Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Illamasqua Baptiste Nail Varnish

Perfect for Fall: Baptiste

Illamasqua Baptiste Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a stunning shade of shimmering royal purple with flecks of red and fuchsia-violet shimmer. It’s gorgeous in the light as well as out of it; it looks inkier when in the shade, but when the light hits it, all of the shimmer comes into play.

The formula was amazing! Smooth and easy to apply with plenty of pigment. I only used two coats on Baptiste, and it was completely opaque. It’s not too thick or thin–just right–which makes it easy to apply without worrying about streaking or patchiness. The wear was also excellent. Admittedly, I don’t do dishes (the boy takes care of that), but I do type all day, so sometimes that alone will show a polish’s true colors–Illamasqua stayed as pretty as when I put it on seven days later with just minor tip wear.

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Nail Lacquer
Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Nail Lacquer

Estee Lauder Blue Dahlia: Surreal Violet

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.3 fl. oz.) is a gray-toned pink-mauve with copper-bronze shimmer. It’s a little on the sheerer side with two coats, but it was nearly opaque, so I left the swatches with two–but you could probably do a third for a totally opaque result.  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.  Those with larger collections may want to add this more unique shade to their stashes, but if you’re just building up your collection, this may be too much on the expensive side.  You can grab Illamasqua ($14/0.5 fl. oz.), NARS ($16 for 0.5 fl. oz), and Lippmann ($18/0.5 fl. oz.), which are all stellar polish brands, and get more for your money.

I would also like to give this polish props for being utterly difficult to photograph in natural light — thanks a lot! What a diva on set!

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 6 /10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Those who are fans of greiges and purples may find themselves in love with this mix of both!

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Deborah Lippmann Across the Universe Nail Lacquer
Deborah Lippmann Across the Universe Nail Lacquer

It’s Blue, It’s Green, It’s Teal… It’s All Three!

Deborah Lippmann Across the Universe Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.5 oz.) is a deep, inky navy blue jelly base with electric blue glitter and teal and green hexagonal glitter.  I wasn’t quite able to get an opaque with three coats, but perhaps with a fourth coat or just a more precise application, it could get there.  I like the way the glitter is mixed in color, because it gives it a very interesting effect.  I feel like I haven’t seen a shade quite like this, which is often true of many Lippmann shades, just because of the way the glitter is used.  Application was smooth overall, but remember to wait for each coat to dry so that you don’t pull the glitter out of place.

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

RECOMMENDATION: This shade impresses me more–love the mix of glitter sizes, shapes, and colors.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Deborah Lippmann Bad Romance Nail Lacquer
Deborah Lippmann Bad Romance Nail Lacquer

A lil’ Lady Gaga for your nails…

Deborah Lippmann Bad Romance Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.5 oz.) has a black-burgundy jelly base with regular fuchsia glitter and hexagonal glitter.  I was able to get a very opaque look with three coats, but I didn’t get as many hexagonal pieces as I’d like on each nail.  The key is definitely to let each coat dry longer, so that you don’t drag any of the glitter elsewhere.  I’d also recommend doing one or two strokes for each coat, because each time you move the brush, you can displace some of the glitter, and get a patchier look.  The drying time seemed a little shorter than average, and it had a slightly glossy finish even without a top coat.

P.S. — China Glaze’s Mummy May I is very, very similar, but it doesn’t have the hexagonal glitter bits!

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

RECOMMENDATION: I like it — it’s pretty and dark and great for fall.  It doesn’t knock my socks off quite like some other Lippmann shades have in the past.  Perhaps it’s because the glitter is the same color, despite the shape differences.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Friday, August 6th, 2010

Essie Declare=
Essie Declare Your Denim Nail Lacquer

Essie Declare Your Denim Nail Lacquer was a collaboration between Teen Vogue and Essie to kick-off the event with bottles given to those who donated on July 28th.   Teen Vogue launched their Declare Your Denim event, which is a charity event where you can donate your denim for a good cause. Teen Vogue and Fashion Delivers (charity) have set-up donation boxes at several malls across America (see a list here). And if you’re not located near one of the participating locations, you can always mail yours! When you spend $25 at participating sponsors (online or in-store), you’ll get a free Teen Vogue tote.

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Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Zoya Wicked Collection
Nail Lacquers:: Kelly, Stacy, Burke

Less Wicked, More Wonderful

Zoya Wonderful Collection ($36.00 for all 6, or $7 each) is second of two fall collections from Zoya. It contains six shades: Kelly (rich gray shade with soft purple and blue undertones), Stacy (dark raspberry creme with purple and wine undertones), Burke (soft, dusty light red mulberry with very subtle brick and mauve tones), Kristi (pure, true crisp medium red cream with no strong warm or cool undertones), Cola (warm light brown cream with strong terracotta undertones), Shawn (warm, mossy yellow-toned medium green cream with olive undertones).

  • Kelly is a smoky, grayish blue that looks stormy and smoky at the same time. It’s not gray, it’s not blue, it’s not purple – it’s some variation that includes all three. Two coats.
  • Stacy is a dark burgundy wine–very vampy and dark. I like that it still looks like a wine; it never looks so dark that you can’t distinguish it from black. Two coats.
  • Burke is a softened berry red. I’ve seen this look dustier in other swatches, but it comes out pretty red for me. Two coats.
  • Kristi is a bright pop of neutral cherry red. Very close to pure/true red. Two coats.
  • Cola is a red-toned medium-dark brown–kind of reminds me of what cola looks like when it stains a white shirt, ha.
  • Shawn is a dark, mossy green with yellow undertones. Two coats.

All six have a cream finish, so there is absolutely no shimmer or glitter in these.  They dry down to a slightly glossy finish, but I always finish with a top coat in a regular manicure, though.  I didn’t need more than two coats for crisp, opaque color, and each shade was a dream to apply–pigmented, smooth, and even.   There really isn’t anything to complain about — either you love the colors or you don’t, but the formula will not disappoint!  My must-haves from this collection would be Kelly and Shawn.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Excellent pigmentation for all six shades, easy to apply, and none needed more than two coats for a smooth, opaque finish. If you see a color you like, I think you’ll be happy with it.

AVAILABILITY: Zoya

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