Thursday, March 31, 2011

KotD – Vintage Tea

Those of you who follow me on twitter may have seen my tweets about a tin of tea my father gave me, after finding it in a cupboard in his office. It’s from 1978. And perfectly drinkable. So now I’m the proud owner of tasty tea that’s older than I am.
To be precise, I’m the owner of two tins of tea that are older than I am, but the second one is a blend with Jasmine. I haven’t tried it yet, but it smells very bitter, as Jasmine tends to be, and that’s not my cup of tea at all. ;-)

Today I tried to do a pretty mani inspired by the lovely blue tin pictured above, which required some frankening, ‘cause I didn’t have a blue like that. Also, I got really irritated at my patches, so I soaked them off and chopped off my nails. Let’s hope they’ll survive without the silk.

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • Tea Time – the aqua-ish light blue frankenpolish
  • China Glaze 2030
  • Konad image plate m44
  • essence image plate (has no number on it, the one with the crown, obv.)
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 11 gold
  • Seche Vite

I started with my usual base manicure: one coat of either base coat, two of Tea Time and sealed it with Seche Vite.

Since this is a random frankenpolish I won’t talk about Tea Time much, other than to say that I’m very pleased with how it came out. The opacity and drying time is excellent and I can’t believe I didn’t have this colour before (though b.pretty sky is quite similar).

Here’s Tea Time in two coats with Seche Vite:

I then used 2030 and image plate m44 to add a double line to the tip of my nails. The French tip plates are still something I struggle with and I had to redo quite a few nails (if you seal the base colour with Seche Vite or something similar you can wipe of a failed motif with polish remover once or twice, then it’ll start to take of the base, too). Ultimately I got them all reasonable straight, except for my left ring finger nail, which I actually repainted a few times, going for a gold-on-gold design that I don’t really love, but enough was enough, y’know.
Then I used an old essence image plate, I don’t remember the number, but it has the crown, some stars, butterflies and floral designs, and 2030 to add a crown to all nails except for the golden one and the pinky nails (‘cause they’re just too tiny for that crown). A bit of top coat and the Konadicure was done.


For the record: the tea is Jacksons of Piccadilly Earl Grey’s Tea. Despite being over 30 years old it’s quite strong, rich and rather smoky tasting. I still prefer the more gentle Twinings, but once in a while I’ll most definitely reach for this one. And I can see myself using the tin for many years.
Would you even have brewed this tea?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Comparison – essence and Catrice Duochromes

Recently both essence and Catrice have filled their displays with lovely new colours, amongst them these duochromes. This type of polish is very rare in Austria (at least amongst affordable brands) so I was quite excited to finally get them.
I picked up both of them, despite them being so similar. Blogging is a good excuse, right? Today I’ll show you swatches of both colours and a comparison swatch.

Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer 490 Iron Mermaiden

I love this polish and its name. This is a lovely green/purple duochrome, shifting from a muted olive to a soft pinkish lavender. Iron Mermaiden is very sheer, four coats are absolutely necessary if you hate VNL.
This polish applies very well, the formula is quite thin, which in addition to the bad pigmentation makes for many, many coats. As usual for polishes this densely packed with shimmer, there are some brush strokes visible. Other than that I can’t find fault in this. The supple flat brush is an added bonus.

This is Iron Mermaiden in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Iron Mermaiden in three coats with top coat:


essence colour&go 43 where is the party?

where is the party? is a green/purple duochrome as well. The green is a lovely dark olive and the purple a fairly vibrant reddish shade. This polish seems to have a dark base. It’s fairly opaque and perfectly wearable in two coats.
This polish applies well, too. It’s of average viscosity and easy to control. I find that after the top coat is on, the brush strokes become less visible. The usual colour&go brush is lovely and flat.
Highly recommended. Sadly I couldn’t get the true colour to appear on the images and all my fiddling resulted in unrealistic shades, too. So just imagine the colours more vibrant and the purple a bit more reddish

Here’s where is the party? in two coats with top coat (sorry about the wrinkly mess on my ring finger):



Though both polishes look similar in the bottle, they look quite dissimilar on the nail. For this comparison I applied two coats of essence where is the parts and four of Catrice Iron Mermaiden, both with some top coat (don’t ask me why I used four coats here and only three for the full swatch o.O).

