Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Essie - Dive Bar

Essie - Dive Bar (2 coats)
base: Essie - Grow Stronger, top coat: Seche Vite

I saw this at Walgreens in Vegas a while ago and picked it up. Essie is a few dollars cheaper in the states than it is here in Canada so I bought this on a whim. Usually I will look at swatches/reviews on my phone before purchasing but since I was on vacation I didn't want to use 3G since it would be really expensive with roaming. In the bottle, this looks like a beautiful dark teal shimmer with a purple duochrome shift. Unfortunately, the purple duochrome shift does not show up at all on the nail. You can see it in the bottle shot below.

Next time I wear this I think I'll try Orly Royal Velvet on top to get a purple duochrome. Although I was disappointed that the polish didn't have the purple duochrome shift I was hoping for, I still really like this polish overall. It is a nice shimmery dark teal that can look a bit black at the edges but glows in the middle of the nail when the light hits it. It is not so dark that it is almost black though thanks to the shimmer. It can look more blue or more green depending on the lighting which makes it more interesting. 

As with all other Essie polishes I've tried, application was excellent. The polish was the perfect consistency - not too thick or too thin and very easy to control. They also have an amazing brush that is not too wide or too thin for me. I think I only had to do clean up on 2 nails! 

Wear time with this polish was insane. I've been wearing this for a week now and I still don't have any chips! (I accidentally smudged my pinky while it was still wet if you were noticing that spot). There is a teeny bit of tip wear but much much less than usual. It has lost most of it's gloss and the shimmer is not very noticeable anymore. Reapplying top coat would probably restore the gloss and shimmer. However, I think if people didn't know what polish you were wearing they would just think that the polish was always that way and wouldn't know that you've had it on forever like me. I've been feeling like I'm starting to get sick so I've been really tired and just way too lazy to change my polish. I am getting bored of this one though (I usually change my polish every 3-4 days) so I will probably remove it in the next few days even if it doesn't chip by then.

How long do you usually wear a polish before changing it? What is your personal record for most time with the same mani? Any other recommendations for long wearing polishes?

Thanks for reading! :)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Blue leopard print on black inspired by F21 skirt

OPI - Black Onyx (2 coats)
Stamping Plate: Konad m57
Stamping Polish: Orly - Sweet Peacock

Accent Nail
Orly - Sweet Peacock (2 coats)
China Glaze - Dorothy Who? (1 coat)

Base coat: Essie - Grow Stronger
Top coat: Seche Vite

I saw this mini skirt and loved the print but couldn't really see myself wearing it. So I took a picture of it and turned it into a mani instead! Here is a picture I snapped of it. The skirt was at Forever 21 in Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas mid October. I never got around to posting this one!

I love the metallic blue on black leopard print! I originally wanted to use OPI's Unfor-Greta-bly Blue since it was a good match for the skirt color. Unfortunately, it was not opaque enough to work for stamping. Peacock worked much better but the print could only be seen when the light hit it. It just looked like dark blue shimmer from far away. I tried to layer Peacock under a silver polish on my stamping plate, hoping that when I stamped it would be more opaque with silver behind it. Unfortunately that didn't work since the stamper wouldn't consistently pick up both layers of polish off the plate.  I wish there were some way to make polishes stamp more opaque... I don't have hundreds of polishes in my stash like other nail bloggers :( least not yet... 

I wasn't very happy with the way Peacock wore either. I found that it chipped off the next day in thin, flaky layers. (I didn't apply it any differently than any other polish and the rest of my nails were fine so I don't think they were too dry/oily or anything.) Maybe I'll try wearing it with a different base/top coat next time and see if that helps.

Also... I think this may be the first time I've ever done accent nails! I did a mixed mani before but I don't usually do accent nails since I tend to like having all my nails exactly the same. I did accent nails this time though because konad m57 is not big enough to cover my thumb nails so I decided not to stamp them. I painted them with Peacock and Dorothy Who? instead. I did the same for my ring fingers so that it was more integrated into the mani and I wouldn't just have mismatched thumbs.

What do you think of accent nails?

Have you taken inspiration from fashion before for a mani? Leave a link I would love to see it!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

China Glaze - Stone Cold matte / glossy

2 coats over Essie Grow Stronger. No top coat.

This polish is from the Hunger Games collection and represents District 2 (Masonry). I've had this polish since it came out back in the spring but never wore it since it didn't feel very spring to me. 

