Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vintage Maybelline for Pink Wednesday!

Happy Pink Wednesday, everyone! This week's pink is an old Maybelline Express Finish polish from sometime around 2002 or 2003. It's called Tutu Tango, and from what I vaguely remember it was part of a seasonal display. This is a baby pink with lots of gold shimmer, so it becomes a very peachy pink. This is certainly the type of color a tutu might come in.

I applied two thin coats and a third thicker coat. This is an old formula polish, so it was smooth and dried quickly. The brush is really nice; it's flat but not mop-like, very similar to the L'Oréal brush.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Zoya Feel — Full Collection Review & Comparison

After spending a whole week with the Zoya Feel collection, I think I finally sorted out how I feel about it. I love it! I think this collection is excellent and I love each color in it.

Application The very first time I tried applying these colors I got a little bit frustrated. The main source of trouble was really with the brush. If I could, I would switch out the Zoya brush for something more like the L'Oréal brush. Zoya's brush is just a little too small in my opinion. It's the one thing I dislike about an otherwise fantastic brand. So there is a slight learning curve with the brush and the formula, but it didn't take too long for me to figure it out. I had basically the same application experience with all six colors.

Coats The first coat for any of the colors should be applied thinly. It will look streaky and uneven, but this will not matter after the second coat. Wait two or three minutes after the first coat so it has a chance to dry a bit. The second coat can be applied a little more thickly, and will provide opaque coverage. Use as few brush strokes as possible to get the color on, or the surface may become uneven or gooey. A little unevenness is fine because your topcoat will smooth everything out.

Drying Time I found these colors dry pretty quickly, which partly accounts for why they can get gooey if you take too long on one particular nail. I've worn Avery, Kendal and Carey as full manicures. I used Seche Vite topcoat (with CND Solar Oil a few minutes later) and all three manicures had no trouble drying.

Overall What I find so impressive about this collection is that these colors really only need two coats for even coverage. Nearly all the other pastels in my collection need at least three coats. So while these are not super easy to apply like a classic red lacquer, they are much easier than your average pastel. Give them a slightly better brush and I would call them perfect.

My two favorite colors are Kendal and Kennedy, but I think all of them are beautiful and flattering. In my opinion these shades are quite chic, too. They are really perfect for when you want something appropriately neutral but still modern and interesting.

For convenience, I've collected all the swatch pictures together after the break:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Zoya Avery — Feel Collection Winter 2011

(UPDATE: Here's my review of the entire collection, with all the swatches together.)

At last, the final installment in the Zoya Feel Collection! Here is Avery, a pale camel creme. Unexpectedly, I found this color was the easiest to apply out of the whole collection. It was thin but not watery, and flowed well. I used two coats and no topcoat for this swatch. It also dries fairly quickly and is shiny. Tomorrow I'll have a full collection comparison and review post!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Zoya Kennedy — Feel Collection Winter 2011

(UPDATE: Here's my review of the entire collection, with all the swatches together.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have just a couple minutes before I have to run off to visit family for the day's fun! Here's Zoya Kennedy from the Feel collection. It's a dusty pastel rose, and is vying with Kendal for the spot as my favorite shade from this collection.

Application was like the rest, slightly tricky but smooth considering it's a pastel. Two coats and no topcoat in this picture.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Zoya Kendal — Feel Collection Winter 2011

(UPDATE: Here's my review of the entire collection, with all the swatches together.)

Do you think Zoya Kendal might be pink enough to qualify for Pink Wednesday? I can't decide if this pastel creme leans more lavender than pink. Next to Megan, it's definitely a shade pinker.

This is probably my favorite color from the collection. I thought the application was a tiny bit easier than the first four. Once again, it only needs two coats and the final result is smooth and shiny with no streaks or unevenness.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Zoya Megan — Feel Collection Winter 2011

(UPDATE: Here's my review of the entire collection, with all the swatches together.)

Hey there! Continuing with the Feel Collection, here's Zoya Megan. I'm finding this color tough to describe. It's very delicate, light gray with a hint of lavender. (I guess I just described it!)

