Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Nails Inc Garden Party Swatches

New for Spring 2014 in Sephora stores: the Nails Inc. Garden Party Special Effects Collection!  I was so excited when I found an empty display spot for these three polishes at my local Sephora.  Unfortunately, they were not currently available online, so I had to be patient and wait for them to show up.  Luckily when they did show up on the Sephora website I was able to see they were at the Sephora inside JCPenny store nearest me.  On that note, I have found that this pattern is often true for new Nails Inc. products.  They are first available at the Sephora inside JCPenny stores before the standalone Sephora stores (and sometimes even before being available online), so check there first when looking!

 base coat, 2 coats Sinful Colors My Turn, 1 coat Westbourne Gardens, no top coat

This collection consists of three multi-hued and multi-sized glitter toppers all in a clear base.  The first I have to share is Westbourne Gardens.  This polish is mostly pink, featuring small hexagonal glitter in metallic pink, matte pink, and matte white colors.  Smaller white matte hexes are strewn throughout, along with micro matte pink hexagonal glitter.  All of the pink glitter with the white glitter thrown in creates an overall soft pink hue making this glitter polish beautiful for any spring event!

  base coat, 2 coats Sinful Colors My Turn, 1 coat Westbourne Gardens, no top coat

Next up we'll look at Portobello Gardens.  This mostly blue glitter topper features small hexagonal glitter in a cobalt metallic blue, a matte turquoise-blue, and a matte white interspersed with smaller matte white and matte light green hexagonal glitter.  Filling up the rest of the clear base is micro turquoise-blue hexagonal-shaped glitter.

  base coat, 2 coats Sinful Colors My Turn, 1 coat Portobello Gardens, no top coat

The white glitter mixed in with the bright blue glitters along with a touch of green make this the perfect winter-to-spring shade!

 base coat, 2 coats Sinful Colors My Turn, 1 coat Portobello Gardens, no top coat

The last lacquer in this collection is Princes Gardens (which I either always want to add an apostrophe to or call "Princess Gardens").

 base coat, 2 coats Sinful Colors My Turn, 1 coat Princes Gardens, no top coat

This glitter is the most multi-hued of the three, featuring small metallic lilac/lavender, matte light blue, and matte light green hexagonal glitter.  There is smaller matte white hexagonal glitter throughout, along with micro light green hexagonal glitter.

base coat, 2 coats Sinful Colors My Turn, 1 coat Princes Gardens, no top coat

All three of these glitter polishes are now available on the Sephora website or in stores if you are in the United States.  Retail price is $11US each.  If you live in another country, have you seen this collection?

If you think you've heard of the Garden Party collection before, you have.  About a year ago there was a four polish collection available on QVC's UK website that contained only one glitter polish called Grosvenor Gardens.  These two collections don't seem to be connected except by name.

What do you think of this collection?  If you want to see photos of what the display looks like so you can keep an eye out for it at your local Sephora, check out my pictures on Twitter or Instagram!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

OPI Muppets Most Wanted Collection Spring 2014

In conjunction with the new Muppets movie, Muppets Most Wanted, OPI has released an eight polish collection for Spring 2014.  Here are six of the eight shades for your perusal.

no base coat, 2 coats Int'l Crime Caper, no top coat

Int'l Crime Caper is a pearlescent white polish that errs on the side of sheer.  What turns this polish from a boring sheer white to a beautiful polish you need to have is the opal-like facets.  A strong pink shimmer (that is much stronger to see in real life than in these photos) runs through the polish, and the pink shimmer is filled with tiny blue flecks.  The above photo is 2 coats, so you can see that the polish is quite build-able, and a third coat would have taken away more of the VNL (visible nail line).

 base coat, 2 coats Miss Piggy's Big Number, no top coat

Now when I was at my local beauty supply store scoping out this collection, I kept picking up and putting back this beauty, Miss Piggy's Big Number, because I knew it looked like a polish I had, I just couldn't remember what polish that was.  And then I got home, and discovered I found a perfect dupe for Chanel's Bel-Argus.

