Thursday, June 17th, 2010

SpaRitual Summer 2010 Colleciton
Nail Lacquers: Lustress, Love & Happiness, Solaris, Golden Gleam, Optical Illusion, Dreams Becoming Reality

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer in Summer Hues

Just in time for summer, here are six fun shades from SpaRitual that are truly representative of the season.   Each shade retails for $10.00 and is vegan and free of DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Resin.   Lustress, Solaris, Golden Gleam, and Optical Illusion are from the summer Kaleidoscope collection.

  • Lustress is a deep red-tinted pink with flashes of pink shimmer. It almost looks like glass flecks to me. Just two coats for complete color.
  • Love & Happiness is a coral-orange cream. It’s not quite neon, but it’s almost there. Two coats for opaque color.
  • Solaris is a bright, neon orange cream. Super, super pigmented — two coats shown, but you could almost get away with one.
  • Golden Gleam is a bright yellow gold with lighter gold shimmer and a near metallic finish. Some brush strokes were noticeable, but it wasn’t too obvious. Two coats for opaque color.
  • Optical Illusion is a deep olive green base with lighter olive green glitter-shimmer. Just two coats for opaque color, though it was nearly opaque with one coat. Truly a stunning shade!
  • Dreams Becoming Reality is a shade from an upcoming fall collection, so I’ll have swatches and more information on it then.

SpaRitual knows how to make a good, consistent formula.  The application on all six of these was absolutely superb–smooth, rich color that wasn’t too thick or thin.  No streaking, fussing, or dragging.  Drying time on the brighter creams seemed a little speedier, but otherwise average and nothing noteworthy either way. Optical Illusion stands out something fierce amongst these, though — a really unique shade that just sparkles in the light.

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

Recommendation:  LOVE Optical Illusion!  I also really love and appreciate SpaRitual’s formula consistency–it’s a good formula and it’s found in all six.

Availability: Skinstore.com, SpaRitual

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Rescue Beauty Lounge
Nail Lacquers: No More War, Diddy Mow, 360

Rescue Beauty Lounge: Hello!

Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Lacquers ($18.00) are a big splash amongst nail polish fanatics, and I didn’t even realize that they’re the same brand that does all the soaps I have in my house! (I love that they have a hand soap with the word Pamplemousse in its name! One of my favorite French words ever–say it ten times and you better be giggling!)  Last week, I purchased several shades from the website to give ‘em a spin for myself…

  • No More War is an olive green cream. You could say it’s camouflage green or army green as well. It’s rich and goes opaque in two coats for me.
  • Diddy Mow is a muted, gray-green cream with subtle silver micro-shimmer. The shimmer almost looks like grains of sand in the “water.” RBL describes it as “a putty green, the color of sand through sea water.” It was opaque in nearly one coat, though I swatched it with two.
  • 360 is a played-down bluish teal cream with subtle silver micro-shimmer. Opaque in two coats for me — it’s pretty pigmented in one, but I find I need two for a good, overall result.

This was my first time trying the brand’s polishes, and I really liked the formula. It’s rich, pigmented, and applies smoothly. There is no streaking, bubbling, or dragging. All three were nearly opaque in one coat, but I still preferred doing two coats for a completely opaque, smooth look. These colors seemed unique to me–perhaps its the subtleties of each one, where they’re not the typical shade and yet wearable.

I just wish they weren’t so pricey.  The quality is excellent, but $18 a pop is hard to swallow!

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:

AvailabilityRescue Beauty Lounge

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Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Zoya Remove+

A Love Letter to Zoya Remove+

Dear Zoya Remove+,

I doubted your prowess once, but I never will again. I thought, “Surely, there are other polish removers that can do just as good of a job… maybe even better… and more readily available.” But no, I was wrong. So, so wrong.  Why did I stray?  Why did I try to fix something that wasn’t broken just to save a couple of bucks?

I did not realize how gentle you were on my cuticles and nails and fingers.  You never dried them out, but you always took care of business–you removed every last bit of polish without me having to exert much effort.  You made my life easy, and I didn’t even realize just how easy!   I would have people ask me, “What do you do to your nails? They are so healthy!” and I always answered so cavalierly… “Nothing!”  But it was you… all along it was you!

But I did stray, and I discovered how harsh other removers can be.  How cruel and cold and unloving!  They may remove the polish without much fuss, but they sure do leave a disaster in their wake.  Scaly, dried out skin, tortured cuticles, and the harsh scent of chemicals.

My dearest Remove+, you hold my heart, and I’ll stay true to you.  Know that you reign supreme in my heart of hearts!

All my love,
Temptalia

Zoya Remove+ is available in several sizes, depending on your polish removing needs. The bottle pictured above is their largest size at 32 oz., which retails for $25. I actually took advantage of Zoya’s deal where you can pick up their Color Lock System (which I love) PLUS the 32 oz. Remove+ for $40. (Which really means you end up with 40 oz. of Remove+ for the win!)

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

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

Recommendation:  In a convenient flip-top bottle that pumps out just enough remover, Zoya’s Remove+ does an excellent job at not only removing your polish but keeping your nails, cuticles, and fingertips soft, conditioned, and prepped for the next manicure/pedicure.

