Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

I was pretty excited when Sally Hansen announced a new product that would give you a "true 2-step manicure with no light needed" with up to 14 days of color and shine even though I can't even imagine wearing the same color for two weeks. I was hoping for that "just painted" glossy look for when I go away for a week or even just a weekend (which is probably another reason why I change my polish so frequently.) Their instructions say to use two coats of Miracle Gel color over no base coat, then one coat of the Miracle Gel top Coat which you then let "cure" in natural sunlight for 5 minutes or so.

Target had the best price for getting the starter kit with a color and the top coat, so I got Street Flair there, then CVS had a Buy One, Get One 50% off sale (and I had ExtraCare Bucks) so I got Twiggy and Grey Matters there. I was going away to the Cape for the weekend so I decided to start with the bright and beachy Grey Matters, a gorgeous grayed pastel blue.
Grey Matters, two coats plus topcoat
I don't like not using a base coat for a number of reasons but I decided to follow their directions exactly. The color applied just as any other polish and I did a clean up before applying the top coat but even so there was a lot of color transfer to the brush. I had read that you needed to apply the color away from sunlight or a strong UV light because it would start to set quickly so I avoided the window and only had the over-the-sink light in the bathroom. I didn't get a sense that it was "curing" as I worked but I was disappointed to see that there were brush strokes in the top coat even after it settled in place. I ran outside and sat in the sunlight with my hands stretched out for 10-15 minutes, just to be sure that it had enough exposure. (I've given up worrying about what my neighbors think of my nail polish-related antics.) I loved this color and had high hopes for the weekend!
Grey Matters after four days
I have to say that I was not impressed. I was mostly taking photos that weekend so my nails weren't stressed all that much but the appearance after four days was not what I was hoping that a gel-like polish would be. In fact, it looked downright shabby! Giving it the benefit of the doubt and knowing that pastels can be iffy, I tried again with Street Flair, a neutral sort of medium purple.
Street Flair, two coats plus topcoat
Again I noticed streaks in the topcoat even though I worked as quickly as I could and sat out in the sunshine for up to 15 minutes. And again I was disappointed in the wear. It started to look pretty ragged by the second day but I waited for four days for a fair comparison.
Street Flair after four days
The third color was Twiggy, a pale neutral taupe. At the very least the appearance of wear should have been minimal because it was so close to a naked nail color, right? I even gave this one two coats of topcoat hoping that would give me a smooth glossy finish but, nope — still with the brush strokes. I actually think that this one looked the worst of the three but to be fair, I was working those days and that puts my nails through a lot more than just reading and relaxing.
Twiggy, two coats plus topcoat
Twiggy after four days
As a control I decided to use Grey Matters again, only this time treat it like a regular polish with a base coat, two coats of color, and one coat of Seche Vite. Now this is what I had been expecting!
Grey Matters with base coat and Seche Vite after four days
My final verdict? I wasn't that impressed. As I said before, I don't like not using a base coat and needing to set it in natural daylight meant that I couldn't do my nails at night, as I usually do. Also, having to wait about half an hour while it cured in the sun was boring and annoying. I'd much rather slap on a shiny coat of Seche Vite and be on my way! Fortunately, that gave me the best results in the end and, while I'm not sure it would last two weeks, at least it would get me through a weekend. However, I don't want to discourage you from giving the system a try — I decided to give it a go after reading a positive review by Karen at I'm A Beauty Geek where she also mentions that her sister had results similar to mine so it appears that individual "nail chemistry" has something to do with it. I'd recommend buying it at a store with a liberal return policy such as CVS or Ulta, though, just in case it doesn't work out for you. The line has over 45 colors, although I never saw all of them at any one place. Target, Walgreens, and CVS each had displays of varying sizes with mostly different colors so check around to see which ones have colors you might be interested in.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Zoya Ignite Collection

***This polish was provided for review.  All opinions are my own.***

Happy Friday!  I've got the first of 2 gorgeous Fall collections from Zoya to show you today.  I am in love with every single one of these polishes.  The shimmer is perfect, it's not too sparkly but very visible.  And the colors are gorgeous.  All of my swatches are 2 easy coats.  Please excuse my super messed cuticle.  I have no idea why my hands are so dry in the middle of the summer.

Autumn can be best described as a varnished copper liquid metal.  Gorgeous fall shade.

