Wednesday, August 29, 2012

China Glaze Real Nail Polish Appliques in Loop Hole

Today I've got China Glaze's answer to the popular Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips. The mouthful of a name ChG has chosen is China Glaze Real Nail Polish Appliques. These strips are currently offered in twelve different designs. My friend at Sally Beauty Supply thinks they will be part of their permanent collection as they've reset their display to include them.

The pattern I'm showing today is called Loop Hole. It features overlapping grey and black squares with rounded edges over a plain white base. Very cool, very retro.

Application is pretty on-par with other polish strips. The set comes with 16 different sized strips, which seems to be standard. You choose a size that is close to the size of your nail and smooth it down. Once it is in place, gently file the extra off with the included nail file. The instructions recommend applying the strips to warm nails to improve adhesion, and it also suggests using topcoat. (I didn't because I didn't look at the instructions until after I was done. Rebel!)

I've only used the Sally Hansen's and China Glaze's versions of nail polish strips, so I'll share some similarities and differences. 

Both include sixteen strips, instructions, an orange stick, and a file. Application is very similar. Both have varied patterns available. Leopard spots, feathers, zebra stripes, net patterns, tile patters, etc. Wear time is excellent, and I think both are a good value if you are not good at nail art when you consider the cost of a comparable mani with nail art at the salon.

Differences are few, but I think they are significant. First is the cost. I am a Sally Beauty Club member, so my cost for the China Glaze set was $5.99. If you're not a member, cost is $6.99. I've gotten the Sally Hansen strips for anywhere between $6.80 and $9.99. I've seen them for more than $10, but I didn't buy those. 

Second are the strips themselves. SH strips are much thinner and more flexible. This makes them very easy to trim off the extra from around your cuticles. However, if you accidentally place a strip crooked, good luck getting it off without ripping it. ChG strips are much more substantial. This makes them easier to adjust the sticker if it's needed. I found that the ChG strips wore better on me as well. I had them on four days before any wear at all. I usually get three days out of SH strips before I start seeing tip wear.

Other differences are minor. SH claims up to ten days of wear on the package and ChG claims up to seven. ChG's instructions recommend using topcoat, which I did not do, and I don't believe SH instructions mention this.

After the first set, I do like the China Glaze strips better than Sally Hansen's. Both are great for when I want some easy nail art, and I can definitely still see myself picking up special edition Sally Hansen strips. I'm curious to see if China Glaze releases similar sets.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jelly Sandwich - OPI's Houston We Have a Purple and Servin' Up Sparkle

I felt very ho-hum about jelly polishes for a long time. Jelly sandwiches really didn't hold much appeal for me either until OPI's New York Ballet collection came out and everyone started doing them with Pirouette My Whistle. I have yet to see a jelly sandwich combo that I don't love with Pirouette.

So, when I was offered the opportunity to pick up OPI's Serena Williams Grand Slam! England duo for $2 and some change, visions of jelly sandwiches began dancing in my head. Servin' Up Sparkle has the same size glitters as Pirouette My Whistle, but the glitter is holographic and in a clear base. Close enough. I'll still grab up Pirouette if I see it in the wild. :)

This photo is two coats of Houston We Have A Purple from the Texas Sorbet collection, one coat of Servin' Up Sparkle, then one last coat of Houston. I'm very happy with the look of this mani, and it wore for ages! I think I got three days before it chipped, and I did dishes and laundry.

What do you think of jelly sandwiches? The polish kind! Do you have a favorite combo?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cult Nails In A Trance and Duri Rejuvacote doesn't like Seche Vite

In A Trance is the second (and last!) polish I got in the $7 Cult Nails sale. It is a murky olive green with a pretty prominent golden shimmer. I think the shimmer is even more visible on the nail than in the bottle. It went on like butter and had absolutely perfect coverage in two coats. I really love Cult Nails' full brush. You can load up with polish very easily and the fat cap is a cinch to control. 

The thing about this manicure that makes me unhappy is that shrinkage. This is about 12 hours after applying the polish. I've heard the wonders of Duri Rejuvacote and snagged a bottle in hopes of improving my seriously peel-y nails with it. So far it's been a big fat fail, but I'm not giving up. The above photos are with one coat of Rejuvacote, two coats of color, and Seche Vite to top it off. I'll play with different combos soon.

Have any of you tried Rejuvacote? Any secret weapons or techniques for peeling nails? I use a glass file, and that's helped, but both of my index nails and my right spirit finger (As Maria from Cult Nails calls it) continue to give me fits.

Friday, August 17, 2012

China Glaze Splish Splash and Liquid Crystal

School is starting, and all of a sudden I've gone from craving fall colors to needing one last summer hurrah! I was fishing though my China Glaze Summer Neons and realized I hadn't done a full mani with Splish Splash. At the last minute I grabbed Liquid Crystal from the Prismatics collection as well.

One of the biggest complaints I've seen about the Summer Neons is the horrid formula. Thick and thin, runny and goopy at the same time. Luckily, Splish Splash was nice and even and applied really nicely. Above is 2 coats of the bright blue with silvery blue shimmer over a coat of Duri Rejuvacote, topped with Seche Vite. I have discovered that this combo absolutely does. not. work. I had pretty significant shrinkage less than 12 hours after application. I'll need to do some experimenting because so far, I love Rejuvacote!

My index finger has only 1 coat of Liquid Crystal on my index finger. It has a slight blue to purple shift and has lots of colorful round glitter. I really love the combo.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cult Nails I Got Distracted

Today I have one of the two Cult Nails polishes I ordered during Maria's birthday promo. I have no idea why, but I haven't indulged in any Cult Nails lacquers before. The company has a cool story, as Maria started as a blogger, but launched her own polish brand with lots of success. I've heard nothing but good things about Maria, her company, her company's customer service, and the polishes themselves. 

