Sunday, November 28, 2010

OPI Burlesque Glitter Swatches

The OPI Burlesque Collection was an amalgamation of both OPI glitters and foil-ish shimmers. Before the Holiday season is up and these polishes are no longer available, I thought I'd compile a few swatches of the four glitters I bought (out of the six that make up the glitter part of the collection). Get these nail lacquers while you can!

The glitters that interested me the most were (from left to right) Bring On The Bling, Sparkle-icious, Show It And Glow It!, and Simmer & Shimmer.

Now I do my swatching just a bit differently than you might see on other blogs, so I thought it was worth it to show you, and share my experiences with these glitter polishes.

To test the opaque factor of each polish, I layered my middle finger and pinky with a half coat of one of the two matte polishes shown above. I used both OPI Alpine Snow Matte and OPI Russian Navy Matte because the mattes leave a nice surface to paint on and they are both dramatic shades (one being very light, the other very dark), to contrast with the glitter polishes.

First up, Bring on the Bling. This polish looks mostly gold in shade along with a sparse dispersion of other colors of glitter. The other two colors in the glitter I thought stood out the most were the green and pink pieces of glitter, so while this color is great for the Holiday season, I think it will also make a great Spring polish.

On my index and middle fingers, there is one coat of Bring on the Bling, with two coats on my ring finger and pinky.

With one coat you can clearly see distinct gaps, where the glitter seems to clump in some places while it's missing from others. At two coats, the white matte under the two layers on my pinky is not really visible. Two to three coats will give you complete coverage with this glitter polish (depending on how heavy handed you are painting on the polish), so no undercoat would really be needed.

OPI Sparkle-icious is the polish that a number of people were hoping would be a dupe to Mad as a Hatter. Well, it's not, as you'll see a few photos down, but besides that, this is the only glitter that differed from the rest of the glitters in this collection.

One coat on index and middle fingers, with two coats on my two right-most fingers (as shown in the photo above and below).

Sparkle-icious proved to be different from the rest of the Burlesque glitters because it is equal parts gold, blue, and fuchsia glitter, with all pieces of glitter being the same particle size. Because there are no micro-particles of glitter as there seem to be in each of the other glitter lacquers, this polish does not get complete coverage in two coats (as clearly visible on the pinky nail - far right - where the matte navy blue shade is still visible under the glitter polish).

In the picture above, on the left is Mad as a Hatter, and on the right is Sparkle-icious. You can clearly see from the bottles standing side-by-side that these lacquers are different in shade. Biggest difference? Mad as a Hatter leans more silvery-violet, while Sparkle-icious has no silver and the purple shade of glitter inside the bottle leans more pink than purple.

Show it and Glow it! is a pink/purple shade. What is interesting about this lacquer is that while it leans towards the violet section of the color wheel, it clearly has a variety of other colors including silver, a bit of yellow-gold, green, blue, and possibly other colors that makes this lacquer more of a hidden gem than it first seems.

On the left two fingers is one coat, and on the right two is two coats. On the middle finger over the white polish, you can see that the micro-glitter in this polish is the same fuchsia color as the larger glitter, which is what leaves this lacquer looking very pink and purple in hue.

Two to three coats should give you complete coverage, but you can get away with two coats, without any major gap of your nail showing through.

OPI Simmer & Shimmer (or Simmer and Shimmer, as I sometimes refer to it) is the blue shade of this collection. Like Show it and Glow it!, Simmer & Shimmer is made up of a multitude of different glitter particles, but because it also has blue micro-glitter in it, the polish leans more blue than any other shade.

One coat of Simmer & Shimmer on index and middle fingers, two coats on ring and pinky.

Two to three coats will give you great coverage, so a base color is not needed on this one.

So there are the four glitters I have to share with you. Get them while they're still in stores if you are considering buying any! Do you have a favorite from the collection?

Well, like all glitters they are a pain to remove, but worth it if you want a truly Sparkling polish! From the collection, Sparkle-icious is the only lacquer I would say really needs an undercoat of a solid color if you don't want to see the nail underneath it. And in terms of dry and wear time, all of these lacquers dried surprisingly quick and stayed on well for the few days I tried two of them out as full manicures.