The particles in essence’s offering are a little bigger than the ones in Catrice’s. where is the party? is not just thicker and much more opaque, it also looks darker due to that added base pigment. The green and purple shades are virtually the same, but due to that dark base, essence’s duochrome just looks brighter, with Iron Mermaiden looking pretty, but rather muted.
Overall I’d recommend getting essence where is the party? for being more intense and a two-coater. Both are gorgeous and Iron Mermaiden has potential for layering, but where is the party? gets my vote.

Next time: Either a franken containing (amongst other colours9 these two duochromes or a tea tin inspired mani. Probably. I’m not too great at planning this kind of stuff.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Swatch – p2 trouble

Strange how a single word can trigger memories, and not just that. Some push the play button on my internal playlist so hard it overrides what I’m listening to at that moment. I’ve started humming Bruckner while listening to alternative rock and vice versa. The word ‘trouble,’ however, is forever linked with Elvis. And I can’t even begin to describe how frustrated I was when I couldn’t understand parts of the lyrics (bloody green-eyed mountain jack, that was before you could just look them up online).
I may have tried to put Elvis’ face on my nails, but if I did it must have sucked or it would be right here in this post.

p2 trouble is a slightly muted medium green without the slightest hint of shimmer or glitter. As greens go I’d almost call this a neutral, but then again I don’t consider taupe to be neutral (a most unnatural colour that is). This polish dries a good shade darker than the bottle colour. trouble is almost opaque in two coats, but I prefer three.
Like p2 polishes usually do, trouble applied very smoothly and evenly, without any streaks. It’s fairly thick, but not in a bad way, don’t expect to be able to apply thin coats. As I’ve mentioned before, the round brush p2’s color victim polishes are packaged with works beautifully with the formula.
Both swatch photos have been photoshopped to display the colour correctly.

Here’s trouble in two coats without top coat:

And this is trouble in three coats with top coat:

I think I have some kind of blogger’s block or something. When i do think of something neat, I fail at the application. Boo.
I promise to try and do something more interesting as soon as possible.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Swatches – Some p2 Pastels

I recently grabbed these four (and a darker green, which I’ll show you at some point) pastels. I’ve used these for this water marble and already swatched the blue one here. Today I’ll show you the other three pastels.
They’re all rather sheer, neither true jellies nor crèmes, so please excuse the patches you can easily see at two coats. Of course this also means that they’re not chalky at all and in the end look much nicer than most pastels. Like all p2 polishes I’ve tried, these polishes come with a simple round brush, which works well with the formula.
All of these pastels applied evenly and smoothly without any streaks or patchiness. Anyone who prefers not to use top coat might be interested in their incredibly shiny finish.

p2 color victim 043 dream lover

dream lover is a sweet pale yellow polish and surprisingly wearable considering how badly some pale yellows apply.

Here’s dream lover in two coats without top coat:

And this is dream lover in four coats with top coat:

p2 color victim 044 dating time

A pretty shade of spring green, dating time would be a great choice for any Spring or Easter mani. It’s ever so slightly more opaque then the other colours, but still requires four coats.

This is dating time in two coats without top coat:

And this is dating time in four coats with top coat:

p2 color victim 045 open your heart

open your heart is a pale lilac colour, I find this to be a superbly flattering shade of purple for the cool-toned folks out there.
I had to photoshop this to get as close to the real colour as possible.

This is open your heart in two coats without top coat:

And here’s open your heart in four coats with top coat:

Overall I’m disappointed with the opacity I found with these polishes, but very much like the lack of chalkiness and the colours in general. Like, but not true love.
What are your favourite pastels?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

NotD – Twinkly Purple Dream

Last week I picked up a couple of Astor polishes for the first time in years. Before I discovered the wonders of Seche Vite and Nail Envy Astor was my go-to base and top coat brand, as most locally available brands I could afford didn’t even have proper BC and TC.
I lost interest when I fell in love with blues, teals and greens, but a couple of shades caught my eye. Today I have an exceptionally pretty purple for you.
Note: Some images had to be photoshopped to display the purple properly.

This is what I used tonight:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • Astor Lacque DeLuxe 616 Purple Dream
  • s-he 470
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 13 silver
  • iridescent rhinestones
  • Seche Vite

I started by applying one coat of each base coat, then added three coats of Purple Dream and sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

Purple Dream is a frosty light purple with silvery blue shimmer and I think I spy the faintest hint of green there, too. Unstained and unpatched nails would look amazing with just a single coat, but I definitely need more than that. Three coats are an absolute minimum for an opaque layer of colour.
This polish isn’t streaky at all, but does suffer from a bad case of brush marks. I was very happy with the way Purple Dream applied. The ‘Salon Pro Brush’ looked like a simple, relatively narrow flat one, but when pushed onto the nail the tip morphs into a softly curved shape that really worked well for my nail shape.
I really like this polish, but anyone who dislikes frosty finishes and brush marks won’t like this at all.

This is Purple Dream in two coats without top coat:

And this is Purple Dream in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base colour was fairly dry I added a french tip using s-he 470.

Then I completely surrounded that tip with the silver liner and added a curved line.

As the last step I stuck on square iridescent rhinestones (the thumbnails got bigger round ones) and added a couple coats of Seche Vite.

Very cute, isn’t it? If I can remember to I’ll see how many dupes I have of that bluey green Astor polish I also got. *facepalm*
Please consider not buying that bottle of polish or two that you probably have a dupe of anyway and donating that money instead. Or just spend money on both.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My B3 Interview with Rachael of RetroUrbanRainbow

IMAG1445 After a brief hiatus Beauty Blogs Backstage is back with another round of mutual interviews featuring many lovely beauty bloggers.
This month I was lucky enough to be paired up with another lady who loves her bright and insane colours, the fabulous Rachael of RetroUrbanRainbow. Her blog features many topics, from reviews (including epic fails *loves*) and manis to outfits and full looks, aforementioned insanely bright ones FTW! I love the way Rachael balances her posts.

But now let’s take a look at what I asked and, more importantly, what Rachael answered:

1. I love the way you pull off bright eyeshadow! What's your secret to wearing yellows successfully?
My one rule with yellows is never just yellow all on its own. A thick black line and even blending with some blues. I used to hate yellow with a fiery passion, but it has become my very good friend.

2. Is there any colour that you wouldn't ever wear on your lids and what's your favourite colour combination?
My favorite combo is hot pink and purple. It's my go to. To me it screams "hotness." When I started wearing makeup on a daily basis in college I only knew dark browns and when I look back on those photos I cringe. I refuse to use dark browns on my lid unless it's requested for a recreate of someone. I try my best to stay away from nudes/browns.

3. What's your favourite nail polish finish?
It's a tie between glitter and shimmer. I have such a glitter addiction that it must be on everything! haha.

4. Tell us about an amazing recent find that totally took you by surprise, please!
I'm super judgmental on drug store makeup, but I love when I find something that gets me to adore it. When I saw Gwen Stefani's L'Oreal ad I went out to buy the exact lipstick she was wearing and promoting not caring if it sucked or not.  But L'Oréal Paris Infallible Le Rouge lipstick actually stayed on my lips for 8 hours (it claims 10) while I ate, drank and danced the night away. I don't ever touch up my makeup after I leave the house. I was sold.

5. When it comes to blogging, do you usually schedule posts or do you write and post whatever you feel like?
I wish I could say I'm organized enough to schedule them, but I'm sooooo not. haha. It's all random and during my down time at work and my off times.

6. What's your favourite drink?
I'm fascinated with Bubble Tea smoothies and I still love my pineapple and vodkas. :) I won't lie I love to drink!!

