Friday, April 23rd, 2010

NARS Versailles Nail Polish

The Classy, Sophisticated Way to Wear Gold

NARS Versailles Nail Polish ($16.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a softened yellow gold with champagne shimmer woven through. It has a slightly metallic look to it. It’s very spring-into-summer–the softness of the gold makes it like a gilded yellow, perfect for spring, but it has the shimmer and sheen that makes it great for summer, too. The formula runs a little thick, but it applies easily and goes opaque in two coats. I like that this is a gold that can be worn by cooler and warmer skin tones–it’s not a true yellow gold, so it should still complement those with pinker undertones!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For softened champagne-gold with pretty shimmer and a subtle, metallic look, Versailles may be the right shade for you.

Availability: NARS

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

MAC Pret a Papier Collection

MAC Pret-a-Papier Collection: Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

Even though there are definitely some products I like in this launch, there is no item that caught my eye more than Originality. If you like nail polish, you gotta get it!

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

  • Brown Bag is a muted, darkened flesh-toned shade–nude, as they’d say–but it’s much darker than my skin tone (probably NC20/25 on my fingertips). Perhaps if you’re NC/NW35 or 40 it might be your perfect nude. Nonetheless, it’s a creamy nude with flecks of champagne shimmer strewn through it, and it goes opaque in two coats (and pictured with two).  But I gotta say, Brown Bag is a pain-in-the-behind to photograph!
  • Originality is a gorgeous, shimmering warmed-up bronze with copper flecks. This is truly a stunning shade–it’s almost metallic but not quite–it shimmers and dances. It goes opaque in just two coats (and the swatches are of two), dries to a slightly textured finish but it’s fairly smooth, but it removes easily.

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

NYX Paradise Nail Lacquer

NYX Paradise Nail Polish ($5.00) is a funky shade perfect for summer!  It’s this blue-teal with flecks of gold-green shimmer.  I thought it’d be a nice shade to feature for the upcoming warmer, summery season :)

The formula doesn’t standout, but it’s solid — it’s not too thick or thin, and it goes opaque in three coats (but you definitely need three).  I get good wear out of this polish, too–it’s my first NYX polish–so I was pleasantly surprised by that.  I used Zoya’s Color Lock System for the polish, just as a FYI!

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

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

Recommendation:  If you love duochromes, Paradise is a nice mix of blue, teal, gold, and green.  Perfect for summer!

Availability: NYX Cosmetics

See more swatches! Continue reading →

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Chanel Noir et Or Collection
Chanel Nail Lacquer: Black Velvet + Illusion d’Or (thumb), Black Velvet (pointer),
Illusion d’Or (middle), Gold Lame + Illusion d’Or (ring)

Chanel Noir et Or Collection: Gold Lame, Black Velvet, & Illusion d’Or Le Vernis

Chanel Noir et Or Collection is a very limited edition, hard-to-get-your-hands-on collection that is only available in select Chanel Boutiques (it officially launched April 1st). It includes three shades of nail lacquer: Gold Lame (copper gold), Black Velvet (matte black), Illusion d’Or (clear with gold sparkle).

  • Gold Lame (440) is a metallic yellowed gold. Like the majority of metallic finish polishes, there are noticeable brushstrokes. It went opaque in about two coats, but I did three to see if I could minimize the brushstroke-effect. I loved the layering effect of Illusion d’Or on top of Gold Lame, because it camouflaged the brush strokes but you could still see the metallic finish of Gold Lame peeking through. This shade really does a number between different light sources–it goes from like a golden bronze to a gilded gold. Pretty but a pain in the butt to photograph!
  • Black Velvet (430) is not quite a matte black. It’s nearly matte, but it never dried completely matte for me. It had this weird, almost like a vinyl sheen to it. I wish I could describe the finish better, but I’m at a loss! Maybe like a rubbery look? They’re not really glossy or shiny, but they definitely catch the light a bit. The color itself is a very inky black with an almost velvety burgundy-brown cast.
  • Illusion d’Or (450) is a clear glossy base with large particles of gold, bronze, and amber glitter with larger iridescent pinky-purple glitter. This won’t go opaque in three or four layers, but it does look pretty as a sheerer shade. It is even prettier when layered over either Black Velvet or Gold Lame.

Overall? I love. But I love the effect of them together, not so much alone. I’m not sure how many of you will be swept away by the combination of two to shell out $46 for it. There is just something about Chanel’s way of doing lacquer. If it’s not already a known secret, I most definitely have a thing for Chanel lacquer.

Like I died a little inside when I saw how Illusion d’Or popped over Black Velvet. If I had seen that online, I would have been like, “TWO PLEASE!” Illusion d’Or also looks pretty-in-gold over Gold Lame. I think if there was one must-have shade here, it would be Illusion d’Or, if only because it makes the other two really POP!

