Monday, March 29th, 2010

Urban Decay Summer of Love Nail Kit

Summer of Nails with Urban Decay

Urban Decay Summer of Love Nail Kit ($28.00) includes seven miniature-sized bottles of nail polish in summery shades. Each bottle contains 5ml/0.17 fl. oz. of product in it.

  • Shine On is a brightened bronze with gilded bronze shimmer. You can see a few brush strokes in this one, but they’re not too bad. I found the formula on this one to be a little goop-y but watery. You can’t rush this one — you have to let it dry quite a bit between coats. I found three were necessary for overall smoothness and color.
  • Woodstock is a bright neon pink. Like most neons, it’ll dry on the matte side, but a shiny top coat like Seche Vite will give it a glossy look. This went opaque in two coats, and it was a fuss-free formula.
  • Love Light is a sheer champagne shimmer. Even with three coats, you’ll still see the nail beneath it, but there’s plenty of shimmer here. The formula is sheer but easy to work with.
  • Hashbury is a magenta-fuchsia purple. It has a lot of red in it, and in the light, it looks much lighter than it does in the dark (where it looks more like an eggplant-y purple). Compared to the other two shimmery/metallic shades like Shine On and Aquarius, this one was easy to use and was just a bit on the runny side but not difficult to work with.
  • Magic Bus is a darkened neon orange. It’s like construction cone orange to me. Like Woodstock, it has a very smooth, easy to use formula that applies opaque in two coats.
  • Aquarius is a metallic-y aqua blue with teal sheen/shimmer. This one is both a pain to photograph and apply. It applies sheerly, so you need at least three coats for an opaque look. The problem with the formula is that it’s both goop-y and watery — it’s difficult to get enough for a thin coat, because if you do a medium-thick or thick coat, you’ll end up with goop-y looking nails (see my index finger in the swatch) that looks terrible. This was the problem child of the bunch for sure. Like Shine On, make sure you give each coat time to dry.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a neon coral-red. Again, like the other two neons (Woodstock and Magic Bus) in this kit, Psychedelic Sister applies smoothly and evenly without any work.

Three of the seven shades have an excellent formula–Woodstock, Magic Bus, and Psychedelic Sister–while three aren’t so hot–Shine On, Hashbury, and Aquarius. Love Light was neither excellent nor problematic; it just was, you know? Shine On and Hashbury weren’t too bad, but the formulas had a bit of a goop-y yet watery feel to them. Aquarius had this issue, but it also showed brush strokes the most and required nearly four coats to look right. With my larger hands, I found the tiny bottles harder to work with (I felt like I had meathooks!), but I was able to get used to that pretty quickly so it wasn’t a huge issue.

I like that it comes in a cute little bag that you can reuse later on for whatever makeup essentials you might want to put in it. It’ll fit your 24/7 Eyeliners, a few eyeshadows, glosses, and a blush. It’s not huge, but it has enough space for an overnight adventure.

If it was just the neons, these would be an A! Unfortunately, the metallic shades are harder to work with, and between Shine On and Aquarius, they have more of a low-B/mid-C formula, respectively, to me.  The kit, in total, is thus somewhere in between–just to clarify how everything came together.  I didn’t feel that comfortable rating it as a whole, just because some were great, some weren’t so great!

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love trying lots of shades at once, this nail kit is a great way to grab some metallics and neons without breaking the bank. If you don’t mind a little patience, the metallics are workable, while the neons apply like a dream.

Availability: UrbanDecay.com on March 30th

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Essie Spring Collection
Top row: Red Nouveau, Tart Deco, Van D’Go
Bottom row: Pop Art Pink, Neo Whimsical, Lilacism

Spring for Pastels for Your Nails

Essie’s The Art of Spring Collection is a pretty-in-pastel six shade launch.  They’re a nice bunch of colors that give you some color on your nails without being too bold, so they may work nicely for those who need to have more office-appropriate nails.

  • Red Nouveau is a brightened red cream. It’s pretty, but it’s a shade we’ve seen before. It applies beautifully, though — very smooth, even, and nearly opaque in just one coat.
  • Tart Deco is a peached coral cream. The formula was easy to work with, surprisingly. Though I’m wearing three coats in the swatch, you really only needed two for an opaque finish. The shade itself isn’t too thick, but it is on the thicker side, and I didn’t have any issues with streakiness.
  • Van D’go is a lightened, milky pink with a peach cream finish. It took two coats to get an opaque look, but I went with three for swatching purposes. Like Tart Deco, the polish was thick but not overly so, and I didn’t encounter any streakiness with this shade either.
  • Pop Art Pink is a milky, jelly baby pink. Even though I don’t do sheers often, this shade is exceptional because you can layer it with three coats for a near opaque finish. One coat will get you that softly pink-tinted look that’s cute and feminine without being bold.
  • Neo Whimsical is a light lavender cream with a pink tint. I found this shade to be on the runny side, but three coats get you opaque color.
  • Lilacism is a cool-toned lilac cream with blue undertones. This gave fairly opaque color with two coats, but I swatched it with three just to be sure. Like Neo Whimsical, Lilacism is a little on the more watery side, but it’s not a big deal, because it dries about average and still gives solid results.

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: If you love pastel creams, you may want to take a look at Essie’s spring collection. If, on the other hand, you’re not so into pastels or creamy finishes, this is not the collection for you. It’s an almost romantic collection with the color palette, which makes it very fitting for spring.

Availability: Essie

See more photos! Continue reading →

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Milani Holographic Nail Lacquer
Milani Holographic Nail Lacquers: Hi-Tech, digital, Cyberspace;
HD, 3D, Hi-Res

Milani Holographic Nail Lacquers for Spring

Milani Holographic Nail Lacquer ($4.99 each) really caught my eye after I reviewed Hi-Tech. Here are all of the new shades for Spring swatched and photographed–and still loving them! The formula on these is thin, but it’s not runny–it works quite well and it’s very easy to apply. I did three coats for all the shades, which was just what was needed (except 3D, where two would have been fine). These are just fun, sparkling shades! :)

  • Hi-Tech is spring-y, yellow-green with different flecks of, predominantly, gold and green shimmer.
  • Digital is a sparkling medium pink with multi-colored shimmer. Pink and purplish shimmer dominate, but then there are flecks of gold and green, too.
  • Cyberspace is a sky blue base with green blue shimmer that’s most noticeable, and then the reflective multi-colored shimmer is subtler.
  • HD is a silver-ish polish with a semi-sheer silver color base and lots of bright silver and multi-reflective shimmer. I found this was the sheerest shade of the bunch; pictured is three coats, and you can still see a bit of the nail through it.
  • 3D is a yellow-gold that goes opaque in two coats, though I swatched it with three, just for good measure. It has brightened golden yellow shimmer along with the multi-coloured shimmer found in holographic shades.
  • Hi-Res is a shimmering medium red-based purple base, almost feels like a jelly base, with icy purple and pops of gold shimmer dominate, but then there is also red, blue, and green shimmer underneath.

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: Love glittery, holographic polish? Check out the new shades by Milani!

Availability: Local drugstores, Milani

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

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.

See more photos and swatches! Continue reading →

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?

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

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

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Page 119 of 135« First117118119120121Last »