Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer

Chanel Cote d’Azur Collection: Riva

Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer ($27.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.) is a pale sky blue with ultra fine, barely-there iridescent blue shimmer strewn through the creamier, almost jelly-esque base. The swatches included in this post show the effect of three coats (and thicker ones at that)–I would say that you would need a muted white shade underneath, perhaps, or else four coats.

In all honesty, this is just not a shade to be worn opaque (at least not on its own). You’re better off wearing two coats and going for a sheer look than layering it on and ending up with a very thick pile o’ polish. I didn’t experience any streaking when applying the three coats, but it did seem more prone to bubbling (I don’t think I’ve ever really had a polish look like it was going to bubble on me… it was odd!).

I’m actually a big fan of Chanel’s polishes typically, but I can’t say I’m on the Riva bandwagon yet. The color itself is just not there for me; it lacks the dimensionality of other cult status Chanel shades–the shimmer is too fine, too soft, and it’s difficult to detect unless under direct, bright light. I had no idea this was a much anticipated shade until after I purchased it, which I’m glad for, because my expectations may have been even higher had I known.

Even more painful is the $4 price increase on Riva as compared to their other nail lacquers–what? I’m fully willing to pay $23 for a shade that only Chanel can do (or at least, is the first to do), but $27 for a shade with some application/formula issues and doesn’t quite hit the zing color-wise makes it impossible to recommend in good conscience!

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 5/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a Chanel collector, you may want to snag it rather than see it for $200 in two months–just because a lot of hype has been built up for this shade and it likely will sell out. Otherwise, I think you could safely skip.

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Rescue Beauty Lounge Red Polishes
Rescue Beauty Lounge: Glamourpuss, Chinoise, Bangin’

Rescue Beauty Lounge: Glamourpuss, Chinoise, Bangin’

Rescue Beauty Lounge recently held their annual 50% off sale, and I must admit, I indulged. I’ve been waiting for this sale for months (ever since buying my first RBLs). I could have sworn I saw someone mention it may be the last 50% off sale… anyway, I couldn’t resist.

The next three I want to share with you are: Glamourpuss (classic true red), Chinoise (lacquered like a Chinese screen), and Bangin’ (hot red coral).  Like the first three, I don’t think these are particularly unique, never-before-seen kind of shades, but they are top-notch in quality.

  • Glamourpuss is a deep red cream with a hint of berry. What I like about this shade is it is definitely not a bright red cream, but it is still bright enough that it won’t be mistaken for black or brown either. This is a red that doesn’t lean blue or orange, which makes it suitable for a variety of skin tones.
    Two coats.
  • Chinoise is a bright red cream. It’s vibrant without being neon or flashy. On me, my skin seems to pull out very slight orange undertones.  I would say it’s similar to Essie’s Red Nouveau.  Two coats.
  • Bangin’ is rich, fiery red coral cream. It’s similar to China Glaze’s Revolution–but not quite as orange.  SpaRitual’s Love & Happiness would also make a decent dupe. Two coats.

All three shades featured in this post were richly pigmented, applied evenly and never streaked, and only needed two coats for full opacity. Each shade retails for $18, and due to the recent 50% off sale, many shades are sold out for the time being.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think you need all three of these, but they are nice vampier shades that lean on the red/brown side. Between Glamourpuss and Bangin’, I’d definitely only opt for one or the other if you’re on a budget.

AVAILABILITY: Rescue Beauty Lounge

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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Rescue Beauty Lounge Red Polishes
Rescue Beauty Lounge: Au Chocolat, Atame, Moulin Rouge

Rescue Beauty Lounge: Au Chocolat, Atame, Moulin Rouge

Rescue Beauty Lounge recently held their annual 50% off sale, and I must admit, I indulged. I’ve been waiting for this sale for months (ever since buying my first RBLs). I could have sworn I saw someone mention it may be the last 50% off sale… anyway, I couldn’t resist.

The first three I want to share with you are: Au Chocolat (molten Godiva), Atame (luscious deep dried cherry red), and Moulin Rouge (think black cherries wrapped in dark chocolate).

  • Au Chocolat is a deep, dark chocolate brown cream; it’s very decadent and rich. It kind of reminds me of Hershey syrup, but I suppose Godiva sounds a little nicer! In natural light, it’s more of a black-brown, while under brighter light like flash, more of the redness from the chocolate brown pulls through. Two coats.
  • Atame is a sultry dark cherry burgundy cream. It initially looks rather similar to Au Chocolat–the difference is more noticeable under stronger light, because Atame turns to the dark cherry red it’s described as. Two coats.
  • Moulin Rouge is deep reddened chocolate brown cream. It’s similar to Au Chocolat–there is a stronger red tone to Moulin Rouge’s base, but they look like cousins. Two coats.