Like the other polishes in this collection, Megan needs two coats for opacity. I recommend same technique of one thin coat and a second thicker coat for applying this color. Even though these pastels can be a little annoying and thick, I'm becoming more and more impressed with this collection because despite any application issues, you really can get this polish right in two coats. If you have any leftover lumpiness, the topcoat will smooth everything out.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Zoya Carey — Feel Collection Winter 2011

(UPDATE: Here's my review of the entire collection, with all the swatches together.)

Here's the next color from the Zoya Feel Collection, a pale gray creme called Carey. This is a fairly neutral gray, although I would say it leans a tiny bit to the cool side.

Like Kristen, this polish only needs two coats for complete opacity. Since it's a pale color, the formula is a little tricky to work with. I found it was best to make the first coat thin, and to not worry about how streaky the coverage was. Wait at least two minutes, then make the second coat a little thicker. It also helps to apply the color in as few brush strokes as possible.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Zoya Kristen — Feel Collection Winter 2011

(UPDATE: Here's my review of the entire collection, with all the swatches together.)

I got the Feel collection in the mail yesterday. I rarely buy full collections, but I was totally drawn into this one by the promo picture. I do not regret my purchase, each color is lovely! First I'll show you Zoya Kristen, which is a slightly blue-tinged pale gray creme.

The formula for this color, and this whole collection, is simultaneously impressive and frustrating. I'm super impressed that it only took two coats to get full coverage and opacity. This is pretty rare for such pale colors. The texture is chalky and tricky to work with, but still a major improvement over pastel colors that came out a couple years ago. Only two coats! I don't think I've ever encountered a pastel that worked in less than three coats before. So that's a big plus.

The first time I applied this color, I found it irritating and difficult to keep the surface smooth. I decided to try again a few hours later, and for whatever reason it seemed pretty easy that time. The first time I applied this color the brush seemed so small and skinny, and I couldn't for the life of me find the wider side of it. The second time the brush still seemed too small but I was able to make it fan out better. I think most of the application issues would be easily solved by Zoya adopting a nicer brush. If it just had a few more bristles, and was a tiny bit flatter, I think I would love the brand even more.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

OPI Ski Teal We Drop

Hello everyone! I'm sorry about the long absence. I went out of town and also came down with a cold, so I have been terribly neglectful of my blog. I got some good nail polish mail today, though! The Zoya Feel collection arrived, so I hope to be posting swatches and reviews of those color soon.

OPI Ski Teal We Drop came out with the Fall 2010 Swiss Collection. It's a lovely saturated teal creme. The second picture looks most color accurate on my monitor.

I only needed two coats for perfect, smooth opacity. The formula is pretty easy to work with, although it can sometimes feel a tiny bit thick. I have a dense wool sweater that's almost this exact color, so to me this shade fits right in with the whole snowy, Swiss, skiing concept.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How To Do A Simple Glitter Gradient Manicure — No Sponges Necessary!

Lately I've really gotten into browsing Pinterest. It's a cool way to discover beautiful, interesting things. There are plenty of fellow nail fanatics on there, and I'm having fun finding them and following their pin boards. This manicure was inspired by all the glittery manicures people have been pinning up on Pinterest.

This is a manicure that looks fancy but is super easy to do:

 — Paint the base color. (After your base coat, of course!)
Use any color you like. I painted my nails with four coats of OPI I'll Take The Cake. It's a sheer pink with very fine multicolor shimmer. Four coats seems like a lot, but this polish goes on so smoothly it was no trouble.

— Let it dry.
It doesn't need to be completely dry, just let it dry for a few minutes. You want the base color to stay in place without wrinkling when you add the glitter.

— Add the glitter.
Use any color glitter polish you like. I used Wet n Wild The Gold & The Beautiful. It's glitter in a clear base, which made it perfect for this technique.
- dab a small to medium drop of glitter at the base of the nail.
- wipe the rest of the polish off the brush and back into the bottle.
- lightly drag the drop of glitter outward in small, short strokes.
- fade the glitter by making short strokes starting partway up your nail. This will drag some glitter particles to the middle of your nail, but will not catch too many by taking glitter from the densest part at the base of the nail.

— Finish the manicure.
All you need now is a quick drying topcoat and some cuticle oil!

