Sunday, October 31, 2010

Comparison – matte vs matt

Today I have a little comparison for you, namely essie matte about you (MAY) vs essence matt top coat (MTC). I only own those two, ‘cause how many matte TCs do I need?

I started by applying ten different crème polishes and then adding the  two top coats on half of each nail. (The six nails I’m not showing you display exactly the same effect as these four, btw.)
Right after applying them, the top coats are almost identical. The mattifying effect is exactly the same and both have the occasional white speckle, essie more so than essence, though.

After a couple of days I still found them pretty much identical, except for a tiny bit of tipwear on the essence side of a few nails. Considering only the matte effect, nobody would guess that I’m wearing different top coats, though.

In conclusion I’d say: Both look the same to me, but if you tend to wear the same manicure for a week, essence matt top coat might not be stable enough for you. I however, being a two days kinda gal, prefer essence to essie, because it costs a fraction and has less of those funky white speckles.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Swatch – BeYu 147

I finally skittle-ised my nails to do a Essie vs essence matte top coat comparison, so while I see how they wear here’s a pretty green swatch.

BeYu 147

How long has it been since I complained about unnamed polishes? 147 is a cool clear green crème polish. Depending on the light it looks fully green or almost turquoise. 147 is not all that opaque, you’ll definitely need three coats if you want to eliminate VNL.
I found this polish very easy to apply, it’s very smooth and even. I can’t complain about BeYu’s formula, it spreads nicely and levels very well. The brush is a nice round one with fairly supple bristles.

This is BeYu 147 in two coats without top coat:

And here’s BeYu 147 in three coats with top coat:

Overall I like this polish a lot, it applies well and is nice and bright (which is what I love to wear in fall and winter… and spring and summer).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We Have A Winner

I finally finished verifying all the Double Birthday Giveaway entries and was kind enough to choose the winner.

Jo Tee!

I've sent out the notification email, so hopefully Jo Tee will get back to me soon. :-)

NotD – French of Pouting

You may not have noticed, but right now I’m pouting as loudly as I can. I had planned to post a pseudopatriotic manicure – as the 26th is our national holiday – but it sucked so badly I had to remove it without even taking pictures (which I generally do when I fail epically). The red-white-red was decent, mostly even and straight. But the Bundesadler looked like a disastrous cross between a squashed bug, a drippy hedgehog, a run-over chicken and a tarred eagle. It almost made me nauseous.
Therefore I decided to try out the polish my grandmother gave me, since she stopped painting her nails some time ago. Strangely, it isn’t green. I wonder if my great-grandmother wanted my gran to wear green nail polish. In a strange twist of logic I supposedly inherited my former fake redheadedness and face/nail painting ways from her. Even though she just wanted my gran to do aforementioned beautiliciousnesses. Wait… what? I cry cynicism and acknowledge that this intro is much more suited for my rambly blog.
Anyway, the polish way too sheer for me to wear alone, darn yellowing. Thus I did a semi-traditional French manicure.

Here’s what I used:

  • NailTek Foundation II
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • Estée Lauder Pure Color C4 Peach Sorbet
  • China Glaze White On White
  • Maybelline Colorama 19 marshmallow
  • Maybelline Colorama glossy nail color 103 tiger eyes
  • Seche Vite

I started with my current base colour application: one coat each of NailTek and Diamond Strength, three of Peach Sorbet and one of Seche Vite.

Peach Sorbet must be one of the safest colours I own, a sheer warm nude with a good amount of subtle silvery and holo microglitter. The effect is naturally shimmery and very pretty, but not ideal for long nails as multiple coats will make the tip look (even more) yellow. As it’s sheer I won’t bother to try and get it opaque. ;-) Use a nude base if you need an opaque nail colour.
I have to admit, this applies beautifully: smooth perfectly even, the glitter is well-dispersed and the polish dries quickly. The brush is a relatively narrow flat one, even ladies and gents with the narrowest of nails will find this easy to work with.
Despite the rather neutral colour I really like this polish, but I really don’t want to know what it cost…

Here’s Peach Sorbet in two coats without top coat:

And this is Peach Sorbet in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base was mostly dry I mixed marshmallow with White On White to a shimmery, slightly milky white and painted my tips with a short striping brush. This colour is much more wearable than stark white. Then I added a row of small dots in tiger eyes with a slightly bigger one at the centre between the peach/nude and the white areas and sealed the polish with Seche Vite (excuse the bubble on the ring finger, please).

