Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NotD - Edgy And Icky Are So Hard To Tell Apart These Days

Wack! Once again my addiction to Daria and predilection for quoting from random episodes rear their awesome and juicy-brained heads. Admittedly, today’s base polish isn’t even pea green, but that’s just a letter away from pear green and to my quotin’ lobe that’s not much of a difference. Also, the title is quite apt (though I chose it before deciding what I’d paint over the base colour), because I really don’t know if I like this mani.

This is what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence better than gel nails base sealer
  • China Glaze Electric Pineapple
  • claire’s matte medium blue polish
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 3 black
  • essence black & white 02 white hype
  • ArtDeco Ceramic Nail Lacquer 542
  • essence better than gel nails top sealer
  • Seche Vite

Electric Pineapple is a bright yellowy pear green. My camera insisted that this polish was neon. I shouldn’t have stopped at three coats, four would have been opaque.
The first two coats are rather streaky, but other than that I found Electric Pineapple easy to apply. The viscosity is slightly runny, so take care not to flood your cuticles. But overall the formula is pretty good. The brush is round, but nicely flexible and precise.
I edited the images to the max, but they’re still quite a bit too green.

Here’s Electric Pineapple in two coats without top coat:

And this is Electric Pineapple in three coats with Seche Vite:

This is a story of multiple fails. I pretty much fell asleep after applying the base colour so for once it was completely dry when I started to paint. Therefore I could do a tape mani, I wanted to to a blue chevron but somehow the tape just appeared to adhere and the edge was really gross and wobbly. Out came the black liner and I have to say, painting a right angle is a pain in the tush.
Then I figured that while I was doing a wonky mani I might as wall go for the neon tip I was thinking about. I first painted the angled tip with white hype, then covered it with ArtDeco 542 and neatened up the edge with more of the black liner. I added a coat of essence top sealer first, as the remaining areas of Electric Pineapple were fully dry and Seche Vite would start lifting that, and only then added a coat of Seche Vite. And, yeah, it was bound to smudge the black liner, right?

I dunno. I really love the blue and pear green together, but overall I’m kind of ‘eh’ about this mani.
Question for Austrian readers (or anyone who has the necessary information): What polish thinner do you use and where do you get it? I’ve been looking for something I can pick up locally and I just can’t find anything. But I’d be just as happy to order something. None that contain acetone, though (why do those even exist?)!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Angled Brush? Why? - Bourjois 10 Days #18

Yes, another swatch, because this is utterly gorgeous and I feel like the review might be a tad more rambly than usual. Why? The odd, strange, and baffling brush.

Bourjois relatively recently released the ‘up to 10 days’ range. Who the hell thought up that name? It’s ridiculous. Technically the websites call it ‘Vernis à Ongles 10 JOURS’ and ‘10 DAYS Nail Enamel,’ but if it ain’t on the bottle it don’t count! The front label says the following:

jusqu’à/up to

10 jours/days

au/with pro-calcium


no chips

Ongles 2x

plus forts

2x stronger nails

I honestly don’t see a name there. That’s a description, y’know: what usually goes on the back? Amusingly, the back just has a description of the brush, the barcode, colour number, and so forth. And the cap has the brush info again. I’m very much amused at the ‘anti-choc no chips’ thing. Bad girl, no cookie!
And apparently the whole ‘ up to 10 days’ thing means ten day if you use the super special brush for touch-ups, they do promise ‘3+ days minimum’ with touching up.

So, yeah, special brush. It’s flat and angled. Now imagine how to use an angled polish brush. My first instinct was to paint half the nail, then flip it over for the other side. If you have a roundish nail bed that will give you a gorgeous neat result. But it’s not practical, because you then have to flip-dip-wipe halfway through each nail. I then proceeded to just use it like any brush, but this meant that it felt like a was using two different brushes for each nail and led to one pretty and neat side and one wobbly side.
Also, the pinkie nails are a bugger to paint. Seriously. The brush is wide enough that with a straight or rounded tip one swipe would have been perfect. With this brush it takes some fiddling to get a moderately neat edge. This is not a practical brush. And I’m not even bitching about that longer bristle near the tip (I trimmed that after applying the first coat of polish).
That being said, you will get used to the brush. The second coat was much easier already. I preferred to keep the longer side of the brush near the pinkie-facing side, the shorter one one the thumb-facing side of each nail.
As to touch-ups, I covered a little clean-up mishap and the brush does make it quite easy to fix small flaws.