Here's what I'll Take The Cake looks like on its own, for good measure:

I hope my instructions made sense. Tell me if anything needs clarifying! What color combinations would you try? I want to try taupe with silver glitter, but I have to buy some silver glitter polish first!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

OPI Midnight In Moscow

One of my favorite super dramatic vampy nail polishes is OPI Midnight In Moscow. This is another one from the Russian Collection that came out in Fall 2007. It's a deep charcoal with red shimmer. In low lighting it's velvety and almost black, but in the sun it has this glowing, smoldering look.

The formula is great, it's neither thick nor runny. I needed just two coats for opacity. These pictures are without topcoat, and you can see even on its own the polish is quite glossy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Zoya Nidhi

My manicure today is Zoya Nidhi from the Sparkle Collection. It's a bright, apple-y red with gold and pink/blue iridescent sparkling flecks. A number of people noticed and complimented me on this color, so it's bright and sparkly enough to catch some attention.

Application is quick and easy. It needs just two coats for opacity, and each coat went on perfectly and dried rapidly. I know sometimes people have trouble with Zoya polishes drying super slowly, but I don't think this is one that will give anyone problems. Even though this came out as part of a summer collection, I think it's a very festive and Holiday appropriate red. In fact, I may try combining it with Zoya Ivanka (the sparkling green from the same collection) a little later in the season.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chanel Strong — SoHo Story 2010

I admit, I bought this polish for the name. I couldn't help it! And it seems only appropriate to feature it on this blog. Chanel Strong came out last fall when the SoHo boutique had just been remodeled. This was part of a special makeup collection that tied into that store. I've been to that particular boutique a couple of times (most recently to buy Blue Rebel) and each time I have received excellent customer service. Sometimes high end designer boutiques can be intimidating, but the SoHo Chanel is completely delightful. The clerks are very friendly and nobody looked at me funny for clomping in there wearing my tennis shoes and band t-shirt. So if you're in lower Manhattan and you're in the mood for some Chanel, don't hesitate to stop by the corner of Spring and Wooster.

The polish looks more exciting in the bottle than on the nail. In most lighting conditions it appears almost black. But if you look closely, you can detect the plummy shimmer. To me it has a very velvety appearance, even if it is very dark. The application is a dream. It's nearly perfect in one coat, but I prefer to do two thin coats. The formula is thick but not hard to work with. The viscosity makes it incredibly easy to control where the polish goes, and avoid the cuticles.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Orly Butterflies for Pink Wednesday

Happy Pink Wednesday, everyone! This week I have the classic pink jelly Orly Butterflies. It's not quite a neon, but it's very bright and it does have a certain almost neon glow in the sunlight. The second picture best represents what it looks like under most lighting circumstances.

This polish is a cinch to apply. You need three coats for opacity, but I had no trouble with cuticle drag or evenness. It has a squishy translucence. I still had a slightly visible nail line after three coats, but that's what makes it a juicy jelly.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nubar 2010 VS Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure

Here's a comparison of two very similar flaky topcoats: Nubar 2010 and Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure. I chose purple and red as the base polishes because I think each one brings out different colors from the iridescent flakes.

Purple: Orly Charged Up; Red: Sally Hansen Cerise Noir.

I also compared the two flakies over another pair of purple and red polishes which are slightly lighter. To be honest, I'm not really sure what my logic was at the time. How is this more helpful than the last picture? Who knows! But I might as well show you all the pictures I took in case it might be useful somehow! =)

Purple: OPI Funky Donkey; Red: OPI Manicurist of Seville.

One of my first observations is that Nubar 2010 is not quite as dense as Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure. It's a very subtle difference, but still there. I'm not sure if this is because HT has more flakes packed into the formula, or if it's due to the overwhelming mop-like brush that the Complete Salon Manicure has. I definitely prefer Nubar's brush to Sally Hansen's. Aside from that, I think the two polishes are basically identical. They both seem to have the same spectrum of iridescence and react to the light in the same ways.

Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure was a limited edition release a couple years ago, but Nubar 2010 is available on their website for $7.50. The ease of obtaining 2010 is another point in its favor, I think!