Friday, October 15th, 2010

China Glaze Holiday 2010
Nail Lacquer: Jolly Holly, Peace on Earth, Jingle Bells

China Glaze Holiday 2010: Part 2

The next six shades consist of all shimmers with the exception of Show, which is a cream. I had the same experience formula-wise as I did with the first six; easy, even application. Most shades were two coats, though I did three for Snow and Frosty.   The consistency of these shades was on the thinner side, but it wasn’t watery or sheer. Each China Glaze retails for $3 to 4, depending on where you purchase yours from. I know the brand is carried at various etailers as well as Sally’s (not sure if it’s in store yet, though).

  • Jolly Holly is a darkened emerald green with lighter green shimmer. It’s a little warmer with finer shimmer than China Glaze’s Emerald Sparkle. Jolly Holly feels less emerald in comparison. Two coats.
  • Peace on Earth is a medium olive green with an almost chartreuse tone. It’s similar to NARS’ Mash, which has a little more olive in its base. Two coats.
  • Jingle Bells is a light champagne gold with golden microshimmer. This looks really lovely on, and the application is absolutely flawless. It reminded me of a less yellow/gold version of Chanel Gold Lame (which has a metallic finish, so they’re a bit different). Two coats.
  • Snow is a stark white cream. It was surprisingly easy to apply, though I needed three coats to even out a little streakiness I had towards the bottom of the nail (which was more owed to impatience during application). It’s like White Out for your nails but you know, looks better, applies better, and lasts longer. It does seem to have a blue-base to it. It’s a brighter version of MAC Vestral White (which is harder to apply). Three coats but it was opaque in two.
  • Frosty is a semi-sheer white base with silvery-white shimmer. There’s something about this that reminds me of wedding dresses. It almost has a purplish iridescent sheen. I don’t own many white-based polishes, so I don’t have any dupes for this one. Three coats.
  • Cheers to You is a silver foil. It just says shimmer, but it looks like a foil/mtallic, because of the high sheen and finish. Duri’s Celebrity Scandal and SpaRitual’s Looking Glass are both similar. Two coats.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Snow may not be a shade that’s easy to wear on its own, but it could be used to layer underneath other polishes or glitters. If NARS’ Mash seems too expensive for you, Peace on Earth is a nice affordable option.

AVAILABILITY: 8ty8beauty.com

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Friday, October 15th, 2010

China Glaze Holiday 2010
Nail Lacquer: Mommy Kissing Santa, Phat Santa, Ruby Deer

China Glaze Holiday 2010: Part 1

For the holidays, China Glaze has an impressive sixteen new shades for us. The first six I’m reviewing include three red-based shades as well as three cream finishes. I had no application issues with any of these six; they all applied quite easily for me–two coats needed for opaque color. The consistency of these shades was on the thinner side, but it wasn’t watery or sheer. Each China Glaze retails for $3 to 4, depending on where you purchase yours from. I know the brand is carried at various etailers as well as Sally’s (not sure if it’s in store yet, though).

  • Mommy Kissing Santa is a ruby red with matching shimmer. It almost has a metallic look but not quite. It’s a pretty red, but there’s a good chance you have something that seems similar in your stash. Zoya’s Karina is a little lighter and glitter rather than shimmer based; Two coats.
  • Phat Santa is a deepened red cream. It seems a touch lighter than Essie’s Limited Addiction. Two coats.
  • Ruby Deer is a brightened cherry red cream. It’s similar to Zoya’s Burke (less neutral red) and Essie’s Red Nouveau. Two coats.
  • Naughty and Nice is a blackened burgundy cream. The base color actually reminded me of China Glaze’s Mummy May I (which has glitter), also similar to Essie’s Velvet Voyeur (a bit redder in tone). Two coats.
  • Sugar Plums is a burgundy wine with flecks of darkened ruby micro-glitter. It does have a bumpy/gritty finish, so it needs a thicker top coat to look smooth. Two coats.
  • Little Drummer Boy is a rich navy blue with softened blue micro-shimmer. There’s something about this particular shade that has a lot of depth and character. I looked through my past nail swatches from the year, and I couldn’t find anything quite like it. Two coats.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I like Sugar Plums and Little Drummer Boy the most; the reds felt a little dupe-able, so whether they’re must-haves depends more on your personal stash.

