Monday, January 31, 2011

NotD – The Stripes of Shimmer

I was still wearing that shimmery blue I swatched a couple of days ago and it held up very well, so I decided to just add a little something. Halfway through the mani I decided to play with some settings, which was a good idea in general, but it meant having to fiddle with the levels and whatnot with the previously taken photos. ;-)

Here is what I used for this manicure:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • claire’s dark blue shimmer polish
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 9 green
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 1 silver
  • Spooky Nails 2 in 1 Nail Tattoo Liner black
  • Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer 210 Just Married
  • Seche Vite
  • essence high shine topcoat (not on the photo ‘cause I had the dumb)

I already had the base colour on, take a look at the review and the swatches here.

Step 1: I used the green liner to paint two diagonal, slightly curved lines across each nail. This is the new bottle design and appears to contain less than before, but since that information is not on the bottle I can’t be sure. The glass might just be thinner than before (however the ‘shelf-life’ has tripled to 36 months… huh). Also, the brush might be a tiny bit thinner, great pigmentation like before. Definitely good stuff.

Step 2: Using the old silver liner, I added lines directly adjacent to the green ones.

Step 3: I used the dotting tip of the black liner to apply a row of dots where the two lines met.

Step 4: With the rather blandly named Just Married (which I’ll swatch soon, I love opalescent polish) I covered the undecorated half of each nail and used essence’s high shine topcoat to seal the mani. I wouldn’t recommend using this top coat over several fresh coats of polish as it doesn’t facilitate drying, but on a single coat or an equivalent amount of nail art it dries well enough (I mostly use it for swatching, though).

I have trouble deciding which themed nail art I should do next. Damn you, lack of decisiveness!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

some more swatches of claire’s polishes

I really can’t walk into claire’s without buying polish. There are always some colours I need… So let’s see what I picked up today. All polishes are unnamed, as usual.

claire’s greige crème polish

Why did I buy greige polish? I don’t even like greige, but it just looked grey at the store. As I mentioned, this is a crème polish and very nicely pigmented. A single coat is almost fully opaque.
This polish applies smoothly and evenly and the viscosity is very nice. The brush is round and easy to control. This is one of the best polishes I’ve ever picked up at claire’s (except for the colour o.O).

As this is a two-coater there’s only one swatch photo of this greige in two coats with top coat:

claire’s grass green crème polish

Grassy greens, how I love ‘em. And this is a very nice example. It’s fresh and bright, so, so pretty. Sadly it’s not as opaque, but three coats are fine.
The formula is fine, but not as nice as the greige. However it levels nicely and applies smoothly and the flat brush is supple.

Here are the swatches in two coats without top coat and in three coats with top coat:


claire’s matte mid-blue polish

This is such a pretty colour, a nicely balanced bright medium blue that is well-suited to the matte effect. It’s also well-pigmented, opaque in two coats, and suited for nail art. The matte finish is more of a satiny plasticy one (similar to essence’s ‘soft touch finish’) than a full matte, but I find that very pretty with intense colours.
This applies similarly to the greige, smooth and even and overall lovely. The brush is round and pretty good.

Here are the swatches in two coats without and with top coat:


claire’s dark blue shimmer polish

I was really excited when I saw that colour, it’s a inky royal blue packed with silvery and holo microglitter. There’s also a bit of a bright blue flash. The opacity is not that great, the shimmer makes two coats wearable, but I’d recommend applying three.
The formula is very nice, it applies smoothly and the polish is wearable and even in two coats. The flat, supple brush definitely helps there. I highly recommend getting this if you can, it’s super pretty.

Here’s the dark shimmery blue in two coats without top coat and in three coats with top coat (sorry, those were the only images that were useable and they’re ridiculously light):


I really like these polishes and I’m sure even the greige will be useful some day…
And tomorrow I get to try out the Smashbox stuff I picked up on sale. I was really surprised how (relatively) little I spent at the parfumerie.
Which of these colours would tempt you?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NotD – The Dangers of Islands

This is one of my “grown” manis. I start with a base and just do what seems right.

This is what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • p2 Color Victim 249 Dangerous
  • Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer 180 London’s Weather Forecast
  • Essie Turquoise & Caicos
  • Seche Vite

After applying a coat of each base coat I added two coats of Dangerous and one of Seche Vite.

