Thursday, January 6th, 2011


China Glaze Anchors Away Collection

China Glaze Anchors Away: Part 2

China Glaze’s nautical-inspired collection consists of twelve new shades, and this post features these six: Lighthouse (multi-dimensional bright yellow glass speck), Pelican Grey (high shine, cool toned grey creme), Sea Spray (calming pale blue creme), Starboard (hip and playful green creme), Sunset Sail (delightful peachy pink high shine creme), and White Cap (whimsical and sparkling multi-dimensional white).

  • Lighthouse is a bright, sunshine yellow gold with flecks of metallic gold sparkle. This shade just seems so fun and positive, and it’s gold, which means I’m all over it. I used two coats, and there was some nail line showing, so I think a third would make it opaque. It is a richer, more vibrant version of Cowardly Lyin’–well, that is the closest dupe I could come up with, and I wouldn’t say they’re that similar.
  • Pelican Grey is a soft, cool-toned gray with very faint white micro-shimmer. It is slightly bluer (and has shimmer) than Zoya’s Dove. I used two coats.
  • Sea Spray is a pale baby blue cream with silvery-blue micro-shimmer. I used two coats. I couldn’t think of a dupe for this one.
  • Starboard is a brightened grass green cream with a shiny dry down. I used two coats. It’s kind of like Four Leaf Clover–but with a yellow base (which makes them quite distinguishable from each other).
  • Sunset Sail is a warmed up, peach beige with soft beige micro-sparkle. I used two coats. It reminded me a bit of China Glaze III–lighter and more opaque.
  • White Cap is a gold-tinged white shimmer-glitter. It doesn’t go on opaque, and it actually reminded me a lot of Chanel Pearl Drop, but obviously the finishes are entirely different.

Though the formula on these seemed to be a bit thicker than average for China Glaze, application was still even and smooth. I ended up with at least two coats on all of these, though some I did three with. China Glaze is one of my personal favorite brands, because of their color and finish range–I really feel like they bring out a little something for everyone in each of their seasonal collections. China Glaze polishes last a good week on me with just minor tip wear by day seven.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: From thee six, my favorites were Lighthouse and Starboard, but I also found both of the more subdued shades like Pelican Grey and Sea Spray a refreshing change from the vamps of fall and winter.

WHERE TO BUY: January/February 2011

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Thursday, January 6th, 2011


China Glaze Anchors Away Collection

China Glaze Anchors Away: Part 1

China Glaze’s nautical-inspired collection consists of twelve new shades, and this post features these six:  Ahoy! (delightfully intense pink that flashes with reflective glitter), Below Deck (flirty mix of taupe and violet), First Mate (sophisticated and rich navy creme), Hey Sailor (vibrant creme red), Knotty (micro-particle beige shimmer), and Life Preserver (highly pigmented and luxurious poppy creme).

Edited @ 7:12 AM PST:  Hey Sailor images should show now!

  • Ahoy! is raspberry pink with flecks of subtle gold and ruby sparkle. In the promo photos, this shade looked a lot like Strawberry Fields, but Ahoy! is much, much darker; redder, too, and the gold is less noticeable. I used three coats.
  • Below Deck is a grayed mauve with a cream finish. I used two coats. It is a shade darker and more neutral than MAC Cool Reserve.
  • First Mate is a rich, luxurious navy blue cream. I did two coats, but you could almost get away with one–it’s that pigmented. I would compare First Mate to Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Dead Calm, which is perhaps only a smidgen darker.
  • Hey Sailor is a poppy red cream with lovely pigmentation. Like First Mate, one coat is nearly pigmented enough, though I did two. Zoya’s Maura is similar, slightly less red, though.
  • Knotty is a pale, yellowed, champagne beige with light champagne shimmer. With three coats, there is still some nail line showing, but I get the feeling this wasn’t designed to be 100% opaque. Not quite sure of a dupe for this one, though I wouldn’t go as far as saying this is unique, either.
  • Life Preserver is a brightened, rusted orange cream. I used two coats for an opaque result. I couldn’t think of just the right dupe for this shade–the rusted/burnt feeling makes it seem different compared to other orange creams I own.

Though the formula on these seemed to be a bit thicker than average for China Glaze, application was still even and smooth. I ended up with at least two coats on all of these, though some I did three with. China Glaze is one of my personal favorite brands, because of their color and finish range–I really feel like they bring out a little something for everyone in each of their seasonal collections. China Glaze polishes last a good week on me with just minor tip wear by day seven.

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: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: From this set, I really loved Ahoy! and First Mate–they’re bold, beautiful on, and apply flawlessly.

WHERE TO BUY: January/February 2011

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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Estee Lauder Wild Storm Nail Lacquer
Estee Lauder Wild Storm Nail Lacquer

Estee Lauder Spring 2011: Wild Storm

Estee Lauder Wild Storm Nail Lacquer ($19.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is a steely gray with a hint of bluish-teal micro-shimmer with a faint metallic-frost finish. The blue-tinge is very subtle–it’s more noticeable in the bottle than it is on the hands. The blue comes out strongest in natural light (or low light), but it is there. I only need two coats for an opaque result, and it applied smoothly and fairly evenly, despite minor brushstrokes showing up under flash lighting.

I was initially reminded of Chanel Steel, but it’s nothing like it–it is far too black to be similar. Then, I thought perhaps it was in the same vein as Chanel Black Pearl, but Black Pearl is much more teal–not so much silver or blue. It is like a darker version of NARS Full Metal Jacket. It is also like Zoya Kelly–with shimmer.