I really love the color and finish of this polish. It is technically a matte but has silver shimmer in it which gives it a nice sheen in the light. It reminds me of the OPI Suede polishes (I don't own any but looks like it has a similar finish from what I've seen on other's blogs). 

In terms of formula this dries extremely fast which is typical for matte finish polishes. It is quite opaque so it could be a one coater if you are very careful. You would need to be careful not to go over any spot twice, or go over it very quickly before it starts to dry. Otherwise if you go over a spot again while it's semi-dry it will drag and create a bald spot. I unfortunately wasn't fast enough so I needed a second coat once it was fully dry to fix the bald spots and lumpiness. 

I was annoyed that although it seemed 100% dry (felt dry, lost it's shine and became matte) it still dented really easily half an hour after painting. There is a bit missing on my ring finger near the cuticle. On my right hand, the polish on a few nails became pushed back from the edge. I ended up with a bit of white at the tip and wrinkled polish behind it. It was weird. (You can't see this in the picture below because one of my nails broke the next day so I trimmed them all before taking the picture below.) I'm not sure if polish maybe does that normally without Seche Vite? I haven't worn a mani without Seche Vite in probably 3 years lol. I don't think I would've got into nail polish if it weren't for the magic of Seche Vite! Also the tip wear with this polish was atrocious. But again, maybe it was the lack of Seche Vite and not the polish itself. I can't make an accurate judgment since I never wear polish without Seche Vite. I really love this polish but don't know if I would wear it often because of the chipping/tip wear I experienced with it. It would definitely be on my list of favorites if I could figure out a way to make it last longer while keeping the same look. I tried to add Deborah Lippmann Flat Top matte top coat over it since I've found that always lasts about a week without chipping, but it took away the pretty sheen and just made it a flat gray.

Below I've shown it glossy. I applied Gelous over my ring and pointer nails. I'm not sure how, but the Gelous actually dragged off some polish in one spot. I applied it a DAY (yes full 24 hours!) after I originally applied the polish. I picked a picture where the shine hides the bald spot. Also because I broke a nail I trimmed them before taking this picture so you can't see the horrible tip wear I was talking about earlier. 

Personally, I prefer it without anything on top of it. I love the subtle sheen from the shimmer. With a glossy top coat it looks darker and the shimmer definitely comes through more. It definitely looks nice glossy as well but I prefer it's original finish since it's more unique.

Which do you prefer? Matte or glossy?

Any suggestions on how I can get this beautiful polish to last longer without chipping?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Purple Saran Wrap Mani (First Attempt)

Polishes used:

Orly - Lollipop (base - light pink/lavender creme)

Nicole by OPI - Light a Candle (first color - light purple tinted silver)
China Glaze - Coconut Kiss (top color - grape purple)

This is my first time doing Saran Wrap nails. I originally watched Chelsea's video to get an idea of how to do this technique, but ended up changing it quite a bit. She paints her nails one at a time and then uses the saran wrap immediately to take off some polish and make the pattern. I prefer putting a few drops of polish on a stamping plate, then dipping into the puddle of polish, and then dabbing that onto the nail. I found this gives a more intricate, finer pattern. I also didn't like using the saran wrap. I found that it was a bit sticky, and took off too much polish. I tried using tissue like Rebecca did but the tissue I was using was really soft and ended up flattening out really easily on the nail so the pattern from the folds wasn't as visible as I wanted. It ended up looking like I just sponged some parts of my nails. I ended up using the wrapper from a pad (yes lol THOSE PADS - the ones us lucky girls get to use a few days per month) and found that this worked the best for the finer more intricate pattern that I wanted. The wrapper was very thin paper and very crinkly. 

Going into this mani, I originally wanted to do a metallic light purple color on pink. I imagined it being really pretty in my head and thought it would be along the lines of Bregje's work. I love how she stamps with similar colors and it's very subtle and understated and pretty in that way. Unfortunately, it just looked like my nails were a weird dirty silver gray color after my first round of dabbing. I think because the pattern doesn't have crisp lines it's hard to see the pattern when the colors are so similar and it just becomes one color especially at arms length. It was getting really late so my only hope of fixing my mani was adding another color on top. Coconut Kiss worked perfectly with this technique. Since it's a two-coater, I could go over spots I wasn't happy with and they would become darker than other spots and create a cool pattern that way. I would definitely recommend using two or three coater polishes that are somewhat sheer on the first coat as your top color for this technique. When I was using Light a Candle, if I went over a spot too many times the color would just take over, making my nail a solid color without any pattern. You can barely see the base of Orly Lollipop anymore. I think the only nail where I could clearly see all three colors was my thumb shown below. 

