Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Chanel Les Khakis de Chanel Collection
Nail Lacquers: Khaki Brun, Khaki Rose, Khaki Vert

Fashion’s Night Out with Chanel

In honor of Fashion’s Night Out, Chanel has put together Les Khakis de Chanel, a collection featuring a trio of nail lacquers. These will be available on September 10th at chanel.com, Chanel boutiques, and select department store counters.  Each shade retails for $25.00.

Edited @ 2:42pm:  Added comparison photos of Khaki Vert against Sew Psyched, because I don’t think they’re dupes, but I’ve had a lot of questions asking if they are!  Pics or shut up, right?  I like Sew Psyched, too, but they are different enough on me that I wouldn’t call ‘em dupes.

  • Khaki Brun is a deep olive green-tinged brown. It’s a rather murky brown with just this touch of green to it; it’s distinctly brown but in natural light, the olive tones are pulled out more. Just two coats.
  • Khaki Rose is a rose-tinged medium-dark brown. It has such a subtle rosiness to it that it’s almost not there, but yet you can’t say it’s not, because there’s something about how the rose warms up the brown. Two coats.
  • Khaki Vert is a grayish-cast medium green. Not really murky, but it’s not bright or happy either; a rather neutral green, I’d say. It’s not quite camo green, because it doesn’t have strong yellow or live undertones. Two coats.  I don’t think this is really similar to Essie’s Sew Psyched–this is much greener, while Sew Psyched pulls almost blue/teal in comparison.

The formula on these was a bit thicker than usual, but it didn’t make for difficult application–quite the opposite!  Application was nearly flawless with each coat being incredibly pigmented.  One coat would have almost been enough on each one, but two coats created that smooth, opaque look.  I always hate how these end up being B+ products, which is really due to the price, not the quality of the product (which is excellent).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: All three had fantastic pigmentation and applied flawlessly, so if a color catches your eye and you don’t mind the price tag of Chanel, I definitely recommend trying it out.

AVAILABILITY: September 10th @ chanel.com

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Saturday, September 4th, 2010

For fall, Butter London gives us four new shades of their 3-Free Lacquers ($14.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.): All Hail McQueen,
Bumster, Marrow (mixed for Vena Cava), and Victoriana (reminiscent of the Victorian era). The first two were inspired by the late Alexander McQueen.

  • All Hail McQueen is a medium beige brown with pale nude shimmer. I needed two coats for a really opaque, even finish.
  • Bumster is a creamy mustard yellow. One coat was almost enough, but two coats made it perfect.
  • Marrow is a muted grape purple that’s been grayed out–it’s not the vibrant shade you’d think of with the term “grape purple” but it’s so fitting. It has very subtle icy silver-white shimmer. Just two coats, though one was rather pigmented.
  • Victoriana is a toned down aqua-teal with soft silver and aqua shimmer. Two coats for even, opaque color.

Butter London’s formula was on the thicker side, but it was very easy to apply and never felt goopy. It spread out easily to give nearly full-color coverage in a single stroke, though I found two coats were the perfect number for all four shades. I’d say that All Hail McQueen was the sheerer shade, but I still managed to do just two on it and get nice results. Bumster is a rather unique shade, and it’s one of those “ugly” shades that some will find pretty, and others, well… think it’s ugly.

I like the bottles, which have a removable black cap that reveals the actual cap with the brush attached to it (so it’s not as awkward in the hand as a rectangular handle!). They’re very space-saving for me, as they line up so well together!

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

RECOMMENDATION: These are a nice way to wear more muted, darker shades without being incredibly vampy.  Bumster seems the most unique to me, even if it may not work well on all skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: Beauty.com

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010

MAC Nail Trend F/W 2010
Nail Lacquers: Concubine, Imperial Flower, Earthly Harmony, Ming Blue, Jade Dragon, Rain of Flowers

MAC Nail Trend F/W 2010 Review, Photos, Swatches

Wait, you thought it was JUST Fabulous Felines today? You must be new to MAC ;) Indeed, MAC had a short and sweet launch of six nail lacquers (which might account for why there were none in Fabulous Felines!), all of which are Asian-inspired. nail expert Jin Soon was inspired by the “Forbidden City,” and she created shades inspired by the sculptures, architecture, fabrics, and decorative papers of Imperial China. Each shade has “pearl essences for subtle dimension.”

All of these need a top coat (but how many of us go sans top coat anyway?!), because they dry to a rather flat finish–a little shiny but not at all glossy; I used MAC’s Overlacquer top coat on all of these. The formula was on the thinner side overall, but the majority of shades were very rich in pigmentation. Having only purchased these this morning, I haven’t exactly been able to wear these long term, but I did notice that Jade Dragon and Rain of Flowers are shades that may stain (for sure Jade Dragon).

You can check out official information and promotional imagery as well.

