), and I haven’t really started to prepare for my presentation (which is scheduled for the 26th). Yay.
Therefore: more green nail polish, applied speedily, ‘casue technicall morning already. Sorry about the gross dry cuticles and horrible clean-up today. Nothing would cooperate. *whines*

Here’s what I used:

  • NailTek Intensive Therapy II
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer 340 Run Forest Run!
  • Maybelline Colorama glossy nail color 23 dark chocolate
  • Seche Vite
  • essence matt top coat

I started with applying one coat of each base coat, followed by three coats of Run Forest Run! and one of Seche Vite.

Run Forest Run! is a basic deep leafy green. I love this gorgeous crème polish, but you could easily find a similar shade from other brands, for example Orly Wandering Vine is just a tad darker, but otherwise identical. Run Forest Run! is nicely pigmented, two coats are almost perfect, though I prefer to wear three.
This polish applies smoothly and is almost perfectly even in one coat. It’s a bit runny, so be careful not to flood your cuticles. The only real issue I had was the drying time, I gave my first two coats plenty of time and still managed to almost destroy one nail. The brush on the other hand is flat and lovely.

Here’s Run Forest Run! in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Run Forest Run! in three coats with Seche Vite:

Then I added some brown by painting roughly half of each nail in dark chocolate. I didn’t want to add any glitter or sparkle today, so instead I partially painted the nails with matt top coat.

Both colours look lovely in matte, don’t they?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NotD – Elemental Awkwardness

Don't you just love saying and writing ‘awkward?’ It’s one of those amazing words that perfectly fit their meaning in pronunciation and spelling. But that’s not the theme of today’s nail art. It just refers to my ugly patched nail that looks rather strange, like I stuck a couple of false nails on top of my natural one. Not flattering and I was tempted to just hide it, but hey, we all have sucky nails once in a while, right?
The real theme is the ‘elemental’ bit. You see, I’ve been watching my way through Avatar: The Last Airbender recently (by the way, though I still prefer the original English in general, the German dub is excellent and I actually prefer Toph’s German voice). So I grabbed a box o’polish and did a few random designs based on the four elements.
So here they are, without listing the polishes used, ‘cause I’m not going to put arrows to show which are which anyway. ;-)

Right hand (with its stupid nubbins and display of my lack of ambidexterity):

Left hand (with its clunky patched nail, which also provoked my sis into asking what that weird Windows-y thing was):

I have to say, the only nails I’m really happy with are the Water and Fire ones.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Swatches – essence space queen & what do u think?

Somehow rhinestone manis always last longer (unless I pick the little buggers off, of course). So due to that fact, my tendency to procrastinate when I have to deal with difficult polish removal (damn 10ish coats) and my reluctance to re-patch my nails more often than necessary (and my patches rarely survive vigorous application of acetone-y removers) I’ve decided to post a couple of swatches tonight. Also, I have no inspiration whatsoever right now. I do have an idea for tomorrow, though. Also upcoming: swatches and reviews of essence’s metallics (which are magnetic).
I’ve mentioned both essence polishes in a previous post and swatched them back then. In a surprising burst of good sense I even took notes. Which are now gone and have probably vanished forever… or they’ll show up tomorrow. Who knows.
As usual the first photo was taken in two coats without top coat, the second one in three coats with top coat.

essence colour&go 04 space queen

space queen is an excellent layering polish or for lovers of sheer glitter polishes. The base is an extremely sheer pale pink which looks more opaque in the bottle than it is. The lovely part is the moderately densely packed multicoloured glitter, all the same size and square. Though I prefer round and hexagonal glitter, I do adore some basic squares on occasion. As I’ve already said, space queen is utterly sheer, but three coats provide a nice amount of glitter.
This polish is without flaw, in my opinion. It’s rather gloopy, as essence’s glitter polishes are wont to be – and I’ve never had any of them settle or separate – and coats tend to be slightly thicker, so give them a bit longer to dry between coats. You’re probably sick of me saying this, but I really like the flat brushes used for the colour&go polishes. space queen’s brush is no exception.


essence colour&go 22 what do u think?

