Monday, May 31st, 2010

Nubar Sparkles Collection

Nubar Sparkles Collection

Nubar Sparkles Collection ($49.95) includes eight shades of glitter nail lacquers, most of which have a clear base but a few have a tinted base. I had some really good luck with some of these shades, but I definitely need a little more practice in applying glitter polishes like these.

They are incredibly dense as compared to other glitter finishes I’ve tried, but I did have some unevenness with a few shades and not completely opaque results with others. I think this is more to do with my application technique than the shades themselves–definitely need to be patient and let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. I think also thicker, rather than thinner, coats work better, too. I’m used to laying down a thinner initial coat followed by a thicker secondary coat, but I found it was better with two thicker coats.

The most foolproof shades were definitely Fire Sparkle, Night Sparkle, and Violet Sparkle (these three were my favorites, too –but because of their intense glow!).   The shades I had the most trouble with were Sky Sparkle and Hyacinth Sparkle.

  • Star Sparkle is a clear base with silver and holographic glitter. I did three coats, and you can still see some of my nail beneath it, but it’s considerably opaque given it has a clear base.
  • Fire Sparkle is a sheer red base with red and darkened red glitter. In sunlight and flash, you’ll also catch glimmers of the molten amber flecks of shimmer, too — it really comes alive when the light hits it. Just two coats were needed here.
  • Petunia Sparkle is a magenta purple with red undertones and fuchsia-purple and lighter pink glitter. It’s a clear base–would you believe it–and three coats gave me complete, opaque coverage.
  • Meadow Sparkle is a pale spring green glitter suspended in a lightly tinted green base. To be honest, I didn’t see much tint in the base–I thought it was clear myself. I couldn’t quite get a completely opaque look, but I think I moved a little too fast on this one.
  • Night Sparkle is a deep true blue with flecks of blue and gold glitter. Just two coats for a completely opaque look.
  • Sky Sparkle is a medium blue with a slight aqua lean glitter suspended in a clear base. Personally, I had some trouble getting this one to apply evenly and opaquely.
  • Hyacinth Sparkle is a sheer lavender base with darker and lighter lavender glitter. It took me three coats to get a nearly opaque look, but it was a bit uneven.
  • Violet Sparkle is a deep violet purple with flecks of lighter, brighter violet and purple strewn through a clear base.

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

Recommendation:  If you’re a fan of glittery polishes and have been on the hunt for ones that are better alone than layered as a top coat, you may enjoy Nubar’s Sparkle Collection.

Availability: Nubar

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Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Nubar Night Sky

It’s a Matte, but Shimmered… Night Sky!

Nubar Night Sky Collection ($24.95) is a short ‘n sweet collection featuring three shimmer mattes and their Diamont Seal & Shine Quick Dry Top Coat.

  • Midnight is a deep charcoal-black with silver-gray shimmer. Two coats were enough for me to get complete, opaque color.
  • Twilight is a bright silver-gray with silver and darker silver shimmer. Again, just two coats here.
  • Sunset is a gold shimmered amber-copper base. Like the other two, I found two coats were the right mix for opaque color. I really liked this one with the Diamont top coat.

The formula was fantastic — they dry quicker than the regular polish, but I had enough time to lay down a coat and move onto the next without it drying before then. They were also really opaque with each only needing two coats to cover my entire nail completely. The consistency was on the thinner side, so it was easy to apply and get the amount you needed. The colors themselves are a bit basic, but I’ll be crossing my fingers they’ll release some other shades down the road.

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

Recommendation: If you love the idea of a matte finish with shimmer, Nubar’s Night Sky Collection is right up your alley.

Availability: Nubar

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Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Nubar Prisms Collection

Nubar Prisms Collection

Nubar Prisms Collection ($59.95 for 8 shades) is a springtime release that features eight shades of holographic nail polish.  These polishes do something fantastic when the light hits them and when your hands are in movement, so the flash photos best show-off the holographic effect when it comes to these holos.

