Friday, November 30, 2012

China Glaze - Glistening Snow

Happy Friday!  I'm taking a break from Fancy Friday today to show you the last of our China Glaze Holiday Joy 2012 collection and a couple comparisons.  I was supposed to post this last night but...I'll be honest.  I drank 3 glasses of wine and then my computer battery died and I was too lazy to go plug it.  Actually, I was too lazy to move down two cushions on the couch to be close enough to the plug to plug it in.  That's what it's like in my house right now.  Happy Holidays!

China Glaze Glistening Snow is micro silver holographic glitter in a clear base.  I thought that it would be more of a glitter topper but this baby can get opaque quick.  I used 3 coats for the swatches below but only for photo purposes.  I could have easily left it at two.  It does dry somewhat gritty so you need a couple coats of top coat.  I'm wearing two coats of Out The Door.

Since Robin is the Comparison Queen of this blog, I felt the need to compare.  I dug Savina Fairy Dust out of my stash because in the bottle they looked like total dupes.  Here is a blurry comparison so you can also see the holo sparkle.

They are definitely not dupes though!  Fairy Dust is not opaque at all.  It's a glitter topper.  If you used just one coat on top of your mani, it would give a nice clear holo sparkle.  I used three coats keep it the same as Glistening Snow.  I'm to say if you are a holo girl, you need both of these polishes.  They serve different purposes!

We share polish here at Polished Cousins and I stole the reds from Anna because red is MY color.  Here are a couple quick swatches of me wearing the reds from this collection, With Love and Cranberry Splash.

With Love

Cranberry Splash
There you have it!  What do you think of Glistening Snow?  I love it!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

China Glaze- With Love, and Cranberry Splash

This Holiday Joy collection from China Glaze has a whole lot of reds. I love reds but sometimes it feels like they are all the same. So I decided to do a couple of comparisons and throw in some nail art at the end of my post.

First up is With Love- a classic red creme with a hint of orange undertones. This is an amazing creme and the orange undertones allow it to be flattering on plenty of skin tones. It's my personal favorite against my pale skin. If you don't have a red like this in your collection, With Love would make an amazing addition. I used two smooth and easy coats for the swatches below and had minimal staining. These types of bright reds tend to stain your skin an awful lot but I didn't have much trouble at all.

I wanted to see if this matched any other reds in my collection and while it was close to a few others, only butter LONDON- Pillar Box Red seems to be a dead-on dupe. I used two coats of Pillar Box Red on alternating nails below. 

Next up are swatches of Cranberry Splash- a ruby red shimmer. This is more of a blue-toned red with a fine red shimmer throughout. With careful application, you won't have to worry about brush strokes. I used two easy coats for the swatches below.

I thought Cranberry Splash reminded me of another red we've reviewed already, Zoya- Elisa. These two turned out to not be dupes at all. Cranberry Splash is much more blue-toned and berry colored than Elisa. You need both!

 Since I was getting a little bored with having red nails for so long, I decided to spice things up a bit with a gradient. Erin sent me a link to a purple and red gradient a few weeks ago and I fell in love with the look (I can't remember which blog it was but I will edit when Erin does end up remembering and tells me! It was Nail Polish Wars and this gradient slays me!-Erin)  I sponged Senorita Bonita on the tips and since it is a sort of sheer color, it took quite a few layers of sponging. It ended up blending really well with Cranberry Splash! Using a makeup sponge to get a gradient look like this leaves the nails looking pretty textured. Two coats of HK Girl topcoat smooth it out and shine it up though!

Pros- Flawless China Glaze formula as usual :)
Cons- I really didn't like how almost half of this collection was some form of red.
Overall- If you think both of the comparisons I did are too close to own all of them, China Glaze (usually $6 or $7) is your best option because the retail value is less than butter LONDON ($14) and Zoya ($8)

You can keep up with new China Glaze collections by checking their website or by following them on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