The polish, #18, has no name I could find on any of their websites and is a amazing shade of blue. My first thought was a faded dark blue ink, but it also has a denim kind of edge. There’s quite a bit of silver shimmer in there, but it’s not obnoxious at all. I only needed two coats. Yay.
The formula is insanely good. The fist coat is very streaky, but the second coat fixes that. I found it easier to apply medium-thick  coats rather than ultra thin ones. #18 levelled beautifully, the brush really is the only issue I had with this polish.
If you’re willing to make the effort to get used to the brush I can highly recommend #18 for both colour and formula. Random thing I like about Bourjois polishes: the *snap* when you screw them shut. You always know that they’re good and closed.

Here’s #18 in two coats with top coat:

I can’t imagine that kind of brush catching on. Bourjois has had some gimmicky brushes in the past. There was the much too wide 1 seconde ones, or the curvy french tip one that has longer bristles on the sides than in the centre. I don’t think any of these are bad per se, but there are many people with narrow nail beds for whom the 1 seconde polishes were an utter fail; there are folks with straightish smile lines who may not want to fake curved ones; and there are those with a square nail bed (or whatever that is really called, let me know, will you?) who will have trouble with this angled brush.

Have you tried one of the 10 days polishes? How did you fare with it? If you haven’t, what issues would you expect?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Swatch - Rimmel I ♥ Lasting Finish Lively Lilac

Oh, the woes of a lasting manicure. I still have my circuit board mani on, no chips, no tipwear. So here’s a swatch and review of Rimmel I ♥ Lasting Finish 170 Lively Lilac:

Lively Lilac is a pale purple crème polish, I wouldn’t call it outright lilac since it has a lavender edge. It’s not the most flattering shade for me, but I love it to bits. After Misty Jade form the same collection I was quite wary, but three coats are opaque and gorgeous.
Unlike the greenie meanie this applies quite smoothly and is wearable in two coats if one doesn’t mind a bit of sheerness. If the coats aren’t too thin Lively Lilac levels well and dries to a shiny, shiny finish. The brush is flat and quite narrow, i.e. easy to use and extremely precise.

Here is Lively Lilac in two coats without top coat:

And this is Lively Lilac in three coats with Seche Vite:

This polish is definitely worth tying, it’s one of the prettiest lilac-y colours I’ve found in a while.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NotD - Board of Circuit

As I’ve considered myself to be nerd for a long time and have been doing nail art for the last couple of years it’s a bit surprising how little computery nailses I’ve done (have I even done any?). Enough with the invented words and on with the circuit board nails.
Sorry about the glitter particles, they’re pretty much unremovable (until the next day usually).

For this bit o’ nail art I used the following products:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence better than gel nails base sealer
  • Circuit Board frankenpolish
  • Seche Vite
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 13 silver (not on the photo, d’oh)
  • China Glaze Paper Chasing
  • China Glaze 2030
  • essence black & white 01 black out
  • essence better than gel nails top sealer

I started by applying one coat of each base, two of my frankenpolish and sealed it with Seche Vite.

What I was really going for with Circuit Board was a bit brighter and more of a jelly, but I was pretty happy with the result anyway.

This is Circuit Board in two coats with top coat:

Then I used the silver liner to map out the pattern and to make Paper Chasing more visible, 2030 and black out were dotted on next, followed by a coat of essence top sealer and another coat of Seche Vite to even out the layered dots.

The colours aren’t quite right, but I really love this. I may have to find a better bright green, ideally in a liner format, if I want to do this again. Even the tiniest nail art brush won’t do fine lines as well.
Someone make a stencil or stamp for this (is there one? let me know if you’ve seen something that might work)!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

NotD - Almost a Raven

I’ve said it before, some polish colours are just too pretty to cover up and Zoya Adina is one of them. Accent nail!

Here’s what I used:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence better than gel nails base sealer
  • Zoya Adina
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 3 black
  • mix of essence ahoy!, China Glaze Electric Pineapple, Orly Hook Up and top coat
  • mix of black liner (see above) essence midnight rocker and Zoya Ki
  • Seche Vite
  • essence matt top coat

First I applied my base coats, four coats of Adina and sealed it with Seche Vite.