I still can’t get over the finish and look of Black Velvet, and it really annoys me that I can’t put my finger on it enough to give you a good description of it! It’s matte and yet not. It’s not flat, but it’s not really shiny or glossy… and yet it still (obviously) catches the light.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If Chanel lacquers weren’t so pricey, it’d be so much easier to say, “YES, BUY THESE!” without guilt. If you dig interesting blacks, Black Velvet might be that. If I had to pick one of three to get, Illusion d’Or, because it does amazing things when layered.

Availability: Select Chanel Boutiques

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Essie Resort Collection
Essie Nail Lacquers: Playa del Platinum, Lapis of Luxury,
Turquoise & Caicos, Splash of Grenadine (Natural Light)

Essie Resort Collection: Review, Photos, Swatches

For summer, Essie created the Resort Collection, which features four cream-finish shades: Playa del Platinum (elegant and sheer sandy gray), Lapis of Luxury (dreamy ocean blue), Turquoise & Caicos (flirt and pretty tropical aqua), and Splash of Grenadine (playful magenta pink). The collection will launch in May, and each bottle retails for $8.

  • Playa del Platinum is a coffee-shaded gray. It reads more like a very light, grayish-taupe on me and not really flat out gray. This shade needed three coats for a solid, smooth look.
  • Lapis of Luxury is a bluer periwinkle. It’s not quite a true periwinkle cream, because it does run a little bluer, but that was the first descriptor that came to mind. I found I needed three coats to get a smooth finish with no streaks.
  • Turquoise & Caicos is a green-teal cream. If you thought it might be like China Glaze’s For Audrey or Chanel’s Nouvelle Vague, it’s most definitely not. Both of those shades are blue-based teal,while this is distinctly green-based. I found it a little streaky, so I wound up using three coats on this one.
  • Splash of Grenadine is a red-based pinky purple. It’s not quite a purple, but it’s also not really a pink. This is the only shade I felt you could get away with just two coats on (which is what is pictured), and this also applied better than the other three.

All four colors are absolutely lovely–very fun and summery without being bright or neon. They’re playful, and I think they’ll be particularly pretty on toes. My only problem with the collection came with the formula. While definitely workable and worth working with, it’s a little on the watery/runny side, which made it a little more difficult to apply than I’d like. Because of the runny consistency, the polish has a tendency to apply streaky, necessitating three coats in most instances.

It’s not impossible or even that difficult to get a smooth, even look, it’s just a definite issue from the formula. I found that laying down a thin, streaky-as-all-get-out coat, and then building up with a slightly thicker second and third coat, produced the best results. Oh! and don’t forget to let each coat dry a bit before layering the next on top, totally crucial step with these. I think for those who have more than fifty polishes to their name won’t find these all that troublesome to work with. The formula is okay but not great; you can get good results, but you have to be patient.

Are you loving any of these shades?

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  I love the colors of the shades included in this launch but the formula is just okay, so if there’s a color that you absolutely love, it’s definitely worth picking up, but if it doesn’t leave you breathless, skip it.

Availability: Essie

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Chanel Les Pop-up de Chanel Collection
Chanel Le Vernis:
Mistral (517), Riviera (537)

Chanel Les Pop-Up de Chanel:  Mistral & Riviera

Along with Nouvelle Vague, which I reviewed last week, Chanel launched two other shades of lacquer ($23) in their Les Pop-Up de Chanel Collection.

I bought these at my local Chanel counter (in Nordstrom) today, so if your Chanel counter hasn’t gotten stock in yet, I imagine it should be soon–I had done a pre-sale on these, so my favorite Chanel artist gave me a call when these were in (funny enough, her name is also Christine!). She said they only got fifteen Nouvelle Vagues in! Unfortunate for my pocketbook, along with my Chanel items, I also bought just as much in headbands… including one that matches Nouvelle Vague!! I couldn’t resist! Anyway…

  • Mistral is a baby petal pink with champagne micro-glitter It goes opaque in three coats and looks kind of squishy on. I had no issues applying this shade–standard fair for Chanel in my experience.
  • Riviera is a darkened bright pink cream. It’s opaque in two coats, though I swatched it with three. It was easy to apply and looked flawless on.

Neither Mistral nor Riviera is as eye-catching (or unique) as Nouvelle Vague, which I fully expect to sell out and see on eBay for triple digits at some point. I don’t have previous nail shades memorized, but I’m sure you could dupe Mistral or Riviera without too much trouble–hopefully our lovely nail fanatics can chime in with their dupe recommendations! That’s not to say that these aren’t fun, feminine shades, because they are, but typically when I shell out $23 for a Chanel polish, I do so for the uniqueness of the shade!

By the by, I actually asked both my parents (who are so not beauty mavens!) if they could tell the difference between the $3 and $23 polishes (China Glaze For Audrey vs. Chanel Nouvelle Vague), and they both immediately pointed out the Chanel-shaded fingers as the $23 one. My boyfriend, on the other hand, was boggled by it, because he couldn’t, even after scrutinizing!

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Nouvelle Vague is the most unique shade of the bunch, even if it similar to China Glaze’s For Audrey. Mistral and Riviera are pretty and have no formulation issues, but they’re less “ooh!” shades.

Availability: May 2010

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →