Friday, February 25, 2011

NotD – Skip Beat!

You may have noticed that I’m obsessed with Skip Beat!, a rather addictive and torturously slow-moving manga. Seriously, I believe the first issue was released in 2002 and the actual storyline has barely covered a year. *headdesk* It makes me want to cry sometimes.
The last issue made me deliriously happy, as Kyoko, the main character, appeared to finally open up to Ren a bit (not gonna go into details, go read it *looks around furtively* somewhere). Last Saturday the most recent issue came out and ended with a potentially back-to-2002 kind of situation. Gnurh. Well, at least there was an adorable Setsu and Cain Heel memory.

Um, yeah. Sorry about this venting. But it’s not sheer idiotic rambling, as I had already planned to do a Skip Beat! mani, which would also have done nicely for Vain Day (see, Skip Beat! mode is definitely on). It’s a simple accent nail manicure based on on the Love Me overalls (I chose to use the logo from the anime).

In case you’re wondering, the pink is MNY 807A in four coats, which I’ll swatch another day. I’m pretty happy with this, the Love Me logo is only slightly wonky and the colours work quite well.
What’s your fiction addiction?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Swatches – b.pretty sky and forest

I’ve recently bought a few more b.pretty polishes and they are indeed very pretty. Today I have a couple of crèmes for you.
Excuse the funky corner on my index finger, please.

b.pretty 18 sky

This polish, fittingly named sky, is a lovely shade somewhere between sky and cerulean blue, I actually don’t have another colour just like this. Interestingly this dries to a faintly satiny finish, despite not being marked as such. I don’t mind at all, it is rather lovely that way, but I would have expected some kind of labelling. The opacity is good, two coats are wearable, but I prefer three.
sky applied very well, except for slight levelling issues. Even the first coat was barely streaky. I’m very happy with this, most drugstore brands I frequently use seem to improve in leaps and bounds and b.pretty does not disappoint. The brush is a decent round one and caused no problems.
Overall this gets a cheerful thumbs up for a cute colour and good texture.

Here’s sky in two coats without top coat:

And this is sky in three coats with top coat:

b.pretty 28 forest

forest isn’t quite a forest green, but rather a clear dark green crème polish. Absolutely gorgeous. Unlike sky this does dry shiny. It’s slightly less opaque and definitely needs three coat for proper coverage.
This, too, applies well. It was a bit streaky at first, but the second coat was nice and even. The only issue I had was a slight case of the bubbles, but that’s easy enough to fix when adding top coat. I won’t repeat myself about the brush. ;-)
I can definitely recommend this polish. If you find my skin ridiculously pale in these swatch photos, that was sadly necessary to get a good colour match.

This is forest in two coats without top coat:

And here’s forest in three coats with top coat:

I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality and colour range of b.pretty. When I first bought some of their products many years ago, there were pinks and a red and not much more.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

NotD - Labyrinthine

Finally gave my nails a chop today, a few remain patched, the rest are fragile, but the end of ‘sheers, no way!’ appears to be approaching.
I absolutely can’t remember why I chose to do labyrinth nails today. I suspect that there my be a Harry Potter on my mind/Goblet of Fire/Triwizard Tournament/hedge maze connection there. Branching mazes are impractical for manicures, though (at least in my opinion), so I chose to do something rather labyrinthine, but still hedgy, instead.

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • Manhattan Lotus Effect 110D (again from the London Calling Collection)
  • Barry M Nail Paint 293
  • essence black & white 02 white hype
  • a bunch of greens
  • Spooky Nails 2 in 1 nail tattoo liner black
  • Seche Vite

I started with a basic application of 110D. One coat of each base, then two of Manhattan 110D and one of Seche Vite.

110D is a medium grey crème polish, very basic, but also very versatile. When compared to other shades of grey, it appears to be faintly greenish, but this is unnoticeable unless a less saturated shade is directly next to it. This, like the turquoise I used recently, is fairly opaque and covers easily in two coats.
I found this as easy to apply as the turquoise from the same collection. This polish was smooth and even and caused no problems whatsoever. The flattish brush is very nice and supple, indeed.

Here’s 110D in two coats with Seche Vite:

While I let the base dry a bit I grabbed my sponging stuff and something plasticy to dab the polish on. I used 110D, Barry M 293 and essence white hype to create a mottled grey ‘pebble’ effect.

Then I prepared several dotting tools and green polishes. With my finest dotting tool and a medium green that would blend into the background of the hedge I marked out the path.

Then I chose a dark and a light shade of green and dotted these colours over the markings. These two shades are supposed to only peek through.

Then, a layer of my main colours (the leafiest ones), dabbed on singly and swirled together.

I then added a couple of light shades and more of the main colours.

When I was happy with the appearance of my hedges I added a little black blob of a person navigating the labyrinth and sealed the polish with a couple coats of Seche Vite (ew, gotta retire that bottle, there’s that point where thinning doesn’t really restore the proper texture any more).

On a side note: I just realised that I’ve had my Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 for well over a year and, in an effort to use it up (not exactly cheap, that balm!), decided to try whether it’s any good as a cuticle balm. Me likey, though it has to be used like Lemony Flutter or any other intense oily treatment and needs be removed before actually doing anything with your hands. I wouldn’t buy it just for that purpose, but it’s good for travelling, I suppose.
What’s your favourite improvised beauty treatment?