Adina is one of Zoya’s amazetastic duochromes, shifting from a warm purple to a fresh green. The opacity isn’t all that great, four coats are barely opaque, though the shimmer does help disguise sheer areas. If you want to be thrifty, put a similarly toned cheap purple beneath a couple of coats of Adina.
The sheerness is, as so often, couples with a fairly runny texture. Adina applies very easily and levels very well. Close observance reveals some streakiness, but the shimmer hides that, too. The shimmer particles somewhat align with the brushstrokes, but less than I had expected. The round brush is very nice, quite full, supple and precise.
Overall definitely worth getting, the duochrome effect is nice and visible and I found Adina effortless to apply.

Here’s Adina in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Adina in four coats with Seche Vite:

Something about this polish made me think about Raven, despite my lack of familiarity with DC Comics. *shrugs*
Since I didn’t want to cover up more than one nail of such a pretty base colour I decided to go for an accent nail with just a Ravenesque hood/eye thing. I can’t imagine that she sees all that well with that pointy flap dangling over her nose.
Adina was too light so I darkened Zoya Ki for the hood. And then it somehow seemed like mattifying was the thing to do. Except the eyes, which I re-shinied.

I like this, it’s not really obvious which character it is and I like that open to interpretation thing. And Adina is gorgeous in a completely different way when matte. The shimmer vanishes, as do the brush marks, and the duochrome remains in a softer, but still distinct way.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How to Embellish… A Black French Manicure (Three Ways That Work and One That Doesn’t)

A few days ago I realised that one type of mani I’ve completely neglected was the black-tipped French Manicure. Somehow that just hasn’t come up.

For this one I used OPI You’re a Doll as base colour and my Spooky Nails black liner. Sadly the latter has thickened quite a bit and I’m all out of thinner (well, I have one, but that one contains acetone and I certainly won’t use that). Thus I had some drying issues and decided to use this mani as my next ‘how to embellish’ post. And as you can see in the title, one nail looks rather bad.

  • index finger: This one is good for fixing chips and tipwear. First make sure that the chip is filled with base coat and level with the remaining polish. Then cover the tip with a different colour, I chose a natural white. It looks fine by itself, but with the extra polish the tip will be a bit thick, so one way to disguise that is a simple nail sticker. Be aware that most lacy ones like the one I used are completely straight and depending on how curved your smile line is that may look odd.
  • middle finger: Like the previous option, this covers chips and tipwear. Here I chose to cover the tip with a green and a blue polish and added a feathery silver line between the colours. The longer the nail the more interesting that can be. If you have a bad scratch, embedded fluff or just want any number of nails to be prettified you can add a little design. This is one seriously easy floral, similar to lilacs (and with a different stem it could just as easily be a bunch of grapes), all done with a single dotting tool.
  • ring finger: I added this one for major issues, like wrinkling. A lot of the original polish is covered by the brown and gold elements. A full manicure of this would be a bit much, but just doing a gold/black/brown/gold tip one the undamaged nails would work well, I think.
  • pinkie: I don’t like striping tape. It just never adheres properly (since I dislike attaching it with glue) and I can never get it where I want it. So that one is a fail, but if you’re comfortable with the stuff you can probably do a lot with it.

So there you have it. How would you embellish a black-tipped French Manicure?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reswatch - Orly mani minis Hot Shots

Despite it being one of my oldest posts, I still get hits from people looking for swatches of these four pretty brights. So, yeah, if you want a laugh, take a look at my old swatches. I cringe in horror and embarrassment.

All of these polishes are miniature bottles and I’m very impressed by the brushes, they’re just as good as the ones found in the full-sized bottles. The four polishes are fairly sheer, but since we generally apply neons over a white base we just want them to be even, opacity would take away the glowiness. I applied two coats over a white base for all swatches and added top coat. They look a bit streaky in the photos, but are that’s not visible otherwise.

Hook Up

Hook Up is a shimmery lemony yellow almost neon polish. It’s not quite as bright and warmer than it appears on the photo.
This polish is on the frosty side of shimmery, so there are brush marks. But other than that it’s even in two coats and applies smoothly.


Holla is a true neon orange crème, unlike China Glaze neons, which are more jellyish.
This applies quite smoothly as long as the coats aren’t too thin. The formula is truly excellent.


This is second true neon crème, a gorgeous pink with a strange reddish hue, despite feeling very cool-toned. The thicker it’s applied, the warmer it becomes. Odd! I used slightly thinner coats on the index and middle finger nails, so you should be able to see this phenomenon.
Like Holla, Hottie has an excellent formula and is even in two coats.

