Friday, July 27, 2012

NotD - Urban Crosshatch

Last time I mentioned the new Colorama polishes. Most shades in the display were not my cuppa, so I only picked up Urban Turquoise and Blackout. A couple I didn’t recognize and some I did, like Marshmallow. I hope Dark Chocolate makes it through the shift, it’s my favourite brown right now.

This is what I used for this mani:

  • essie grow stronger
  • Maybelline Colorama 120 Urban Turquoise
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 13 silver
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 2 white
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 1 black
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 9 green
  • essence gel-look topcoat
  • Seche Vite

I first applied two coats of grow stronger, two of Urban Turquoise and sealed it with Seche Vite.

Urban Turquoise is more of a vivid teal in my opinion, but whether you call it teal, turquoise or blue-green, it’s a beautiful crème polish. This colour existed (and I believe is still being sold) in the old bottle with the same name and number; I never owned that, but have seen it swatched at Parokeets. Gejba’s swatch looks more like a deep turquoise, but that may just be the lighting. Urban Turquoise is a two-coater and does stain a bit.
This polish applied quite well, it was fairly even with just a tiny bit of streakiness in one coat. The quality is on par with my experiences with my other Colorama polishes. Now what I find interesting is that the brush and the bottle seems to be identical to the MNY (i.e. Maybelline New York) polishes, except that the caps are black instead of white. I can’t see any differences at all, including the bristles’ flexibility. So instead of a supple, thick, round brush we have a supple, straight-cut, narrow, flat brush.
I’m quite happy and I suspect that folks with narrow nail beds will love the brush. Now what really would be nifty if they added some MNY colours to the Colorama range, but I highly doubt that.

Here’s Urban Turquoise in two coats with Seche Vite:

Then I used the four liners and added some horizontal and vertical lines. This was the first time I used the new white liner. Since the old one smudged badly I let the lines dry quite a bit and first went over them with the gel-look topcoat so any smudging polish wouldn’t get into my final coat of Seche Vite. Not at all necessary, as it turned out. None of the liners smudged.

So I’m ambivalent in regard to the new Colorama bottles. The old ones are pleasantly shaped and held 7,5 rather than 7 ml, but the new ones won’t fall over as easily.
We’ll see, the most important thing is the colour range, really.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NotD - Blue-Skinned Apples

Some days I really have trouble coming up with a title. o.O It’s just a diagonal crackle, but I do love it and shockingly, the cashier at the drugstore liked them enough to say so (so rare here).

This is what I used:

  • essie grow stronger
  • LCN 329 fanappleistic
  • Boulevard de Beauté blue crackle
  • LOOK by BIPA nail tattoo liner 3 black
  • Seche Vite

I started by applying two coats of grow stronger, followed by two of fanappleistic and one of Seche Vite.

fanappleistic is a bright yellow-toned green, I wouldn’t usually call it apple green, but there are apples this shade of green. It’s a gorgeous crème polish and opaque in two coats.
The first coat was even on some nails, but generally fairly patchy. But as it evened out very nicely with the second coat I can’t complain. fanappleistic could have levelled more easily, but overall I found it easy to apply. The brush is round and a bit dinky, not surprising since it’s a miniature bottle.

This is fanappleistic in two coats with Seche Vite:

I wanted something relatively simple that night, so I just added blue crackle polish to half the nail diagonally and added a black line between crackle and -non-crackle. Some more Seche Vite and the mani was done.

Originally I planned to add some hot pink, too, but it seemed finished after the black and I do try to stop before I go too far. ^_^
One more thing, when I was at the drugstore today I found some Colorama polish (had to chuckle at the label on the display reading “Marschmallow”). In new bottles. I was rather surprised, since I don’t remember seeing them anywhere before, neither online nor in-store. Not even at Mueller and they generally seem to get everything first. Picked up a couple of colours I didn’t have and liked, so those’ll be up soon. Have any of you seen the new bottles?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review - Boulevard de Beauté Crackling Nails

I don’t often buy strange never-heard-of-that-brand-before cosmetics at the grocery store of all places, but this time I figured that at half price (€ 3,50 at Zielpunkt) for five 8 ml bottles I could risk it. I blame the bright blue crackle polish, which caught my eyes.
The Boulevard de Beauté Crackling Nails kit contains a white crème ‘base coat,’ crackle polish in vibrant blue, deep red and black, plus a top coat.