(from left to right in photo with base coat on all and no top coat) 2 coats Bel-Argus, 2 coats Miss Piggy's Big Number, 2 coats Bel Argus, 2 coats Miss Piggy's Big Number

Just like Bel-Argus, Miss Piggy's Big Number is a pearly blue that has a hint of purple at its edges.  This is almost a frost, but does not feature enough brush strokes to be a strict frost-finish.  The pearl/chrome-like finish means that this polish is highly reflective and has a beautiful blue shine that is stronger in direct lighting like direct sunlight.

 no base coat, 2 coats Kermit Me to Speak, no top coat

Kermit Me to Speak may have looked like Next Stop…The Bikini Zone from the recent OPI Brazil collection, or Peace & Love & OPI (which in turn looked similar to Not Like the Movies), in the promotional photos, but this polish is unique in color and duochrome shift.  The base color appears to be gold with a rose colored shift.  By itself, the rose-hued aspect overwhelms the gold, or any other color in the polish, making it look less like a duochrome, and more like a shimmer.

base coat, 2 coats Sinful Colors Whipped, 1 coat Kermit Me to Speak, no top coat

Put Kermit Me to Speak over black, and the duochrome finish is vastly enhanced.  Each color variation between the gold and rose can be seen when you move your fingers about.  

base coat, 2 coats Sinful Colors Whipped, 1 coat Kermit Me to Speak, no top coat

Also not seen unless you layer this polish over black is the green undertone of the duochrome that shows up if you hold your nails parallel to a flat surface, changing this polish from a duochrome to a trichrome.  

 base coat, 1 coat Sinful Colors Whipped, 1 coat Let's Do Anything We Want!, no top coat

One of the three glitters in this collection is Let's Do Anything We Want! which features small rose-pink hexagonal glitter and medium-large matte white square glitter in a clear base.  Although the prominent glitter is the rose-pink glitter, there are enough white squares that you don't have to fish out the squares from the bottle in order to try and get a few on each nail.  The different shapes and sizes of this glitter polish make it an adventurous combination, with soft pink and white coloring to tone down the extreme differences in the glitter.

 base coat, 1 coat Sinful Colors Whipped, 1 coat Gaining Mole-Mentum, no top coat

Gaining Mole-Mentum is made up of interesting shaped shard-like glitter pieces in a clear base.  The glitter pieces are mostly medium sized and are gold and copper/rose-pink in color.  One coat gives great distribution across the whole nail bed - no need for dabbling it on in bald spots because there are none to cover up!

base coat, 1 coat Sinful Colors Whipped, 1 coat Muppets World Tour, no top coat

The last glitter polish in this collection is Muppets World Tour.  Featuring micro silver glitter with larger  silver hexes and even larger pink, rose, and blue hexes (which are still relatively small in size) in a clear base.  One coat gives even coverage, but this polish is still not so glitter-packed as to be able to be worn alone as a full-coverage glitter polish.

The other two polishes in this collection that I did not pick up were I Love Applause, a slightly sheer pink creme, and Chillin' Like a Villain, a slightly sheer peach creme.  When I tested both of these on tape inside the store, both were streaky at one coat so I passed on them.  If you don't have a peach creme or a pink creme, you might want to take a look at these two.

The glitter polishes in this collection were quite unique and the other non-creme polishes pictured above all feature at least a slight shift of color that make them interesting and fun to wear.  Do you think you'll pick any of these lacquers up?  Have you already seen them in person?  Which is your favorite?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Nails Inc Pop Art Collection for Spring 2014

New for Spring 2014!  Nails Inc. has released a matte glitter collection at Sephora.  I picked up these two polishes in a stand-alone Sephora store and have yet to see them on the Sephora website.

no base coat, 2 coats Knightsbridge Place, no top coat

The all matte glitter polish in this collection: Nails Inc. Knightsbridge Place.  Made up of all the same sized hexagonal glitter in matte red, light pink, and light blue in a clear base.  As you can see in the photos above and below, these polishes don't work so well as full-coverage polishes because even with the dabbling method where you dab on a blob of polish and push the glitter around on the nail to get the nail fully covered, as I did here, with two thick coats, there are still large un-covered spots on the nails, and there are areas that the glitter is starting to build-up and become bumpy.  

no base coat, 2 coats Knightsbridge Place, no top coat 

Nails Inc. Upper Street, the second polish in this collection, is made up of four colors of hexagonal glitter in a clear base.  Three are matte glitter: the white, light pink, and light blue.  The fourth color of glitter is a shiny gold, which adds a different dimension from Knightsbridge Place.

 no base coat, 2 coats Upper Street, no top coat

Like Knightsbridge Place, Upper Street does not work very well as a full coverage polish because of how chunky the glitter is, creating the same problems of balding and bumpiness that Knightsbridge Place has.

 no base coat, 2 coats Upper Street, no top coat

Where Knightsbridge Place and Upper Street really shine are as glitter toppers.  Both Knightsbridge Place and Upper Street are layered over Sally Hansen's Complete Salon Manicure in Thinking of Blue.