The formula on these varied quite a bit–some were thin, some were more jelly-esque in thickness–but they all dried on the quicker side for me.  The majority of these were also on the sheer side, though, and I did three coats for nearly all of the shades here.  Even with three coats, there was still some nail line showing, which doesn’t bother me that much since it’s hardly noticeable at a distance–just up-close.

I’d also recommend a thicker top coat, because the majority of these do have a slightly gritty or noticeably uneven finish if left without a top coat!

According to Nubar…

Inspired by the colorful play of light through a prism, those bands of light and color are embodied in nubar’s Prism Collection. Each shade in the Prism Collection is filled with holographic glitter reflecting every color of the rainbow, with base colors just as varied, ranging from subtle neutrals to vivid pink to pale blue. Going a step beyond holographic nail lacquers, nubar’s Prism Collection is a celebration of color and light. As all nubar products, they are free of formaldehyde, toluene, and (DBP) phthalate, as well as vegan and cruelty free.

  • Prize is a pinked red with holographic shimmer–lots of gold and purple stood out in this one. I needed just two coats here, and it applied smoothly and evenly.
  • Essence is a metallic played down pink with holographic shimmer. This one came out a bit chunky, though it’s wearable, and I did see some brush strokes. Just two coats, though.
  • Absolute is an aqua-blue with a holographic finish. With this one, you don’t really notice the effect until it’s out in the light–normal, indoor light just makes it look like silver shimmer. I found this one was a little on the sheer side–I used three coats and could still see some nail line.
  • Treasure is a medium purple with red undertones and a subtle holographic effect. Like Absolute, it didn’t quite get to total opaqueness with three coats.
  • Brilliant is a pretty in pink shade with holographic glitter strewn through it. It’s not completely solid color after three coats, but it comes close.
  • Gem is a taupe gray with holographic glitter–it comes out a little murky and dark and forboding. The green and teal glitter really pop in this shade. Three coats here as well.
  • Spark is a just slightly warmed up light brown with holographic glitter. I love the texture and feel of this one. Three coats and it looked pretty solid.
  • Jewel is a deep, molten chocolate brown with holographic glitter. Like Gem, the green and teal glitter seem to pop. It has the chunkier texture of Essence, though.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you like softer color for your nails but still want the bling bling look of holographic glitter, you might enjoy the Prisms collection.  If you’re more inclined towards brighter or more opaque shades, you’ll want to look at some of Nubar’s other shades.

Availability: Nubar

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Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Nubar 2010

Nubar 2010: Layer ’til Your Heart’s Content

Nubar 2010 ($7.49) is a clear base with glitter flakies suspended in the thick, colorless base.   The flakes are different sizes, and it’s definitely something designed to be worn on top of your favorite polishes rather than alone (but no worries, I showed it alone, as well).  It flashes a greenish-gold, fiery-gold, orange, and green, depending on how the light hits it and how much you use.  I just used one coat of Nubar 2010 over two coats of other polishes.  I picked polishes with cream finishes, rather than shimmery ones, and other than that, I just grabbed ones nearest to me.  It’s easy to use, as it applies smoothly while dispersing the flakies pretty evenly without  trouble!

For reference:

  • Thumb = Nubar 2010
  • Pointer = SpaRitual Solaris + Nubar 2010
  • Middle = SpaRitual Color Trip + Nubar 2010
  • Ring = SpaRitual Dreams Becoming Reality + Nubar 2010
  • Pinky = OPI Who the Shrek Are You? + Nubar 2010

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 to layer your polishes, you may find Nubar 2010 an excellent way to add some bling to your manicure/pedicure.

Availability: Nubar

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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

China Glaze Vintage Vixen Collection

China Glaze: Classic Camel, Ingrid, Swing Baby, Goin’ My Way, Riveter Rouge, Foxy

China Glaze Vintage Vixen Collection Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

Vintage Vixen includes twelve new shades of polish, ranging from a khaki beige to a midnight blue to a darkened teal. The collection starts shipping in early July.