First I tried out the top coat. The first test any top coat has to pass for me is how quick a coat on a fully dry mani dries (unless the TC has to be applied to wet polish, of course). Even cheapie top coats tend to be dry to the touch after five minutes, this one takes a good five minutes longer. I don’t ever use this kind of top coat on wet polish, as I don’t like sitting around for a couple of hours waiting for everything to dry, so I can’t tell you if it does anything to help your polish to dry through. I highly doubt it, though.
I compared this to essence btgn top sealer and essence gel-look top coat, both of which dry more quickly (especially btgn).
And holy cow, this TC stinks. I’m not terribly sensitive to chemical smells, but this is vile. The shine is alright and I like how runny it is. But overall you’ll be better off with any drugstore top coat, especially if your nose is sensitive.

The white ‘base coat’ polish is a plain, stark white crème. The opacity is average, three coats will do.
This is rather streaky and the brush is quite stiff and actually scrapes off part of the polish. This isn’t a particularly good white, but it could have been worse.

Here is the white in two coats without top coat:

And in three coats with top coat:

The three crackle polishes are pretty good, they contract and dry very quickly and are pigmented enough. The only real issue is the brush, it takes about four strokes to cover a nail and the brushes are stiff and wonky.

I’d say the kit was worth the 3,50 I paid. For anyone who loves crackle polish it may even be worth the 6,99. The top coat was a dud for me, the white is on the low end of average, but the crackles are decent. I really like the blue one, it’s nice and bright.
I wonder, am I the only one to think ‘bacon nail’ whenever I see that red-on white?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

NotD - Squiggly Breakthrough

I really thought this one would be rather quick and easy. Not really. But hey, my nails look like wallpaper.

This is what I used:

  • essie grow stronger
  • essence colour&go 26 break through
  • Seche Vite
  • Misslyn Siegellack
  • acrylic paint (dark cadmium yellow - my tube says cadmium dark yellow, which just doesn’t sound right; peacock blue; vermillion)

First, two coats of grow stronger, three of break through and one of Seche Vite.

break through is a vivid warm purple with subtle shimmer, just enough to give the polish some glow. As usual with purples my camera failed to capture the shade properly, so the photos have been edited. This polish is opaque in three coats.
I found break through easy to apply, it spread nicely, levelled well and was only a little streaky at first. The fairly narrow flat brush is lovely.
If your local drugstores don’t have the new colour&go polishes in yet, grab this one (*cough*sale*cough*).

This is break through in two coats without top coat:

And here’s break through in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base was dry I spent ages applying squiggly lines in dark cadmium yellow, by the time I figured out how to do that best I was practically finished, of course. Then I just added a dot of peacock blue and vermillion onto each bulge. Since all that painting had taken forever I added a coat of Siegellack to give the Seche Vite something to grip and then slapped on three coats of Seche Vite. Still bumpy, by the way.

Nevertheless, I really do like the design. It’s a classic pattern, even if my variant is a bit wonky.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How To Wash & Dry Your Make-Up Brushes

Despite my general focus on naily topics I do occasionally have things to say about other things. In this case about make-up brushes.

If you love applying make-up in this day and age, chance are you use at least some brushes. When I started there weren’t many affordable ones around, but more and more drugstore brands releasing brushes in recent years (and the whole ‘having more money’ thing) means that I have accumulated dozens of these tools. Dozens that need to be washed.
There are many guides out there, on blogs, youtube, whatever. I highly recommend reading/watching a bunch of them and coming up with a system that works for you.
Some people clean their brushes daily, other sporadically, I tend to spot clean with make-up remover wipes directly after use and when I feel that a good thorough cleaning is necessary I use water and brush cleanser. I never the whole collection at once, that’d take forever and they do take a couple of days to dry around here.

First, stuff that didn’t work for me: I’ve tried baby shampoo, which sucked at breaking up the product build-up, and normal shampoo, which was slightly more effective but still meant long tedious work. I haven’t tried oils, some folks swear that those give the most thorough cleansing, but though I’m sure they efficiently break up make-up, I don’t particularly want to wash the oils out of the bristles afterward.

What consistently worked well for me so far are ‘proper’ brush cleansers:

  • My first one was from Clinique, which was nice enough, but couldn’t quite get my duo fibre brushes clean (i.e. the white bristles weren’t bright white). Also I find the spray format a bit wasteful. It’s good, but I didn’t repurchase it.
  • The second was from MAC. It’s really effective, all brushes ware cleaned thoroughly. But again I don’t really like the packaging. The cleanser is watery and dribbles out of the flip-top cap as soon as you tilt the bottle. I feel that I wasted a lot of it over the months and using a small bowl only helped a little. It does perfectly clean my duo fibre brushes.
  • My newest cleanser and personal favourite is a solid brush soap by Da Vinci (a German brand, but there are similar products out there). You just wet the brush, swirl it over the surface of the soap, once it has picked up a bit of soap you can switch to swirling on your hand or stay on the soap. As the soap picks up the residue, you’ll have to rinse and repeat. ;-) When the soap starts to lather and the foam remains white, rinse well and you’re done. Make sure to let the soap dry with the lid off.
    This is so much quicker than with the liquid cleansers, cleans as thoroughly and I love the citrusy scent.

