Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Milani Hi-Tech Holographic Nail Lacquer

Beauty on a Budget: Glitter-tastic Nails with Milani Holographic Nail Lacquer

Milani Hi-Tech 3D Holographic Nail Lacquer ($4.99) is one of six new holographic shades from Milani this spring. Other shades include: HD (silver), 3D (gold), Cyberspace (blue), Digital (eggplant purple), Hi-Res (purple).

According to Milani, “New specialty nail lacquer that exhibits a unique 3D Holographic effect that no other nail lacquer has ever achieved. The nail lacquer appears to color-shift as the illumination source or the viewing angle changes. This color phenomenon is based on Holographic Image Technology that makes a very thin, bright, embossed metallic flake look like a rainbow. It allows the color to travel from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; seven distinctive colors of the color spectrum.”

Hi-Tech is wickedly shimmery with larger shimmer particles (but they don’t feel gritty like a glitter polish often does). It’s a spring-y, yellow-green with different flecks of, predominantly, gold and green shimmer. It reflects and catches the light in a way that I can’t capture on film–definitely one of those “you gotta be there” moments. Really stunning, though. I’ll be sure to post again if I try any of the other five shades available.

Have you tried any of the new Holographic shades yet?

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

Recommendation: If you love glitter polishes but not the removal process, Milani’s 3D Holographic polish might be another way to get your glitter on.

Availability: Local drugstores, MilaniCosmetics.com

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Saturday, February 13th, 2010

MAC Riveting Collection
MAC Studded Nail Lacquer

MAC Riveting Collection: Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

Finally, there are three matte-finish nail polishes. They are: Wham, Bam, Glam (officially described as a matte cool dark taupe), Studded (officially described as a matte true silver with pearl), and Black Enough? (officially described as a matte black).

Surprisingly, it feels like MAC was late to the party on this. They do, normally, seem to be fairly timely with their trend-based products. The formula on these is too thick for my taste–they’re almost kind of goopy. You might need to thin these polishes down a bit to make them easier to use. Even though matte nails are kind of cool, I do find they accent any flaws you have in your nails (like I have some vertical ridges/lines on mine, shh). Like other matte lacquers, these dry incredibly fast, which is probably my favorite aspect of matte polishes in general!

Nail Lacquer ($12.00 U.S. / $14.50 CDN)

  • Wham, Bam, Glam is a dark taupe with a matte finish. Read the second paragraph in the post about texture/feel–it’s consistent across all three shades. Two coats to get a fairly even look and feel.
  • Studded is a silver shimmered gray with a matte finish, but it looks almost foiled or metallic, because of the shimmer. I liked this one out of the three, because it applied the best and looked the nicest afterward. It was still a bit thick in the formula, though. Two coats to get a fairly even look and feel.
  • Black Enough? is a rich matte black. Again, the formula was thick and the matte formula has a tendency to showcase imperfections in my nails. Two coats to get a fairly even look and feel.

Are you still feeling the matte look?

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Thursday, February 4th, 2010

NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer

Stunning Spring Nails with  NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer

NARS Purple Rain Nail Lacquer ($16.00) is a deep jewel-toned purple with red undertones shimmered with flecks of violet and wine red shimmer. It looks kind of like a dark grape purple when there’s no real light, but I like that it doesn’t look black in low light conditions. Of course, like many polishes, this one really shows off best in the light. Even just regular lighting will catch the shimmer in such a lovely way. This is a richly pigmented nail lacquer; it needs only one thick coat and it goes opaque, though I did two coats for good measure. It wears well (one week with just tip wear, no chipping), and it applies easily–doesn’t streak or drag. The formula is thick without being goopy, so it doesn’t require any experimentation in application–it’s just apply, dry, and enjoy!

I was surprised by how much I liked this shade, even though it doesn’t conjure up any spring images in my mind, I’m really glad NARS put it out, spring season or not!

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

Recommendation: If you love purple nails, Purple Rain is really one of those must-see shades!

Availability: BlueMercury

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

MAC Cosmetics Spring Colour Forecast
MAC Galore Pink Nail Lacquer

MAC Spring Colour Forecast: Nail Lacquers Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Each part includes one shade of nail lacquer. Overall, I wasn’t terribly impressed by these nail lacquers–they’re all creams, and they suffer from evenness issues. I just found that they weren’t easy to work with and require some patience and creativity to get to work just right. For the record, I normally have no problems with MAC nail lacquer!

Nail Lacquers

  • Galore Pink is a blue-based kind of hot pink with a creamy finish. I was really not thrilled with these MAC polishes, and I actually have good luck with the majority of MAC’s lacquers! Galore Pink needed at least three coats to look even, despite the formula feeling pretty pigmented–it just was a pain to apply the color evenly. I think with some practice, you could it to rock, and the color is certainly fun. (A little too cool for my personal preference, though.)
  • Malibu Peach is an orange-y peach with a cream finish. It took about three coats to get the kind of results I wanted. It goes opaque in just one or two, but you have to sort out the evenness, which took me about three.
  • Imperial Splendour is a rich red-based violet cream. Unfortunately, it suffers from some of the streaky/unevenness that the other polishes from this launch suffer from. Patience, a steady hand, and three coats might get you better results.
  • Abalone Shell is a creamy warmed-up beige with a little shimmer in it. This one applied the best out of the four lacquers, but it was still a bit fussy. Three coats was just the right amount to get a (mostly) even, opaque look.