Dangerous is a gorgeous, rich, dark teal crème polish. It’s one of my favourite colours, in general and on me. This polish is opaque in two coats.
According to p2, these polishes have an ‘expert gel formula’ but I find them to be pretty much like any other kind of polish. Dangerous applied smoothly and evenly in two coats, I had no problems with this. The brush is round and average in size, it’s reasonably supple and easy to control.

As this is a two-coater, here is Dangerous in two coats with Seche Vite (it looks a bit too light here):

After the base was dry I used a short striping brush and London’s Weather Forecast to paint tapered lines on my nails.

Then I used a couple of dotting tools, London’s Weather Forecast, Dangerous and Turquoise & Caicos to add layered dots and sealed the polish with Seche Vite. Much better!

Why on earth is all that snow back? I really have had enough of that. Spring? Please?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

NotD – The French of Idleness

I tend to doodle when I’m bored or when I’m listening to someone talk without taking notes. Somehow I can’t just sit with my hands idle. And these days I have a tendency to draw nails and try various designs. During a slightly tedious presentation I happened to come up with an embellished french manicure that I really wanted to try out. However, I don’t think that this would look all that pretty with traditional cream/pastel pink and white (which I’m not too hot on anyway) so I chose less than traditional colours.

This is what I used for this design:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • OPI Gargantuan Green Grape
  • OPI Suzi Says Feng Shui
  • Seche Vite

First I applied my base coats, three coats of Gargantuan Green Grape and sealed the polish with Seche Vite. I already swatched and reviewed Gargantuan Green Grape here, but since I had the camera out anyway (and it’s so much better than the old one) I took another photo in three coats:

The design is a bit tricky. I used Suzi Says Feng Shui and a fairly fine dotting tool to apply arcs and such. I cheated and elongated the nails by making the line a the tip relatively skinny, about half of my actual free tip. I cleaned up the blue polish where I outlined the nail and added another coat of Seche Vite.

Random BTW: I’m always amused when I give my cuticles a Lemony Flutter soak and I can judge that day’s circulation by it melting or not. No idea why it amuses me so.
Do you have moments like that?

Friday, January 21, 2011

NotD – Charred Melons

Today we’ll have something nice and abstract again, using a couple of L.A. Girl Rock Star polishes.

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • L.A. Girl Rock Star NL133 Heavy Metal
  • L.A. Girl Rock Star NL129 Head Banging
  • Spooky Nails 2 in 1 nail tattoo liner black
  • Seche Vite
I started with my base coats, followed by three thin coats of Heavy Metal and one of Seche Vite.

Heavy Metal is a sparkly shimmering charcoal grey with the prettiest super-fine silver, green and purple glitter, which is nicely dispersed. It’s almost fully opaque in two coats, three thin coats are smooth and perfect.
This polish is on the thin side, but not so much that flooding the cuticles is a danger. Heavy Metal levels nicely and allows for very thin coats. Overall the formula is lovely and makes the application easy. The brush is round and quite dainty, which works well with the runniness as a bigger brush would likely deposit too much polish on the nail and lead to flooding and pooling.

Here is Heavy Metal in two coats without top coat:

This is Heavy Metal in three coats with Seche Vite:

After waiting a few minutes for the base colour to be firm I added a couple of spiky stripes of Head Banging (which I so have to compare to Watermelon Rind some day) and added some black detaining with the nail tattoo liner. A coat of Seche Vite finished the manicure.

The weekend’s approaching! Who’s excited?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NotD – That Lime’s Got Some Bite

A few of you might remember one of my earliest posts with Kingdom of Loathing inspired nail art. The neon pink base reminded me of one of my KoL shirts and that same thing happened today. I applied China Glaze’s In the Lime Light and my mind just jumped to my other KoL shirt, the sabre-toothed lime one. Though that shirt’s not actually neon I felt the urge to add this cutesy lime to my nails.
Of course, halfway through my camera’s battery was empty and I had to wait over two hours for it to recharge and then I couldn’t get it to display the neon green properly. So yeah. Bad photography day. ;-)

Here’s what I used (can you tell that I hadn’t put the black and white away yet?):

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • essence black and white 02 white hype
  • China Glaze In the Lime Light
  • essence black and white 01 black out
  • Seche Vite

I started by applying one coat of Nail Envy, then one of Miracle Nail Thickener and one of white hype (you can definitely get away with one coat under neons with this). Then I applied three coats of In the Lime Light, two coats usually look even with most neons, but when photographed all streaks show up. A coat of Seche Vite finished the base colour.