The formula itself wasn’t too thick or thin and applied smoothly without any issues. Drying time seemed average, and there was a soft glossy shine, but I’d still recommend a top coat. The amount in the bottle is a little below average, I’d say, while the price tag is a bit hefty.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: While I’ve been really impressed with the uniqueness in some of Estee Lauder’s polishes lately, Wild Storm doesn’t quite hit those notes for me.

WHERE TO BUY: Estee Lauder

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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011


Zoya Intimate Collection: Caitlin, Dannii, Dove

Zoya Intimate Collection Review, Photos, Swatches

Zoya’s Intimate Collection features six new shades for spring, and it will launch online on January 15th. Each bottle retails for $7 and contains 0.50 fl. oz. The shades include: Caitlin (misty, moody gray violet cream), Dannii (sparkling, enchanted orchid metallic), Dove (delicate, pale gray cream), Gemma (mysterious green/purple duotone metallic, Jules (soft, glimmering gold kiss metallic), and Marley (lavender pink with a whisper of metallic).

  • Caitlin is a muted, gray, violet-tinged periwinkle with a cream finish. I used two coats. I’m thinking China Glaze Secret Periwinkle might be similar but brighter/more obvious periwinkle.
  • Dannii is a pinked violet with red undertones and gold and ruby shimmer and sparkle. I used two coats. I can’t think of dupes for this one at the moment.
  • Dove is a softened, pale gray with an ever-so-slight tinge of green-teal (at least, on me). I used two coats. It seems like a lighter version of Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Concrete Jungle.
  • Gemma is a murky spring green with soft yellow undertones and flecks of teal and fuchsia shimmer. It took three coats for me to get this to be opaque (I did just two coats on my pointer figure, for reference). I couldn’t think of a dupe for this one.
  • Jules is a pale champagne beige gold with darker gold flecks. This dries down pretty quickly and definitely needs a top coat to retain a high shine finish. I used two coats. It reminded me of MAC Soiree, but Soiree is significantly more copper, though the finishes are similar. Also similar in finish to Dior Timeless Gold but not so much in regards to color (boo!).
  • Marley is a pale lavender cream with subtle pink undertones and a dusting of pearly white micro-shimmer. Two coats. Ironically, for as light as this shade was, it was the most pigmented of all six. I thought perhaps China Glaze Light As Air would be similar, but it’s far too cool-toned (more blue-based thank pink-based) and lighter. I think Essie’s Neo Whimsical is the closest I have, but it’s pinker and has no shimmer.

The formula on these was easy to work with–not too thin or too thick–and applied evenly without any fuss.  Gemma was the only shade I found needed three coats to look its best, while the rest were fine in two coats.  I really loved the ease of application on both Dannii and Jules–this is my kind of finish but they’re just so effortless to apply.   I wore Dannii all last week, and after seven days, I only had minor tip wear.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: My favorites were Dannii, Jules, and Marley.  I actually really loved the subtly of the pearly shimmer in Marley; it looks very much like a cream in natural light, but with just a bit of sunlight, it has this faint glimmer of sparkle.

WHERE TO BUY: Zoya, available on January 15th.

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Tuesday, December 28th, 2010


Dior Czarina Gold Nail Lacquer

Hard to Find: Dior Czarina Gold Nail Lacquer

Dior Czarina Gold Nail Lacquer ($21.00 for 0.33 fl. oz.) is a deep, dark molten chocolate brown with flecks of green, antique gold, and gold shimmer. The shimmer comes in various sizes, so it has more depth and interest in the color. Two coats was perfect, though it was almost opaque in just one pass. Dior polish wears a full week on me (with a base/top coat) with minimal tip wear. The closest dupe I can come up with is China Glaze’s Wagon Trail, which seems to have more uniformly sized shimmer.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I can see why this sold out–the quality is lovely, but the shade itself is gorgeous on both cool and warm skin tones, and the combination itself is very winter and holiday-esque without being the traditional bling-tastic gold.

WHERE TO BUY: Dior Counters… if they have any in stock

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Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Chanel Peche Nacree Le Vernis
Chanel Peche Nacree Le Vernis

Chanel Spring 2011: Peche Nacree

Chanel Peche Nacree Le Vernis Nail Colour ($23.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.) is a medium-dark peach with pale white peach micro-shimmer strewn through it. It has a frost-metallic finish, so there are some visible brush strokes when under bright light.  It’s opaque in two coats, despite being a lighter shade.

CHANEL LE VERNIS is a pricey product that often comes out with more unique shades (that are later replicated by other brands). The originality or amount of depth in their shades is what often pulls me towards them. Overall, I’ve had good luck with the formula and wear. The formula tends to be on the thicker side but not so thick it’s gloppy, while I typically get a full week’s worth of wear (and just minor tip wear).

Peche Nacree is peachier and darker than Chanel Django. It is also rather similar to MAC’s Seasonal Peach, actually–just the finish is different and it is less pink.  I found two coats to be perfect for color opacity and general look and feel.  The brush strokes in this shade are less noticeable than in Black Pearl but more than Pearl Drop.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s warm without being yellow orange, so it should suit both warm and cooler skin tones. I imagine it will lean pinker against cooler, pinker toned skin, than the warmer peach it is against my warmer skin tone.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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