Nail Lacquer ($13.00 U.S. / $15.50 CDN)

  • Concubine is a darkened red with ruby and scarlet shimmer flecks. I used two coats in the swatching, but there’s still a bit of nail line showing, so a third coat would probably be best. It’s pretty, but if you already have a lot of shimmered reds, you could easily skip this shade.
  • Imperial Flower is a brightened medium orange with flecks of gold and orange shimmer. This is one of my favorites out of the launch, because it practically glows on nails. It is similar to China Glaze’s Orange Pacific, though Orange Pacific has more obvious shimmer. Just two coats — it was nearly opaque in one coat.
  • Earthly Harmony is this concrete greige taupe shade. It is a difficult shade to describe! It has faint flecks of yellowed gold shimmer. I needed two coats here, and this is the kind of shade that made me think of Chanel’s Particuliere–but it’s not a dupe–just in that same vein of ugly shades that are rather pretty. I found the formula of this one to be on the watery side, and it made it a little harder to apply.
  • Ming Blue is a brightened medium-dark ocean blue with softer blue shimmer. I used just two coats in swatches, and there’s my nail line faintly visible, but a third coat would definitely eliminate that. I didn’t see any immediate staining, but I could see this staining after a few days of wear.
  • Jade Dragon is a deep forest green with flecks of green-teal shimmer. It’s quite pigmented and applied the nicest out of the bunch (but I only found Earthly Harmony troublesome)–two coats was perfect. This one, however, stained my nails just during the time I swatched it.
  • Rain of Flowers is a deep, darkened black-purple base with flecks of violet shimmer. Two coats and I had opaque results, and I suspect this one might stain a little bit as well. I originally thought it might be similar to Illamasqua’s Baptiste or NARS Purple Rain, but it’s a lot more violet and less fuchsia.

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

RECOMMENDATION: I like ‘em, and some shades do seem different than the norm.  It’s a nice collection overall, and I haven’t had any issues with MAC polishes myself!

AVAILABILITY: MAC

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Perfection Nail Lacquer

All About Nudes in Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicilian Lace Collection

Dolce & Gabbana Perfection (220) Intense Nail Lacquer ($20.00 for 0.37 fl. oz.) is a nearly neutral caramel nude with a cream finish.  It’s new for fall and part of the brand’s Sicilian Lace Collection, which certainly is all about barely there and nude shades.  This is a very subtle color, and it’s not a trend or shade for everyone.   I found two coats was plenty to get an opaque look, as the formula was very pigmented and on the thicker side.

I found the applicator a bit bothersome, as the brush itself is larger and thicker than average; it allows quite a bit of the lacquer to absorb into the brush, so it’s easy to overdo it if you’re not especially careful.  If you have very narrow nail beds, you may also find the brush too wide to use with ease.  The lacquer wore just fine with Zoya’s Color Lock System with tip wear but no chips after a week.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: At $20 a pop, this might not be the shade to splurge on if you’re not quite sure how you feel about the nude on nude trend.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Illamasqua Collide Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Collide Nail Varnish

Still Time for Neon Nails

Illamasqua Collide Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a wicked neon pink cream that’s opaque in just about two coats (which is what is pictured), but you could easily get away with three coats or do two thicker coats.  The formula is so smooth and the color applies evenly and richly; there is no streaking on the first coat, just a smooth, even layer of color.  Wear is fantastic with just minor tip wear after about a week!

This rounds up the last of Illamasqua’s varnish I have to review at the moment — what are your favorite varnishes from Illamasqua’s line up? So I can keep a running list of what I might want to try next! :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love bright, nearly neon kind of shades, Collide is a great neon pink!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Jack Black Hand Healer Hand Cream
Jack Black Hand Healer Hand Cream

Battle of the Hand Creams: Jack Black

I’m a constant hand washer, so my hands are often in a sad state.  Even though I’ve made many attempts to become a regular user of hand cream, it was only recently that I’ve decided it’s about time and I’m determined to go through and do a little Battle of the Hand Creams here on the blog.

Jack Black Hand Healer Hand Cream ($15.00 for 3 oz.) is a man’s man’s hand cream.  It’s incredibly moisturizing, even on the toughest, cracked and peeling hands (or feet!) and never feels greasy.  It has this manly scent–it’s woodsy with a little eucalyptus, but it’s not really unpleasant nor something I’d like to bathe myself in.  I don’t find the scent overwhelming, and it certainly doesn’t linger for long on my hands.

This is definitely one of the better hand creams I’ve tried, because it absorbs quickly and you won’t need to apply it several times a day.  I’ve been using it just before I go to bed, and my hands have certainly improved–less “old lady” like.  It has silicone in it, which really helps to keep it from feeling greasy (has a softer, more velvety feel) and adds a bit of a barrier on skin–much like a face primer, actually!

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you have cracking or peeling skin on your hands/feet, I think it’s worth trying this.  If you don’t find yourself with very dry hands, a more affordable hand cream might work just as well for you.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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