Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Nubar Venetian Glass Collection
Nail Lacquer: Vino, Rosso, Bronzo, Arencia

Nubar: Venetian Glass Collection, Part 1

Nubar’s latest collection, Venetian Glass ($49.95 for the entire collection or $7.49 each shade), features eight stunning shades that look very much like glass. The shades practically glow. All Nubar shades are free of formaldehyde, DBP, and tuluene–as well as the collection is vegan and cruelty-free. Nubar describes Vino as a deep shimmering wine, Rosso as a medium radiant red, Bronzo as a light red, and Arencia as a glowing orange.

Normally, I do swatches with a top coat (other than matte shades), but these have such a pretty look even without a top coat, I really wanted to show off the way the shades looked before a top coat went on. (I would wear all of these with a top coat, though, and I don’t find it interferes with the glass-look at all.)

  • Vino is a copper and ruby flecked deep wine red with a glassy finish. I did two coats, but even the first coat was incredibly pigmented.
  • Rosso is a glowing fiery copper flecked orange-based red. I did two coats, but you could likely get away with just one if you’re careful.
  • Bronzo is a gold and copper flecked deep ember orange that glows. Two coats.  I found this one showed just a touch of brush strokes, though.
  • Arencia is a gold flecked medium orange that looks lit from within. It’s lighter and more orange than Bronzo, though they are similar. Two coats.

The formula was excellent–not too thick, not too thin–and each coat was very pigmented. I used two coats on all of these with a thinner first coat and a medium-thick second coat, which is my standard application. Each color had a lot of depth, which is what made them stand out to me.  Of these four, Vino and Arencia were my favorites–Vino is just such a stunning, intense shade that’s perfect for fall and winter; Arencia makes my nails look like they’re almost on fire.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Nubar really hits it out of the park with this collection, just in time for fall. Lovely formula, easy application, and gorgeous shades.

AVAILABILITY: Nubar

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010

China Glaze Fight Like a Woman Collection
Nail Lacquers: Encouragement, Empowerment, Endurance

China Glaze Fight Like a Woman Collection

Though we’re still a few months out, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this year, China Glaze has created three shades inspired by the women who are fighting their battles. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is an agency of the World Health Organization. The collection will start to roll out at beauty supply stores and select salons in September.

  • Encouragement is a pale, milky pink with silvery-white shimmer. Even with three coats, it wasn’t quite opaque, but it’s pretty close to it. Very pretty-in-pink.
  • Enpowerment is a creamy slightly cooled blue-based pink. I used three coats to get an opaque look. It looked less cool-toned under brighter/direct sunlight, though!
  • Endurance is a darkened fuchsia jelly base with fuchsia shimmer. I also used three coats here.

I like when pretty products also give back! It makes buying them just a little good for the soul, too. I’m a believer in purchasing products you want, not solely so you can give to a cause–because if you want to give a cause, a donation from you to them is always the best way, since 100% will go towards the cause you’re looking to support. However, when there’s an item you’d normally buy AND it gives back in some capacity, it’s a nice bonus.

China Glaze’s three shades are perfect to represent BCA month, and they’re lovely, feminine shades. My favorite shade was Endurance, just because it’s bold and beautiful and fun. I didn’t have any application issues with any of the three shades, though they all needed a full three coats.

But I really fell in love with the names used for these polishes–uplifting and inspiring.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love yourself some pink polish, this collection was designed with you in mind! Nothing necessarily ultra original color-wise, but all live up to the quality I’ve come to expect from China Glaze.

AVAILABILITY: September 2010

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Sunday, July 18th, 2010

China Glaze Awakening Collection
China Glaze Nail Lacquer: Zombie Zest, Mummy May I, Ick-a-bod-y

China Glaze Awakening Collection for Fall 2010

To get in you in the Halloween spirit, China Glaze’s Awakening Collection contains three spook-tacular shades–Zombie Zest (mossy green shade with gold flecks of migro glitter), Mummy May I (vampy, wine colored purple with flecks of hot pink glitter), and Ick-a-bod-y (dark green base chock full of orange glitter). Come September, expect to see the full display at Sally’s Beauty Supply Stores, while a four-piece set (which includes the three shades plus a Fast forward Top Coat) at all other beauty and nail supply outlets, stores, and e-tailers.

  • Zombie Zest is a yellow-tinged green brown base with darkened chartreuse and emerald green micro glitter. I found I needed three coats to get an opaque look. This shade felt smooth to the touch, similar to most other polishes, while the other two shades dried with a more obvious glitter feel.
  • Mummy May I is a deep black-purple base with fuchsia pink glitter. It took about two coats to go opaque, and the formula itself was on the thicker side but did not feel unmanageable. You will definitely need a thicker top coat so you don’t feel the glitter on the surface.
  • Ick-a-bod-y is a blackened brown color base with lots of bright orange and copper glitter. It is much, much more glittery than Mummy May I, which has sparse glitter. I needed two coats here, and again, it will dry gritty without a thick top coat on top.