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Saturday, January 30th, 2010


Palm Springs, Cotton, Manila
Office, Peacock, Mouse
Factory Grey, Hassid

American Apparel:  Nail Lacquer, Part 2

Make sure you check out part 1 for my full review + details on the AA packaging voluntary recall.

Again, the nail lacquer is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. Each bottle retails for $6 or you can purchase a three-pack for $15. They’re currently sold exclusively in American Apparel store locations and online at americanapparel.com (expect them to be back online in a week or two).

The formula is long-wearing, easy to use, and richly pigment.  All the characteristics I look for in my nail polish!

  • Palm Springs is a soft peach cream. This one reminded me of a lightly more muted China Glaze Peachy Keen.
  • Cotton is a slightly yellowed white. I found this to be the worst of the fourteen shades — it was a little runny and it would take at least three solid coats to go opaque.  It’s not super difficult to work with, but it wasn’t stellar like the rest.
  • Manila is a bright goldenrod yellow. It’s not quite traffic-stopping yellow, but it’s not totally goldenrod either. Two coats was good on this one.
  • Office is a pale minty green Cream. I actually really liked this shade a lot, definitely a favorite out of the bunch. I found two coats was perfect for this shade.
  • Peacock is a dusty medium-deep blue. It’s kind of like a muted ocean blue, because it’s not ultra vibrant, but it still has plenty of color in two coats.
  • Mouse is a taupe-gray cream. It reminded me of Chanel’s Particuliere and OPI You Don’t Know Jacques.
  • Factory Grey is a purple-toned gray cream. It was opaque in just two coats.
  • Hassid is a rich, inky black. Super black. This looks so stunning with an ultra glossy top coat on it, too. Opaque in two coats, like the majority of these shades.

Out of the shades I tried, my favorites were Berry, Hassid, Mouse, Office, Palm Springs, and Peacock.   My top three would be Hassid, Office, and Peacock.

Which are your favorites? Any you gotta have?

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love cream finish polishes, you may find American Apparel polishes a nice surprise!

Availability: americanapparel.com

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Saturday, January 30th, 2010


Pinto, Berry, Downtown LA
Poppy, Rose Bowl, Coney Island

American Apparel:  Nail Lacquers, Part 1

American Apparel launched eighteen shades of cream nail lacquers. I’ll be showing you fourteen of the eighteen shades (all but Dynasty, Hunter, Mount Royal, and Passport Blue) spread over two posts (there are forty-two photos–too many for one post!).

NOTE, American Apparel has recalled all bottles of their nail lacquer due to a defect in the packaging itself — the glass is prone to breaking, so the brand has done a voluntary recall so that they can rollout a second run with safer, more durable packaging. There is nothing wrong with the formula itself. American Apparel is offering customers the following: bring in your old bottle or a receipt and receive two new bottles or a $10 gift card. They expect to roll out the new and improved bottles in the next week or two.

The nail lacquer is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. Each bottle retails for $6 or you can purchase a three-pack for $15. They’re currently sold exclusively in American Apparel store locations and online at americanapparel.com (expect them to be back online in a week or two).

The formula is really good, actually. I wasn’t quite sure how an apparel brand was going to do polish, but they did an exceptional job designing a formula that is richly pigmented, easy to apply, and wears beautifully.

Even without a base, I experienced no chipping over four days and only minor tip wear. With a base, no chipping, minor tip wear, and it looked nice and glossy with a top coat of Seche Vite. All of the shades are cream finishes and, overall, have a nice consistency that’s thick enough to get bold color with just one coat, but not so thick that it’s goopy. Each shade, without a top coat, has a lightly glossy finish, but they all look better with a nice and shiny top coat (I like Seche Vite with these).

  • Pinto is a reddened brown cream. It goes on opaque in just two coats.
  • Berry is a deep raspberry-burgundy cream that goes on opaque in really just one coat, but I did two just ’cause.
  • Downtown LA is a bright orange-based red cream. I’m sure this one is dupe-able, but it has a great formula and consistency. It’s surprisingly orange-based without being flat out orange.
  • Poppy is a bright orange cream. It’s not quite neon orange, but it gets pretty close. It has just a smidgen in red in it that keeps it from being neon, I’d say. You only really need one medium-thick coat to get good opacity, but I did two.
  • Rose Bowl is a pretty, played-down yellow-based pink. It’s muted and paled a bit, but it’s not boring. This is one of those easy-to-wear more neutral shades. It found two coats was perfect to get the right color and thickness.
  • Coney Island is a light, airy cotton candy pink. It’s definitely a cool-toned, blue-based pink, so warm skin tones may find it a little hard to wear. I found two coats was almost enough, but three would get you totally opaque. I found my Coney Island seemed a little thinner in consistency than the majority of the American Apparel polishes, as well.

Any of these catch your eye?

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love cream finish polishes, you may find American Apparel polishes a nice surprise!

Availability: AmericanApparel.com

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