I think this is a really fun technique. It's very easy yet creates stunning nail patterns. It's also great for me right now because several of my nails are splitting into layers and I don't want to file/buff them out too much because it would weaken the nail. The layers show through creme and shimmer finishes and make my nail look lumpy and I need some kind of pattern to hide it. I had been using chunky glitter for this purpose but it's really a pain in the behind to remove. I think this technique would also be good to "refresh" a mani by hiding minor chips when you don't have time to redo your nails completely.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Inspired by Zoya Blaze

I bought OPI’s Metallic 4 Life when it came out on impulse, thinking it looked amazing in the bottle. As I was applying it I thought “hmm... wouldn’t this look similar to a black creme with Essie Set in Stones on top?” I regretted buying Metallic 4 Life because of that. Sure a black creme + Essie Set in Stones probably wouldn’t be an exact dupe for Metallic 4 Life, but it probably would’ve been similar enough to not bother buying Metallic 4 Life. (I haven't actually tried this yet)

So when I saw Zoya’s Ornate 2012 collection I immediately thought the 3 with scattered holo effect (Aurora, Blaze, Storm) were gorgeous... BUT I thought nope not falling for that again! I decided since I already owned a scattered holo topcoat that I would try to recreate the look. He's my attempt to recreate Blaze.

OPI - Dim Sum Plum (2 coats)

China Glaze - Fairy Dust (1 coat)
top coat: Seche Vite, base coat: Essie - Grow Stronger

blurry shot to better show the holo effect:

I took these pictures under bright lighting to capture the holo which made the base color look lighter. Unfortunately I don’t know how to use photoshop well enough yet to fix this. I have included a cell phone picture as well for a lower quality but more color accurate photo:

If you are looking at Scrangie's pictures then my attempt at recreation is really off. Scrangie's swatch looks really red. I was looking at Chalkboard Nails' swatch originally which looks more like a raspberry color.

Since Zoya Blaze has holo mixed into its base, there is much more depth to it vs putting holo over a similarly colored creme as I have here. You can see this best in Chalkboard Nails' swatch. So I still want Zoya Blaze but it's annoying for me to get Zoya since no stores that I know of around here sell it and I don't want to pay for shipping for one bottle of polish. I could buy more and get free shipping BUT I am trying really really hard not to buy anymore polish right now...... Yeah we'll see how that goes haha

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Orly Snowcone gradient with Essie Set in Stones (luxeffects)

Sorry dear readers I've been really really busy :'( my poor blog has been abandoned for 2 weeks now. Anyway I would let you know what I'm up to but I'm not sure who's reading this... I'll let you know if/when it hopefully works out! ;)

Anyway onto the post...

Orly - Snowcone (1 coat)
Essie - Set in Stones (Luxeffects) (1-2 coats)

Used Orly Snowcone again because it was such an amazing one coater! I'm really impressed that such a light polish manages to be a one coater (needed to go over a few spots twice but I'll still count it as a one coater). I was planning on just leaving this on it's own and calling it a night but the nail bandage I had on underneath was showing so I needed something with texture to hide it. I thought about crackle but didn't want to use it since the trend seems pretty much over. So I went with chunky glitter instead and I'm pretty happy with the results. It still looks weird like there's multiple layers of polish in my pictures (right side of middle finger nail) since it's such a close up shot but in real life it wasn't noticeable. The nail bandage unfortunately didn't work at all and so that's why my nails have been much shorter lately :( This is quite an old post but like I said I've been really busy...

I wanted a glitter gradient but was too lazy to use a sponge so it didn't turn out as nice as I had hoped. Oh well I guess that's what I get for being lazy. I'll redo it sometime. For the glitter gradient I went over the entire nail with Set in Stones once and then reapplied to the tips only using a dabbing method. I ended up getting some chunky glitter by the cuticle which ruined the gradient effect a bit. I hate how those chunky bits only seem to appear where I don't want them lol. When I do want them I have to dab like crazy. 

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