When you paint French tips you’ll notice that if you follow the natural nail line, i.e. where the whitish tip starts, the stronger contrast will emphasize any irregularities. Few people have identical nail lines on all fingers. If you look at the swatch photos above you’ll see that this line is more or less straight on most nails, but the index finger doesn’t play nice and is generally rounded and wonky. So if your nails lines are dissimilar, you have a couple of ways to cheat and even them out.

  • The easiest way is to slightly curve straight lines and straighten overly curvy ones. In this case you’ll have to bring the tip in a bit, so if your nail beds are very short that’s not ideal. And as you can see, it’s not always easy to create a uniform shape.
  • The other method is basically an opaque Funky French in more natural colours: Apply an opaque nude base and create a completely artificial tip. This is also the best way to elongate the nail bed. The main downside is that it’s harder to find the perfect colours for a classic French, finding the perfect opaque nude and a natural white can be a pain.

And because this post is so utterly late (curse you, fowl fiend), here are pictures of my beloved pocket watches. Sadly neither will open to reveal Time Lordiness. They do, however, tell the time rather usefully. I’d like to state that I wore pocket watches on long necklaces years before the whole Steampunk loveliness. I just never could get used to wristwatches. So uncomfy.

This one I picked up from ebay a few years ago. I know nothing about it, but it’s pretty, it works and it was cheap.

And that’s the one my brother gave me for my birthday (mum got me the nice chunky chain). Perfect for days when I don’t want to wear something dainty. And I love the little ‘how long until I need to wind it up’ gauge.

How do you feel about pocket watches? Or Steampunk? Or whatever else you feel the urge to say… I’m in a rambly mood. Feel free to say or ask something completely random.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NotD – Classy Uniformity

I’ve mentioned planning this NotD in my last swatch post. I wanted to do something, not just anything, that says something about something. Wait, what? Sorry, I drifted of to Daria-land again. What I wanted is to do something with an olive green base. Namely Eyeko Military Polish.

Here’s what I used today:

  • NailTek Foundation II (giving this another go in combination with Diamond Strength)
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • Eyeko Military Polish for brave nails
  • Maybelline Colorama glossy nail color 104 green secret
  • Seche Vite

I started with a basic application: one coat of NailTek (which will hopefully help with my re-emerging peelies and splits), one of Diamond Strength (which definitely helps prevent breaks and tears), three of Military Polish and one of Seche Vite.

Eyeko Military Polish is an absolute winner for me. It’s a dark brownish olivey military green crème. Whether or not this is a true military green I cannot say, I believe the green used by the Austrian Bundesheer isn’t as dark and rather greener, but I’m not exactly an expert. And I certainly don’t need to feel brave to wear this colour. Either way, I find this green highly attractive and very interesting. Military Polish is almost perfect in two coats, but three are even better.
This polish applied well and was even in two coats. I had no problems whatsoever with Military Polish. If you don’t usually wear top coat it might interest you that it dries very shiny, though not very quickly. As usual Eyeko’s round brush works well.

This is Military Polish in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Military Polish in three coats with top coat:

After the base colour was dry I painted one corner of each nail with green secret and sealed it with another coat of Seche Vite. Somehow it turns subtly pretty Military Polish into something divinely classy.

It’s odd how sometimes you plan a design and it just looks right after the first couple of steps and you have to ignore the rest or everything will look muddled and over the top. I had another two polishes and a matte top coat all ready to use. I actually tried adding some matte elements, but it just didn’t look right and I re-shinied it. ;-)

How’s your weekend going? I’m happy because I’ll see my brother tomorrow and we don’t see each other all that often (I wish I could just magically get over my telephone issues and call him more frequently).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Swatches – Eyeko Chi Chi and Tea Rose Polish

I have a couple of things in progress, but still unfinished, so for today a couple of swatches will have to do.

