Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

MAC Liberty of London Collection

MAC Give Me Liberty of London: Nail Lacquer Reviews, Photos, Swatches

I like the level of detail of the packaging, from the boxes to the print on the actual products. I just think it’s a nice touch–the attention to detail is reminiscent of past major launches like last year’s Hello Kitty, to put it in perspective. The nail lacquers both have the Liberty bird printed on the front of the bottle.

Nail Lacquer ($12.00 U.S. / $14.50 CDN)

  • Blue India is a dusty, muted dark gray-blue with a creamy finish. It goes opaque in about two coats, but three coats makes it perfect. This is a surprisingly flattering shade, because even though it’s distinctly blue, it doesn’t run too cool against my warmer skin tone.  This is definitely one of the better formulated shades I’ve come across from MAC in the past year.
  • Vestral White is a creamy white. It’s not an ultra bright white, though. I had trouble getting this one to look even, and I did try three coats to get it to the level shown in the swatches. Not a stellar formula on this one–a little runny, almost watery–and takes some patience to get a smooth, even look.

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

China Glaze Poolside Collection
Pool Party, Flip Flop Fantasy, Sun Worshipper;
Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Kiwi Cool-Ada, Towel Boy Toy

China Glaze Poolside Collection: Review, Photos, Swatches

Poolside is a summer collection that includes six shades of neon lacquer. As with most neons, application isn’t the easiest, but China Glaze has certainly improved the formula from the last round of neons they did. Similarly, the finish is mostly matte, but I used a glossy top coat to give it the glossy look (but if you prefer something more matte, then just opt to go without a top coat).

Both a benefit and a potential issue, these polishes dry faster (like matte polishes do), so keep that in mind. All of the shades had a runnier consistency than I’m used to from China Glaze, so I went with a thinner first coat to lay down a “base” in a sense, before layering on two more coats (about medium in thickness — it’s easy to over-apply).

Please note, Poolside will not be available until April 2010.  (You may see it start showing up online at etailers in March, though.)

China Glaze recommends, “Like most neon polishes, the first layer will look extremely opaque and thin. You will need to build up to desired coverage and always remember to let each layer dry completely before applying the next. This will help prevent streaks and missing patches of color on the nail bed.”

  • Pool Party is a brightened hot pink. This applied in three coats for an opaque, smooth look.
  • Flip Flop Fantasy is a neon coral — I’d say it’s a little more coral-pink than the pictures show, but it’s about that dark. Three coats on this one was good enough to give me a solid and smooth look.
  • Sun Worshipper is an orange-y yellow — aptly named — that just glows. This is my favorite shade from the six, because it’s something different and really vibrant. Three coats for smooth, opaque coverage.
  • Yellow Polka Dot Bikini is neon, highlighter yellow. I had the most trouble applying this one, and I think if you take your time and build up to about four coats, you’ll get decent results. It’s ultra bright, though! This kind of cool greenish-edge of highlighter yellow is not so flattering on my skin tone, unfortunately!
  • Kiwi Cool-Ada is a brightened neon green. It’s brighter than grass, that’s for sure! Like Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, application was a little fussier than the other shades. I think a slower, more precise application might be key, as well as layering two thinner coats as the first two, then building up to four.
  • Towel Boy Toy is a brightened sky blue with soft blue pearl. This is the only shade that has any shimmer in it, but this was the shade that applied the easiest (in fact, it was easy!). Pictured is just two coats, but a third wouldn’t hurt.  This was my second favorite, but I’d say some of that comes from how easy it was to apply.

Application Troubles?

Temptalia readers shared their suggestions on perfecting the neon manicure/pedicure…

  • Samantha suggested applying a thin coat of white polish on before you apply the color itself. April agreed, while Phyrra recommended Color Club’s Milky White for the perfect base coat for these brights.
  • DVC and Charlotte agreed that lots of thin coats may not be the way to go–two or three coats should do the trick, neither too thin nor so thick it’s hard to work with.
  • Roslyn finds a sheer, pearly top coat helps make them pop a bit more.

What are your favorites?

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Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Milani Hi-Tech Holographic Nail Lacquer

Beauty on a Budget: Glitter-tastic Nails with Milani Holographic Nail Lacquer

Milani Hi-Tech 3D Holographic Nail Lacquer ($4.99) is one of six new holographic shades from Milani this spring. Other shades include: HD (silver), 3D (gold), Cyberspace (blue), Digital (eggplant purple), Hi-Res (purple).

According to Milani, “New specialty nail lacquer that exhibits a unique 3D Holographic effect that no other nail lacquer has ever achieved. The nail lacquer appears to color-shift as the illumination source or the viewing angle changes. This color phenomenon is based on Holographic Image Technology that makes a very thin, bright, embossed metallic flake look like a rainbow. It allows the color to travel from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; seven distinctive colors of the color spectrum.”

