Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It's been a while…

Anna and Erin are busy with their growing families and as for me? Well, I have to admit that I have been uninspired this past year. It seems that each new collection is yet another same old collection, with the same grouping of colors being merely shades off from the previous groups and collections from one company mirroring another's. Ho, hum. (I'm talking mainstream here — I've always left the indies up to Erin and Anna.) But one thing that is new is the formulas, particularly the new non-UV light "gel" formulas that almost everyone has now, promising up to two weeks of glossy shine and long wear. I think Sally Hansen was the first to come out with this formula back in the summer of 2014 and I wasn't impressed. Since then everyone has their own version of a faux gel or gel-like topcoat and I've tried them all, or at least all of the ones I've seen in my area. So, over the next few weeks I will go over the pros and cons of the following brands, in no particular order. And, yes, I gave Sally Hansen a second chance to see if theirs had improved after its initial release. I think you'll be surprised at which ones performed the best — I know I was!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (2 step)
OPI Infinite Shine (3 step)
SinfulColors Sinful Shine (2 step)
Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy (2 step)
L'Oreal Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque (3 step)
Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel (1 step, duh)
Essie Gel Setter topcoat
Pure Ice Shine (2 step)
butter LONDON Patent Shine 10x (1 or 3 step, they're not clear on it)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Colour Prevails Frenemy

By now you may have heard that Nonie Creme, the former Creative Director of butter LONDON has come out with her own line of cosmetics exclusive to Walgreens. The polishes retail at USD$8, which is on the high side for a drugstore polish, but when you compare it to butter LONDON's $15 it's a bargain, right? There are a variety of colors and finishes but I played it safe and chose a taupe creme with the unusual name of Frenemy.

Frenemy, two coats plus topcoat
The butterfly wing design is used throughout the line and you really have to look closely at the display labels because the eyeliners and eye shimmer powders come in the same bottle as the nail polishes. The bottle topper is ergonomically designed to guide your grip with your index finger resting along the curve but I found it frustrating when I dipped the brush back in the bottle, maybe because I'm left-handed? In any case, it slides right off and you can use the cap underneath it very easily.

Bottle with the butterfly wing removed
I had no complaints about the polish although I don't think it's quite the level of quality as butter LONDON just yet. I'll wait to see if Walgreens has them on sale to try some other colors.

Friday, April 24, 2015

NOTD: Apple Watch!

Today's the day that the new Apple Watch goes on sale, although pre-orders began on the 10th and if you didn't put in your order right away it may be well into summer before you get one since they won't be available for walk-in purchases for the foreseeable future. I put my order in around 8:00 am on the 10th and it won't arrive for another 4–6 weeks! But in honor of the occasion, I did a special manicure replicating the view of the Watch showing the apps screen.

Apple Watch! Love that Milani Loop band!
Finger apps!
The colors I used are:

Black: Revlon ColorStay Stiletto
White: Konad stamping white
Blue: Revlon ColorStay Coastal Surf
Green: Revlon Brilliant Strength Entice
Orange: GAP Poppy
Pink: SinfulColors Dressed To Kill

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

OPI Infinite Shine

Even though I rarely wear a color more than a day or two before getting bored with it (no matter how much I love it!) when I go away for a weekend or longer I still want my nails to look good, don't you? After my disappointment with the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel last summer I've been on the lookout for other options. However, from what I understand, a lot has to do with your own particular body chemistry — Erin tried the Miracle Gel and had no problem with it! So anyway, when I saw that OPI was coming out with a no-UV light gel-like wear line of polishes called Infinite Shine I had to give them a try, too. They have about 30 colors so far and I heard there will be more coming this summer. I decided to choose colors that I'd be likely to actually wear for a weekend away; Set In Stone, which is close to their classic You Don't Know Jacque; Staying Neutral, similar to Berlin There, Done That; You Can Count On It, a pink that's unlike any of the OPI pinks I have but close to Zoya Mia and Sally Hansen Pink Pong; and It Never Ends, a pinker beige than Staying Neutral.

Their system uses a base coat and a topcoat, which makes me happy because I don't like not using a base coat, and you can save some money by buying those as a set. Application was a breeze with all colors although I did notice slight brush stroke marks in the topcoat but it was less pronounced once I got used to applying it. I did notice slight tip wear by the fourth day on all colors but I could live with it if I was actually away from home and it was barely noticeable on the lighter colors. The shine was dulled slightly but still better than a regular topcoat by that time. Let's get started with this picture-heavy post!

The system includes a base and topcoat in addition to the colors

Set In Stone, two coats
Set In Stone showing four days wear

Staying Neutral, two coats
Staying Neutral showing four days wear

You Can Count On It, two coats

It Never Ends, two coats
I didn't take daily photos on the last two but the wear was similar. I'm really impressed with these and they will definitely be my new get-away weekend polishes!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Blue Monday: SinfulColors Cool Gray

OK, so maybe this should be Blue-Gray Monday, but this color totally looks blue indoors, so I'm allowing it. Cool Gray was released in the Haute Rebel Collection a couple of years ago but I never got around to trying it until Erin reviewed Cement The Deal from the OPI 50 Shades Of Grey Collection and I thought it might be a match. I brought my bottle of Cool Gray into Ulta to compare and in the bottle it's just barely a shade lighter. I love it! I don't know why I waited so long to try it out but I'm glad I finally did.