7. What kind of music do you listen to most?
Depending on what I'm doing on that moment...I frequently listen to french pop, rock and anything that has a good beat to it. There isn't a lot I don't like.



Thank you, Rachael! I’ll try and get my yellows to work once more and I’ll be on the lookout for that lipstick.

And if any of my following folks (who blog about any kind of prettification shinies) are interested in joining the fun, go check out Beauty Blogs Backstage to find out how to join! You know you want to. *does the Kaa look*

NotD - Doubleblues

Where is my time going these days? There must be a white hole somewhere stringing bits of my life together and I just haven’t experienced some inbetween parts (at least i don’t have the Cat asking “So, what is it?” all the time). Note to self: Look up what white holes really are outside of British science fiction shows.
I wanted to use a lovely dark blue I picked up this week and just didn’t have time to do something interesting (*sighs*) so a light and dark blue mani it was.

This is what I used tonight:

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • p2 color victim 042 being in heaven
  • MNY 665
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 13 silver
  • Seche Vite

I started by applying one coat of each base coat, then four of being in heaven and sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

being in heaven is the pastel blue polish I used for my recent marble. It’s a soft muted shade of pale blue with no hint of purple or green. The main downside is the opacity. Even four coats aren’t fully opaque, so I’d recommend applying two coats over an opaque base.
Other than that, being in heaven applies smoothly and evenly. I didn’t experience any streaks or bubbles and this polish isn’t so runny it pools around the cuticles. The slightly short round brush works well with the formula.

Here’s being in heaven in two coats without top coat (sorry about the patches peeking through):

And this is being in heaven in four coats with Seche Vite (looks more opaque in the photo than it does in RL):

After the base was firm enough to paint on, I used MNY 665 to paint a corner of each nail and a thin stripe. Then I used the silver liner to tidy up the edges and sealed the polish with another coat of Seche Vite.

And that’s it for tonight. I should go to bed now, ‘cause I have a class tomorrow morning (bleh, who wants to have classes at 9 am on a Saturday?), which is really interesting, but really straining for the eyes and headache inducing. We’re sorting through a collection of epigraphic squeezes and cross referencing them with the book they were used for (in the late 19th century, FTW!). Problems: a) they’re in Ancient Greek, b) some epigraphs were fragmented, c) squeezes are most easily read (especially when eroded) with light hitting from the side, i.e. the room is darkened and flashlights used (= headaches).
Enough whining! How’s it going with you, folks?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Swatches – essence Whoom! Boooom!

Another odd-numbered month, another essence TE. And it’s comic book-y, where have I seen something like that lately? ;-)
I refuse to be bitchy about Whoom! Boooom! coming out at the same time as MAC Wonder Woman (in Europe, mind you), the world needs more make-up collections like that. How about some Batman (all black and blackened colours, mattes and plasticy finishes, kevlar mascara), Blue Beetle or Green Arrow (guess what colours everything should be). Anyhow, from what I see, the products are vastly different. Especially since, when one actually looks at the products and their names, it’s actually a pop art collection, rather than a comic book one (except for the nail stickers, they’re 100% comic book-y).
I wasn’t too interested in most of essence’s Whoom! Boooom! stuff, but my sister (who always seems to coincidentally head to a dm just as a TE is coming out) got me the nail polishes and a couple packs of nail stickers (so silly, so cute). I briefly considered getting the cream liners, but what’s the point if they’re in a palette like that? They’ll dry out in no time and that’s just a waste of money. Creamy products should always be as sealed off as liquids.

Soooo… nail polish. This time, essence has four bright, bright crème colours. They come in 8 ml bottles with matte white caps (yay for that, I much prefer those to icky shiny plastic) and have lovely flat and very soft brushes. I think those brushes are the best I’ve seen from essence in a trend edition, they may even be better than the ones in their colour&go line.
What really struck me was that these look, I don’t know how to explain this, sort of creamy (“duh,” I hear you say, “they’re crème polishes,” but most crèmes aren’t like that). I guess it’s a large amount of white, like you’d find with pastels, except bright.

essence Whoom! Boooom! 01 Chacalaca

Chacalaca is an fascinating purple-tinged blue crème polish. Even my sister (who wouldn’t wear make-up or nail polish if you paid her) called this amazing, that’s how good it is. It’s fairly opaque, but I went with three coats to be on the safe side.
This polish appeared to be a bit more streaky at first, but evened out with the second coat. Overall it applied smoothly and easily.