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

RECOMMENDATION: As long as you don’t mind using a thicker top coat, Mummy May I and Ick-a-bod-y are both fun shades for Halloween. Zombie Zest is my favorite, just because it isn’t necessarily a pretty shade at first glance but looks quite lovely on.

AVAILABILITY: September 2010

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Friday, July 16th, 2010

Orly Plastix Collection
Nail Lacquers: Retro Red, Old School Orange, Viridian Vinyl, Purple Pleather

It’s Not Matte, But It’s Not Glossy

Orly’s Plastix Collection is a short and sweet debut of a new finish type — satin matte. It reminded me a bit of Chanel Black Velvet, which after much thinking, definitly has a pleather-like finish.

  • Retro Red is a bright pop of orange-based red. I found three coats were needed to ensure there was no visible nail line showing.
  • Old School Orange is a vibrant shade of creamy orange with sunshine yellow undertones. I also used three coats on this shade.
  • Viridian Vinyl is a blue-based teal that only needed two coats to go totally opaque.
  • Purple Pleather is a deep, blue-based purple that reminded me of Orly’s own Charged Up (but obviously a total different finish). Just two coats for this one.

I like these. I don’t love them, because they’re not entirely my style (I’m also not huge on matte polishes, either–again, all personal style preferences), but I do really love how they played with the finish and gave us something different. It’s not matte–there’s definitely this played down, barely there glossy sheen… but it’s not glossy. It’s not shiny. It’s very pleathery.

The formula felt a little on the thicker side to me, but I didn’t encounter any major issues. Each coat felt like it dried down pretty quickly–similar to mattes–though for 100% dry, it seemed a little faster than average but not super speedy. Despite each coat seemingly being pigmented, two shades still needed three coats. Like matte finishes, you may want to use a ridge filler to minimize any imperfections on your nail.

I wore these with Zoya’s base coat underneath, and I didn’t get any chips after five days, just minor tip wear. I skipped the top coat so I could maintain that satin-matte finish. The base coat didn’t seem to affect the appearance or finish of the polish at all, so at least I could lock it down with a base coat even if I couldn’t protect with a top coat!

I haven’t spotted these for sale yet online, but they should be popping up sometime soon!

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

RECOMMENDATION: Viridian Vinyl and Purple Pleather were my favorites, because the colors are bold, wearable, fall-appropriate, AND the formula was best with these two.

AVAILABILITY: Orly

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Monday, July 5th, 2010

Dior Cherry Blossom Nail Lacquer
Dior Cherry Blossom Nail Lacquer

Pretty in Pink for Fall with Dior

Dior Cherry Blossom Nail Lacquer ($21.00) is a yellow-pink with white-gold micro-shimmer. It applies very smoothly and evenly, and you only need about two coats for good color opacity. It’s very flattering on both warm and cooler skin tones, because it’s just a smidgen warm. It doesn’t actually feel like a fall nail color to me at all–definitely something I’d expect in the spring or summer.

This shade is a Sephora exclusive, and Dior’s fall collection is just starting to trickle into department stores now.  I imagine it should be on Sephora in the next couple of weeks.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s pretty and feminine, though it feels like a shade I’ve seen before, in at least some variation.

AVAILABILITY: July 2010

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Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Chanel Paradoxal Nail Lacquer
Chanel Paradoxal Nail Lacquer

Chanel Paradoxal Stuns

Chanel Paradoxal Nail Lacquer ($23.00) is a stunning shade of grayed plum with red and violet microshimmer.  It applied beautifully–one of the best Chanel lacquers in terms of formula I’ve tried–and only needed two coats for complete opaqueness.   The nuances of this shade are best captured in direct sunlight, but it’s smoky and sultry in indirect/natural lighting, too.   Very, very beautiful and sophisticated.

I’ve always had good luck with Chanel lacquers–no chipping issues for me.  I always use mine with Zoya’s Color Lock System and that seems to keep everything on the up and up for about a week or so.  I know that this is not an affordable nail lacquer, but it’s not supposed to be.  Avid Chanel lacquer collectors won’t be disappointed by the latest shade release, though!

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

RECOMMENDATION: Nail fanatics will likely gravitate towards this shade, because it is such a unique mix of gray, mauve, and plum. It’s not the prettiest nail color of all time, but as Chanel often does–it is different and still pretty.

AVAILABILITY: July 2010

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