**The products featured in this post were provided by the manufacturer for an honest review**

China Glaze Winter Holly

Winter Holly is the green glitter from China Glaze's Holiday Joy 2012 collection, with tiny gold and holo glitters suspended in a rich, deep green base. Although the glitter is densely packed the base is so transparent that I was concerned about coverage, so as a control I used a single coat of Holly-Day from last year's holiday collection on my pointer and pinkie fingers. I then applied two coats of Winter Holly on top of that, using three coats of it alone on my middle and ring fingers. At first glance is doesn't seem to be all that different, but if you look closely there is noticeably more sparkle on the fingers that had only Winter Holly. Since I ended up using three coats of polish on each nail anyway, I'd say to skip the green underwear and go glitter all the way. It's so sparkly that when I move my fingers around under the light it looks like Christmas tree lights turning on and off!
Doesn't the glitter look like Christmas tree lights?
On its own, Winter Holly dries to a very textured surface, so if you like that finish you can skip the top coat. I, however, feel that a smooth and shiny finish really enhances the holo and glitter, so I added a coat of Gealous to smooth it out a bit, then another of Seche Vite for the quick and shiny finish. It would take a second coat of SV to really smooth it out, so experiment until you get the look you prefer.
Textured finish without top coat.
The bottle sent out for review had one label stuck on top of another, so of course I had to pry it off to see what was underneath. Apparently they originally wanted to call this Elfn Fun, but I'm glad they decided to change it — Winter Holly is a much better name for it!
I just had to pry up that label!
Pros: I love the intense green and the multicolor glitter is so beautiful to look at. Very festive!

Cons: I not a fan of textured polish and didn't care for the fact that it needs at least three layers of top coat to smooth it out.

Overall: I think it's the best of the holiday collection — if you only get one, make it this one!

You can keep up with new China Glaze collections by checking their website or by following them on FacebookTwitter or YouTube.

**This polish was provided by the manufacturer for an unbiased review**

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

China Glaze Holiday Joy Press Release


China Glaze® Debuts 12 Glittering, Shimmering, Ravishing Colours for Holiday 2012

The holiday season: it is truly the most wonderful time of the year – for nails!  From gorgeous glitters to rich crèmes, ‘tis the season to add sparkle and shine to any manicure and pedicure.  Celebrate the season in colour with the new China Glaze® Holiday Joy collection!

Bringing tidings of good cheer, the China Glaze® Holiday Joy collection features 12 merry crèmes, glitters and shimmers including:

·       Glistening Snow – Fine diamond-like silver glitter
·       Champagne Kisses – Bubbly rose gold glitter
·       Angel Wings – Delicate gold dust glitter
·       Winter Holly – Gold-flecked dazzling green glitter
·       Glitter All The Way – Exciting multi-color glitter
·       Pizzazz – Twinkling multi-dimensional glitter blend
·       Blue Bells Ring – Icy blue shimmer
·       Pure Joy – Fiery red glitter with gold particles
·       Red Satin – Silky blue-based red crème
·       With Love – Classic red crème with a hint of orange undertones
·       Merry Berry – Rich berry red crème
·       Cranberry Splash – Ruby red shimmer

The China Glaze® Holiday Joy collection also features 13 seasonally-inspired gift sets perfect for stocking stuffers, Hanukah gifts, Secret Santa, co-workers and Teacher’s gifts.  Gift sets include:

·       Ho Ho Ho: Merry Berry, Cranberry Splash, Red Satin, With Love, Pure Joy with First & Last base/top coat. MSRP $35.00
·       Holiday Charms: Mini bottles of Merry Berry, Red Satin, Winter Holly and Glitter All The Way. MSRP $16.00
·       Puttin’ On The Glitz: Cranberry Splash, With Love and Pizzazz. MSRP $14.00
·       Keepin’ Cozy: Merry Berry, Glistening Snow and Cranberry Splash with fingerless gloves. MSRP $21.00
·       Let It Glow: Champagne Kisses, Red Satin and Winter Holly with a pine scented candle. MSRP $21.00
·       Brrr…It’s Chilly: With Love, Angel Wings, Pure Joy and a mini snow globe. MSRP $21.00
·       Wings of Wonder: Blue Bells Ring, Champagne Kisses and Cranberry Splash with an angel key chain. MSRP $21.00
·       Santa Paws: Red Satin and Pure Joy with your very own plush puppy – “Joy”. MSRP $14.00
·       Trimmin’ The Tree: With Love and Glistening Snow with a festive snowflake-embellished ornament. MSRP $14.00
·       Cheers!: Angel Wings and Glistening Snow with a frosted shot glass. MSRP $14.00
·       Jingle All The Way: Pizzazz and Merry Berry with an adjustable Jingle Bell ring. MSRP $14.00
·       Makin’ Memories: Red Satin and Winter Holly with a “JOY” picture frame. MSRP $14.00
·       Stocking Stuffers: Pure Joy and Champagne Kisses with a mini stocking. MSRP $14.00