Yuna can be best described as a full-coverage warm grey with copper and gold liquid metal.  Yuna pulls very green on me in some lights and dark, dark grey in others.  Love this one. 

Remy can be best described as a brilliant indigo with copper and gold liquid metallic.  Amazing peacock blue.  I just cut all my nails down and I want to put this back on so bad!

Sansa can be best described as a deep eggplant with a gold metallic sparkle, in the flawless full-coverage, liquid metal formula.  I love how much the gold shows up in this one.  

Teigen can be best described as a full-coverage pink toned cranberry with a copper liquid metal.  This is my favorite kind of pink red and the gold kicks it up a level!

India can be best described as a deep, luxurious red with a gold liquid metallic shimmer.  This screams holiday to me.  Thanksgiving?  Christmas?  Definitely.  

What do you think?  Do you own any of the Ignite Collection?  What's your favorite?  Mine is definitely Remy...or Yuna.  I can't pick a favorite. 

Zoya sells for USD$9 and is available at and Ulta stores, nationwide.

***This polish was provided for review.  All opinions are my own.***

Monday, August 18, 2014

Shimmer Polish - Alice

***This polish was provided to me for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.***

Happy Monday!  I have a quick NOTD for you today.  This is Shimmer Polish Alice dry brushed on the tips with a base of KBShimmer You're So Shellfish.  I love the bright base with the delicate sparkly tips.  Alice does have stars in it but I didn't add any to this mani.  Have a great day!

Keep up with the latest additions to the Shimmer collection by following their blog, liking them on Facebook. You can purchase the polishes directly from Shimmer through their Etsy shop.

***This polish was provided to me for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.***

Friday, August 15, 2014

England Haul: Marks & Spencer

Back in May I teased you with a photo of all the polishes I got during my trip to England. Since I was on a photography workshop with a few other people I wasn't free to go where I wished and had to squeeze in fast trips where I could. I went to a Boots and Marks & Spencer in Canterbury because it was within walking distance of our hotel, then when we were out in the Cotswolds we took a side trip to Oxford, where I managed to sneak off to yet another Boots as well as another Marks & Spencer and an H&M. I wish we could get these polishes here in the States! I'll start off with the polishes I got at Marks & Spencer.

At the Canterbury M&S I found something called a Limited Collection, which I took to be their own store brand but I could be wrong about that. Immediately I was drawn to a lovely shade called Lavender, of course. The bottle is fairly small, only 8 ml, but the cap is long enough to make application easy although it took a while to get used to the brush because the stem ended just past the edge of the cap and the brush itself is long and thin. I love this color (but you already knew that, didn't you?)
M&S Lavender
Next I saw a nice tan shade called Hessian (it struck me as being so British to come up with a name like this because here in the States we tend to only think of Hessians as being the German mercenaries that George Washington fought against but apparently it's also a kind of cloth that's this color.)
M&S Hessian
In the Oxford M&S I found yet another color in their Limited Collection called Dark Magenta. This was actually the first color I tried from this line and you can see that I hadn't adjusted to their brush yet so I got the polish all over my cuticles and it was a bit stainy. Lovely color, though.
M&S Dark Magenta
The Oxford store had a line called Leighton Denny that I hadn't seen in Canterbury and which, in my mind, I keep swapping to Denny Leighton for some reason. I really wish I could have gone back and gotten more of this brand because I really loved it — the bottle is really high-end looking and the formula and application were divine. I don't know why I only got this one color except that maybe by then it was sinking in to my brain exactly how much money I was spending on polish! I found it online but after converting from British Pounds Sterling to US Dollars (not counting shipping if they even do ship to the US) my eyes rolled back into my head and I closed the web page. Le sigh…
Leighton Denny Crushed Grape
I only picked up two polishes at H&M but all the rest were from the two Boots, so those will be broken up into smaller groups, mostly by brand.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

KBShimmer Summer 2014 Swatches

***Product provided for review.  All opinions are my own.***

Hi everyone! I have some gorgeous KBShimmer polishes for you today from their Summer 2014 Collection.  I'm using the descriptions from the KBShimmer site since they are so spot on!

You’re So Shellfish is a bold addition to our cream collection.  This peachy orange is near neon in color, adding a punch of color to your summer pedicure.  Summer color perfection!