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Essie Summer 2010 Collection

Fresh for Summer with Essie’s Summer Collection

Essie’s Summer Collection features six shades of creamy summer colors. They dry pretty fast, and the finish is only slightly glossy, so I used Nubar’s Diamont Top Coat (it was the closest one at the time – no real preference!). I liked Knockout Pout and Pretty Edgy the most–very strong, opaque color and a fuss-free application. Vermillionaire applied the smoothest, and pros could probably get away with just one coat if they really wanted!  I felt like these applied better than the average Essie, which may just be because three of the shades are much darker (and pastels have a tendency to be fussier).

  • Knockout Pout is a brightened, glowing dark pink cream. It was pretty opaque in two coats.
  • Haute as Hello is a lightened coral-orange. I used three coats with this one.
  • Vermillionaire is a bold, deep orange. This one applied the best and only needed two coats.
  • Pretty Edgy is a dark, grassy green cream. It’s pretty much exactly the color of grass to me – suppose that’s quite fitting for summer! I needed three coats to get a completely opaque look.
  • Demure Vixen is a lightened mauve with pale purple shimmer. It’s a very soft, pretty color. The shimmer is incredibly subtle, but it’s there. It almost looks like a cream from a distance.
  • Miss Matched is a pale pink-lilac cream. I found this one to be the streakiest, and I definitely needed three coats with it. You can still see some of my nail line even with three coats.

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

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

Recommendation: If one of these colors grabs you, then it’s certainly worth checking out.  I don’t have anything quite like Pretty Edgy, but the other shades may be a little easier to find, depending on how extensive your stash is!

AvailabilityEssie

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Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

American Apparel Nail Lacquer
Summer Peach, Butter, L’Esprit, Malibu Green

American Apparel’s Summer Lacquers

Well, four of the five, at least! The lighter shades suffer from some of the same issues that the original shades did–a little streaky at first and need three coats to get a smooth, even look. The other new shade is California Trooper. Each shade retails for $6.

  • Summer Peach is a soft, almost washed out peach. It doesn’t have any pink tones to it–definitely subtle orange tones, but it’s a very, very pale peach. While I found one coat was insanely pigmented, I still ended up with three to smooth everything out, since it was a little on the streaky side.
  • Butter is exactly the color of butter. It is a soft, buttered yellow cream. Two coats here – it was easier to work with than Summer Peach.
  • L’Esprit is pastel lavender cream. Like the other shades in AA’s line-up, it’s quite pigmented in just one coat, but I found two coats were needed to give it a smoother, more even finish.
  • Malibu Green is a deep green-teal cream. This is such a beautiful shade, but it stains like no other. My nails were stained, and I had only worn this for less than a half hour. Just the residue on the cotton round I used for removal stained my other fingers a bit, too. I looked like I killed the Swamp Thing.

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

Recommendation: These didn’t quite apply as smoothly or easily as American Apparel’s original debut, and I really wish Malibu Green didn’t stain so much–it’s truly an incredible color! I’m not completely sold on any of these shades.

AvailabilityAmerican Apparel

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Monday, June 7th, 2010

Milani Summer Nail Collection
Melt Down, Melt With U, Metal Gear, Melt In the Sun, Molten Rock, Hot Metal

Milani Liquid Metal Intense Color Nail Lacquer Collection

This six-shaded limited edition collection is perfect for summer, and it’s even better for the nail polish addict on a budget. Each polish is $4.49 and available at CVS through July 2010.

  • Melt Down is a deep ruby red base with flecks of brighter ruby red glitter-shimmer. When you move your hands, you can also see a glimmer of a coppery-red shimmer, too. It only needed two coats.
  • Melt With U is a rich, liquid lava orange-red with orange shimmer. It only needed two coats.
  • Metal Gear is fantastic tangerine orange with flecks of gold and orange glitter-shimmer. It keeps the theme going — just two coats here.
  • Melt In the Sun is a sunrise gold with flecks of brighter gold and deeper amber gold. For some reason, I didn’t snap a photo of this shade with flash, so I’ll describe it instead — brighter, lighter yellow gold with a metallic flash. I found this one to be more of a three-coater.
  • Molten Rock is a deep sea blue with just a touch of darkened teal and lighter blue-teal glitter-shimmer. I thought this shade looked particularly metallic under bright lights. Just two coats here.
  • Hot Metal is a reddened purple with brighter fuchsia-pink and deeper violet purple shimmer strewn through the pinky-purple base. This is such a pretty shade, but it was the most troublesome of the six. I found you had to use at least three coats, but those who use thinner coats may find a fourth necessary. The base color is a lot redder than I expected, and it almost looked jelly-ish, but it’s not quite.

Overall, I really enjoyed these!  They were easy to apply — just did my “Temptalia” method (LOL!) and didn’t encounter any streakiness, patchiness, or issues with getting the shimmer/glitter to go on evenly. This feels like a microglitter to me, rather than a shimmer or a glitter. They dry pretty smooth, even without a top coat, but they lose some of the glossiness (but not all of it).

Some of these had more of a metallic look than others, but I don’t think any of these are true metallics–which isn’t a bad thing, since many metallics show glaring brushstrokes–in formula. They do flash a bit metallic-like though, especially Metal Gear, Melt In the Sun, and Molten Rock.

The formula felt thinner than the average polish, but five of the six shades had no pigmentation issues (only Hot Metal was iffy by three coats)–four of the six needed just two coats for rich, opaque color.

Have you spotted these at your local CVS yet? Any 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 your bright, near-metallic, shimmery shades in affordable doses, Milani’s new Liquid Metal Collection does a pretty nice job!

Availability: CVS

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