Blue Collar

Blue Collar is not a neon at all. It’s a cute, subtly shimmery blue polish. Considering how it looks in my old swatches I suspect that this might have changed colour as it sat in my Helmer. It used to be almost turquoise, now it’s almost dusty blue. It’s a tad more opaque than the other three.
But the formula is just as amazing as the other three polishes’ and a dream to apply.

Overall I have to repeat my recommendation to go and grab this set. I don’t generally like mini polishes, because they’re usually more expensive, but if you just want to get a few brights to wear once in a blue moon These are great. Like all Orly polishes (except for those awful pastels; I’m looking at you, Lemonade) they apply beautifully and the round brushes are excellent and very precise. Most of the need to clean up the edges was due to the white base. ;-)

By the way, as of today the photos are bigger in the post itself (and depending on the new layout I’m working on the size may change again). You can still click them to go to the individual Flickr page and look at them embiggened.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

NotD - Firefox

If you read the post’s title you already know what I’ve gone and put on my nails tonight.
I’ve been using Firefox for many years now and am not planning to switch any time soon. There are a bunch of reasons, most importantly all the lovely extensions, not all of which are available for other browsers. But this isn’t supposed to be a Mozilla endorsement, so let’s get to the posting.

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence better than gel nails base sealer
  • Nivea Calcium Power 44 Gris Noir
  • Seche Vite
  • essence matt top coat
  • acrylic paints (not on the photo because the tubes are huge)
  • essence better than gel nails top sealer

Today I started by applying one coat of Nail Envy, one of base sealer four of Gris Noir, and than I sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

Gris Noir is a dark grey shimmer polish, while the particles look silvery at a distance, it becomes clear when looking closely that at least part of them are of the green/purple holo variety, that’s always nice as it gives grey polish a bit of warmth and richness. I found this polish to be rather sheer, two coats are miserably patchy, three are wearable if one doesn’t mind VNL, four thin coats are opaque (at last).
Aforementioned sheerness also stems from a fairly runny formula, but at least it’s very easy to apply. Gris Noir isn’t likely to pool unless one massively overloads the brush. Very thin coats won’t drag, but will be patchy. This polish levels nicely, dries fairly quickly and to a reasonably shiny finish. The brush is a basic round one and, in combination with the thin formula, makes for a precise application.

Here’s Gris Noir in two coats without top coat:

And this is Gris Noir in four coats with Seche Vite:

After the base was fully dry I added a coat of matt top coat (isn’t it funny how some matte top coats appear solid when they haven’t been moved in a while, but when you shake them they go back to fully runny?):

Then I added a Firefox-y design on my usual accent nail, the left ring finger nail, with acrylic paint (for the first time, and I’ve had a few tubes for a while… call me lazy if you will) and covered only that part with a couple of coats of top sealer to make it nice and shiny. I’m feeling quite good about this, considering that it’s a first try. :-D

Have you attempted nail art with acrylic paint?
(D’oh, just remembered that I was going to use Eyeko Cosmic Polish as base… brain fail.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NotD - Plaidesque

Colour me impressed, my pink Nivea mani is showing some tipwear but just a single tiny chip and is barely beginning to lift. For four days this is quite amazing. Now if only I knew what caused this…
Also, I might not be able to regularly post over the next week or so (hopefully not longer) as my computer’s graphics card seems to be faulty. The PC just kept dying today until I managed to deactivate the little bugger in safe mode. Well, at least it’s covered by warranty, but begging my father to drive me with the chunk o’metal and schlepping it across the shopping centre won’t be fun (assuming that they won’t pick it up).

Anyway, sorry for the venting and let’s get to the naily stuff. Wonky Plaid!

Here’s what I used tonight:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence better than gel nails base sealer
  • Rimmel I ♥ Lasting Finish 045 Misty Jade
  • Seche Vite
  • Nivea Calcium Power 44 Gris Noir
  • Bourjois 1 seconde 9 prune stellaire
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 9 green
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 13 silver
  • essence better than gel nails top sealer

First I applied both bases, followed by four coats of Misty Jade and sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

Misty Jade is a cool-toned light spring green crème polish. Jade is a pretty good description, though I think ‘misty’ suggested a more muted shade. Pretty though it may be, this polish is terribly sheer. It still has some sheer patches at four coats.
I’m not impressed with this polish, Misty Jade isn’t even at all. When was the last time I complained about a polish being streaky after the second coat? This one is. Only good thing I can think of: it dries very shiny. The brush is fine, a flattish one, but it can’t make up for the formula’s flaws.
Overall not recommended. The colour is pretty, but not unique, and it’s such a pain to apply.