*sighs* Is it so hard to write ‘you?’ Anyway, I’m not too hot on what do u think? as I’m not into salmon-y colours that much. This one is a rather creamy shade of coral/salmon with fairly subtle golden microglitter. And this polish practically glows. Scary. The combination is interesting, but not something I can get excited about. what do u think? is almost fully opaque in two coats.
As before I had no particular issues applying this. It’s not as gloopy as space queen, but still rather thick. what do u think? does apply smoothly, though. As for the brush, it’s the same as space queen’s.


Of those two polishes, space queen clearly is a winner for me, even though I’ll mostly use it for layering.
And is it just my imagination or am I bracket-happy tonight?

Friday, November 5, 2010

NotD – Grape Juice in SPAAAAACE

Pardon the yelled title, but there’s no good way to make text echo-y (or is there?).
I had the sudden urge to wear this old favourite again, I really have neglected my older polishes. But I guess that’s one of the symptoms of lacquerphily, I always have a few untrieds lying around.

Here’s what I used for this NotD:

  • NailTek Foundation II
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • China Glaze Grape Juice
  • China Glaze Sci-Fi
  • Seche Vite
  • light purple rhinestones

I started by applying one coat of NailTek and Diamond Strength, followed by four coats of Grape Juice and Seche Vite.

Grape Juice is one of China Glaze’s glass-flecked Summer Days lovelies, a gorgeous mid-purple packed with an especially pretty mix of silvery, pink and purple microglitter. This polish isn’t very opaque, so it requires serious building up or layering to get full coverage. Even the four coats I applied didn’t suffice.
One thing you have to very careful about with this (and all other Summer Days polishes I own) is the amount of polish applied. Grape Juice is very runny and therefore prone to pooling around the cuticles – this happened to me twice today, which actually isn’t that bad, considering that I applied fifty coats (eep) of Grape Juice. Other than that it applies beautifully and surprisingly even, considering the low opacity. I like China Glaze’s round brush, it’s easy to control, but I don’t love it.
As always, remember that the camera swallows part of the red spectrum, so the swatches are a bit on the blue side.

This is Grape Juice in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Grape Juice in four coats with Seche Vite:

Today’s design is another incredibly simple one. First I used a short striping brush and Sci-Fi to paint a random wavy line onto each nail.

Then I added another coat of Grape Juice and a few rhinestones and sealed the manicure with two coats of Seche Vite.

I really like this one, it’s pretty much monochromatic but still interesting. And I feel that I didn’t add too much that might detract from Grape Juice’s innate yumminess.

Which Summer Days polish is your favourite (I absolutely can’t decide)?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Swatches - MNY I Am A Jungle Chick

Let’s take a look at the polishes from MNY’s current LE, I Am A Jungle Chick. Once again there are three nail polishes and a bunch of other things that didn’t grip me so much.

MNY my varnish 306A

This polish is a bit hard to describe. The base is a dark brownish grey with a slight greenish undertone, but it really looks like a dark olive green due to the greenish golden semi-chunky glitter. 306A needs three coats for full coverage.
The application was smooth and lovely with evenly dispersed glitter. The relatively narrow flat brush is easy to handle. Love.

Here’s 306A in two coats without top coat:

And this is 306A in three coats with top coat:

MNY my varnish 307A

Now this is a very wearable green. It’s warm and soft, not obnoxiously shimmery, making me think about especially pretty bugs. And it’s fully opaque in two coats, though one carefully applied thickish coat can work.
307A applies very nicely with barely any brush marks. It levels smoothly and even the first coat is free of streaks as long as one isn’t too careless. I just love MNY’s flat brush, it make a clean application so easy.

This is 307A in two coats with top coat:

MNY my varnish 308A

308A is a deep rich pinkish red shimmer polish, almost a bright, vibrant burgundy colour. An unexpected bonus: most people, with the exception of rabid opacicists, will be able to wear this in one coat. I applied two because I once again get to cover up an icky patch.
This polish applies like a dream, despite the inevitable, though subtle, brush marks. As with the other two colours, the brush is excellent and glides easily. I don’t love 308A as much as the other two colours, but I know a lot of gals will adore this.

Here’s 308A in two coats with top coat:

I find all three polishes very wearable and pretty. The shimmery green and the glittery olivey one are right up my alley and I even like the burgundy colour, though that's more of a toenail colour for me. But they all apply beautifully and are much more opaque than the other MNY polishes I've tried. I hope all of MNY's future polishes are that lovely.
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