The China Glaze® Holiday Joy collection will be available in November 2012 at fine salons and beauty supply stores nationwide.  The collection will be available in 24- and 36-piece counter displays, a 36-piece rack and 36-piece prepack.

China Glaze is free of DBP, toluene, and added formaldehyde.

China Glaze nail lacquers are available through salons and professional beauty supply stores nationwide. For more information, please visit or follow China Glaze on Facebook (@ChinaGlaze), Twitter (@ChinaGlazeOfficial) and Pinterest (

China Glaze® is a division of American International Industries.

About American International Industries
For 42 years, AII has been the leading manufacturer and worldwide distributor of innovative, quality beauty and skin care products for men and women.  Our product lines include Andrea, Ardell, Body Drench, Bye Bye Blemish, Checi, China Glaze, Clean + Easy, Clubman/Pinaud, Duo, European Secrets, EzFlow, Fright Night, Gena, GiGi, Gypsy Lash, IBD, It’s So Easy, Jeris-Lustray, LASH BeLONG, Nail Tek, No Tweeze/Micro Tweeze, 'N Rage, Poshe, Prolinc, RAW, Seche, SuperNail, Surgi-Care, Waterworks, Winning Nails, Woltra, Woody’s, and Youthair. For more information, visit our website:

Sally Hansen CSM Haute Chocolate, and thoughts on bargains

When I wrote up one of the Complete Salon Manicure polishes I got when Walgreens marked them all down to $1.89 we got a request to see Haute Chocolate. I've had it for a long time, so this wasn't one of the bargains but I'm pretty sure it's still available and it's a perfect color for this time of year.
Sally Hansen CSM Haute Chocolate
Haute Chocolate is a rich autumn-y color, loaded with frosty goodness. Even though I think the stick-on labels are kind of tacky (maybe this will change with their upcoming overhaul of the line?), I love the shape of the bottle and the wide brush. Because frosts show every single brush stroke — and I hate brush strokes! — I've started using a ridge filling base coat for those. I use Essie but there are lots out there to choose from. You can see in the photo what a difference it makes! (Ignore my ring finger; I kept smudging it and after the third re-do I just decided to leave it as is.)
Such a gorgeous russet color!
The formula and application on this was wonderful and it made me wonder why it's taken me so long to wear it. I found it to be similar to Dior Aztec Chocolate/New World Purple but superior in every way. It's a bit more russet in color, but otherwise it's everything I had wanted the Dior to be.

Bargains and Comparisons
I really enjoy comparing polishes, especially between the premium brands and the department/drug store brands. As one might expect, the premium brands like Dior and Chanel, particularly Chanel, are usually the first to come up with dramatically different colors that quickly become the much-copied new classics (Chanel Particuliere, anyone? Who else would have thought that mushroom would be a great nail color??? ) Fortunately for those of us on a budget, other polish manufacturers are quick to jump on a trend and provide alternatives that are — to quote the late, great Buffy, the Vampire Slayer — "stylish, yet affordable." Sometimes we bargain hunters really luck out and find that the dupe surpasses the original, but other times there's no discounting quality. Any time I've compared a butter LONDON polish, for example, it's always been the hands-down winner for both color, finish, and durability and at $14/bottle it's still a bargain compared to brands like Chanel and Dior, which typically sell for upwards of $23/bottle.

Naturally, there are nearly always subtle differences, like the hue of a shimmer or the fineness of a glitter or even the barest leaning toward a bluer/pinker/grayer tint, and sometimes that's what will be the make-it-or-break-it difference to the buyer. When I need a polish that's going to look good for a long time because I won't be able to change it for whatever reason, butter LONDON is always my go-to choice. I only have a few of their colors but it's enough to choose an appropriate color for any occasion. Because I usually change my polish every other day or so, I normally do quite well with a bargain brand.