Friday, February 11, 2011

NotD – The Battle of Turquoise

See what I said about slow posts. But I have to say, those olive greens wore beautifully and only started chipping yesterday. Colour me impressed. Polish rarely lasts more than three days on me.
Today I have such a yummy turquoise for you, you’ll be sad if you can’t get Manhattan where you live.

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • Manhattan Lotus Effect78D
  • essence black & white 02 white hype
  • s-he 208
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 1 silver
  • Seche Vite

I started by applying one coat of each base, then two of 78D and sealed the polish with a bit of Seche Vite.

78D is one of the polishes from Manhattan’s London Calling collection and I’m really impressed with this one. It’s a bright happy turquoise crème, but not obnoxiously eye searing. The coverage is just delightful, this polish is almost opaque in one thin coat, so two or one thicker coat would do very nicely.
Again, I’m really happy with this, 78D applied smoothly and with ease, it wasn’t streaky at all. The two bubbles you may spy in the photos are due to my too thick Seche Vite rather than an issue with the polish. I like the flattish brush, it’s supple and easy to control.
Overall this polish is an absolute winner and highly recommended.

The camera photographed this weirdly, somehow half of each nail looks kinda greenish, the rest blue. The top half is how the polish looks under my daylight imitating lamp, the blue part is similar to what it looks like in other rooms. Here’s 78D in two coats with Seche Vite (yay for two-coaters):

This colour was so pretty that I didn’t want to do too much with it, so I just embellished one accent nail.
I used white hype to paint a wide chevron tip onto my ring finger nail, then added another chevron in s-he 208 (such a pretty glittery red! gotta swatch it soon) and tidied up the lines with the silver liner. I finished up by adding a couple of silver dots and sealing the mani with Seche Vite.

I think I have a nifty idea for a themed mani, hopefully I can pull it off. I’ll probably have to settle down with a movie or a few episodes of some something… And I think I need to file down my index finger nail again, it just grows more quickly than the other nails.
How do you like to wear turquoise?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Comparison – b.pretty olive & LCN Picnic in the Park

You may have noticed my slow posts recently. This is partly due to sheer laziness, in part, however, an attempt to minimise my contact with polish remover. The constant colour changes and subsequent polish removal partly dissolves the glue I use for patching and, as you all know, damaged patches need to be soaked off. Not good for already damaged nails. So there. Good reason (or excuse)?
I’ll probably chop off my nails as soon as most of my current tears are grown out sufficiently. Bleh. I hate how extra soft my nails are when they’ve been patched for a while.
But now, on to the comparison.

b.pretty 29 olive

I rarely buy b.pretty polishes, not because they’re bad, but because there aren’t all that many colours available and they’re minis (I find those rather silly and not very economical). b.pretty is one of BIPA’s own brands, targeting younger girls (they also have some stuff for kids under the my Girl brand, which I haven’t tried), the products are quite decent, though none of them are among my favourites.
olive is, as the name suggests, an olive green crème polish. I love that kind of colour, but I have to say that it’s the most basic shade of olive green. Many of you might already have the same colour stashed away. This polish is of average opacity and requires three coats, but if you tend to apply the thinnest of coats you’ll probably need four.
I found olive to apply acceptably. It was very patchy at first and two coats were just too bloody wobbly without top coat. I had a bit of bubbling with this polish, which is one of my pet peeves, but with a little more work that can be avoided. The brush is a basic round one, it’s a bit closer to the edge of the cap than I like, but I didn’t have any problems.

This is olive in two coats without top coat (see the crazy wobbliness?):

And here’s olive in three coats with top coat (much better):

LCN Picnic in the Park

This my first encounter with this brand and I don’t know a thing about it, other than that it’s available at Marionnaud and that it’s relatively expensive. Annoyingly, I had to google the brand and look for their German store to even find the colour’s name. I really doubt that printing on the name rather than the Article No. would have been that hard.
Picnic in the Park is another basic olive green crème polish. Pretty, but nothing exceptional. It’s nicely opaque, two coats will work, but in three coats this polish gains some serious depth and sleekness.
It applied very nicely, some might have issues with the scent, though, which is quite horrible (good thing I generally don’t mind strong chemical scents). Picnic in the Park applied very smoothly and was even in two coats. The brush is quite similar to b.pretty’s, just a bit longer.

Here’s Picnic in the Park in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Picnic in the Park in three coats with top coat:

How they compare:

As you can see, the colour is virtually identical. If I hadn’t been the one to apply the polish I certainly wouldn’t know which was which.
I like that olive actually has the name on the bottle and lists the ingredients legibly, while both require tedious online searches with LCN.
When it comes to application and opacity, Picnic in the Park wins, it’s just a bit denser and smoother. But Picnic in the Park is also more expensive at 4,90 €/7ml (interestingly, the website says 8ml), while olive costs 1,29 €/5 ml. Maybe the full-sized LCN polishes are more reasonable, but if I need another bottle I’ll definitely head to BIPA.

How do you feel about olive green? Do you have an olive-y polish you love?

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