Tuesday, April 30, 2013

butter LONDON Shag

I finally got around to trying my first butter LONDON polish, Shag!  It's a gorgeous brown-bronze shimmer/foil look and I love it on my nails.  It feels like a very sophisticated look; it's shimmery without being in-your-face about it and a very classy colour.

The butter LONDON bottle is of a gorgeous design - the rectangular lid comes off to reveal a smaller lid for polishing.  One thing I was surprised about is that the bottle is quite small - it's 11mL, and costed $22 which is even more expensive that OPI polishes are in Australia.

Shag is opaque in two easy coats.  The first coat seems streaky with some bald patches, but the second coat completely evens everything up!

I'm totally in love with the colour, though, and I will definitely reach for this polish again and again!
(Looking at other polishes in my stash, Shag is a lot like Pretty Serious Seasonal Sunset, though Sunset is a jelly-based glitter polish and a bit lighter when swatched side by side.  From other bloggers' swatches, I'd say that Shag looks pretty dupey for OPI Sprung as well).

Direct sunlight - so glowy!
Notes on wear time and removal: I wore this polish for three days and by the end, I had noticeable tipwear and some chipping.  No issues with removal.

Base & top coat:Base - OPI Natural Nail Base Coat
Top - Cult Nails Wicked Fast
Polish used:Butter London Shag - two coats

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gloss 'n Sparkle Cookie Dough

I am so glad that I took the plunge to get this gorgeous polish.  This is Gloss 'n Sparkle Cookie Dough, a caramel/nude crelly based polish with bronze microshimmer and two sizes of larger bronze hex glitters.  I bake a lot of cookies, cakes and brownies and I'm reminded of delicious cookie dough every time I look down at my hands.  It's perfectly named!

I wore two coats of Cookie Dough over a PVA base, with two coats of Cult Nails Wicked Fast on top to smooth the glitter out a bit.  Yes, you read that correctly; two coats of Cookie Dough!  I was very excited, since a lot of swatches of indie polishes with the same crelly-base-with-glitter look that I see on other blogs are usually three coats and upwards.

Glitter pickup on the brush was good; I stirred the brush in the polish each time before I took it out to apply it, which worked well.  I did have to do a bit of glitter placement on the nail so that the glitter spread out evenly, but that was easy enough.

I love this polish!

Notes on wear time and removal: I wore this polish for a day and a half, and it started peeling off in the shower so I removed it.  No issues with the PVA base coat.  I'll definitely use a normal base coat and suffer the foil removal/scrubbing when I wear this again so I can have it on for ages!

Base & top coat:Base - PVA glue
Top - Cult Nails Wicked Fast (two coats)
Polish used:Gloss 'n Sparkle Cookie Dough - two coats

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Neon Polish and the effect of a white base

I've seen a lot of stuff out in the blogosphere about neon colours and layering them over white.  I decided to test this method myself, using Australis Totes Amaze, a neon pink.  I used Illamasqua Scorch as my white base.

You can see what layerings I did in the photos.  I found that the nail with only the pink had more of a visible nail line (it's not very noticeable in the photos, but it was there in person) and was also a tad less bright.  The neon over one and two coats of white looked the same.

If you want to get rid of any visible nail line and ensure brightness of neons, I'd go for one coat of neon over one coat of white; but, of course, you might have to use different combinations depending on whether your neon polish is streaky or more sheer.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dotticure Flowers with China Glaze Happy Go Lucky

Hello all!  I've been pretty excited to try this polish, China Glaze Happy Go Lucky, since I've heard good things about its formula.  I can safely say that the colour and formula are quite good, especially compared to the other yellow I've tried!

I started my mani with three coats of China Glaze Happy Go Lucky.  It's a lovely bright yellow and you could probably get away with two thick coats, but I added a thin third coat to get rid of the remaining streakiness.  Below I've shown Happy Go Lucky at two coats without top coat.  

Next, I used a large dotting tool and a smaller one to dot two simple flowers onto each of my ring fingers (my inspiration was one of The Polished Perfectionist's manis).  I used Ulta3 Tahitian Lime for the green and Illamasqua Scorch for the white petals.  This dotticure technique is so easy, and a good introduction to nail art for those (like me) who haven't done it before!