AVAILABILITY: 8ty8beauty.com

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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

NARS Vintage Nail Polish
King Kong, Mash, Zulu, Midnight Express, Full Metal Jacket

NARS Vintage Nail Polishes see the re-release of five coveted NARS shades. As of late last night, Zulu was back in stock, actually, though it was sold out for a time. These are all limited edition, and each shade retails for $16.

  • King Kong is a orange-toned molten copper bronze with copper shimmer threaded through the base color. This was the most pigmented shade out of the five; I used two coats. This applied evenly and smoothly, and it didn’t show brushstrokes too much for a metallic finish.
  • Mash is a darkened olive green base with green and gold shimmer that warm it up. This was my favorite color out of the bunch. You’ll definitely need three coats, and some brushstrokes ended up showing for me, so be patient.
  • Zulu is a deep, dark blackened green jelly. It’s very inky and solid and virtually black in low lighting. In the sunlight, the green of its base is more apparent. You’ll need at least three coats, if not four, to get full, opaque color. I’d also recommend slightly thicker coats, because those thinner coats seem to cause some streaking.
  • Midnight Express is a deep, dark blackened navy. Just like Zulu, this shade is mostly black in low light and brightens up to its bluer form in sunlight. I did three coats, but you may find four better. The application for this shade was exactly the same as Zulu for me.
  • Full Metal Jacket is a bluish silvered gray with silver shimmer. It is the most metallic of the five, and it is incredibly prone to showing brushstrokes. Patience is key with these kinds of metallics–you want to minimize the pressure and the number of times you brush the polish on the nails. Three coats.

The application issues make me wary of recommending these. Part of me wants to tell you to scoop up any shades that catch your eye before they’re sold out or gone for good, but the other part of me just wants to say, well, they don’t seem super-freaking-awesome as some shades have been hyped up to be. (Zulu, I’m looking at you!) It can be fun own a piece of history, as it were, though, and with some patience and a steady hand, all of these shades are workable. Mash and King Kong were good, while the rest were decent, so they kind of balance out. What also saves these polishes is that they’re not easy to dupe, which makes them even more covetable.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t normally purchase $16 nail polish, these might not be the best ones to go for first. They’re not as easy to apply as your average nail polish. Also, if you can’t be fussed to be careful and wait between coats, you’ll probably have a poor experience with these.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Barielle Style in Argyle Collection
Barielle Nail Lacquer: Cashmere or Loose Me, Tight Knit, Cowl of the Wild

Barielle Goes Brown for Fall

For fall, Barielle’s Style in Argyle Collection is quite literally autumnal in tone. It’s a myriad of shades you’d see in fallen leaves. It includes six new shades: Cashmere or Loose Me (soft brown with copper pearl), Tight Knit (purple brown creme), Cowl of the Wild (mushroom taupe creme), Aura Angora (royal gold creme), Wool You Marry Me? (plum brown creme), and Unraveled Rust (burnt rust creme). All but Cashmere or Loose Me (soft brown with copper pearl) are creams. Each retails for $8.

  • Cashmere or Loose Me is a warmed-up red-toned medium brown with a soft sprinkle of pale gold shimmer. The shimmer is very subtle in the creamier base. Two coats.
  • Tight Knit is a rich, plum-tinged brown cream. You barely need two coats, because one coat is so rich, but I did two.
  • Cowl of the Wild is a medium-dark chocolate brown with a little taupe cream. Two coats.
  • Aura Angora is a yellow, mustard-y cream. Two coats. It’s darker and more orange-based than Butter London’s Bumster.
  • Wool You Marry Me? is a deep burgundied brown cream. This one was my favorite, because it looks very decadent in color. Two coats. This one reminded me a bit of Essie’s Sexy Divide.
  • Unraveled Rust is a rich, almost molten dark chocolate brown cream. Two coats.

Barielle’s formula is on the thicker side, though it applies very evenly and never streaks. I found all shades except Cashmere or Loose Me to be nearly opaque in one coat. I ended up using two coats for all colors, but the creams are quite pigmented. These felt like they took longer to dry than the average polish, and I think that might be due to the thickness of the polish itself.