How To Wash & Dry Your Make-Up Brushes - Cleaning

Now drying is super important with brushes. If you allow them to dry in a cup bristles up, you’ll risk water going into the ferrule (that’s the metal bit between bristles and handle, that was so not part of my vocabulary a few years ago), cheap ferrules can rust, glue gets loosened, wooden handles can swell and warp. You really don’t want that, especially if you have more expensive brushes.
The general recommendation is to lay the brushes onto a towel, but what if you don’t have the space to lay all of them out? What if the only space big enough is where you have to fear your cats will chew up your expensive brushes any may get sick on top of that? What if you’re just paranoid? (All of these apply to me.)

So this is how I do it:

  • clean the brushes (see above)
  • take a clean rag, towel or dishcloth and gently squeeze out excess water from ferrule to tip (ideally the cloth should be white, so you can check that the brush really is clean)
  • reshape the brush
  • stick the brushes into the non-patented drying box and put it somewhere out of the way for however long it takes your brushes to dry (at least a couple of days for me o.O), put a paper towel or rag in the bottom in case there’s drippage

The non-patented drying box (which won’t cost you anything if you have a cardboard box lying around):

  • take a sturdy cardboard box (I use a medium flat rate box for ~30 brushes)
  • cut off the flaps so that five sides remain, remember that the brushes got in from the bottom, so it has to be high enough
  • make cross- or star-shaped cuts on one side in varying sizes, look at your collection of make-up brushes to guesstimate how many crosses/stars of which size you need

At some point the brushes won’t stay in all that well any more, then you can either make a new box or just wrap rubber bands around the handles to keep them from slipping though. It’s always good to have rubber bands handy anyway, since some strongly tapered handles tend to slip by default. For kabuki brushes I make a little harness by hooking three rubber bands together. The middle band goes around the handle, the other two, which should be opposite, go through two adjacent holes and secured with a pencil or orangewood stick.

How do you wash and dry your make-up brushes?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Swatches - Manhattan Rocktopia 4 & 5

Holy heat wave. I still  feel like I’m made of sweat and not much else. Thus: more swatches.
I picked up a couple of Manhattan’s Rocktopia polishes about a week ago. I even remembered to look up the shade names. Print them on the bottles please?

Manhattan Rocktopia 4 Rock the Grass

Rock the Grass is a fairly light green crème. This shade changes quite a lot depending on the light, from a fresh apple green to a faintly dirty, pale, almost olive-y colour. It’s definitely harder to wear than many other greens, but I love it. It’s wearable in two coats, though perfectionists will want to apply three.
The first coat was very streaky, but it evens out perfectly with the second coat. Rock the Grass doesn’t level as well as I’d like, but top coat fixes that issue. The flat brush is not too wide and has very soft bristles.

This is Rock the Grass in two coats with top coat:

Manhattan Rocktopia 5 Hippie Yeah!

Hippie Yeah! is a medium teal blue with subtle silvery shimmer. Pure gorgeous! The opacity is just like Rock the Grass.
With this colour the first coat was just a little uneven, two are perfect. I found this supremely unproblematic to apply and it dried very quickly. The brush is as describe above.

Here’s Hippie Yeah! in two coats with top coat:

Nummy colours, right?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Swatch - essie Dive Bar

I’m pretty sure I had this colour on my wishlist, but then it didn’t really strike me as all that special at the store. Colour me surprised when I picked it up randomly this week (BIPA has this BTGOF sale going on and nothing else gripped me that day). So purty.

essie Dive Bar has a blackened base with plenty of duochrome shimmer, mostly it just looks emerald/teal but can at times shift through rich blue to purple. Lovely and opaque in two coats.
I found this to be great to apply and was especially impressed by the barely noticeable brush marks. I’m sure the fairly chunky, flat brush with the rounded tip helped.
Highly recommended.

This is Dive Bar in two coats with top coat:

Pardon me while I pass out from the heat now. (I tell a lie, I’m working on my stash spreadsheet today. But the heat really is getting to me, that’s why the next post will probably be swatches too.)

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