Natural light
Claire from nuthin' but a nail thing recommended Sally Hansen Insta-Dri as a top coat for nail art, so I used that and I was very pleased that there was no noticeable smudging of my flowers.  There is a tiny bit if you hold the nail right up to your face, but as you can see, nothing shows in the photos!

I'm very happy with this mani - it's bright and cheerful and the flowers were so easy to do!
I'd love to hear about your experiences with yellow polish.

Notes on wear time and removal: by the end of the second day of wear, I had some minor (not really noticeable) tipwear and one small chip.  Nothing much changed during the third day of wear.  I had no issues with removal.

Base & top coat:Base - OPI Natural Nail Base Coat
Top - Sally Hansen Insta-Dri
Polish used:China Glaze Happy Go Lucky - three coats
Illamasqua Scorch - dotted
Ulta3 Tahitian Lime - dotted

Friday, April 19, 2013

China Glaze For Audrey

I tried another one of my China Glaze polishes - this one is For Audrey, a powdery Tiffany & Co. blue that's delicate and rather beautiful!

Application wasn't amazing; the polish went on a bit streaky and on some nails, two coats was enough to even everything out, but I needed three coats on some nails.  In these photos, I'm wearing two coats on my pinky and ring finger and three coats on all my other nails.  I finished everything off with top coat.

Despite the application problems, I love this colour and it's a lovely, soft look.  Definitely worth having!  (A lot of other bloggers have reported this polish to be a perfect one/two coater, so maybe I have a bad bottle).

Notes on wear time and removal: by day two of wear, I had some minor tip wear and a couple of small chips.  No issues with removal.

Base & top coat:Base - OPI Natural Nail Base Coat
Top - China Glaze Fast Forward
Polish used:China Glaze For Audrey - two to three coats

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Llarowe Haul (indies galore!)

Before I begin, my heart goes out to all the people who have been affected by the Boston bombings and, in fact, to anyone experiencing violence in their lives.  I hope that you all have love and support to get you through any dark times.

I am fortunate enough to be relatively problem-free at the moment; my biggest issues are tests and assignments, which are easy to get through as long as I apply myself!  The addition of more glorious nail polish to my stash also helps a lot.  Today I'm going to present my haul from Llarowe - thirteen polishes that arrived very promptly, safe and sound.

I've got bottle shots and descriptions of all the new polishes (very pic-heavy!) below the cut - so read on for more!

Monday, April 15, 2013

OPI Suzi & the 7 Dusseldorfs

Hello, just a quick swatch for you today!  Suzi & the 7 Dusseldorfs is a lovely pink-toned purple shimmer polish from OPI's Germany collection.

I like this polish; it's very feminine and a nice pinky-purple while not getting all in your face.  The formula is great.  Two coats or three thin coats are required for opacity.  I'm wearing two coats and top coat in these photos.

Base & top coat:Base - OPI Natural Nail Base Coat
Top - OPI Top Coat
Polish used:OPI Suzi & the 7 Dusseldorfs - two coats

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sinful Colors Feeling Great

Hi there, I've got a quick swatch of Sinful Colors Feeling Great for you today!  This polish is a hot pink creme; a nice, versatile colour.  In some lights it looks brighter and in others it looks a bit dusty.  (I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this - when it's bright, I love it, but sometimes it can look a bit old-ladyish on my nails).

I'm wearing two coats in these swatches with top coat.  In person, there is a tiny bit of visible nail line in certain lights, but it's not obvious so I wasn't worried (and I couldn't be bothered doing another coat).

Application was annoying before I got the hang of it - if I had even a little bit too much polish on the brush, it completely flooded the skin beside my nails; so after doing three nails, I said stuff it and began again, this time using the bare minimum amount of polish on the brush.  This worked a lot better and application was fine after that!

Notes on wear time and removal: I wore this mani for three days with minimal tip wear and only one small chip.  No issues with removal.