Honestly, I don’t own many brown polishes for whatever reason, so I don’t have a full range of shades to pull from for dupes. Given that Essie does a lot of creams, you may want to look there first (assuming you have a large Essie stash, of course).

These are colors you may love or hate, and they’re not your typical shades, regardless of the coordination with the season. I’m kind of digging Aura Angora and like Wool You Marry Me? the best, but none of these shades are must-haves based on my color preferences.

Any of these shades catch your eye?

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: The formula is a little thick and takes a bit longer to dry, but the creams are incredibly pigmented and apply beautifully.

AVAILABILITY: Barielle

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Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Zoya Fire & Ice Collection
Zoya Nail Lacquer: Tiffany, Gloria, Crystal

Zoya Fire & Ice: Hot or Cold, It Works

For winter, Zoya has six new metallic shades: Tiffany (soft champagne sparkling metallic), Gloria (pink champagne sparkling metallic), Crystal (frosty blue sparkling metallic), Lisa (celebration red sparkling metallic), Sarah (possibly the prettiest sparkling red metallic ever!), and Valerie (deep purple baby in a sparkling metallic). You can purchase all six together for $40 or individual shades for $7 a pop. Not sure about a shade? Consider Zoya spoons, which cost $0.50 each, but the cost will be refunded in the form of a coupon that you can use on your next order.

  • Tiffany is a peach-copper color base with flecks of gold glitter pieces and peachy-pink shimmer. Two coats.
  • Gloria is a pinky-red jelly color base with flecks of shiny gold glitter and pink shimmer. Two coats.
  • Crystal is a medium sky blue foil with flecks of green-tinged gold glitter and light blue shimmer.
  • Lisa is a ruby red with pink-red shimmer. The bottle looks like there is gold shimmer in it, but I couldn’t detect it once applied. In the third natural light photo, you can see a little gold edging around the nail. Two coats.
  • Sarah is a deepend brown-tinged red base with pink and copper shimmer. It almost has a duochrome feel to it, but it’s very subtle. Two coats.
  • Valerie is a deep blackened burgundy color base with fuchsia-purple and copper-gold flecks of shimmer. I thought this was the most unique shade out of the collection. Two coats.

First and foremost, there is NO DUPE of MAC’s Bad Fairy. I’ve included swatch comparisons just to be absolutely clear about it, but Bad Fairy has a strong duochrome, while Zoya’s collection is more about a sparkling, metallic finish. Tiffany is incredibly peach in comparison, as well as lighter. Gloria has a very similar composition, but because it lacks the duochrome finish of Bad Fairy, it looks different on the nail; it is also less pink, more orange-red. I think the shade should stand on its own, rather than as a comparison to Bad Fairy.

Crystal and Valerie are my personal favorites out of the six; I think both shades are standouts. The way Zoya did a foil base with foil glitter flecks is fun, but I love that it’s a blue base with green-gold layered on top. I love duochrome polishes, and I don’t have anything like Valerie, so that makes it a winner in my book.

The formula was even, smooth, and not too thick or thin. Everything applied with ease, and I didn’t have any trouble removing them. The glittery shades like Crystal may leave some glittery bits on your fingers, but it’s not at all like removing a large particle glitter polish. I used two coats on all six shades, but Lisa, Sarah, and Valerie were quite pigmented in just one. I found to get a smooth, even distribution of shimmer/glitter, two coats were optimal.

P.S. — I can’t believe that Zoya still has common names like Lisa and Sara available in their arsenal!

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Great formula, fun shades, easy application–any of these are worth checking out if a shade catches your eye.

AVAILABILITY: Zoya

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Monday, September 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish

Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness: Viridian

Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish (£13.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a darkened teal base with lighter teal micro-shimmer; the teal leans towards the blue side, making it a cooler-toned teal. Funny enough, when the flash fired, it pulled out more of the green in the teal, but overall, it still pulls bluer-teal.

The formula and application was just like Scarab: smooth, even, intensely pigmented–one coat would likely be enough, though I did two in the swatches.

Viridian is also new for fall, but it looks to be permanent from what I can tell.

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

RECOMMENDATION: A very lovely shade and particularly flattering on cooler, paler skin tones as it leans blue.

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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