First let's see Knightsbridge Place as a topper.

 base coat, 1 coat Sally Hansen Thinking of Blue, 1 coat Knightsbridge Place, no top coat

 base coat, 1 coat Sally Hansen Thinking of Blue, 1 coat Knightsbridge Place, no top coat

  base coat, 1 coat Sally Hansen Thinking of Blue, 1 coat Upper Street, no top coat

base coat, 1 coat Sally Hansen Thinking of Blue, 1 coat Upper Street, no top coat

If you think you've seen these polishes before, you may have.  A few blogs have shared photos of these glitters in double ended bottles.  There appear to be three double ended polish duos where on one side of the duo, there is a creme polish, and the other end has one of the pop art glitters.  The third glitter topper, Cavendish Place, has turquoise, black, silver, and white glitter in it.  This was not at Sephora.  I'm not sure if this means that Cavendish Place will not be showing up at Sephora, or whether it was just not in stock at the particular Sephora store I frequent.  Please let me know if you see it around!

So what do you think of these polishes?  Which is your favorite?  Have you seen or tried any polishes from the Nails Inc. Pop Art collection?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Scotch Naturals A/W 2013/2014 Collection

Have you ever tried water-based nail polish before?  Well if so, forget your previous experience(s) because you haven't tried Scotch Naturals.

Personally, I've tried the paint-and-peel and a few other water-based nail polishes.  And they were terrible.  They chipped less than an hour after putting them on, and then because they were peel-off, you couldn't take them off with nail polish remover, so I was stuck picking off a layer of my nail while trying to scrape off the nail polish that looked like I had been wearing it for a month.

Then I heard about Scotch Naturals.  What appealed to me was their vast range of colors.  Other water-based brands that are made for adults don't seem to stray from the usual reds, pinks, and beige-like colors.  But obviously, Scotch Naturals does.  This is their Autumn/Winter 2013/2014 Collection:

no base coat, 2 coats Mamie Gilroy, no top coat

First up, we have Mamie Gilroy.  Described on the Scotch Naturals website as a "heathered purple cream," this is a beautiful medium hued purple that errs on the side of light purple.  It has a touch more red than these photos show, but as with most purple shades, this one was a bit hard to photograph.  The photo with the white background (shown above) is more true-to-life than the photo below.

no base coat, 2 coats Mamie Gilroy, no top coat

Man of the Moment is described by Scotch Naturals as a "vintage denim creme" shade.  It does have a bit of teal in it, so it is not a straight blue, but blue seems to be the predominant color in this polish.

no base coat, 2 coats Man of the Moment, no top coat

This is a nice twist on the classic winter blue, because the slight hint of green makes this color feel like it could definitely be worn into spring.  It's reminiscent of that time and landscape color change when the grass first starts popping up after a frosty winter and a splash of green starts peaking through the frozen ground.

no base coat, 2 coats Man of the Moment, no top coat

Next up comes the holy grail of the collection for formula: this is a one-coater ladies and gentlemen!  That's right, Bannockburn only needs one coat for complete coverage.  See below for confirmation on this amazing-ness!

no base coat, 1 coat Bannockburn, no top coat

Described on the Scotch Naturals website as a "muted moss creme" - a description that fits perfectly with this color.  It doesn't lean too olive drab/army green, so it looks more modern than those repetitive beige-infused regular nail polish colors of the last few seasons.

 no base coat, 1 coat Bannockburn, no top coat

And now for the most interesting color of the bunch!  This is Amber's Revenge.  Described as a "muted mustard creme," this leans too green to be described strictly as a mustard color.  With the slight gray-green thrown in to tone down the yellow, this almost feels like a dark chartreuse.

 no base coat, 2 coats Amber's Revenge, no top coat

Like many yellow hued polishes, this one was just a tad thinner than the other shades, so to compare the difference between two to three coats for you, the photo above shows 2 coats of Amber's Revenge, while the photo below shows it at 3 coats.

no base coat, 3 coats Amber's Revenge, no top coat

Now because these are water-based nail polishes, you wouldn't wear them with your regular top coat and base coat, so Scotch Naturals has their own fabulous top and base coats that not only dramatically increase the shine on these polishes, but also increases the staying power.

I did a wear test to show how well these polishes hold up to daily life.  The first photo below shows Mamie Gilroy after 24 hours of wear time, followed by another photo at 72 hours of wear time.

base coat, 2 coats Mamie Gilroy, top coat

During the first 24 hours of wear, I spent the day at work typing, followed up with packing boxes and filing papers.  By the time this photograph was taken 72 hours in, I had taken at least 2 showers, along with more typing and the unpacking of the earlier packed boxes.

