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!

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  • 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.

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Saturday, January 30th, 2010


Palm Springs, Cotton, Manila
Office, Peacock, Mouse
Factory Grey, Hassid

American Apparel:  Nail Lacquer, Part 2

Make sure you check out part 1 for my full review + details on the AA packaging voluntary recall.

Again, the nail lacquer is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. Each bottle retails for $6 or you can purchase a three-pack for $15. They’re currently sold exclusively in American Apparel store locations and online at americanapparel.com (expect them to be back online in a week or two).

The formula is long-wearing, easy to use, and richly pigment.  All the characteristics I look for in my nail polish!

  • Palm Springs is a soft peach cream. This one reminded me of a lightly more muted China Glaze Peachy Keen.
  • Cotton is a slightly yellowed white. I found this to be the worst of the fourteen shades — it was a little runny and it would take at least three solid coats to go opaque.  It’s not super difficult to work with, but it wasn’t stellar like the rest.
  • Manila is a bright goldenrod yellow. It’s not quite traffic-stopping yellow, but it’s not totally goldenrod either. Two coats was good on this one.
  • Office is a pale minty green Cream. I actually really liked this shade a lot, definitely a favorite out of the bunch. I found two coats was perfect for this shade.
  • Peacock is a dusty medium-deep blue. It’s kind of like a muted ocean blue, because it’s not ultra vibrant, but it still has plenty of color in two coats.
  • Mouse is a taupe-gray cream. It reminded me of Chanel’s Particuliere and OPI You Don’t Know Jacques.
  • Factory Grey is a purple-toned gray cream. It was opaque in just two coats.
  • Hassid is a rich, inky black. Super black. This looks so stunning with an ultra glossy top coat on it, too. Opaque in two coats, like the majority of these shades.

Out of the shades I tried, my favorites were Berry, Hassid, Mouse, Office, Palm Springs, and Peacock.   My top three would be Hassid, Office, and Peacock.

Which are your favorites? Any you gotta have?

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love cream finish polishes, you may find American Apparel polishes a nice surprise!

Availability: americanapparel.com

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Saturday, January 30th, 2010


Pinto, Berry, Downtown LA
Poppy, Rose Bowl, Coney Island

American Apparel:  Nail Lacquers, Part 1

American Apparel launched eighteen shades of cream nail lacquers. I’ll be showing you fourteen of the eighteen shades (all but Dynasty, Hunter, Mount Royal, and Passport Blue) spread over two posts (there are forty-two photos–too many for one post!).

NOTE, American Apparel has recalled all bottles of their nail lacquer due to a defect in the packaging itself — the glass is prone to breaking, so the brand has done a voluntary recall so that they can rollout a second run with safer, more durable packaging. There is nothing wrong with the formula itself. American Apparel is offering customers the following: bring in your old bottle or a receipt and receive two new bottles or a $10 gift card. They expect to roll out the new and improved bottles in the next week or two.

The nail lacquer is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. Each bottle retails for $6 or you can purchase a three-pack for $15. They’re currently sold exclusively in American Apparel store locations and online at americanapparel.com (expect them to be back online in a week or two).

The formula is really good, actually. I wasn’t quite sure how an apparel brand was going to do polish, but they did an exceptional job designing a formula that is richly pigmented, easy to apply, and wears beautifully.

Even without a base, I experienced no chipping over four days and only minor tip wear. With a base, no chipping, minor tip wear, and it looked nice and glossy with a top coat of Seche Vite. All of the shades are cream finishes and, overall, have a nice consistency that’s thick enough to get bold color with just one coat, but not so thick that it’s goopy. Each shade, without a top coat, has a lightly glossy finish, but they all look better with a nice and shiny top coat (I like Seche Vite with these).

  • Pinto is a reddened brown cream. It goes on opaque in just two coats.
  • Berry is a deep raspberry-burgundy cream that goes on opaque in really just one coat, but I did two just ’cause.
  • Downtown LA is a bright orange-based red cream. I’m sure this one is dupe-able, but it has a great formula and consistency. It’s surprisingly orange-based without being flat out orange.
  • Poppy is a bright orange cream. It’s not quite neon orange, but it gets pretty close. It has just a smidgen in red in it that keeps it from being neon, I’d say. You only really need one medium-thick coat to get good opacity, but I did two.
  • Rose Bowl is a pretty, played-down yellow-based pink. It’s muted and paled a bit, but it’s not boring. This is one of those easy-to-wear more neutral shades. It found two coats was perfect to get the right color and thickness.
  • Coney Island is a light, airy cotton candy pink. It’s definitely a cool-toned, blue-based pink, so warm skin tones may find it a little hard to wear. I found two coats was almost enough, but three would get you totally opaque. I found my Coney Island seemed a little thinner in consistency than the majority of the American Apparel polishes, as well.