If you live near a Sally Beauty Supply I recommend getting a Sally Card for the discounts. They carry the China Glaze, Orly, and Nina Ultra Pro lines and when a China Glaze limited edition collection expires they typically mark down the remainders to around $3. I'll usually grab a must-have color when they come out if I don't want to take a chance that it will sell out, but it's a great way to get the other colors I'd been on the fence about getting — if it sold out, it wasn't meant to be!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sation- Miss Pro-Nup

 Today I've got the last of the Glitter I series from Sation we have to show you. These glitters are seriously amazing! This collection is pretty big so we've only shown the tip of the iceberg. If you end up picking up any of them please share you mani pics on our Facebook page!

Miss Pro-Nup is a mix of mostly fuchsia, silver and gold hexes in a clear base. But to add a twist, Miss Professional threw in a handful of larger gold hexes, some confetti bar glitters in different colors, and a pinch of green and red glitters in different sizes. It looks like a fuchsia glitter party on your nails!

For the swatches below I used one coat of Miss Pro-Nup over two coats of Sation Rock-a-Guy Blue. You can see swatches of Rock-A-Guy Blue alone here. I used a coat of Gelous to smooth out the glitter and topped it off with HK Girl topcoat for a shiny finish.

Pros- The same awesome glitter coverage we've seen come out of this collection!
Cons- I'm not a fan of bar glitter so that part isn't my favorite, but I do like how they are shorter than other bar glitters I've seen so they place easier on the nail and don't hog all of the attention.
Overall- If you love glitter toppers, there is something in this collection for you. 

You can find Sation polishes at select TJMaxx, Marshall's and Winners (Canada) stores as well as online at TransDesign and the Miss Professional website. Keep up with them on Facebook too!

**The products featured in this post were provided for an honest review**

Monday, November 26, 2012

Blue Monday: Zoya Skylar

I don't know why it's taken me so long to review Skylar since I've had it for, oh, forever. I think it may even be the first blue I ever got. I suspect I got it just to admire the color in the bottle, because that was way back before I ever dared to wear a color like blue. In any case, now I wear blues all the time and Skylar is certainly one of the best around, so here you go.
Zoya Skylar
Again with firsts, Skylar was the first polish with glass flecks I had ever seen and I was fascinated by them (and I still am.) I really like how they add so much effect to a polish without the annoyance of a glitter bomb. This formula was a bit thick, so next time I use it I will be sure to go for thinner coats, even if it means I need to apply three coats. I've noticed that a lot with Zoya's glass flecks so it's probably something that's unavoidable, but the final effect is so riveting that I think it's worth it. Nobody else does glass flecks the way Zoya does!
Label shot, for the numbers.
What about you? Do you have any polishes you got just to admire the color in the bottle?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Purple Comparisons

When I reviewed Parlez-Vous OPI last month I got several comments asking for possible dupes since it's now a retired color (although I had just gotten it, so it can still be found on salon shelves here and there.) I went through my bottles to find anything similar and — in the bottle — Pure Ice Taupe Drawer looked to be very close! I had also just gotten some nail mail from Anna that included butter LONDON Toff, which I had wanted to compare to Essie Angora Cardi. When I swatched them on a nail wheel I was surprised at how close they all were to one another, so rather than do two different posts comparing Parlez-Vous OPI to Taupe Drawer and Toff to Angora Cardi, I decided to do all four of them together here.
A lavender-to-maroon ombré!
See how close, yet how different they look in the bottles?
Parlez-Vous OPI — what can I say? I'm sorry that it's been retired and I can't find an exact dupe because I love this ashy lavender so much and I think everyone should be able to have it. (I do think that Ulta Lavendaring looks really close in the bottle but I'm not going to buy yet another similar shade!) OPI does seem to recycle their colors a lot, however, so there's hope that it may yet resurface under another name.

