Thursday, March 1st, 2012

NARS Night Breed Nail Lacquer
NARS Night Breed Nail Lacquer

NARS Night Breed Nail Lacquer

NARS Night Breed Nail Lacquer ($17.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described simply as “black with silver glitter.” It’s a deep black with silver shimmer and sparkle that’s opaque in two coats (but one coat packs quite a punch of pigmentation). I don’t have anything quite like this. I think the closest shade I could think of was China Glaze Tinsel Town, but it has a lot more silver glitter and shimmer, so it looks more silver than it does black. China Glaze Stone Cold has more uniform and smaller-sized shimmer, plus it has a matte finish.

NARS nailed the formula of their Night Series shades–the color coverage is fantastic, the shades are nuanced, and they even dry faster than most polishes. It does dry down to a flatter finish, so a shiny top coat is a must if you prefer a glossy finish. The wear of NARS polishes is remarkably good–minor tip wear and no chipping after seven days.  The application was easy and required no special effort; Night Breed had a good consistency–not too thick or too thin–that yielded even color without streaking.

The Glossover

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Night Breed

A+
Night Breed is a high-end polish that's worth it--the formula is flawless: rich in color, easy application, and long-wear. I also love that they didn't skimp on the quantity, because you're getting as much polish as the average polish has (0.50 fl. oz.). Too many high-end brands squeeze on both price and quantity!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

MAC Nail Lacquer
MAC Breezy Blue Nail & Pinkly Fresh Nail Lacquers

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Collection: Nail Lacquers

There are two MAC Nail Lacquers ($16.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) in the new Love & Water Collection, and they include: Breezy Blue (dark blue) and Pinkly Fresh (mid-tone blue pink).

Breezy Blue is a deep purple-tinted navy blue with a cream finish. I applied two coats (and three coats on the middle finger), but I wasn’t able to get complete opacity. Illamasqua Force is similar but a little lighter. shu uemura Bleu Splendor is darker. Deborah Lippmann I Know What Boys Like is very similar. The formula was watery and thin, so three coats is really necessary in order to eliminate visible nail line.

Pinkly Fresh is a subtly blue-based pastel pink with a cream finish. Essie French Affair is very similar, perhaps a touch lighter. The formula is so, so thick on this one. The first coat was incredibly streaky, and only when I applied a really thick second coat was I able to get a streak-free result. Because of the thicker consistency, drying time seemed longer than average. I used two coats for swatches, though the second coat was deliberately thick, and it was opaque.

I’m not keen on the formula on either of these. At this price point, the formula really needs to be immaculate or else the color out of this world to justify it. How many blue and pink creams are there on the market?

P.S. — Apologies in advance:  I’m super sick, and when I’m under the weather, my hands tend to get really dry, so they are rather tired-looking in these photos!  

The Glossover

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MAC Chen Man Love & Water Collection: Nail Lacquers Review, Photos, Swatches

C
Both shades had a problematic formula, so I would pass on these, because the colors are not unique enough to justify the extra patience, coats, etc. to make these work at this price point.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3/5

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Friday, February 17th, 2012

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer
SpaRitual Holiday Nail Lacquer

SpaRitual Twinkle Collection

SpaRitual Twinkle Collection ($10.00 each for 0.50 fl. oz.) may have been a holiday collection, but it’s still available for purchase. The collection has six shades: Blue Moon (midnight violet shimmer), Shooting Star (velvet magenta shimmer), Twilight (deep amethyst purple), Illumination (silver glitter), Break of Dawn (red sparkle), and Solstice (textured gold foil).

The majority of the shades apply beautifully; really great consistency–not too thick or too thin–so there was even flow across the nail with good color payoff with each coat. Blue Moon was slightly under-pigmented with very slight visible nail line after two coats. The consistency of Illumination was a little thick, so it tended to pool around the sides if you aren’t careful (and I wasn’t).  SpaRitual always seems like an underrated brand to me–their formula usually has a nice consistency, good pigmentation, and the wear is fantastic (I get a week with minor tip wear).  I’m also a huge fan of the rubberized cap, which makes it easier to grip and paint your nails!

The Glossover

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SpaRitual Twinkle Collection Review, Photos, Swatches

A
SpaRitual always seems like an underrated brand to me--their formula usually has a nice consistency, good pigmentation, and the wear is fantastic (I get a week with minor tip wear). I'd rock these shades year-round! :)

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Estee Lauder Teal Topaz Nail Lacquer
Estee Lauder Teal Topaz Nail Lacquer

Estee Lauder Teal Topaz Nail Lacquer

Estee Lauder Teal Topaz Nail Lacquer ($19.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is a dusty teal with a cream finish, though it dries to an almost vinyl-like finish. Illamasqua Muse is a richer, deeper teal that isn’t much darker but has more depth. Cult Nails Let Me Fly is a bit darker and has shimmer. Orly Viridian Vinyl is very close in color but has a pleather-like finish.

It’s not quite opaque after two coats, and it doesn’t apply completely evenly; there is a tendency to streak and pull. I’ve had good luck with Estee Lauder’s new Pure Color lacquers, but this one fell flat for me. The application was off; it wasn’t as pigmented as other shades, and it did not apply flawlessly. Estee Lauder bottles look big, but they’re deceptively small in actual product–there’s a lot of excess glass, which makes the bottle heavy and chunky (it takes up more space than your average bottle of polish).  I typically get a week of wear with very minor tip wear with Estee Lauder’s formula.

