Thursday, 31 March 2011

NOTD: China Glaze Heart Of Africa - Swatches & Review

Today I have China Glaze Heart Of Africa for you - and oldie but a goodie. (To everybody who knows me personally: you may roll your eyes and/or laugh at me for originally buying this just for the name. I know, I'm hopeless.)

Heart Of Africa is a gorgeous deep red shimmer; I'm tempted to call this burgundy, but it's not really violet enough to qualify as burgundy in my mind. Either way, I adore this colour. Do you see how sparkly and crazy shiny it is? Absolutely beautiful.

This is two coats, though it was perfectly opaque in just one coat (!) I did add that second simply because it always looks better with two. Since the polish is very runny I had some difficulties with application, namely cuticle flooding. Nothing a brush dipped in polish remover couldn't fix, though. Other than that, application was smooth and easy. One other thing that bothered me was the extremely long drying time; even with a quick drying top coat it took several hours to fully dry which is why I promptly ruined the mani and had to remove it the next day. *sigh*

Doesn't really sound like an awesome polish, eh? I still love it though. The colour is gorgeous and now that I know what to expect I'll hopefully manage not to ruin my next mani with this polish. Probably my favourite China Glaze oldie that I have.

Do you have any "old" polishes that you really love and still wear?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Comparison: Illamasqua Radium vs Pieces Kryptonite

Good morning!

Today I've got a comparison for you. I only compared these two because as I was swatching Radium I was trying to think of other polishes in that colour and Kryptonite was the only one in my stash that came even remotely close. You'll see why you can't actually compare these in a second. (Also, Pieces is a brand available at a local clothing store. I know it's also available in Germany, but beyond that I have no idea where you can get it.)

From index to pinkie this is: Illamasqua Radium, Pieces Kryptonite, Illamasqua Radium, Pieces Kryptonite. (Do ignore the dent on my index finger.)

As you can see, Kryptonite is more yellow-toned than Radium and, while Radium is a shimmery creme bordering on frost, Kryptonite is a jelly. At first I was thrilled that it's a jelly, because I adore jellies. I'm willing to slap on that extra coat just for the squishy finish. However, this one takes a lot of coats to become opaque. I can't remember how many I used for this exactly (my notes are somewhat vague and irritated) but I think it was about 5, perhaps more. Honestly, the first three coats looked more yellow than green, not to mention gross and like I'd painted my nails with yellow highlighter. The consistency of the polish was also very...strange? I don't know; I've never used a polish with that sort of consistency before - it's sort of jelly-like. Almost like it's not actually liquid, but rather creamy? Like I said, strange.

Strange consistency aside, application was smooth and easy. Still, 5+ coats vs 2 coats? Even for a jelly, even for a jelly in such an unusual colour, that's a lot.

I don't want to say I prefer Radium, but I do have to say that I'll wear it more often simply because it doesn't take as long to apply as Kryptonite. (You can also read my review of Radium here.)

Have a lovely Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, 28 March 2011

NOTD: Catrice Bye, Bye Birdy! - Swatches & Review

Happy Monday, pretties! :)

Today's post is a polish that just screamed spring when I saw it in the shop, but unfortunately it's a mess formula-wise.

Bye, Bye Birdy! is a lovely, lovely pastel yellow, which should probably have told me that the formula wasn't going to be awesome. This is three coats and, honestly, the pictures make it look better than it did in person - if I were to actually wear this I would probably add a fourth coat to really even it out. It does dry very quickly, though, so that probably wouldn't be a problem.

I really like this colour, but application was just such a pain in the backside that I don't think I'll wear this very often. Seriously, this was a hot mess on my nails - streaky, gloopy, sticky. (There's a sad smiley in my swatching notes, which basically means it was semi-abysmal. :P)

On a different note, I discovered a new brand today - Anny - and got two colours. I'm thinking one might be a dupe for Chanel Paradoxal, which I adore, but refuse to buy because of Chanel's rubbish nail polish. Swatches coming soon.

Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

NOTD: Illamasqua Radium - Swatches & Review

Happy Saturday, lovelies!

This is the second of the Illamasqua nail varnishes from the Toxic Nature collection I have; Radium. (I might pick the other three up at some point. They're really pretty.)

Radium is an acidic, shimmery lime green. If the light hits it right, the shimmer flashes turquoise. So pretty!