Taupe Drawer — I don't have a lot of Pure Ice polishes because all of the Walmarts near me seem to let hoards of preschoolers loose in their polish aisle to finger paint all over the stock and it's hard to find a bottle that isn't all crusted with dried up polish. I lucked out with this one because not only was it clean and unopened, it was also a jelly! I was amazed and impressed with this one, especially when it turned out to be so very close to the ever so much more expensive butter LONDON Toff. How do these polishes that sell for under $2 do it?

Toff — I just love the formulas on butter LONDON polishes. I don't know if they grind their pigments finer or have little elves formulating magical solutions or what, but their polishes always end up looking as if I'd spray painted my nails with car enamel, they come out so perfectly. (Am I the only one who will see a car drive by and think, "That would make a great nail polish color!"?) As I said in my review of Sprog, the quality definitely shows with their polishes so at least you know you're buying something worth the extra expense, unlike some other premium polishes I won't mention. To mitigate the cost you can look out for the Ulta coupons that don't restrict premium cosmetics or check out the occasional specials butter LONDON has on their web site.

Angora Cardi — I took photos of a full mani using this that I held off posting until I got the bottle of Toff, since I knew they were similar and I wanted to compare them. (This is why I love comparison posts and I always do a search when I'm trying to decide if I need to get a color or not, even though I usually end up getting them both anyway.) I may as well show it here — I especially like that it matches my Coach wristlet almost exactly!

Overall — they each have their own advantages and I have nothing bad to say about any of them. Parlez-Vous OPI has that unique grayed-out lavender shade, Taupe Drawer has the unbeatable under $2 price for an awesome jelly finish, Toff has that amazing butter LONDON finish, and Angora Cardi has that same Essie color and quality we've all come to know and love. Other than in bright light, the last three are close enough to pass as the same, so if you've been craving a color like this and you live near a Walmart that doesn't let their polishes get trashed, definitely check out Taupe Drawer because it will be easy to find and affordable; Angora Cardi wasn't available everywhere I saw Essie being sold but I finally found it at one of the Ultas in my area, so I'm not sure of how easy it will be to obtain; Toff is sold at Ulta and their own web site, but expect to pay for the quality; Parlez-Vous OPI can be one of those dusty hunting finds for those of you who like to go on a quest!

UPDATE: Pure Ice Cosmetics announced today that Taupe Drawer will be discontinued in 2013 (they don't say exactly when in 2013, though.) You may want to go look for it sooner rather than later.

Update to the Update: Pure Ice Cosmetics announced on Dec. 17th that, due to all the emails they received about the earlier announcement, they will not be discontinuing the Taupe Drawer color but it will be renamed in 2013 as 966 Absolutely Marvelous. Yay!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

SoFlaJo - Yule Tidings

Hi everyone!  It's after Thanksgiving so it's officially Christmas season!  Yay!  So I'm posting my first Christmas polish of the season, SoFlaJo Yule Tidings.  This one is a doozy.  I love it.  If you follow us, you know that I have a love hate relationship with green.  After this, I thought my days of holiday themed polish were over...until now.  I love Yule Tidings because it's a toned down green.  A scaled down, not so in your face Christmas polish.

SoFlaJo describes Yule Tidings as:  Joe and I want to wish everyone Yule Tidings during this season of parties & merriment. This polish is a micro glitter mix of red, green and holographic glitters, and a few hexes and stars to remind you of a twinkling tree, sitting in a green base. Worn alone will require 2-3 coats for near opacity. As a topper it adds holiday sparkle to pale green or other undies.  I love it!  It's perfect.  Application was a completely breeze.  I got at least one large hex on each nail easily out of a mini bottle.  Breeze.  I used China Glaze Strong Adhesion Base Coat, 2 coats of Yule Tidings and one coat of Out The Door.  It dried quickly and smooth and shiny.  

Pros:  I love the muted green and the red micro glitter
Cons:  None!
Overall:  You need to run to SoFlaJo and buy this whole collection.  Especially the mattes!  Check out the entire collection here.

SoFlaJo is having a Cyber Monday sale.  It will include free shipping with a minimum $20.00 purchase and must be purchased from (Etsy sales are not included in this sale). ALL collections are included as long as the purchase total is $20.00.  This sale is open to both domestic and international customers.  Like SoFlaJo's Facebook page for news and updates!

***This polish was sent to me for review.  All opinions are my own.***