Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow
Illamasqua Stance Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Stance Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Stance Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “fuchsia violet with a glossy finish.” It’s a rich, vibrant magenta with a near-neon brightness. The closest shade I could think of was Urban Decay Miss T, which is very close but has shimmer and a touch pinker. The next closest would be China Glaze Senorita Bonita, which is much darker, purpler, and has shimmer. Illamasqua Obsess is pinker, less purple. Deborah Lippmann Makin’ Whoopee is more fuchsia.

It’s opaque in two coats, and it does dry down to a semi-glossy finish. For a really high-shine result, I’d still recommend using a top coat.  The formula was a little thinner than other shades I’ve tried from Illamasqua, though I would not describe it as thin.  It was neither thick nor thin, so I didn’t have any trouble applying the color to the nails.  I didn’t experience any bubbling, pooling, or streaking, and Stance applied evenly and fluidly across each nail.  If you’re more used to Illamasqua being closer to a one-coater, you may find this one seems less pigmented, but it’s definitely opaque after two coats.

Illamasqua’s formula always yields impeccable wear for me; it’s one of the longest-wearing polishes.  I can wear a shade for ten days without a single chip and very minor tip wear.  I so often reach for an Illamasqua hue before traveling, because I know it will hold up to all the demands of a trip!

The Glossover

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Stance

A+
I didn't experience any bubbling, pooling, or streaking, and Stance applied evenly and fluidly across each nail. If you're more used to Illamasqua being closer to a one-coater, you may find this one seems less pigmented, but it's definitely opaque after two coats. Illamasqua's formula always yields impeccable wear for me; it's one of the longest-wearing polishes.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

NARS Kutki Nail Lacquer
NARS Kutki Nail Lacquer

NARS Kutki Nail Lacquer

Thakoon for NARS will debut on May 1st at NARS’ website, and the collection features six shades.   NARS Kutki Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “powder blue.” It’s a pale, pastel sky blue–a little more muted than the perfect sky blue, I’d say–it does have a powdery/dusty quality to it. Nubar Blue Hydrangea is a richer blue, less white in its base. Chanel Riva is very similar in color, but it is more translucent and has shimmer.

Kutki is mostly opaque after two coats, but it is streaky, and even after two coats, it’s still noticeable in places, so I would recommend a third coat or ensuring your second coat was on the thicker side.  For me, it was one of the worst performers in the six-shade collection.  The consistency was just a smidgen on the thicker side, but I wouldn’t describe as thick.  It flowed easily across the nail and didn’t pool–just streaked.  The drying time was about average.  NARS nail polishes typically last a week on my nails with minor tip wear but no chipping.

The Glossover

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Kutki

B+
If you don't mind the streakiness of such a pale shade (it's not uncommon), you may enjoy Kutki. Once you even out the streakiness, it is lovely on the nails, but it will require a little more patience to apply.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Guerlain Riviera Terracotta Vernis
Guerlain Riviera Terracotta Vernis

Guerlain Riviera Terracotta Vernis

Guerlain Riviera Terracotta Vernis ($22.00 for 0.38 fl. oz.) is described as a “powerful electric indigo blue with subtly metallic finish.” It’s a rich, blue-based purple with threads of lighter violet metallic shimmer. SpaRitual Blue Moon is deeper, bluer, and not metallic. Essie Smooth Sailing is lighter, more periwinkle. SpaRitual Illume has a jelly-like finish, no shimmer.

Guerlain by Emilio Pucci is supposed to launch two shades of nail lacquers (officially, “Terracotta Vernis”). I didn’t see them online yet, except at The Bay (Canadian retailer), even though much of the collection has launched at Sephora. I haven’t seen Guerlain do polish before, though a quick Google search will show that they definitely have. It comes in a cylindrical glass bottle with a “wood” cap (matches the rest of the aesthetic for the launch). It’s actually pretty simple in design.

It was opaque in two coats, but the formula itself was a wee bit thick, though manageable on the nail. It does show brush strokes, as metallic finishes often do, which may or may not appeal to you.  The drying time was also a little on the longer side, probably because of the thicker consistency.  Since I’ve never used Guerlain’s polish before, I wore this on one hand for a week to test out the wear, and I didn’t have any trouble with chipping–just minor tip wear. I will say that no formulas, generally speaking, chip on me.  For the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with wearing a few formulas without a base or top coat, and I don’t experience chipping then (always testing for seven days).  I’m by no means gentle on my nails; I’ll dig at things and use them as tools whenever the need arises!