The formula on these was consistently good–I had no issues applying these right out of the bottle. As far as I’m concerned, if I don’t have to fuss over a formula and experiment with application, it’s a solid formula. It is a thinner consistency, but each coat still packed quite a bit of pigment. Most of these shades are two-coaters, but you can do three, too, if you so desire (which is usually what I do).

The collection is made up of a mix between frost and microglitter finishes. The feeling is decidedly fall, so it’s perfect for the season (remember–this is China Glaze’s fall collection!).  With twelve shades and sixty photos in total, I split up the two posts to help narrow the focus a bit.  Of these six, my favorites are:  Classic Camel (elegant with a twist) and Goin’ My Way (the way the light hits it is divine).  I also liked Foxy (love the lava-ish look of it), but not quite as much as the other two–there weren’t any dud shades here, really.

  • Classic Camel is a khaki beige with a stronger yellow undertone and golden yellow shimmer. I needed two thicker coats or three mediums coats with this shade.
  • Ingrid is a softened deep, molten chocolate brown with ultra fine, light brown shimmer. I found two coats was optimum with this shade.
  • Swing Baby is a metallic taupe brown with microglitter. I couldn’t get total coverage with three coats, but the microglitter spread pretty evenly overall. It dries down to a slightly bumpy surface–you can feel the microglitter a bit–but a thicker layer of top coat solves that issue.
  • Goin’ My Way is a burnished copper flecked chocolate brown. I love the way this one catches light. It does show brush strokes just a tad, if you’re looking for them. Two coats was just right fro this color.
  • Riveter Rouge is a deep red with flecks of silver migroglitter. Like Swing Baby, the surface can be a little gritty so using a thicker top coat helps to smooth it away. Two coats here was perfect.
  • Foxy is a warmed up, lightened coppered brown with significant red undertones. It’s flecked with copper-orange shimmer throughout. I found two coats to work well here.

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 your polishes on the darker side (whether now or in the fall), these are some excellent choices.

Availability:  July 2010

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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

China Glaze Vintage Vixen Collection
China Glaze: Hey Doll, Bogie, Emerald Fitzgerald, Midnight Mission, First Class Ticket, Jitterbug

China Glaze Vintage Vixen Collection Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 2)

Here are the other six shades from Vintage Vixen!  Just to recap, the formula rocks here.  It may feel a little thin, but each coat packs plenty of pigment, despite the consistency.  It’s easy to apply–I didn’t have to play around with application to get beautiful, even, and smooth color.  Most of these are two-coaters, but they easily work with three, which is my preferred number.

From these, my favorites are easily Emerald Fitzgerald (oh, it’s swoon worthy in its inkiness!) and First Class Ticket (so intense and rich in its color).  I also loved the way Midnight Mission looked.

  • Hey Doll is a rosy-brown with silver shimmer. This was a two-coater.
  • Bogie is a darkened plummy mauve with silver and reddened shimmer. I don’t think I have any color quite like this in my personal stash. Two coats was perfect here.
  • Emerald Fitzgerald is a deep, inky teal with lighter aqua-teal shimmer. Love, love this one. It’s distinctly teal, not black, but yet it’s so dark and delicious. I found two coats was just enough to give a nice, opaque look.
  • Midnight Mission is a midnight navy blue base with silver microglitter. It’s exactly what you’d call midnight blue–with the silver as the twinkling stars over a darkened night sky. Like many other shades in this launch, two coats was just right with this color.
  • First Class Ticket is a rich, lush violet purple with blue-violet shimmer. Absolutely stunning! I thought this was the best shade out of the bunch. It nearly glows. Just two coats with this one as well.
  • Jitterbug is a stormy gray with silver microglitter. It has the same feel and texture as Swing baby, but I was able to get this one to go opaque with three coats. It has a grittier surface once it dries, so a thicker top coat works best.

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 your polishes on the darker side (whether now or in the fall), these are some excellent choices.

Availability:  July 2010

See more product photos & swatches! Continue reading →