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?

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  • 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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Monday, May 31st, 2010

Nubar Sparkles Collection

Nubar Sparkles Collection

Nubar Sparkles Collection ($49.95) includes eight shades of glitter nail lacquers, most of which have a clear base but a few have a tinted base. I had some really good luck with some of these shades, but I definitely need a little more practice in applying glitter polishes like these.

They are incredibly dense as compared to other glitter finishes I’ve tried, but I did have some unevenness with a few shades and not completely opaque results with others. I think this is more to do with my application technique than the shades themselves–definitely need to be patient and let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. I think also thicker, rather than thinner, coats work better, too. I’m used to laying down a thinner initial coat followed by a thicker secondary coat, but I found it was better with two thicker coats.

The most foolproof shades were definitely Fire Sparkle, Night Sparkle, and Violet Sparkle (these three were my favorites, too –but because of their intense glow!).   The shades I had the most trouble with were Sky Sparkle and Hyacinth Sparkle.

  • Star Sparkle is a clear base with silver and holographic glitter. I did three coats, and you can still see some of my nail beneath it, but it’s considerably opaque given it has a clear base.
  • Fire Sparkle is a sheer red base with red and darkened red glitter. In sunlight and flash, you’ll also catch glimmers of the molten amber flecks of shimmer, too — it really comes alive when the light hits it. Just two coats were needed here.
  • Petunia Sparkle is a magenta purple with red undertones and fuchsia-purple and lighter pink glitter. It’s a clear base–would you believe it–and three coats gave me complete, opaque coverage.
  • Meadow Sparkle is a pale spring green glitter suspended in a lightly tinted green base. To be honest, I didn’t see much tint in the base–I thought it was clear myself. I couldn’t quite get a completely opaque look, but I think I moved a little too fast on this one.
  • Night Sparkle is a deep true blue with flecks of blue and gold glitter. Just two coats for a completely opaque look.
  • Sky Sparkle is a medium blue with a slight aqua lean glitter suspended in a clear base. Personally, I had some trouble getting this one to apply evenly and opaquely.
  • Hyacinth Sparkle is a sheer lavender base with darker and lighter lavender glitter. It took me three coats to get a nearly opaque look, but it was a bit uneven.
  • Violet Sparkle is a deep violet purple with flecks of lighter, brighter violet and purple strewn through a clear base.

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

Recommendation:  If you’re a fan of glittery polishes and have been on the hunt for ones that are better alone than layered as a top coat, you may enjoy Nubar’s Sparkle Collection.

Availability: Nubar

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Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Nubar Night Sky

It’s a Matte, but Shimmered… Night Sky!

Nubar Night Sky Collection ($24.95) is a short ‘n sweet collection featuring three shimmer mattes and their Diamont Seal & Shine Quick Dry Top Coat.

  • Midnight is a deep charcoal-black with silver-gray shimmer. Two coats were enough for me to get complete, opaque color.
  • Twilight is a bright silver-gray with silver and darker silver shimmer. Again, just two coats here.
  • Sunset is a gold shimmered amber-copper base. Like the other two, I found two coats were the right mix for opaque color. I really liked this one with the Diamont top coat.

The formula was fantastic — they dry quicker than the regular polish, but I had enough time to lay down a coat and move onto the next without it drying before then. They were also really opaque with each only needing two coats to cover my entire nail completely. The consistency was on the thinner side, so it was easy to apply and get the amount you needed. The colors themselves are a bit basic, but I’ll be crossing my fingers they’ll release some other shades down the road.

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

Recommendation: If you love the idea of a matte finish with shimmer, Nubar’s Night Sky Collection is right up your alley.

Availability: Nubar

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Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Nubar Prisms Collection

Nubar Prisms Collection

Nubar Prisms Collection ($59.95 for 8 shades) is a springtime release that features eight shades of holographic nail polish.  These polishes do something fantastic when the light hits them and when your hands are in movement, so the flash photos best show-off the holographic effect when it comes to these holos.

The formula on these varied quite a bit–some were thin, some were more jelly-esque in thickness–but they all dried on the quicker side for me.  The majority of these were also on the sheer side, though, and I did three coats for nearly all of the shades here.  Even with three coats, there was still some nail line showing, which doesn’t bother me that much since it’s hardly noticeable at a distance–just up-close.

I’d also recommend a thicker top coat, because the majority of these do have a slightly gritty or noticeably uneven finish if left without a top coat!

According to Nubar…

Inspired by the colorful play of light through a prism, those bands of light and color are embodied in nubar’s Prism Collection. Each shade in the Prism Collection is filled with holographic glitter reflecting every color of the rainbow, with base colors just as varied, ranging from subtle neutrals to vivid pink to pale blue. Going a step beyond holographic nail lacquers, nubar’s Prism Collection is a celebration of color and light. As all nubar products, they are free of formaldehyde, toluene, and (DBP) phthalate, as well as vegan and cruelty free.

  • Prize is a pinked red with holographic shimmer–lots of gold and purple stood out in this one. I needed just two coats here, and it applied smoothly and evenly.
  • Essence is a metallic played down pink with holographic shimmer. This one came out a bit chunky, though it’s wearable, and I did see some brush strokes. Just two coats, though.
  • Absolute is an aqua-blue with a holographic finish. With this one, you don’t really notice the effect until it’s out in the light–normal, indoor light just makes it look like silver shimmer. I found this one was a little on the sheer side–I used three coats and could still see some nail line.
  • Treasure is a medium purple with red undertones and a subtle holographic effect. Like Absolute, it didn’t quite get to total opaqueness with three coats.
  • Brilliant is a pretty in pink shade with holographic glitter strewn through it. It’s not completely solid color after three coats, but it comes close.
  • Gem is a taupe gray with holographic glitter–it comes out a little murky and dark and forboding. The green and teal glitter really pop in this shade. Three coats here as well.
  • Spark is a just slightly warmed up light brown with holographic glitter. I love the texture and feel of this one. Three coats and it looked pretty solid.
  • Jewel is a deep, molten chocolate brown with holographic glitter. Like Gem, the green and teal glitter seem to pop. It has the chunkier texture of Essence, though.

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

Recommendation:  If you like softer color for your nails but still want the bling bling look of holographic glitter, you might enjoy the Prisms collection.  If you’re more inclined towards brighter or more opaque shades, you’ll want to look at some of Nubar’s other shades.

Availability: Nubar

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Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Nubar 2010

Nubar 2010: Layer ’til Your Heart’s Content

Nubar 2010 ($7.49) is a clear base with glitter flakies suspended in the thick, colorless base.   The flakes are different sizes, and it’s definitely something designed to be worn on top of your favorite polishes rather than alone (but no worries, I showed it alone, as well).  It flashes a greenish-gold, fiery-gold, orange, and green, depending on how the light hits it and how much you use.  I just used one coat of Nubar 2010 over two coats of other polishes.  I picked polishes with cream finishes, rather than shimmery ones, and other than that, I just grabbed ones nearest to me.  It’s easy to use, as it applies smoothly while dispersing the flakies pretty evenly without  trouble!

For reference:

  • Thumb = Nubar 2010
  • Pointer = SpaRitual Solaris + Nubar 2010
  • Middle = SpaRitual Color Trip + Nubar 2010
  • Ring = SpaRitual Dreams Becoming Reality + Nubar 2010
  • Pinky = OPI Who the Shrek Are You? + Nubar 2010

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: If you love to layer your polishes, you may find Nubar 2010 an excellent way to add some bling to your manicure/pedicure.

Availability: Nubar

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