This is Misty Jade in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Misty Jade in four coats with Seche Vite:

After it was dry I used the remaining four colours - Gris Noir, prune stellaire, green and silver - to add a plaid pattern and finished the manicure with the top sealer. I kinda failed today, the lines are all wonky and badly spaced. I don’t truly dislike this mani, though.

Random question today: How is my driving English? I know I sometimes use made up wordage (on purpose, even), but are my vocabulary choices and grammar strange?
I like to think that I’m doing fairly well, but I’d really appreciate some feedback on whether my writing is generally readable.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

NotD - Say Goodbye to Nivea

Well, their make-up at least. In Germany it’s been discontinued a while ago, I believe, and now the shelves are emptying in Austria at 50% of the regular price. I took that as an opportunity to pick up some stuff that I always found too expensive (i.e. practically everything).
And then I used a few of the polishes for this mani.

Here’s what I used today:

  • OPI Nail Envy
  • essence better than gel nails base sealer
  • Nivea Calcium Power 49 Spicy Pink
  • Seche Vite
  • Nivea Manicure Naturals 02 Vanilla
  • Nivea Calcium Power 12/29 French Manicure
  • Nivea Calcium Power 46 Violet Noir
  • essence better than gel nails top sealer

I started by applying my base colour: one coat of either base, three of Spicy Pink and sealed it with Seche Vite.

Spicy Pink is a bright pink crème polish, I wouldn’t call it unusual at all. Like many Nivea polishes it’s a good basic colour, though, I find that they excel(led) at making those. Two coats are mostly opaque, three are even better.
I really do like the formula, it’s slightly on the runny side and feels a bit like a jelly without the jelly look. What especially impressed me was that a single coat of Spicy Pink, though nowhere near opaque, was very even. I found that this polish dried quite quickly and overall was lovely to apply. There were a couple of tiny bubbles. The standard round brush was easy to control and I needed very little clean-up.
If the polishes had been less expensive (around € 11,50 usually, I think) I would have loved to try more. As it is I picked up a couple of the less bland ones at half-price. Definitely worth a look.

Here’s Spicy Pink in two coats without top coat (looks a bit dark, me no have brain to edit tonight):

And this is Spicy Pink in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base was dry I painted half of each nail with Vanilla (a sheer shimmery off-white). Then I added a row of dots along the seam, alternating French Manicure and Violet Noir. Some essence top sealer finished the mani!

After this much pink after the last cutesy mani I need something dark or neon next, methinks. Hmmm, I also picked up Gris Noir. Maybe…

Lastly, here are my recommendations if you do still find Nivea’s prettification stuff near you.

  • Calcium Power nail polish in 12/29 French Manicure - the perfect slightly off-white if, like me, you don’t like stark white tips. There are a bunch of other French Manicure-type polishes, too, if that’s you kind of thing.
  • Chantal Thomass blush - use it very sparingly and you’ll have a gorgeous rosy glow, it looks a bit scary in the pan.
  • all of the Volume Shine Ultra Glossy lipsticks - they’re semi-sheer and not too glossy (they don’t look like you topped them off with extra gloss). Especially pretty: Mandarina (looks frighteningly orange in the tube, but quite subtle on the lips) and Berry Jelly (very nice rosy pink).

I’m told that a lot of Nivea’s mascaras are/were excellent, but I didn’t like them too much. My lashes suck, though, and I dislike many popular choices.
Have you tried any of Nivea’s make-up? If so, what did you like most?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

NotD - Kawaii

I felt the need for more nail art brushes recently (from da Vinci, FYI, a German company; they also make excellent make-up brushes) and when they arrived this morning I knew that I had to use them that very day.

Recently I’ve read a lot of manga and watched quite a bit of anime, so doing something along those lines seemed appropriate. In the end I went for a almost pastel skittle base with cutesy animals (mirrored on the right hand). I’m a bit disappointed with my froggy fail, they look more like mantises. The pandas and owls are quite nice, though.
(Separate photo of the thumbnail because my arm gets all crampy when I try to show with my usual pose.)

If you have any questions about the colours I used: just ask. I won’t list 15ish polishes that nobody cares about. °.^
Now my brain keeps going “Panda, panda, panda, panda, pan-panda…” (curse you, Deerhoof!). Anyone else?

Bonus photo: Pretty brushes!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...