Friday, December 25th, 2009

Going Gray?  Chanel Particuliere Nail Lacquer

Last week, I reviewed the majority of Chanel’s Spring collection, which includes three new nail lacquers, but I only reviewed Inattendu and Tendresse and was missing Particuliere ($23.00), which is easily the more interesting shade of the three (Inattendu is a beige-y nude while Tendresse is a soft, milky medium pink).  Chanel describes it simply as grey, which I think is just a little inaccurate.

This is much more of a grayed taupe, because it has definite brown tones to it.  It’s certainly not a rainy gray kind of color, though.  The brown does warm-up the shade, though, and it’s something I could see myself wearing.   It’s dark enough not to be pastel or light or traditionally spring, but it’s not so dark that it makes you feel like fall.  This applied and looked better than the other two shades, though (count me surprised!) — it was very creamy, smooth, and went opaque in two coats.

I’d say that Chanel has made other colors more worthy of the $23 splurge, but I do like this one quite a bit.  (Even for high-end, Chanel’s nail lacquers are quite pricey, particularly compared to brands like Dior.) I imagine OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques is somewhat similar (I don’t own it, so I’m just going off of swatches I’ve seen).

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’re feeling like a splurge, Chanel nail lacquer certainly qualifies as one!

Availability: Nordstrom, Saks

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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection
MAC Nail Lacquer: Blissed Out, Dim the Lights

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection: Nail Lacquers

Two very opposite shades of nail lacquer come along with Warm & Cozy Collection.

  • Blissed Out is a creamy beige with just a touch of pink. It’s more beige than pink, and it has a very creamy finish, but there seems to be just the faintest bit of shimmer laced in the formula. Like very, very subtle – I didn’t even notice it until I saw it in the photos. It took three medium-thick coats to get a mostly opaque look. I found the formula to apply smoothly and evenly, though – no streaking.
  • Dim the Lights is a red-toned chocolate brown with a cream finish. This one I didn’t detect any shimmer, even in photos. It’s very rich and dark. The color reminded me of molten chocolate, actually. It’s an interesting shade, though I don’t think I’ll wear it much myself.

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Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel Collection

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel: Nail Lacquers

Three new, limited edition shades of creamy nail lacquer will debut in January as part of Chanel’s Les Impressions de Chanel Collection. The new shades are: Inattendu, Tendresse, and Particuliere. I didn’t receive Particuliere to review, so I haven’t seen it yet, but hope to pick it up once it launches on-counter at my local Nordstrom!

Inattendu is a warmed-up, creamy fleshy beige. It’s surprisingly warm, despite being so beige, which actually keeps it more interesting and not so flat and blah. The whole nude nails thing is supposedly a trend come spring, so we’ll see how far it trickles down to the consumer level. This one doesn’t match my natural skin tone so dead-on that it’s still noticeable. I found this shade to be more opaque than Tendresse — two or three coats (swatches are with three, for reference) seemed good to me. It’s a very smooth, slightly thick formula.

Tendresse is a milky, baby pink with a creamy finish. It’s almost a neutral pink, but I might call it a yellow-based pink, too. I like it, but it’s not particularly original or unique. I imagine you could easily find a much less expensive shade comparable to this one. Of course, if you’re like me and have a thing for Chanel lacquers… you might not be able to resist. I found that you could see the tips of my nails with two coats, so three coats was definitely a must-do for this shade. Like Inattendu, it’s soft, easy to apply, and looks seamless.

I’ve never had any application or wear issues with Chanel nail lacquers, though I’ve heard many complaints over how long it wears for. I usually pair my Chanel manicures with Zoya’s Color Lock System and always have good results with that technique. Chanel nail lacquers are certainly steep at $23 a pop (even other comparable high-end brands charge less for their nail lacquers, e.g. Dior and Givenchy). While both shades are pretty and perfect for spring, neither is so out-of-the-box that they’re must-haves or must-splurge, rather!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re on a budget, you can likely find similar shades amongst less expensive brands, but both shades are lovely, if the splurge is more your style.

Availability: January 2010

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Friday, December 18th, 2009


Light Affair Nail Lacquer

MAC Love Lace Collection: Light Affair Nail Lacquer

The final product I’m reviewing from MAC’s Love Lace Collection is a new, limited edition shade of nail lacquer. Light Affair is a creamy, pale gray with a touch of lilac/purple. It’s cool-toned, and it looks quite pale against my skin tone. I really just want to call it a lilac-y gray, but it doesn’t really have that much lilac in it. It’s an interesting shade–it’s a much, much paler and lighter version of Cool Reserve from fall.