All three shades featured in this post were richly pigmented, applied evenly and never streaked, and only needed two coats for full opacity. Each shade retails for $18, and due to the recent 50% off sale, many shades are sold out for the time being.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think you need all three of these, but they are nice vampier shades that lean on the red/brown side. Between Au Chocolat and Moulin Rouge, I’d definitely only opt for one or the other if you’re on a budget.

AVAILABILITY: Rescue Beauty Lounge

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Thursday, November 11th, 2010


Nail Lacquer: Asiatique, Beyond Jealous, Nocturnelle, Vice is Nice, Vintage Vamp

MAC Tartan Tale: 5 Naughty Little Vices Nail Lacquer

This year, MAC has created a miniature set of nail lacquers, which includes two new (and exclusive) shades as well as three repromotes. The set itself is limited edition.

This includes: Asiatique (creamy classic red), Beyond Jealous (blackened blue green), Nocturnelle (black-as-night black), Vice is Nice (classic metallic gold), and Vintage Vamp (deep black wine).

  • Asiatique is a bright, cherry red cream. It applied opaque in two coats, and it went rather smoothly–not streaky at all. This is a repromote.
  • Beyond Jealous is a green-teal tinged black cream. This applied rather streakily; I needed three coats to get an even, smooth look. I think three coats was necessary just to achieve total opacity, too. This looks rather black regardless of the lighting, though. This is a repromote.
  • Nocturnelle is a dark black cream. Three coats. It’s come out a few times before.
  • Vice is Nice is a shimmering lightened gold with soft yellow tones. The finish looks like a metallic frost to me. It did need a full three coats to get an opaque result, and you can see some brush strokes. It is golder than China Glaze Midnight Kiss.
  • Vintage Vamp is a deep burgundy-red cream. Like several of the other shades, I did need three coats for this, and the first two layers applied on the streakier side.

Each vial contains 2.5g/0.09 oz., while a full-size polish contains 0.34 oz. There is a total of 0.45 oz. worth of polish in the set, which is just under a polish and a half worth of product. MAC’s Nail Lacquer retails for $38.24/oz., while this set works out to be $56.67/oz.  I would expect a bit more given the price tag.

Given some of the application issues and the overall uniqueness of the colors (low), I don’t know if this would be the best introduction to MAC’s nail lacquers or even a great deal. MAC has done some really interesting shades, but this set does not include those. A black, red, and dark red cream just feel too standard. There’s no reason to settle for streakier, less pigmented formulas at this price point when competitors in this price range do it better. Just from the quality issues I had, it’s not a must-have based on my experience.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: The formula on these is just so-so; the majority needed three coats, and a couple had streaky application.

AVAILABILITY: MAC

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Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

NARS Pokerface Nail Polish
NARS Pokerface Nail Polish

NARS Holiday: Pokerface

NARS Pokerface Nail Polish ($16.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is a new and limited edition shade described as a “vibrant lilac.” It’s one of two new polishes from NARS’ Holiday collection. I’m curious as to why NARS has started to push out more and more limited edition products; often, in the past, seasonal items were rolled into the permanent range.

Pokerface is a medium lilac with subtle pinky-red undertones and pale lilac micro-shimmer. It took three coats, but the end result was opaque, smooth, and beautiful. I see this looking particularly striking on paler, cooler skin tones, as well as deeper skin tones for a stunning contrast.

I’ve had good luck with NARS polish in terms of wear–about a week with just minor tip wear but no chipping–and this shade applied nicely. It wasn’t too thick or thin, and I didn’t experience any bubbling.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s a very feminine without being over-the-top girly; there’s still that bit of edge despite the lilac base color.  I think it would work well on cooler skin tones, because it does lean towards the cool spectrum, but I still thought it worked with my warmer skin tone.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Dior Timeless Gold Nail Lacquer
Dior Timeless Gold Nail Lacquer

Dior Holiday: Timeless Gold

Dior Timeless Gold Nail Lacquer ($21.00 for 0.33 fl. oz.) is a light, tarnished gold with a glittery-shimmery finish.  It reminded me of China Glaze’s Midnight Kiss, but it’s nowhere near as gold.  It does, however, have a similar finish–it’s almost a foil but not quite, and brush strokes are nearly invisible despite the slight metallic sheen.  The drying time is faster than average, but it does dry to more of a semi-matte finish so you may want to use a shiny top coat for more oomph (swatches are shown without a top coat).

It took two coats to get opaque coverage, and it was actually incredibly easy to apply and to achieve no pesky brush strokes because of Dior’s brush.  This is the first Dior polish I’ve owned that has a wide, tapered brush.  I haven’t seen a brush like this before, and I thought it would be too wide to be practical, but it worked really well for me.  I do think if you have smaller nail beds, though, it may be more difficult (I know I have longer fingers than proportional to my body–thanks piano!).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I love the color, but it’s definitely a personal preference.  The formula is very easy to work with and surprisingly opaque–I thought it would end up being rather sheer, but two coats worked beautifully.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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