Cool Gray, two coats plus topcoat
It looks much grayer in sunlight than it does indoors

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sally Hansen Velvet Lush

There are so many different nail polish textures out there now it's a challenge to keep track of them all so when I saw that Sally Hansen had a new line out called Velvets I was intrigued. I chose a taupe, of course, called Lush. I'm not sure that I would describe this texture as velvet because it looks more like cement, but that may be my color choice, too. Application was fine and the texture appears as it dries.

Sally Hansen Velvet Lush, two coats, no topcoat
Here's a close-up of the texture so you can get a better idea of it.

Close-up of Lush
A friend mentioned that this would be perfect for graffiti nail art and I think she's right!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pop-arazzi Short But Sweet

You may have noticed a new line of polishes at your local CVS in cute little bottles with polka-dot caps — they appear to be replacing the Spoiled line but I'm not sure. They looked so cute, though, that I had to try them out and this warm coral-y pink looked perfect for me.

Short But Sweet
I love this color! It's practically the perfect coral for me. Unfortunately, this polish is… how do I put this nicely? It's really, really horrible is the most generous way I can possibly phrase it. The formula is like syrup, so it was frustratingly difficult to apply and the smell was horrible beyond description. I felt like I was getting cellular damage just by inhaling the fumes and I only did these four fingers. I don't want to even think of what my reaction would have been if I had done a full mani! Such a shame because I really did love this color. If you find one of their colors to be irresistible, definitely do your nails outdoors or at least with all the windows open!

Monday, March 16, 2015

NOTD: Revlon Stormy Night

I went crazy stocking up on my favorite colors when Revlon discontinued their Colorstay line in favor of their new Gel Envy line because they were showing up for around $1.50 almost everywhere. How could I not? This bottle has clearly been sitting around for a while because even with some vigorous shaking the color never mixed together properly but I don't care — I still love it.
Two coats of Stormy Night plus topcoat

Friday, March 13, 2015

Discount Discovery: Essie Fierce, No Fear

Marshalls and TJ Maxx have really been drawing me in lately with the fabulous assortment of polishes they've been getting in, some even from fairly recent collections. I had been picking up Essie Fierce, No Fear from their summer 2014 collection and putting it back because I loved it but was afraid I already had too many similar colors, so you can imagine how excited I was to see it at Marshalls for half price! I just love this milk chocolatey beauty!

Essie Fierce, No Fear, two coats plus topcoat

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

SinfulColors 2015 Spring Fever Collection

**These products were supplied by the manufacturer for an unbiased review**

You all know how SinfulColors is one of my very favorite brands (even Consumer Reports rated it a best buy!) and I particularly like it when they release a huge collection with different formulas to choose from. Right now you should be finding their Spring Fever Collection in stores, some showing a large display with all the colors and other stores breaking up the collection into smaller displays. The Walgreens near me has both in two different areas of the store so be sure to look around.

This collection is made up of 24 colors in a variety of formulas, some repromotes from previous collections and several new shades. I have for you four of the new shades and one from the core line. I'll start with the creme finishes, the new Navy I Do and Why Not, from their core line.

One coat of Navy I Do — one coat!!!
Navy I Do is my new favorite navy blue creme. It covers easily in one coat and unlike many other navy polishes, it didn't stain and was easy to clean up. I can see this as a base for a lot of nail art.

One coat of Why Not
The other creme is Why Not, a bright clear blue. Double up on your base coat with this because, surprisingly, this one does stain — but the color is worth it!

I got two of the three opalescent toppers and they are both stunners! Normally I'm not a big fan of opalescent toppers (they seem so '80s to me) but the three from this collection were so iridescent and amazing that it was difficult to choose!

One coat of Prized Plume over one coat of Why Not
SinfulColors describes Prized Plume as an "iridescent peacock-feather blue" but I see it as a bejeweled sapphire. Putting it over a medium blue like Why Not really brought out the shimmers so I couldn't wait to also try it over Navy I Do. I'm not great at nail art so I tried a simple taped triangle (which wasn't as simple to do as they make it look, BTW) and loved the result. Now I want to try stamping it!

Prized Plume over Navy I Do

One coat of Sheer Flight over one coat of Last Chance
The other opalescent I got was Sheer Flight and I think it's absolutely the one to get if you have to choose (fortunately the $1.99 price tag means you don't usually have to.) SinfulColors describes it as a "bejeweled emerald" but, to me, in the bottle it looks like the greens and turquoises of a peacock feather (I guess we see birds and jewels reversed, eh?) Its beauty wasn't really drawn out by any of the cremes in the collection so I tried it over one coat of Last Chance. Fortunately this stunning green creme is also in the St. Patrick's Day display so grab that one, too, while you're at it. Isn't it gorgeous!?!

Sheer Flight on index, middle, and pinkie with Hey Jude on ring finger
It reminded me of Hey Jude, so I decided to do a comparison. Its not holographic but I actually think I like it better — I love it when SinfulColors dupes a higher-priced brand and nails it. You have to get this!

One coat of Ring The Belini over one coat of Energetic Red
The third topper I got is Ring The Belini from the Citrus Twist collection. They call it a metallic tangerine so I paired it with Energetic Red to bring out the bling. It really glows, doesn't it?

Spring Fever 2015
Here are all 24 colors of the Spring Fever Collection. Of the cremes, I think Navy I Do is the only new color but all of the toppers and glitters are new. So many options to mix and match!

You can find out more about SinfulColors on their website and Facebook page as well as following them on Twitter and Instagram.

**These products were supplied by the manufacturer for an unbiased review**