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!

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

  • 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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Friday, July 2nd, 2010

MAC Alice + Olivia Collection
MAC Nail Lacquers: Morning.After., So Rich So Pretty, Military

MAC Alice + Olivia Collection: Nail Lacquers

Alice + Olivia included three new and limited edition nail lacquers.  I wanted to fall in love with these, but I just wasn’t blown away. Morning.After. was my favorite of the three, because of the way it seems to take on a different tone depending on the lighting, but it’s not as opaque as I’d like. Military reminds me of every other black + silver matte polish out there–I guess I’m just over that shade!

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

  • So Rich So Pretty is a fuchsia-purple with red undertones and red and purple microshimmer. I found it needed three coats to be opaque, and the formula was on the thinner side (though it didn’t feel runny).
  • Military is a light black with silver sparkles and a matte finish. It’s like a blacker version of Studded. It dries really fast, as many mattes do, and it was incredibly pigmented–you could almost get away with just one coat.
  • Morning.After. is a pain in the butt to photograph, because it looks bluer in natural light and tealer in more direct light. It’s more of a dusty blue-teal with heavier blue tones than green/teal tones. There is a little bit of visible nail even with three coats, though.

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Thursday, June 17th, 2010

SpaRitual Summer 2010 Colleciton
Nail Lacquers: Twinkle, Crystal Eyes, Illume, Color Trip, Imaginarium, Looking Glass

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer in Summer Hues, Part 2

I have six more fun-for-summer shades to share with you from SpaRitual, and all six shades are from their summer collection titled Kaleidoscope.   Just like the previous six I reviewed, the formula is excellent.  It’s consistent across twelve different shades with varying finishes.  It’s thick without being goopy, thin without being runny–in other words, just right!  Pigmentation is amazing with most shades requiring two coats for opaque color.

  • Twinkle is a blue-shimmered deep navy blue. This is a stunning shade when worn–looks like shimmering deep ocean blue water in the sunlight. Nearly opaque in one coat, but swatched with two.
  • Crystal Eyes is a muted indigo blue cream. Just two coats for full color coverage. It’s a nice way to wear blue without being over-the-top.
  • Illume is a rich purple cream with red undertones. Two coats in the swatch. It’s difficult to photograph — it behaves and looks much like it does in real life in the natural lightphotos, but the flash makes it glow much more than it actually does.
  • Color Trip is a magenta cream. It applies evenly and smoothly, and I think three coats would be just enough — I applied two and there is just a faint appearance of my nail line.
  • Imaginarium is a neon hot pink with silver-pink micro-shimmer. This shade GLOWS. I really loved this color, because of the way it shimmered and glowed and was so easy to apply. I did need three coats with this shade, though.
  • Looking Glass is a silver metallic foil. Brushstrokes are visible, but they’re surprisingly subtle in the light. One coat is nearly opaque, but I found two to work just right.

Twinkle and Imaginarium were my two favorite shades out of the six here.  Twinkle is less unique than Imaginarium, though, so if I had to choose a top pick, it would definitely be that bright neon pink with a lil’ shimmer.

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

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

RecommendationImaginarium has such a bright, fun look to it with its glowing neon color and the subtle shimmery finish.

Availability: Skinstore.com, SpaRitual

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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.

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

  • 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!

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

  • 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.