Click to enlarge the photos and you can see that by the end of the first day, I did develop a chip on my middle nail, but there was very minimal tip wear.  By the end of day 3, I had full tip wear, just like I always do with regular polish.  I see no difference in the wear of this water-based polish to regular nail polish.

base coat, 2 coats Mamie Gilroy, top coat

So that concludes the A/W 2013/2014 Collection for Scotch Naturals.

In terms of color consistency, all of these polishes are straight creme shades.  All four also seem to have a hint of gray mixed in that is not apparent in the color of the polish, but does seem to tone down what would have been a brighter shade (such as with Amber's Revenge) making these perfect shades for the winter into the spring.  They all do perfectly well at 2 coats of polish, though Bannockburn really only needs one coat of polish for complete coverage.

Dry time for me was the same with regular polish.  Base coat + 2 coats of polish + top coat = same dry time as regular polish.  It was only marginally slower than when I use a quick drying top coat on regular lacquer.  The only major difference was that I painted my nails right before bed when I was going to wear Mamie Gilroy, so as to not get the polish wet right away.  Because these are water-based, the polish softens in water when it is still fresh and has not completely hardened/solidified on the nail.  That could be a downside for people that paint their nails in the morning or before an evening out if a shower is involved in that.

A major plus for water-based nail polish is that it has little-to-no smell.  While other water-based nail polishes I have tried seemed to smell like glue, this doesn't smell like glue, rather it smells a bit like plastic.  Yet keep in mind that while these polishes do still give off an odor, it is insignificant in comparison to the smell of regular polishes.  I've gotten headaches from the smell of regular nail polish, but I had no problems with these polishes, nor did the person I was sitting next to while painting my nails.

Also, instead of using acetone-based nail polish remover, these come off with rubbing alcohol.  A home staple that is easy to find at your local drugstore or grocery store.

Well I am certainly a convert.  While I'm not ready to toss out all of my old "3-free" polishes until water-based polishes start coming in matte glitter shades and multi-chrome versions, I have been wearing these a lot this past year.  My first Scotch Naturals were the 2012 Fall polishes, so I have had previous experience with this brand of water-based polishes in particular, and I still find them to be the best of its kind.

Scotch Naturals weigh in at the median level of polish pricing, costing $14.99US each.  If you buy from their website, you can purchase a starter pack of 3 polishes of your choosing plus top coat all for $48.00US.  If you buy the starter pack, called the Cocktail Trio, any additional polish purchase made at that time is 20% off!  And like many beauty websites, shipping is free if you spend $50US or more.  It's a great way to try out more than one color at a time and see what you think!

Have you ever tried Scotch Naturals water-based nail polish?  Have you ever tried another brand of water-based nail polish?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

CoverGirl Catching Fire Nail Stickers in Flamed Out and Seared Bronze

WooHoo!  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is coming out on November 22, 2013 and it's already the 10th!  Less than 2 weeks left!  So to get ready for the movie you have to decide on your nail art, right?  How about wearing some of the CoverGirl Catching Fire Collection made specifically for the movie?

There were 9 nail polishes made to go along with the collection, and today I have one to share with you.  I found the CoverGirl Catching Fire Collection at my local CVS, and the first time I saw it, they only had the glosstinis (the nail polishes) and the other makeup products, but it wasn't until last week that I spotted a larger display at my same CVS (while they still had the smaller display up) that had the nail stickers as well.

The first time around I was only interested in the nail stickers so I bypassed the nail polishes, but the second time, after seeing the nail stickers I was drawn to this glowing red polish that I thought would look great under the nail stickers.   This is 2 coats of Rogue Red with top coat in direct afternoon sunlight.

Now for the nail stickers.  First up, Seared Bronze:

Next is Flamed Out:

In terms of ease of use, the stickers are plastic so they are more malleable than the paper nail stickers some companies have, but you can still easily end up with ridges if you have very rounded nails.  I would say if you use nail stickers often, these are easier to use than the Revlon stickers, but harder to smooth out than the ones from Sally Hansen.

If you are looking for the nail stickers, they do seem to be slowly showing up, but I haven't heard anyone else say they have found the stickers.  I've seen the nail polishes at Walgreens, but the only display with the stickers was at CVS, and while it seems like there are supposed to be 6 different sticker selections, the display at CVS only had these two.  If you wanted to see what this display looks like, you can look at my pic on twitter.  It is a full stand display, so if you haven't found the nail stickers yet, keep looking for bigger displays to come in to your local drugstores.