In the Lime Light is another beautiful China Glaze neon. It’s a bright, faintly yellowy green, it really does look like an irradiated lime. As I mentioned before, you can get away with two coats, but if you intend to photograph your nails you’ll want to apply three over your white base. As usual with neons this polish dries silky matte.
I found In the Lime Light easy to apply, the first coat looks horribly streaky, but it’s even from two coats on. The formula is fairly runny, so be careful not to overload the brush. Overall I really like the way this applies. The brush is China Glaze’s usual round one, which is very nice indeed.
All in all this is definitely a polish that anyone who loves neons will adore. I’m really surprised how well the shimmer works here, as I’ve tried supposedly neon polished that got all of their punch from the shimmer. This is like a green Towel Boy Toy – fantastic. As I said in the beginning: this did not photograph well, it’s much greener than on the photos, a lot like Kiwi Cool-Ada, actually (I tried to adjust the colour, but couldn’t get the right shade. I need some photoshop classes).

Here is In the Lime Light in two coats over a white base without top coat:

And this is In the Lime Light in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base was firm enough to paint on I added a sabre-toothed lime to my left ring finger using a dotting tool, black out and white hype. Then I added a row of black dots to the tip of each nail and sealed the polish with another coat of Seche Vite.

Bloody neons and their camera-killing brightness. Anyone got any insider knowledge on what settings might work?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Swatches – essence black & white

*wipes brow*
Now that I’ve finished my accursed presentation I finally have a little mote time again (let’s ignore for a sec that I still have to finish the properly typed out paper). My sis was sweet enough to get me the polishes from essence’s black and white trend edition. I took a look at the rest of the stuff myself yesterday, but nothing really caught my attention.
Now let’s take a look at polish-y pretty! All photos were taken under a ‘natural spectrum’ bulb without flash.

essence black and white 01 black out

black out is a basic black polish. It has a ‘soft touch finish’, what that means is that the surface dries semi-shiny and looks a bit rubbery leathery. It reminds me a bit of China Glaze Liquid Leather in that it’s a brown based black. It’s more of a crème than LL, but with top coat looks very similar. One thick coat might be opaque, but two relatively thin ones will de beautifully.
This polish is very thick and a bit unwieldy. It covers nicely, but applying thin coats is pretty much impossible and it doesn’t level well. black out has a round brush, which works relatively well considering the texture of the polish.
I really like the colour and the look of this polish without top coat, but it’s a pain to apply evenly.

This is black out in two coats without top coat:

Here’s black out in two coats with top coat:

essence black and white 02 white hype

This is a simple white crème polish. I can’t really think of anything to say about white hype, it’s not overly chalky, but a basic stark white. This too has the ‘soft touch finish’ and looks quite pretty without top coat. Like black out I recommend two thinnish coats.
white hype is even trickier to apply than black out, it shows every single flaw (helloooo patches!) and levels very badly. Try and get your nails as smooth as possible before applying white hype. The same round brush as above doesn’t do all that well with the formula.
I can only recommend this as a base for neons and such. By itself it’s just too hard to get a nice smooth result.

Here’s white hype in two coats without top coat:

And this is white hype in two coats with top coat:

essence black and white top coat 01 make me holo

The third and last polish of this TE is the make me holo top coat. I have no intentions of using this as top coat, as I doubt that it will dry as quickly an thoroughly as I prefer, but it is pretty. ‘Holo’ isn’t all that accurate, though, it’s actually a sheer blue opalescent polish. That kind of colour can be fantastic for layering and when worn on its own can neutralise some yellowing.
This is quite easy to apply, thankfully. make me holo is quite runny and applies smoothly and evenly. The round brush works well with this colour.