The Glossover

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Teal Topaz

B
It's a really pretty shade, but the formula falls short--at this price tag, and with several other dupes available, it's unacceptable.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

3/5

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Friday, February 10th, 2012

China Glaze Hunger Games Nail Lacquer
China Glaze Hunger Games Nail Lacquer

China Glaze & Hunger Games Collection: Colours from the Capitol

China Glaze Colours from the Capitol Collection is slated for March launch. It features twelve shades with each shade being named after a different district. This post features these six: Hook and Line, Luxe and Lush, Mahogany Magic, Riveting, Smoke and Ashes, and Stone Cold. Reader Kim did an excellent job explaining the names-to-district component.

  • Hook and Line is a warm gray with threads of pale silver. This shade is named after District 4 for fishing. It’s opaque in two coats, but this is a little thick, streaky, and has a ton of brush strokes. The color is a little reminiscent of Zoya Dove but it’s darker and warmer.
  • Luxe and Lush is a duochrome top coat with various sizes of flakies that reflect gold and pink with a little blue. This shade is named after District 1 for luxury. I applied two coats so you could see it on its own as well as over Smoke and Ashes. I don’t have a dupe for this shade. The closest I could think of were Zoya’s Fleck Effects.
  • Mahogany Magic is a warm brown with a yellow base. It was opaque in two coats. This shade is named for District 7 for lumber. Illamasqua Taint is a cooler-toned brown. Chanel Khaki Rose is lighter.
  • Riveting is a vibrant orange with orange-tinted gold shimmer. It was opaque in two coats. This shade is named for District 3 for technology. Zoya Tanzy is a little lighter and has more shimmer/glitter. Nubar Arencia is similar but a touch darker. Milani Metal Gear is darker and the shimmer doesn’t appear as light.
  • Smoke and Ashes is an inky blue-based black with green and blue shimmer. It was opaque in two coats. This shade is named for District 12 for mining. The base color reminded me of Zoya Cynthia a bit, but it’s blacker. Cult Nails Living Water has a similar look but the shimmer is more dominant and leans bluer.
  • Stone Cold is a soft black with silver shimmer–and it’s matte. This shade is named for District 2 for masonry. It’s similar to Nubar Midnight and MAC Butterfly. Orly Iron Butterfly should also be a dupe.

The consistency of Hook and Line was the worst; a little thick, not quite goopy but close, which all resulted in a streaky finish. I had better luck with Riveting, Smoke and Ashes, and Stone Cold, which were easy to apply and didn’t have any consistency concerns–they weren’t too thick or too thin and applied evenly without bubbling or pooling along the sides. Luxe and Lush has a thicker consistency, which actually helps the flakies distribute fairly evenly over the nail.  Mahogany Magic was on the thicker side, but it wasn’t as problematic as Hook and Line.

The Glossover

coming-soon

China Glaze & Hunger Games Collection Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 2)

A-
This set of six was better overall compared to the six from part one--only two shades gave me problems, while the other four were easy to work with and had a good formula.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

China Glaze Hunger Games Nail Lacquer
China Glaze Hunger Games Nail Lacquer

China Glaze & Hunger Games Collection: Colours from the Capitol

China Glaze Colours from the Capitol Collection is slated for March launch. It features twelve shades with each shade being named after a different district. This post features these six: Agro, Dress Me Up, Electrify, Fast Track, Foie Gras, and Harvest Moon. Reader Kim did an excellent job explaining the names-to-district component.

  • Agro is a rich, dark olive green with subtle yellow undertones and olive gold shimmer and metallic threads. This shade is named after District 11 for agriculture. I used two coats for opaque color, and it had a good consistency. Cult Nails In a Trance is much lighter, more olive green without a blackened edge. China Glaze It’s Alive has similar color components but looks totally different. NARS Mash looks almost the same.
  • Dress Me Up is a dusty, rose peach with a cream finish. This shade was named after District 8 for textiles. I used two coats for opaque color, but the consistency was a little thick. Zoya Pandora is lighter. Nubar Moire is darker.
  • Electrify is red and gold glitter suspended in a clear base. This shade was named after District 5 for power. I did two coats by itself, and it’s not quite opaque–with a little patience, I think you could manage to achieve almost opaque color coverage with three coats. I couldn’t think of a dupe for this one.
  • Fast Track is a grayish beige with pale yellow gold flecks of shimmer. It’s not quite opaque after two coats. This shade was named after District 6 for transportation. China Glaze Knotty is lighter. China Glaze Ingrid seemed really similar when I swatched this initially, but it’s much darker.
  • Foie Gras is a purple-tinted brown cream. It was opaque after two coats, but it was a little thick. This shade was named after District 10 for livestock. China Glaze Street Chic is browner. Urban Decay Barlust has a similar color but has shimmer.
  • Harvest Moon is a rich, warm copper with lighter copper shimmer. It was opaque in two coats. This shade was named after District 9 for grain. Zoya Tanzy is much more orange. Nubar Caramello is similar but a little more orange.

The formula was inconsistent, but overall, it fell short of my expectations for China Glaze, which is a brand that usually releases colors with a great formula.  The creams had a thicker consistency that almost felt runny.  You really need to make sure to wipe off excess before applying to the nail to avoid having a pool of color.  Electrify has a thicker consistency, which was expected, because of the clear base, but it distributed the glitter fairly evenly.  Agro and Harvest Moon had the best formula from these six, and their drying time felt fast.

The Glossover

coming-soon

China Glaze & Hunger Games Collection Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

B+
I wish the formula was more consistent with China Glaze's formula overall, because these felt on the thicker side and took longer to dry than average. Agro and Harvest Moon applied the best out of these six.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4/5

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