To see the full makeup collections and full looks created by CoverGirl for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, you can visit the CoverGirl website HERE.

Are you going to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and if so, do you already have your nail art planned?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Easy Tombstone Halloween Nail Art

Are you still looking for some last minute nail art for Halloween?  Well why not try some humorous Halloween Tombstone epitaphs on your nails?

Did you ever notice how technically, your nails are all ready shaped like mini tombstones?  Especially if you have square nails?  So all you have to do to begin painting your tombstones is grab some gray polish.

Unless you have some nice gray polish like NARS Storm Bird laying around, why not try mixing your own gray nail polish?  I picked up the recent release of Wet 'n Wild's Fantasy Makers Tombstone shaped polishes in Darkest Hour, the black creme of their collection.  For each bottle, I just dumped out at least half of the black polish to almost all of the black polish that was in the bottle, and then I poured in some white polish.  I used a nail wheel to swatch the color changes as I mixed the grays to make sure I had a light, medium, and dark gray, keeping in mind that the dark gray had to be light enough that text could be read on top of the color (so a color like NARS Galion may be too dark).

So, to begin, if you are using different gray lacquers, you can decide in which order you want to paint your nails - lightest to darkest, or any order of your choice.  Top with a quick dry top coat to speed up the drying process so you can move on to Step 2.  

Step 2 is where the nail art takes place.  For this easy nail art, I used Rub-on transfers.  The brand I bought was called Grafix Rub-Onz and comes in packs of 4 or more sheets.

To begin, with rub-on transfers, the way they work is that you will print your nail art on one side of a transfer sheet, and then you use a self-adhesive sticky sheet to separate the ink from the original sheet.  Keeping this in mind, with words you need to print them mirrored, so you will need to have some type of photo-editing software such as Photoshop.  I used Adobe InDesign to first create the epitaphs, and then flip each of them to their reverse image.  Also be aware, in the image below you can see that the writing is on a light gray background.  The reason for that is because when you transfer the image and then have it separate to rub it onto your nail, the ink separates from the background, so if you don't have a single background color your text is on, each of the letters will separate and you will have a separate nail transfer for each letter.  Note: that is not a good thing to have when the font is smaller than 12pt font to fit onto the nail bed.  And because the nail transfers are going on a gray background, the gray used on the nail transfers becomes less obvious.

Below you can see what it looks like when you separate the nail transfers and begin to cut them out.  For this brand of transfers, you need to cut on the boarder of the color (another reason for having a gray square background for the text), so that the image becomes separated from the original transfer material.  This step does not make much sense in words, but this transfer package I bought - as most of them do - comes with step-by-step instructions that you can follow that will explain each part of the process.

And now for Step 3 you are transferring your rub-on nail art onto the nails.  This step may take some practice.  If it helps, print out an extra set of transfers and try them on paper first to get a feel for how these transfer.  The backing of each transfer is hard thick velum, so it does not bend and conform to the shape of the nail that easily.  This makes it difficult to firmly press down and connect the transfer to the nail, but on the other hand, it also makes it easier to see at the corners of the transfer whether or not the nail art has transferred on to the nail.  The easiest way to tell this step is working, is that like a temporary tattoo, the image on the transfer becomes lighter as you rub it and it sticks to the opposing surface (of your nail), so if you see light patches on your transfer, that means it's working, and you may be able to peel away the transfer from the backing without having to keep trying to rub it off the paper.

The step above may take a little time, but if you go slowly and patiently, you'll eventually have the beginnings of your tombstones.  Now that you've utilized your transfers, you need to seal them in with top coat.  There is no dry time to wait for, so just start painting on the clear polish.

And the final step to making your tombstones look like they're made of stone?  Cover them with a matte top coat!  I chose Wax That… by Cult Nails because I was looking for that satin finish that would make them look like polished stone.

And here's the final product:


So, what do you think?  Have you already tried Halloween Tombstone Nail Art in some variation before?  Personally, I'm kind of happy that there were little ridges that showed up in the transfers because I think it adds to the ambiance - it makes the tombstones look old and cracked.  When you enlarge the image (just click on any image to make it bigger), you can see what I meant earlier about the gray background of the lettering.  It is only somewhat obvious on the lightest gray polish, but it still doesn't look out of place, since you'll just be layering gray over gray.

Honestly, five steps may sound like a lot, but when you break it down there is only really two steps:  painting your nails gray and then getting the nail art transfers onto your nails.

So do you think you'd try this nail art?  Have you already tried rub-on transfers for nail art?  Are you wearing nail art this Halloween?

Hope this post has left you with some ideas.  Have a happy Halloween!