Hi-Tech is wickedly shimmery with larger shimmer particles (but they don’t feel gritty like a glitter polish often does). It’s a spring-y, yellow-green with different flecks of, predominantly, gold and green shimmer. It reflects and catches the light in a way that I can’t capture on film–definitely one of those “you gotta be there” moments. Really stunning, though. I’ll be sure to post again if I try any of the other five shades available.

Have you tried any of the new Holographic shades yet?

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love glitter polishes but not the removal process, Milani’s 3D Holographic polish might be another way to get your glitter on.

Availability: Local drugstores, MilaniCosmetics.com

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Saturday, February 13th, 2010

MAC Riveting Collection
MAC Studded Nail Lacquer

MAC Riveting Collection: Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

Finally, there are three matte-finish nail polishes. They are: Wham, Bam, Glam (officially described as a matte cool dark taupe), Studded (officially described as a matte true silver with pearl), and Black Enough? (officially described as a matte black).

Surprisingly, it feels like MAC was late to the party on this. They do, normally, seem to be fairly timely with their trend-based products. The formula on these is too thick for my taste–they’re almost kind of goopy. You might need to thin these polishes down a bit to make them easier to use. Even though matte nails are kind of cool, I do find they accent any flaws you have in your nails (like I have some vertical ridges/lines on mine, shh). Like other matte lacquers, these dry incredibly fast, which is probably my favorite aspect of matte polishes in general!

Nail Lacquer ($12.00 U.S. / $14.50 CDN)

  • Wham, Bam, Glam is a dark taupe with a matte finish. Read the second paragraph in the post about texture/feel–it’s consistent across all three shades. Two coats to get a fairly even look and feel.
  • Studded is a silver shimmered gray with a matte finish, but it looks almost foiled or metallic, because of the shimmer. I liked this one out of the three, because it applied the best and looked the nicest afterward. It was still a bit thick in the formula, though. Two coats to get a fairly even look and feel.
  • Black Enough? is a rich matte black. Again, the formula was thick and the matte formula has a tendency to showcase imperfections in my nails. Two coats to get a fairly even look and feel.

Are you still feeling the matte look?

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Thursday, February 4th, 2010

NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer

Stunning Spring Nails with  NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer

NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer ($16.00) is a deep jewel-toned purple with red undertones shimmered with flecks of violet and wine red shimmer. It looks kind of like a dark grape purple when there’s no real light, but I like that it doesn’t look black in low light conditions. Of course, like many polishes, this one really shows off best in the light. Even just regular lighting will catch the shimmer in such a lovely way. This is a richly pigmented nail lacquer; it needs only one thick coat and it goes opaque, though I did two coats for good measure. It wears well (one week with just tip wear, no chipping), and it applies easily–doesn’t streak or drag. The formula is thick without being goopy, so it doesn’t require any experimentation in application–it’s just apply, dry, and enjoy!

I was surprised by how much I liked this shade, even though it doesn’t conjure up any spring images in my mind, I’m really glad NARS put it out, spring season or not!

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: If you love purple nails, Purple Rain is really one of those must-see shades!

Availability: BlueMercury

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast
MAC Galore Pink Nail Lacquer

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Nail Lacquers Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Each part includes one shade of nail lacquer. Overall, I wasn’t terribly impressed by these nail lacquers–they’re all creams, and they suffer from evenness issues. I just found that they weren’t easy to work with and require some patience and creativity to get to work just right. For the record, I normally have no problems with MAC nail lacquer!

Nail Lacquers

  • Galore Pink is a blue-based kind of hot pink with a creamy finish. I was really not thrilled with these MAC polishes, and I actually have good luck with the majority of MAC’s lacquers! Galore Pink needed at least three coats to look even, despite the formula feeling pretty pigmented–it just was a pain to apply the color evenly. I think with some practice, you could it to rock, and the color is certainly fun. (A little too cool for my personal preference, though.)
  • Malibu Peach is an orange-y peach with a cream finish. It took about three coats to get the kind of results I wanted. It goes opaque in just one or two, but you have to sort out the evenness, which took me about three.
  • Imperial Splendour is a rich red-based violet cream. Unfortunately, it suffers from some of the streaky/unevenness that the other polishes from this launch suffer from. Patience, a steady hand, and three coats might get you better results.
  • Abalone Shell is a creamy warmed-up beige with a little shimmer in it. This one applied the best out of the four lacquers, but it was still a bit fussy. Three coats was just the right amount to get a (mostly) even, opaque look.

See product photos and swatches! Continue reading →