This was opaque in two coats and barely brushstroke-y at all. The formula was perfect and application was smooth. This does make my hands look a little red, but that's really not going to keep me from wearing it. This is such a crazy-bright, in-your-face colour that I'm sure I'll be loving this summer. Actually, I'll be loving this no matter the season. Lime green is one of my favourite colours. There are way to few nail polishes/eyeshadows/eyeliners in lime green out there. (This does remind me of a MAC eyeshadow from last year; might just need to combine those two.)

Hope you're all having a good weekend so far!

Friday, 25 March 2011

NOTD: Illamasqua Stagnate - Swatches & Review

Hello pretties :)

Today I've got Illamasqua nail varnish in Stagnate for you. This was recently released with their Toxic Nature collection and is one of the two shades I bought.

This wouldn't photograph colour accurately; I'd say in person it's somewhere between those two pictures. The best way I can think of to describe this is purple chocolate. It reminds me of the homemade chocolate pudding my grandma used to make when I was little. She'd put half a pear on top and decorate it with raisins and almonds to make it look like a little mouse. (Also, am I the only one who thinks of Sherlock Holmes when reading the name? "My mind rebels at stagnation", anyone? No?)

But yeah, aside from making me nostalgic and all warm and fuzzy inside, this is a really great polish. I'd call it a creme, but it has a sort of squishy, jelly kind of finish, which I just adore. The formula on this - as I've come to expect from Illamasqua - was perfect. Application was a dream and it was opaque in two coats.

I hope everybody has a lovely Friday!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Product Focus: Catrice Nail Polish - Swatches & Review!

Hello lovelies! I apologize for my lack of posting. I'll definitely be posting more regularly now. :)

Today I have a Product Focus for you, featuring Catrice nail polishes. (I was considering showing you some of their eyeshadows as well, but decided against it. Might post a separate review about them at some point.)

I discovered Catrice a couple of months ago and have been really loving their nail polishes since. They're cheap, but really good quality. I like the brushes; they're fairly soft and wide, which can be problematic for me (hate the OPI brushes!), but these are just perfect. The formula on their polishes is great on most of them, almost all of them are flawless in 2 coats (though you could get away with one coat for some of them) and drying time is really quick. I did have trouble with one or two of the polishes, but I'll get to that later.

On to the pictures:

First up is Clay-ton, My Hero! which I bought mostly for the name (Adam Clayton, anyone?) and ended up liking quite a lot. It's a sort of greyed out toffee creme (you know, one of those murky colours that no one can ever really describe) with gold shimmer. Though looking at the pictures I took I almost want to say there's some copper and green-ish shimmer in there as well. Or maybe I've just been staring at my screen for too long. Anyway. Gorgeous colour, great formula, really like it!

I Sea You! is a gorgeous turquoise creme. Not that exciting, perhaps, but I love it. And the formula on this was outstanding! It's perfectly opaque and smooth in one coat. I still used two, but you don't necessarily have to.

Run Forest Run is a medium green creme. I really like this colour (can you tell I'm really into cremes?!), however this stains horribly. I only wore this for a few minutes and my cuticles were still stained for days. Staining doesn't usually bother me, but this was just absolutely horrible. Still loving the colour, though.

Wonderland Green Card is warmer and also darker than Run Forest Run. It does stain a bit, but not enough to bother me. Then again, I always wear nail polish, so this might be a problem for someone who only wears it occasionally. A good base coat might help there. Also, my bottle had a defective brush. Nothing I couldn't fix, but it's still annoying.

Lavenderlicious is a cool-toned lavender creme. Not much to say here; lovely colour, lovely formula. (That gross staining around my nails? That would be Run Forest Run, ladies and gentlemen.)

These were the first colours I bought, I have since purchased some others that I'll be showing you in a different post. Like I said, I really love the formula on these and I think their colours are really nice. Will definitely continue to buy them.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Comparison: Models Own Blooboo vs Eyeko Pastel Polish

Hello lovelies! I hope everybody had a good weekend!

Today I bring you a quick comparison between Eyeko's Pastel Polish and Models Own Blooboo, which looked extremely similar in the bottle (they even have the same shimmer!).

From index to pinkie this is: Eyeko Pastel Polish, Models Own Blooboo, Eyeko Pastel Polish, Models Own Blooboo. These are all two coats, no base or top coat.