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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Essie Sweet Time of the Year Collection

Essie Sweet Time of the Year Collection for Winter 2009

For winter, Essie put out a trio of shades: Mint Candy Apple, Rock Candy, and Lollipop. A sweet lil’ treat–something I’d consider putting in someone’s stocking this year. Two of the three are distinct creme finishes, while one is more of a sheer, though still creamy looking. The only shade I really liked was Mint Candy Apple; it’s unique enough to merit a purchase, and it’s fun and wearable as well. The other two just seem like shades I’ve seen before, so they’re must-haves.

All swatches shown are two-coats with a China Glaze base coat and Zoya top coat.

  • Mint Candy Apple is a creamy aqua. I know there’s supposed to be green in it, but it’s quite faint. It really just reads aqua to me–maybe a smidgen of green at best. I applied one thin (streaky!) coat as my first coat, and then I layered on a medium-thick second coat and away we went. I just didn’t really have any trouble with the application like I had heard from others. This is much paler, lighter, and more aqua than For Audrey (which is much bluer), nor is it remotely close to MAC’s Peppermint Patti (which is much greener). Against China Glaze’s Re-Fresh Mint, it’s also not a dupe — it’s significantly bluer, actually — though they have the same lightness/paleness, just one runs more aqua and the other more of a minty green.
  • Rock Candy is a sheer, lightly creamy pink. It’s not opaque, and it has a milky pink look to it. This is definitely what comes to mind when I think of Essie–it’s nice, and it’s certainly flattering (even my Dad would like it, probably–because he wouldn’t even notice it!, just not terribly unique to me.
  • Lollipop is a bright red creme. It’s incredibly bright and bold! It’s more of an orange-based red than a blue-based red, which is nice to see, as many holiday reds run cooler (or bluer, if you’d like). It also has this nice kind of punchy sheen/glow to it that’s interesting.

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:  Three sweet treats from Essie for winter — if any of these shades grab you, they’re all worthy of a peek–it’s just a matter of your color tastes!

Availability: 8ty8beauty.com, Head2ToeBeauty.com, Transdesign.com

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Monday, December 7th, 2009


First row: Heli-Yum, Sugar High, Something Sweet
Second row: High Hopes, Peachykeen, Happy Go Lucky
Third row: Lemon Fizz, Four Leaf Clover, Re-Fresh Mint
Fourth row: Flyin’ High, Grape Pop, Light As Air

China Glaze Up & Away Collection Review Round-up

The twelve shades from Up & Away are all creme finish, which means that they’re creamy and have absolutely no shimmer whatsoever. I didn’t find these the easiest to apply from the beginning, but I did find that after I initially applied three or four of them, I started to figure out what worked and what didn’t for these. I did, however, really love the range of shades included in this launch and really felt like they covered the entire rainbow.

Temptalia Recommendations

Must-Haves: Four Leaf Clover, Sugar High, Re-Fresh Mint
Nice-to-Haves: Something Sweet, Lemon Fizz, Flyin’ High, Light As Air
Skip: –

I don’t think any of these merit a skip, because none of them performed horribly — it’s really a matter of what kind of shades you gravitate towards and which ones you just know aren’t your thing. (Like bright yellows? Not really my thing.) I found the darker/deeper colors to be the easiest to apply, with the lighter ones more prone to streaking, but as you can see, I was able to get creamy, smooth results with all the shades.

Here are some tips I learned about application for these spring shades…

  • Experiment with thickness of coats and number of coats. I found one thin coat (which might even be streaky) followed by a slightly thicker second coat gave me the results I wanted.
  • Make sure to use a base coat and top coat. The base coat will give the polish a smoother surface and something better to anchor to, which will help the polish look and feel more even and smooth. (It also helps it last longer!)
  • Patience is a virtue. You don’t need to wait ten minutes in-between coats, but I would advise waiting anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. Since I went for a fairly thin first coat, I didn’t have to wait long before it was dry enough to layer on a second coat.

Shade by Shade Reviews

China Glaze’s spring collection certainly caught your eye, and I was really pleasantly surprised by just how many nail polish fans we have on this blog! I will definitely try to be more consistent and include more coverage on nail polish in the future (though let’s take a break for a few days!).

What are your favorites?

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