Radiant Orchid, 2014 color of the year, is the ideal shade to transition nails from spring to summer and even fall.  This pink toned purple has fuchsia and mauve undertones.  This color, based on the actual PMS, is as close as we could get to the perfect orchid shade.  Two easy coats offers full coverage on most nail lengths.  This color is amazing.  I've worn it countless times and it never gets old.  

This dusty seafoam mint has two personalities. In low light, it has a beautiful white shimmer setting off the pastel green hue, but in the sun or bright light, you can see a holographic rainbow of color.  Mint-al vacation covers in 2-3 coats on most nail lengths.  I used to hate green and blue polish but I wore this for 5 days and adored it.  Gorgeous. 

When the weather turns warm, and the spring flowers are a fading memory, I turn to the aster for bright pops of color.  With it’s daisy like petals, and shades of blue, purple, white and pink, this later bloomer was the inspiration for Happily Ever Aster.  Periwinkle, light aqua blue, purple, lavender and white glitters swim in a clear base surrounded by tiny bits of holographic glitters for a sparkling top coat.  Try this over Right As Reign or Pansy-monium for a purple lovers dream.  This is so much more sparkly than I could capture.  I love the delicate mix of colors. 

Triangle Glitter!!  Yes, I know, I was excited too.  And what better to show off triangles then a watermelon colored polish.  This pink polish with a coral undertone is the perfect summer shade.  Peak My Interest features triangle glitters in white, pink and dark aqua. Hex glitters in periwinkle, white and dark aqua complete this polish.  

Periwinkle In Time might be my favorite polish from the summer collection.  Inspired by blue hydrangea and periwinkle flowers, this soft cool blue has a purple undertone, making it the most perfect periwinkle color.  Accented by silver holo and violet holo circle glitters and holo glitters in teal, violet, marine blue and silver and a micro holo shimmer, this light blurple polish is sure to please.  The micro shimmer in the polish is beautiful!

What do you think?  My favorites are Radiant Orchid and Mint-al Vacation but I really love them all!

The Summer Collection is available on KB Shimmer website for $7.50-8.75.  

***Product provided for review.  All opinions are my own.***

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Zoya Naturel Deux (2)

**These products were provided for an unbiased review. All opinions are my own.**

We all know how much I enjoyed Zoya's first Naturel Collection so I was particularly excited to see them come out with another one this year, building on the same berry and brown shades that I love so much. This collection is a bit darker and a touch warmer, making it a perfect collection to transition from summer into fall. Such enticing colors! In all the photos I've done two coats over a base coat with no top coat. The formula in all of the colors were the perfection we've come to expect from Zoya.

I'll start off with my favorite of the collection, Spencer. When I first opened the box I fell in love with all the berry shades and I texted Anna and Erin that they were gorgeous! (they are) but that the browns were just meh. Goes to show that you shouldn't judge by first impressions because this polish is so deliciously yummy on the nails. I plan to wear this one to death over the next several months.
Zoya Spencer
Next up we have Chanelle and I immediately thought to myself, "Aha! They named it this because it's a dupe for Chanel Particulière!" but, no, this one is a touch lighter and much warmer in tone, more of a camel beige than Spencer.
Zoya Chanelle
The darkest of the browns is Emilia, which made me think of "Emelia: The Five-Year-Old Goth Girl" because it's the perfect shade for her — not black, but a rich coffee brown that's much more suitable for a goth child.
Zoya Emilia
Madeline is my favorite of the new berry shades, just enough darker than last year's Brigitte that I definitely need both. These colors are so flattering on my skin tone that I feel I must have every shade!
Zoya Madeline
Aubrey is the color of a summer plum, vibrant and juicy. Another favorite.
Zoya Aubrey
Marney is only the tiniest bit darker than Aubrey but quite a bit warmer in tone, sort of like if you took that juicy plum and put it on the grill for a bit.
Zoya Marney
Verdict: another winner! Neutral colors and creme finishes are my favorites and these fit the bill all around, especially Spencer and Madeline.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Zoya Naturel Deux

 Zoya is releasing a new collection of neutral cremes called Naturel Deux (2), building upon last winter's Naturel Collection. The colors are a bit darker and a touch warmer and I can't wait to review them for you! Look for them (and some comparisons) next week!