I Got Distracted comes from the most recent collection - Coco's Untamed. This collection is made up of five polishes that were designed by Maria's daughter, Coco, and they were released on her 13th birthday. How cool is that? 

I Got Distracted is a black polish absolutely packed with fine holographic glitter and small, green hex glitters. The formula is pretty thick, which is to be expected with so much glitter, but really easy to control. Only two coats are needed and it has such great depth! I really wish the sun were out so that you could see the scattered holo sparkle.

Consider me a Cultie. I'm in! Check out Cult Nails polishes in their online shop. Maria still maintains her blog as well. You can follow that here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Black Label OPI: St Louis Sorbet

My friend Gail sent me a box of OPI Black Label wonderfulness a few months ago, and there were some beautiful polishes in there! This one is such a pretty polish. St. Louis Sorbet was released in 1997's Route 66 collection.

This color is a deep, dusty, rose pink with gold shimmer. The shimmer is obvious in the bottle and in the sun, and doesn't completely disappear on the nail, even in the shade.

Bottle shot in the sun
The lovely, chemical-laden formula was a joy to work with. St Louis Sorbet is a very opaque polish and though I had very good coverage at one coat, I added a second for some depth. The brush isn't OPI's Pro-Wide brush, but it's long, skinny, floppy original one. Still, application was a cinch and the only clean-up I needed was due to a sneezing fit. :)

P.S. Thanks for the name, Gail!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cloud Mani with China Glaze I'm Not Lion

I started this week with a China Glaze I'm Not Lion manicure. I spent Monday's lunch break helping DH change the completely flat tire I found on my CRV and chipped the polish on 3 or 4 nails. Amazingly, I didn't want to redo them and saw that Let Them Have Polish! posted a cloud mani. The light bulb went off and I went to dig through my Helmer to find some colors.

I used two coats of the super sparkly, opaque, cool-toned CH I'm Not Lion from the Out on Safari collection as a base. The lower cloud is one coat of Hot Topic Black, and the gold is from Black Poppy. The gold was a little too sheer for one coat over black, but I did well with two careful coats.

I'm pretty happy with the results, and if you want to re-create it, see the original tutorial here on Nailside's blog.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Avon nailwear pro+ Absinthe

Today I have Avon's nailwear pro+ for you. I've been wary of trying any Avon polishes after I had not-so-great results with a Mary Kay polish I bought a couple of years ago (larger price for small bottle that didn't even last 12 hours before sliding right off my nail!). One of my coworkers sells Avon, and they had a sale on their polishes so I decided to try Absinthe.

This is two coats topped with Seche Vite. The formula was really great. I'm not too sure about the wear as I took it off after one day. I'm just not a fan of the color. It looked a lot more vibrant in the catalog, but in reality was just a pea green with a pretty silver shimmer. Just not enough to keep my attention.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Zoya Fall 2012 Diva Collection - Swatches and Review

Zoya has a pretty decent fall release this year with 15 new polishes in the Diva, Designer, and Gloss Collections. When I saw swatches of the metallic Diva collection, I knew I had to have them. I wasn't crazy about one of them, but I figured if I were going to buy 5, I may as well get all 6. 

2 coats, no top coat
Zoya Elisa is a polish that I would've gotten even if it weren't the perfect pearly, cherry red. I took 5 years of Spanish middle and high school, and we had to pick Spanish names. There was another Pam in my class who was before me alphabetically, and she picked Pamela. I wanted something different, so I picked Elisa.  The formula on this polish was great, as is usually the case with Zoya.

2 coats, no top coat
Ray is the one Diva polish I wasn't thrilled about. It's a pretty, frosty evergreen color, but I think it's pretty similar to butter LONDON's British Racing Green, which I own. Not a dupe, but close enough that were it not for my need for the complete set, I wouldn't have gotten it. Definitely worth getting if you don't have a deep green in your collection.

4 coats, no topcoat
 Zoya Daul, how impressed I was by this one in other blog posts, but it just didn't wow me in real life. Zoya's website describes Daul as such, "A medium red-toned purple base with heavy purple and gold iridescent metallic sparkle." It's also listed as a 5, which is the highest intensity level. I agree with the description, but definitely not the 5. I still had obvious nail line at 4 coats, and I waited for the prior coat to dry before adding another.
Highlighting Daul's glitter
 Daul is a very pretty color when the sun glints off of it. Maybe I'll try it over Suri.

3 coats, no top coat
FeiFei is a steel-blue base that is packed with blue, gold, and pink (!!) sparkles to lend a foil finish. While sheerer than the non-glitter polishes, I got great coverage with 3 thin coats. I think the pink sparkles in this one lends a very unique look to it. 

2 coats, no topcoat
Suri is a bold, blue-leaning royal purple metallic polish with very fine blue and red micro glitter. I wish that glitter translated on the nail a little better, but Suri is still a fabulous polish. It is a little warmer in real life, but my camera really freaks out with bright purples.

2 coats, no top coat
And finally, Zoya Song. Song! Wow. Pictures do not do this polish justice. Neither do the words bold, bright, or vibrant. The base is a true royal blue, and it is absolutely packed with tiny, irregular blue and silver glitter. It is totally opaque in 1 coat, but add a second because it adds great depth and really highlights the shimmer. This polish is hands-down my favorite of the set.

A completely gratuitous shot of Song

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