These are actually more different in person. As you can see, Pastel Polish is much paler than Blooboo and the shimmer that's visible in the bottle actually shows up beautifully. Blooboo also strikes me as a bit more of an aqua colour in comparison in person. Both are really pretty and the finishes are different enough to warrant getting both, imo.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Swatches&Review: Models Own Blooboo, Nyla Nude & Concrete Mixer

Models Own has recently released six new colours and these three caught my eye. They arrived this morning and I couldn't wait to swatch them. Really excited to show you these!

I took two pictures of each polish; one inside in indirect sunlight and one outside in direct sunlight.

Blooboo is a gorgeous light blue cream. It has this beautiful blue shimmer in the bottle, but sadly it doesn't show up on the nail at all. It's also a bit darker/brighter than it appears in the bottle. It's a bit thick, but not uncomfortably so. I did experience a bit of bubbling with this one, but that's what you get for dropping the bottle. Loving this colour!

Nyla Nude is a fleshy, peachy nude cream. I am absolutely in love with this one. Finally a peachy nude that suits my skin tone! Again, a bit of bubbling caused by accidentally shaking the bottle (i.e. being clumsy and dropping them all).

Concrete Mixer is a light grey with green-brown undertones. Sort of murky. Muted, but not a pastel. It's a very strange colour. But when have I ever not loved strange? Meaning, I adore this colour with every fibre of my being and am actually wearing it right now. Who cares what you'd call this colour; it's super beautiful. And it makes me think "posh!" and want to speak with a British accent. What's not to love? (Except for my terrible British accent.) Definitely my favourite of the bunch!

These were all two coats of polish, no base or top coat. The formula on all of these was very good and easy to work with. I found that, while Blooboo was a little on the thick side and Concrete Mixer a little on the thin side, Nyla Nude was right in the middle. However, I didn't have any trouble with any of them. As I've come to expect from Models Own creams, these were perfectly opaque in two coats.

You can order these and other colours for £5.00 here.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Coming Soon: Models Own Smash-Up Crackle Polish

Models Own just posted about their upcoming release of nailpolishes on their blog here with this picture:
For this, Models Own has teamed up with WAH Nails to create some colourful crackles. As you can see the collection will include 9 crackle polishes; yellow, blue, purple, pink, orange, turquoise, white and black. From the picture, these seem to be very different from the China Glaze crackle polishes that recently came out.

They'll be available in black and silver at Boots, starting April 20th, and full range of colours from the Models Own website, starting April (no specific date mentioned).

I'm really excited about these! Particularly the yellow, purple and silver!

How about you? Will you be purchasing these? Which of the colours do you like?

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

NOTD: Crackle Glaze Black Mesh over Models Own 25 Karat Gold

Hello lovelies ♡

I tried something China Glaze suggested on Twitter last night: applying Crackle Glaze diagonally.

For this combo I used China Glaze Crackle Glaze in Black Mesh over Models Own 25 Karat Gold.

(Pics were taken inside and under artificial light.)

This is Orly Bonder, two coats of 25 Karat Gold (would probably have needed a third coat if I'd worn it on its own), Essie Good To Go quick dry top coat, a thin (!) coat of Crackle Glaze Black Mesh applied diagonally across the nail and (for the second pic) Orly Glosser on top. You don't have to apply top coat, but I prefer a glossy finish.

I'm really digging this look! First of all, I love the colour combination; not terribly original, but stunning nonetheless! And the effect! I mean, seriously, doesn't this just look absolutely amazing?

Have you tried applying crackle polish this way before? What's your favourite method of applying crackle polish? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 7 March 2011

NOTD: Catrice London's Weather Forecast - Swatches & Review

Today I'm showing you a polish from a brand I only recently discovered: Catrice, in the colour London's Weather Forecast.

In the pictures below you see two coats over Orly Bonder and with a coat of Seche Vite on top.

As you can see, London's Weather Forecast is a warm, slightly blue-toned medium/dark grey cream with subtle silvery grey shimmer. The second picture is more colour accurate, it's not nearly as purple as it looks in the first! The shimmer is much more prominent in the bottle, but sadly it doesn't translate onto the nail very well. It's still very visible when the sunlight hits it, though.