Eyeko Chi Chi Polish for girlie nails

Upon close examination you’ll find that Chi Chi Polish has a semi-sheer milky rose base with moderately dense pink glitter. I wouldn’t refer to either of those elements, nor the combination, as girlie (or girly, actually). More old-girlie, like a little old lady’s sequined gown. This polish is rather sheer, but between the milky base and the glitter I expect that five coats might be more or less opaque.
Chi Chi Polish applies smoothly and stands out against many other glitter polishes due to the glitter’s incredibly even dispersion. The brush is Eyeko’s usual round one, with its supple and easy to control bristles.
I don’t know what exactly it is, but I can’t get exited about this polish. But if you love it, more power to you!

This is Chi Chi Polish in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Chi Chi Polish in three coats with top coat:

Eyeko Tea Rose Polish for country nails

Tea Rose Polish is a densely pigmented dusty pink crème polish, I find the name highly appropriate. It's a very safe colour and could be worn even in the most conservative work places. It's very opaque: one coat is wearable, two are perfect.
This polish applied smoothly and the first coat was almost perfectly even. I did have a couple of bubbles, though, so use whichever base coat prevents bubbling best on your nails. Tea Rose Polish comes with a perfectly serviceable round brush.
This polish is lovely, sadly it doesn’t work all that well with my skintone.

Here’s Tea Rose Polish in two coats with top coat:

I considered also getting Punk Polish, but that seems to be identical to their old PP, so I chose not to buy it (‘cause I still have 1 1/2 bottles left). Now a green question:
Would it be weird to wear murky olive green at my belated birthday lunch? Matte, perhaps?

Monday, October 18, 2010

NotD – Cherry Lace

I’s been a couple of days, hasn’t it. I haven’t been feeling so hot and due to not doing much my last manicure lasted quite long, it wasn’t even chipped when I removed it earlier. Anyway, today I have a simple freehand mani for you.

Here’s what I used today:

  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • essence multi dimension 63 purple cherry
  • Spooky Nails 2 in 1 nail tattoo liner black
  • Seche Vite
  • essence matt top coat

As I’m wont to do, I started with two coats of Diamond Strength, three of purple cherry and sealed the polish with a coat of Seche Vite.

purple cherry is another new permanent colour, a dark, well-balanced purple crème polish. It’s one of those perfect vampy shades, I’m really pleased with the new essence polishes (though I haven bought them all – yet). It’s definitely wearable in two coats, but for perfection I prefer my usual three.
I think essence’s formula is getting better and better. Though purple cherry is rather viscous it applies even in two coats and levels beautifully. I’ve said it before (and often, I know), the round brush used for the multi dimension polishes is not my favourite, but it works well.
Overall, I highly recommend this polish. The colour is gorgeous, it applies smoothly, and it’s cheap. What’s not to like? As usual the camera swallowed some of the red spectrum, check out the area near the cuticle for the closest colour match.

This is purple cherry in two coats without top coat:

And here’s purple cherry in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base colour was reasonable solid I used my black liner to add a diagonal stripe and a swirly pattern to half of each nail and sealed the design with another coat of Seche Vite.

Then I added some matt top coat to the other half of the nail, purple cherry is, as I expected, beautiful in matte. Tip: If you find it hard to partially apply matte top coat neatly, because you only see flaws clearly as it dries, simply wait until it’s dry and use shiny top coat on the other side.

So that’s all for today. How do you like purple cherry?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Swatch – essence choose me!

Here’s another of essence’s new permanent colours, I’m guessing that this was inspired by polishes like OPI Catch Me In Your Net, Zoya Charla and Orly Halley’s Comet (I don’t have any of these, though, so I can’t compare them directly). Whether or not that is the case, it’s a fantastic colour.

essence colour&go 38 choose me!

This polish is beyond lovely, the base is a teal-y blue and rather sheer, but densely packed with golden green microglitter. choose me! works well on its own or over an opaque base, I used metallic gold and silver, though nude or any teal colour would work beautifully, too. Remember that those will change the base colour. On its own I'd say five to six coats should do it, if you want full opacity.
choose me! is rather runny, so the coats tend to be thin and dry quickly. This consistency and the flat brush help to achieve a perfectly smooth application. There are no brush marks whatsoever.