Hope this helps in your Holiday/nail polish shopping!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Black and White for Halloween and a Nail Tip

As a Halloween Manicure, this is way past due, but I wanted to use this as a Nail Tip, so I'm sharing my Halloween Manicure as well!

This Nail Tip is more of an addition to water marbling, rather than an explanation or a How-To. Now I know there are a few preferences out there for how to prep for a water marble, but this was my first attempt at a water marble manicure, and I found the prep I did helped so I had none-to-a-little clean up, so I thought I should share it.

When I think of Halloween, my mind irrevocably goes to black and white Horror films. Forgetting the fact I've seen very few Horror films, I still connect the two. And thus the inspiration behind my Halloween manicure.

image from

The 1922 black and white film Nosferatu is not only considered the "original" vampire movie, but also a classic horror film.

No bottle pictures here. Why? Because this isn't about the colors used specifically, it's about the manicure and how to achieve a similar look. So let's jump into Step 1!

To prep your nails for a water marble manicure, I definitely suggest laying down a base color. While I did just mention that the exact nail polishes don't matter, I do have a preference for layering, and it works well for me so I'll share it here, too. My choice: Alpine Snow Matte by OPI. The matte dries very quickly and you get great coverage in 1 - 2 coats without it being goopy or streaky (which is great for a white)!

Here is the step that you may or may not have read on other blogs. I've heard people recommending using different mediums to protect their fingers from getting covered in the nail polish left on the water's surface after dipping your nail in, and I've found using blue painter's tape to be quite helpful.

While being a tough sort of surface, the tape itself is papery and bends and flexes well, so it seems to mold better to the finger than other tapes I've used before (such as clear "Scotch" tape).

The best way to go about applying the tape would be to cut some medium-to-thin strips from your tape roll and then cut each of those strips into short segments so you have a bunch of small rectangles.

This part is important so that there is less clean-up at the end point. Taking those little rectangles, start at the side of your finger and line up the edge of the tape so it touches the edge of the bottom coat of nail polish. You'll want the tape to do this to cover your cuticle and sides of your finger where the nail polish can pool and trap, making clean-up harder than it has to be.

Going around the edge of the base color of nail polish (the matte white in the picture above), use your little rectangle strips to angle around the nail bed, until all edges are covered with tape. If you see any big gap where two strips have left an angle where the polish might stick to the skin, go in with a small strip of tape and cover that up.

Next, take one of the longer strips of tape and press it down under your nail, so it covers the underside of the nail along with the underside of your finger. It is okay if the tape strip surpasses the end of your nail and sticks out a bit, that will not interfere with your water marble effect on the nail.

Now, cut a few larger pieces of tape and wrap them around your finger so that your finger is covered up to the second joint/knuckle (or anatomically speaking, where your middle phalanx and proximal phalanx meet). Using larger pieces of tape at this part makes it faster and easier to put on and take off the tape.

Here you can see that the tape from Step 2 really did keep my middle finger clean. If for some reason you have a bit of excess nail polish from the water marble on your finger, this would be the step to clean off your finger.

Keeping with the Halloween theme, I added a dash of color to my nails by painting my ring finger a neon orange over the matte white (which helped so I needed less coats of the orange polish). (Also, the orange shade is Sinful Colors Summer Peach if you're wondering).

And add a top coat!

In terms of a water marble, I liked how this one turned out, and with how easy the clean up was with the blue tape, I'll definitely be doing this again! Have you tried water marbling before? Do you do prep beforehand to make clean-up easier? And if so, what? (I'd like to know if there are any good ideas that could also be incorporated into this Nail Tip to be helpful for everyone.)

While I'm certainly not a pro at water marbling, I searched YouTube and looked at water marbling videos there to get ideas. I also looked at a few videos on Colette's blog My Simple Little Pleasures. She has some great videos on how to water marble and shows how to swirl the colors around in the water so you can get a preferred design.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this Nail Tip/Halloween Manicure, and if you haven't tried water marbling, consider diving into it, it's really not as horribly detailed and messy as it first seems! Bye!