Any of these catch your eye?

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love cream finish polishes, you may find American Apparel polishes a nice surprise!

Availability: AmericanApparel.com

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

SpaRitual Believe Collection
SpaRitual Nail Lacquers: I am the Light, Yes, I Can, Hope Springs Eternal

SpaRitual Believe Collection for Spring 2010

For spring, SpaRitual has created a collection of six shades: Yes, I Can (leafy green creme), I Believe in You (poppy orange creme), Hope Springs Eternal (hot pink shimmer), Spread Your Wings (pomegranate creme), Shoot for the Stars (purple creme), I am the Light (lavender creme).

Each shade comes with a unique charm that dangles from the bottle with “an inspiring mantra,” like Yes, I Can comes with the charm “I Can.” This collection of nail lacquers will be available February 2010 at fine salons and spas nationwide, as well as skinstore.com. Each bottle retails for $10.00.

  • I am the Light is a cool-toned lilac. It’s very spring-y! It has a cream finish and goes opaque in just two medium-thick coats. The formula gave me no issues when I applied it, which was surprising (I’m not always so good at applying cream polishes!).
  • Yes, I Can is a rich, grassy green cream. Like I am the Light, it goes opaque in two solid coats. I don’t think I own any greens like this in my own stash, so it’s a nice addition.
  • Hope Springs Eternal is a bright, shimmery pink-coral that flashes fuchsia-pink in some light. It has an almost chrome finish to it, though it’s definitely not a full-on chrome. I had some brushstrokes, but I think with a more patient hand, you could get it to look pretty smooth. This formula was easy to apply and went opaque in two coats.

Are you digging any of these shades?

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

Recommendation: For some fun shades for spring, SpaRitual gives you six you just might not be expecting.

Availability: skinstore.com

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Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Barielle Wildflower Collection for Spring 2010

Barielle’s Spring collection is called Wildflower and consists of six spring-y shades.  All but Snap Dragon apply pretty well, with Blossom being a little goopy but manageable.  Daring Dahlia and A Bouquet for Ava had the best application–very smooth, pigmented, and perfect consistency.  My favorites were Daring Dahlia (the way the fuchsia shimmer sparkles is gorgeous!) and June Bug (so different!), but I also really liked Myrza’s Meadow, too.  Snap Dragon was my least favorite from the runny consistency to the way brush strokes are really apparent.

Each bottle retails for $8 a pop and is available through barielle.com (though I swear, I only saw Daring Dahlia there at present). By the way, 100% of the proceeds from A Bouquet for Ava, June Bug and Myrza’s Meadow purchased at OCRF.org will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund!

  • Daring Dahlia is a bright hot pink with fuchsia micro-shimmer. This one had a phenomenal texture and feel–it applied nearly opaque in just one coat and was a dream to apply.
  • Blossom is a creamy, bright orange-peach. It’s not neon, but it’s not tame either. This one I had a little trouble with the application; definitely need to use thinner coats initially. It went opaque in two coats, though.
  • Myrza’s Meadow is definitely one of the standouts of the collection. It’s almost like a soft, pastel pickle green with particle glitter spread throughout a creamy base. Application was good on this, though I should have used thinner coats (went a lil’ thick!). Two coats was good, but a third coat was perfect.
  • Snap Dragon is a metallic grassy green. I just don’t dig metallic/chrome kind of finishes, because dealing with the visible brush strokes is a pain in the butt. I wasn’t loving how this applied (a little runny), so this was my least favorite shade of the six.
  • A Bouquet for Ava is a beautiful shade of slightly darkened sky blue. It’s a creamy shade and goes opaque in one coat, though I did two for good measure. Application was perfect with this one.
  • June Bug is a periwinkle blue with an iridescent teal-blue shimmer-sheen with small red glitter. I loved this one, because it’s completely unlike anything I have already. It has the same finish and look/feel as Myrza’s Meadow, but it’s more exciting, because the contrast is greater. Application was good on this one as well.

Which are you favorites? Are you going to grab any of ‘em?

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