This is choose me! in two coats without top coat:

This is choose me! in three coats with top coat:

And this is choose me! in two coats with top coat over China Glaze Millennium (index and ring finger) and 2030 (pinky and middle finger), which was a pain to photograph. The glitter is more visible, really:

Overall I highly recommend getting this polish. If you can buy essence locally, this should show up right about now or whenever the products from the last trend edition get incorporated into the core line.

So what do you think, would you wear this on its own or layered?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NotD – Mattealic

What to do with a pretty teal polish? There are so many possibilities, but this time I was lazy (I think I may be getting sick, I slept forever today) and just added some metallic dots and mattified the whole thing.

This is what I used for this mani:

  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength
  • essence multi dimension 64 trendsetter - one of the new core line colours
  • China Glaze Metallic Muse
  • Seche Vite
  • essence matt top coat

I started with my frequently used combination: two coats of Diamond Strength, three of trendsetter and one of Seche Vite.

trendsetter is a basic teal crème polish, when I saw it at the store I hoped that it might be a dupe for meet you in budapest, but the latter is quite a bit more blue-toned. (Must remember to look through my collection and do some comparison swatches.) The opacity is average, three coats will do nicely.
I found trendsetter easy to apply, it evened out quite well. However, clean-up was harder than usual, I had to work hard to get this polish off my cuticle area. The brush is a basic round one, not my favourite, but it works well.

This is trendsetter in two coats without top coat:

And this is trendsetter in three coats with Seche Vite:

As you can see, the design is super-easy again, I just added some dots using Metallic Muse, sealed them with another coat of Seche Vite

… and added some matt top coat.

Sorry about the quickie post, but I haven’t been up all that long and am ready to go back to sleep soon. *facepalm* I hate that feeling when I’m not really sick, but not fine, either.

So what’s going on with y’all?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Swatch – IsaDora Go Green

Are you sick of green nail polish? I hope not, because here’s another one.

IsaDora Wonder Nail 648 Go Green

Go Green is another of my beloved crayon-y crème polishes, an intense clear mid-green. It may not be subtle, but I find it utterly wearable. Though I suppose most people would disagree. It’s not very opaque, three coats still leave the free tip quite noticeable.
Go Green applied beautifully, it was incredibly even and anyone not bothered by VNL could wear a single coat. I do, however, feel the brush is a tad too wide. I had no problems, but anyone with narrow nail beds will find it hard to work with. For full opacity I’d recommend a white or nude base with two coats of Go Green, otherwise you’d need five coats.

Here’s Go Green in two coats without top coat:

And here’s Go Green in three coats with top coat:

In a related matter: You’ve probably seen European polish bloggers rant about how expensive nail polish is. This is absolutely true. At the same time the bottles of our local brands tend to be smaller. Most American brands sell .5 oz (~14.8 ml) or .33 oz (~9.8 ml), most European ones seem to hover between 6 and 8 ml. For the record, this IsaDora bottle contains 6 ml of polish and was quite expensive, so I probably won’t purchase more colours unless there’s one that’s truly special.

I’m thinking about doing random general polish brand reviews whenever my manicure lasts unusually long, would you be interested in reading something like that?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NotD - SparklyBlues

Finally got around to doing my nails again, the last PPG mani was surprisingly sturdy. And after spending some time with a rather busy design on my nails I’m back to the dotty kinda thing.

Here’s what I used today:

  • Sally Hansen Diamond Shine
  • ArtDeco Ceramic Nail Lacquer 138
  • China Glaze Metallic Muse
  • China Glaze Dorothy Who?
  • Seche Vite

I started by applying two coats of Diamond Strength, three of ArtDeco 138 and one of Seche Vite.

ArtDeco 138 is a deep shimmery blue with some indigo notes in the base and silvery microglitter that looks royal blue or icy depending on the angle. It’s very opaque, almost a one-coater, but gains more depth upon applying the second and third coat. It’s deep, rich, classy and exquisitely flattering.
This polish applies smoothly and evenly without any brush marks. 138 is rather runny, so it’s not possible to get a single opaque coat on the nail, the required amount of polish would flood the cuticles, but as it dries quickly there’s barely any waiting required between coats. The brush is round and easy to control, though the cap is a tad close to the bristles. So far I love the Ceramic Nail Lacquers.

Here’s 138 in two coats without top coat:

And this is 138 in three coats with Seche Vite:

After the base colour was dry I decided to add a rather simple design. First I used a dotting tool to add a row of dots in Metallic Muse across the tip of the nail and another diagonal one. I considered using Millennium instead, but in the end decided to contrast the hint of purple in 138 with the cool green Metallic Muse.

Then I added a coat of Dorothy Who? and sealed the polish with Seche Vite.

The nice thing about that kind of design is that it takes so little time (especially once you get used to working with dotting tools). What’s your quick embellishment of choice?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NotD – Powerpuff! Villain-Flavour

After Silhouettex, or SilhouetteScreams (visit her blog for awesome bright EotDs and more) mentioned that she really would have liked to have seen Mojo Jojo in my original PPG post, guess what I had to do. Indeed, a villainous version the Powerpuff Girls mani. And they’re much harder to paint!

Again, due to mostly mixed colours I’m not going to list everything I used.

I started with Rimmel 60 seconds 805 Grey Matter as my base colour. It’s a clear, but not too stark, lightish mid-grey with one of the most awesome names ever (let’s ignore the fact that brainz only turn grey when pickled, erm… preserved with formalin). Grey Matter is opaque in two smooth coats. Please note that this polish dries quite a bit darker than the bottle colour.
This polish has amazing levelling powers and applies beautifully, partly due to Rimmel’s Xpress Brush, which is flat and wide with a rounded tip. Absolutely recommended.

This is Grey Matter in two coats without top coat:

And this is Grey Matter in three coats with Seche Vite:

And then it was time again to grab the dotting tools, to mix polishes and to paint like a maniac while watching more Powerpuff Girls. I hope you’ll recognise Sedusa (with her rather agile hair), Him (who appears to be Satan’s and Santa’s crossdressing lovechild), Mojo Jojo (One shall be the number of Mojo Jojos in the world, and the number of Mojo Jojos in the world shall be one.), and Fuzzy Lumpkins (Git offa mah property!). Why, oh why did Mojo Jojo have to get smudged? And am I the only one who actually thinks ‘Moooojo Jojo’ like he always calls himself?

Yeah, and you really don’t want to see the big, creepy Powerpuff eyeballs on my right hand… I gotta work on my sinisterity (which is a word that should exist. ‘dexterity’ is sideist.) So, who’s your favourite PPG character (I may do more PPG mani’s as I still have a few seasons to watch)? I’m torn and love both Buttercup and Bubbles.

Friday, October 1, 2010

NotD – Powerpuff!

It’s time for Wonky Freehand Nail-Art!

As you guessed from this post’s title, today I’m honouring one of my favourite shows (finally got me the 10th anniversary collection) with a themed manicure, The Powerpuff Girls. Not much is more awesome than kindergarten-aged superheroines, right?

Sing it with me!

Blossom, commander and the leader/
Bubbles, she is the joy and the laughter/
Buttercup, and she’s the toughtst fighter/
Powerpuff save the day!

I’m not going to list polishes today, as practically every colour was mixed. If you really want to know, ask in the comment section.

First, the base colour is Orly Lemonade in three coats. Lemonade is a gorgeous creamy pastel yellow crème polish. I find it surprisingly vibrant for a pastel. While it’s opaque in two coats, it still needs a third one for evenness.
This is one of the trickiest polishes I’ve used so far, it’s streaky and doesn’t level very well. Thinning might help (I hope). The main issue for me is that it really doesn’t work with my skintone.
I’d only recommend Lemonade to darker-skinned and very patient folks.

Here’s Lemonade in two coats without top coat:

And this is Lemonade in three coats with Seche Vite:

So then I used a bunch of polishes, my trusty dotting tools and my black Spooky Nails liner/pen to paint the Powerpuff Girls and random related designs on my nails. I’m not happy with their eyes, but the rest is pretty decent, I think. A bit of glitter polish (China Glaze Snow Globe)and Seche Vite finished up the manicure.


I’d really like to do more manis like this, but as it takes me up to 20 minutes per nail… I’m not the speediest painter. ;-)

What’s your favourite cartoon or anime?

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