Here’s make me holo over black out (doubled on the middle finger nail, ‘cause it hat some kinda funky flaw):

And this is make me holo over white hype (a tad subtle):

Overall I’m a bit ambivalent about this trend edition’s polishes. All are beautiful, but the crème polishes are just such a bugger to apply. I definitely won’t be buying half a dozen of back-ups. Maybe one of the opalescent blue…

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NotD – Beams of Holo

Today I’ll just give you quite a quick post, I’ve got a major presentation on Friday and (surprise!) I’m not finished yet. This is something I wore over the holidays.

Here’s what I used for  this mani:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • China Glaze Jitterbug
  • Milani 3D Holographic 511 Hi-Tech
  • Milani 3D Holographic 512 Cyberspace
  • Seche Vite

As usual I started with a basic application: one coat of Nail Envy, one of Miracle Nail Thickener, two coats of Jitterbug and Seche Vite to get a nice dry surface as quickly as possible.

Jitterbug is a lovely sparkly darkish grey densely packed with silver shimmer. It has a distinct charcoal-y feel without being all that dark. Jitterbug is opaque in two coats, which is very nice indeed.
I found this polish to be super smooth and lovely to apply. Despite all that shimmer Jitterbug has only the faintest hint of particle alignment (erm… ‘brush marks’ I meant to say). As always, China Glaze’s round brush is easy to control and overall very nice.
Two thumbs up. If you like darker greys and shimmer, this is a superb choice. Also, I adore the name, even though it infects my brain with sandworm-sized earworms.

Because it’s a two-coater: this is Jitterbug in two coats with top coat:

After the base colour was solid enough not to be affected by sticking tape all over it I masked off my nails (with basic masking tape/painter’s tape from the DIY store). Then I used Milani Hi-Tech and Cyberspace to cover the bare parts and sealed the mani with Seche Vite. Behold: two sparkly tapered stipes of holo-y prettiness.

Why is it that sometimes I don’t order anything for months and then I have half a dozen things en route at the same time? I’m all bouncy about getting my new camera some time this week. I just hope it does well with purples.
Tell me about something you just bought or received recently that got you really excited!

Monday, January 10, 2011

And we’re back…

Finally got the time to get back to the bloggery, despite holidays, mini-vacation, parties et cetera. Of course after that was all over and done with I got a nasty cold (still ongoing) and y’all know how annoying random coughing and runny noses are when you try to apply polish. ;-)

So as I’m trying to get back into a polishing rhythm – I’ve been wearing my polish plain and for three or four days rather than the usual two – I have a simple abstract nail for you today.

Here’s what I used for this mani:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • Sinful Colors 947 Mint Apple
  • China Glaze Millennium
  • China Glaze Jitterbug
  • Milani Neon 504 Fresh Teal
  • Seche Vite

I started by applying one coat of each treatment, three of Mint Apple and sealed it with Seche Vite.

Mint Apple is a relatively dark and intense shimmery mint green, which is different from the gazillion of minty greens we have these days in the way the shimmer shifts from silvery to golden. This results in a weird, but very pretty, warm/cool look and makes it quite universally wearable. Mint Apple is not quite as opaque as I would have hoped, but three coats do provide full coverage.
This polish applied fairly well, though if you decide to wear less than three coats you’ll have to be very careful to avoid streakiness. I found the viscosity nigh perfect, though: neither so runny it floods the cuticles, nor so thick it fails to level properly. The brush is a basic round one and on the large side (strangely, as I have SC polishes with much thinner brushes), other than a random stray bristle I had no issues with it.

Here’s Mint Apple in two coats without top coat:

And this is Mint Apple in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base was fully dry I started by applying a fairly thick curved line in Jitterbug and outlined it very thinly with Millennium.

Then I painted on staggered lines, again using Millennium, and added two rows of dots with Fresh Teal, one parallel to the curved line and one with slightly smaller dots along the centre of it.

Next I used Millennium to add small off-centre dots to the larger teal ones and added some not too precise lines of Jitterbug over the staggered silver lines to soften them a bit. After I added some top coat the mani was done.

I feel like I should have added some gold to the design, but it didn’t occur to me until it was to late to go and dig through my China Glaze drawer… So, folks, how have your holidays been (if you even had ‘em)?

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