The Glossover

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Riviera

B+
The brush strokes are a bit heavy, and the thicker consistency seems to make it more difficult to get them straightened out, so they look even more obvious--worse because they're wonky.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Tom Ford Burnt Topaz Nail Lacquer
Tom Ford Burnt Topaz Nail Lacquer

Tom Ford Burnt Topaz Nail Lacquer ($30.00 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is a warm bronze with orange undertones and threads of metallic copper shimmer. It’s mostly opaque after two coats. China Glaze Mahogany Magic has a similar undertone but looks rather different otherwise. NARS King Kong is much redder. China Glaze Goin’ My Way is a bit darker.

There was a tendency for it to pull a bit, which I suspect is due partially to the longer drying time. Not much longer than average to me, but the formula is less forgiving if you’re trying to get your swatches done! Because it has a metallic finish, brush strokes are definitely present and noticeable, though they’re subtler than you’ll typically find in this type of finish. The formula wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it applied decently, but it could have gone on a bit smoother.  It also did this weird thing where it seemed to recede from the edge of the tips of my nails.

I wore this shade to test wear (I’ve tested the wear of the cream finishes, but not of the metallic ones), and it lasted seven days without any chipping and had minor tip wear–just keep in mind that I can’t remember the last formula that did chip on me other than matte polish.

The Glossover

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Burnt Topaz

B+

It's a so-so formula, but the color is pretty and if you're a fan of metallic finishes and prefer less brush strokes, you may find it worth dealing with. At this price point, I'd expect a better formula and more color coverage at two coats.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Cult Nails Enticing Nail Lacquer
Cult Nails Enticing Nail Lacquer

Cult Nails Enticing Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “very sheer pale milky pink.” It’s also supposed to be “buidlable to an almost opaque finish.” It’s a soft pale pink with subtle yellow undertones. It’s semi-opaque after two coats with a hint of visible nail line. There’s also an incredibly fine white shimmer that almost disappears in natural light. I don’t have an extensive collection of sheerer shades, but my first instict would be to look in Essie’s catalog of colors. Essie French Affair is darker, cooler-toned. Nubar Pink Lily is a little starker, because it’s opaque, but the colors are quite close, though Pink Lily is a cream finish. China Glaze Encouragement is also similar–to me this is the closest–and the major difference is this has larger shimmer. China Glaze Something Sweet is a bit darker and is a cream finish.

For sheer color, just one coat is appropriate, and if you want a little more color, two coats is appropriate.  I imagine you could get to fully opaque color with a third coat, but I think the formula is just a little thicker, so three coats is where you may start to feel the thickness.  There’s a subtle yellow undertone running through it, so it has a very soft, romantic edge to it and should work on both cool and warmer complexions.  It’s a nice shade for springtime as well as for those seeking work-friendly colors.  Cult Nails’ formula typically wears a full week without chipping and has only very minor tip wear.

The Glossover

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Enticing

A
There's a subtle yellow undertone running through it, so it has a very soft, romantic edge to it and should work on both cool and warmer complexions.  It's a nice shade for springtime as well as for those seeking work-friendly colors.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Friday, April 20th, 2012

Cult Nails Manipulative Nail Lacquer
Cult Nails Manipulative Nail Lacquer

Cult Nails Manipulative Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as an “opaque pale blue with a hint of green” with a cream finish and subtle shimmer. It’s a dusty aqua blue with bluish-white shimmer. It really does hide in certain light, but with enough light, the shimmer is noticeable. OCC Pool Boy is similar but brighter, more vibrant. Nubar Blue Hydrangea is bluer. It’s actually really cool to see Cult Nails put out shades that I haven’t seen on the market–it just seems more often than not they’re creating a shade that meets an unmet need (though I certainly haven’t seen every shade by every brand ever made, so there may be closer dupes out there).

It’s opaque in two coats, and the formula was absolutely flawless–not too thick or too thin, flowed fluidly across the nail, no drag, pull, or pooling to the edges. Cult Nails’ formulas tend to wear a full week on me with no chipping and very minor tip wear.  It’s a gorgeous color for summer; would look really lovely on toes for those days at the beach or at the swimming pool (I have a thing for aqua/blue-polished toes against a blue pool).

The Glossover

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product

Manipulative

A+
It's actually really cool to see Cult Nails put out shades that I haven't seen on the market--it just seems more often than not they're creating a shade that meets an unmet need.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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