Here’s Chacalaca in two coats without top coat:

And this is Chacalaca in three coats with top coat:

essence Whoom! Boooom! 02 Andy, You’re A Star

This orange crème is pretty, but I’ve seen colours almost like this before, the only difference is aforementioned creaminess. It’s a very clear, bright, happy shade of orange. Andy, You’re A Star is actually opaque in two coats. Yay!
Andy, You’re A Star is slightly thickish, but easy to control. No complaints about this one.

Here’s Andy, You’re A Star in two coats with top coat:

essence Whoom! Boooom! 03 You’ve Got The Art

Now this is more like it, You’ve Got The Art is a faintly greenish bright yellow (or is it a very yellowy green?), definitely something special. I’d call it a pale chartreuse or acidic pear green. It’s not too opaque, three coats are needed for full opacity.
This polish applied very nicely, it’s a bit runny and levelled well on my unpatched nails, but of course thinner polish doesn’t hide irregularities all that well. *glares at patches*

This is You’ve Got The Art in two coats without top coat:

And here is You’ve Got The Art in three coats with top coat:

essence Whoom! Boooom! 04 Roy’s Red

Sorry, Roy, but this is not red, it’s pink. I wasn’t certain if I even wanted this one, because how many pinkish polishes does one need? I don’t think I have one exactly like this, though, and it’s quite lovely and insanely bright. If this had a jelly finish it would definitely have some potential for neonness. Roy’s Red is opaque in three thin coats.
This polish surprised me a bit, it’s very opaque considering how runny it is, I almost kept this at two coats. However, I did have a bit of bubbling.

Here’s Roy’s Red in two coats without top coat:

And here is Roy’s Red in three coats with top coat:

Overall, the Whoom! Boooom! polishes are a good bunch of colours, if you’re trying to be thrifty and only buy must-haves I’d recommend getting Chacalaca and You’ve Got The Art. I feel a bit ridiculous about the number of colour tags I had to use for this post though.
And now a bonus image: Chacalaca with some Whoom! Boooom! nail stickers (apparently these are marked 01 Hey Ya!, but I don’t see why if there’s no No. 02):

Now if only I hadn’t chipped my thumbnail with a stubborn powder compact…

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NotD – A Springy Marble (Plus Glitter)

Once again I only have a couple of images for you, no swatches, no step-by-step. Just the result. What is going on? o.O

I haven’t done a water marble in ages, but when I got four cute pastels from p2 last Friday I thought that’s what they would be perfect for.
Here’s what I used (I totally and absolutely forgot to take a photo of the products, so it’s just the list):

  • OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener
  • Maybelline Colorama 51 French White
  • p2 042 being in heaven – blue
  • p2 043 dream lover – yellow
  • p2 044 dating time – green
  • p2 045 open your heart – lilac
  • Seche Vite

So I applied a white base (two coats of French White) and grabbed the ol’ marbling cup. Luckily the p2 polishes spread very well and didn’t go all gloopy, but for some reason the polish trapped more air bubbles as it hit the surface of the water than I’ve ever seen and they remained quite visible on the nail.

I was going to add a coat of China Glaze Snow Globe to hide aforementioned bubbles but that was moving slower than molasses, so I used a silvery frankenglitter instead (though the iridescent Snow Globe would have looked nicer, methinks). Cutesy hearts to go with the cutesy pastels. As usual, a coat of Seche Vite to seal the polish.

So that’s it for tonight. I should be a tad more busy now that the semester is starting, but it’s not like that’ll keep me from polishing. Especially now that only the tips of my nails need patching.
What would you like to see here one of these days?

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