Base & top coat:Base - OPI Natural Nail Base Coat
Top - China Glaze Fast Forward
Polish used:Sinful Colors Feeling Great - two coats

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

March/April Nail Mail and Haul

March and April have been good months for nail polish (but not so good for my wallet...)!  I picked five polishes up in Hong Kong, got nail mail from Cult Nails and Born Pretty Store, and did a combined Llarowe order with Jessie (though those polishes are yet to arrive).  So, here goes!


Cult Nails was having a sale and I had quite a few polishes that I wanted, so I bit the bullet and did an unplanned buy.  I bought Bitten and Coveted (from the Behind Closed Doors collection), Evil Queen and Princess (from the Cult Fairy Tale collection) and two bottles of the Wicked Fast top coat.  When I opened the box, there were three bottles of Wicked Fast, surprisingly!  I remember that there was a prize of an extra bottle if you were the first 100 or so customers using the discount, so I think that's what happened.  I'm certainly not complaining!

(Pictures and notes of Cult Nails bottles and all my other new stuff is under the cut)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Barry M Blue Chameleon

I've got a swatch of one of the Barry M Chameleon polishes today - the blue one.  Chameleon polishes, like the China Glaze Tranzitions, are one colour that change to another when top coat is added.

This polish starts as a gunmetal grey-blue colour.  It's perfect in one coat, which is pretty exciting!

When top coat is added, the colour shifts to a lovely burgundy red.  I applied one coat of OPI Top Coat to my ring finger and used scotch tape to create a different design on my middle finger.  The colour change isn't streaky or blotchy at all.  This polish is a lovely one for quick nail art (e.g. adding polka dots with top coat or simply using tape and applying top coat).

Notes on removal: I swatched this polish without base coat, and the polish stained my nails a bit on removal, but I had no other issues.

Base & top coat:Base - none
Top - OPI Top Coat
Polish used:Barry M Blue Chameleon - one coat

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fishtail Braided Manicure with Barry M, Sinful Colors and Illamasqua

I've wanted to try a fishtail braided manicure for ages, but I've never really plucked up the courage to do it.  I used this tutorial by Lucy of Lucy's Stash, Barry M Silver Foil Effects, Sinful Colors Why Not and Illamasqua Scorch.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out, other than the fact that my top coat smudged it quite badly (but it looks great from an arm's length away!)

I started with one coat of the Barry M, a gorgeous silver foil finish.  It's a bit brush-strokey, but that's only to be expected.  One coat is all that's needed for full opacity.

I only wanted to do one nail to try the braid because I'm a nail art noob, so I used my ring finger and started with a swipe of white, then blue, then silver (etc) with a lengthy amount of dry time in between.  Some of my white stripes ended up with blue smudges in them, which was a bit sad, but we live and learn.

I did the braid on the ring fingers of both hands.  The method overall isn't very difficult, just requires a lot of patience with drying time and a lot of cleanup as my swipes of polish left me with a lot of extra flooding onto my skin. I definitely recommend keeping your thumbnails polish free until the end so you can use them for cleanup as you go.

I let the design dry for over 15 minutes but when I put top coat on (China Glaze Fast Forward), it still smudged a lot, which was very unfortunate.  According to Rachel of TopCoatIt, top coats that don't smudge as much are Seche Vite, Poshe and Cult Nails Wicked Fast.

I'm still really happy with how my first attempt at nail art turned out, and I'm glad I tried the Barry M Silver Foil Effects because it's a glorious polish!

Notes on wear time and removal: After about half a day's wear, I noticed that the polish on my ring fingers (the ones with the nail art) had cracks going through it on the side of the nail.  Which was super weird, but the fault of my top coat..  I also had some bad shrinkage at the tips of those nails, which is something I haven't had happen to me before, though I expect it was because the polish was so thick on those nails and because I used a quick dry top coat.  By the second day, I also had a large chip on one of the silver nails.  I had no issues with removal.

Base & top coat:Base - OPI Natural Nail Base Coat
Top - China Glaze Fast Forward
Polish used:Barry M Silver Foil Effects - one coat
Illamasqua Scorch - brush strokes
Sinful Colors Why Not - brush strokes