The colour, while it's definitely a very nice colour, isn't really something to write home about (at least in my book). The formula, however, is. As I said, I only recently discovered that this brand is available at a local store and, for about 2,50€ per bottle, I didn't expect very much. I still picked up a few colours that interested me and now I'm absolutely in love! Catrice polishes glide on smoothly and effortlessly and most of them are nearly opaque in one coat. London's Weather Forecast is definitely the sort of polish where you could get away with one coat, depending on how thick and even you do your coats.

Application and formula were great - not too thick and not too thin. I also really like the brush; it's very soft and not too wide, but wide enough to pick up a good amount of polish. Drying time is fairly short, too.

All in all, great polish. I probably wouldn't repurchase this particular colour, but that's simply because I dislike warm toned greys on me. I will, however, continue buying Catrice polishes, because their formula is just perfect! Kudos to Catrice for selling awesomeness in a bottle for such a reasonable price!

(You may expect an in-depth review about Catrice nail polishes, and possibly some of their other products, once I've tried them all out.)
Hope everybody's week started out well! ♡

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Comparison: Essie Sew Psyched vs Models Own Grace Green - Swatches & Review!

Hello lovelies!

Today I bring you a comparison of two polishes I recently picked up. They looked very similar to me in the bottles when I was re-organizing my nailpolish stash the other day, but upon swatching them side by side I've realized how different they are.
(Pics were taken inside and under artificial light, since the sun didn't want to come out and play.)

From index to pinkie this is: Essie Sew Psyched, Models Own Grace Green, Essie Sew Psyched, Models Own Grace Green. Two coats, no base or top coat.

(Please excuse the quality of those pics. Still trying to get the hang of it all!) (And ignore that smudge of polish on my ring finger.)

As you can see, the Essie polish is much darker and also has a subtle shimmer to it. Grace Green (which, yes, I bought a little for the name. I have this thing for product names that include the word 'grace'.) is much more muted and greyed out.

Both are gorgeous, gorgeous polishes and applied like butter. I would say that the Models Own one applied just a little bit more smoothly, though -- it's almost opaque in one coat! The formula on both of these was great and I had no difficulties with application. I've only worn each of these once, but drying time was decent and I didn't experience any major chipping, shrinking or peeling.

In conclusion: both are great polishes and if you're into these kinds of colours, I would totally recommend picking them up!

Hope everybody had a lovely weekend! ♥

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Review: WAH Nails

Most of you have probably heard about the London based nail studio WAH Nails and the gorgeous designs they do. I've been interested in them for a while and when I was recently in London I decided to make an appointment with them. I chose their studio at Topshop in Oxford Street, so I can only speak for that one.

Originally I wanted to make an appointment for clear overlays and a design, emailed them about it, but after the initial email of yes, I can make an appointment via email and yes, they do custom nail art, I didn't receive any replies. I decided to wait, but when the day I went to London I still hadn't heard from them I tried to email them again, gave them my phone number (as I wouldn't have internet access from then on) and before I even managed to switch my laptop off I'd already received their reply saying they would be in touch that day. They were not, in fact, in touch with me that day or the day after. By Sunday I decided to pop in and try and figure this out in person. Long story short, I did have an appointment, but nobody had actually told me. That was slightly annoying, because had I known, I wouldn't have had to make the trip there and wasted time. Props to them for offering me an appointment that day before they figured out I already had one, though.

Anyway. On to the fun stuff! I couldn't get the overlays, which in hindsight might have been for the best. I'm way too whimsical to make such a commitment. For the nail art I wanted something Alice in Wonderland themed and let me tell you right away, I couldn't have possibly imagined anything this awesome when I said "Let's see if they can do something like that!".

Left hand:

Right hand:

How amazing is that?! I was absolutely in love with the designs. I still am, actually.

It lasted about five days on me. I applied a coat of Seche Vite every other day, which made it last longer at first, but I think the third coat was too much. Might have been able to wear it longer without that. Ah, well.

The design cost about 45€ (can't remember how much exactly, since I bought a bunch of polishes at the same time and threw the receipt away.), which I think is a fair price. The girls there were all super nice, too.

Overall, even with the trouble abotu making an appointment, I'm very satisfied with the outcome. I would absolutely do this again and as soon as I'm in the UK again, I will! If you're into nail art and like to get your nails done, I would definitely recommend checking them out!

WAH Nails gets 9/10 stars from me.