05 December 2011

Essie A Cut Above with Zoya Dove

I tried so hard to come up with a pretty little header for this post because I just loved loved loved how the two polish names rhymed! Sadly I couldn't find two fonts that I really felt went with the polishes themselves. I'm a sucker for a cute/quirky rhyme, that's for sure. When I was first looking up swatches of the Essie LuxeEffects collection I came across A Cut Above layered over a gray polish. I can't remember which blog it was (apologies), but I loved the combination so much that I wanted to replicate it almost immediately. Little did I know that I'd end up staring at my nails pretty much the entire time I was wearing the polish, and falling completely in love with this layering! When my thumb nail got a chip, I was so sad that I actually debated re-painting my nails with the exact same two polishes. But alas, I'm a nail blogger and variety is the spice of life, right? So it's filed away mentally under "Manicures I'm guaranteed to adore" for when I'm not feeling inspired or motivated. Enough of my rambling, on to the swatches!

These swatches are with Orly Bonder Base Coat and Poshe Top Coat. I used two coats of each Zoya Dove and Essie A Cut Above. Dove's application was typical Zoya with being easy and smooth. It really could have used a third coat, but since I was covering it with glitter I skipped it because I knew the bit of unevenness wouldn't be noticeable. A Cut Above's application was pretty typical for a chunky glitter. It was fairly dense, but I had to wiggle some pieces around to cover the nail evenly with large and small glitter. This polish is made up of lovely coppery rose hexagonal large and small glitters.

I think I fell in love with this manicure because it's a perfect mix of soft, subtle color with girly pink. At a glance the manicure wasn't over the top girly- It was just a nice sparkly warm pink. The gray of Zoya Dove really helped to tone down the "pink" factor of A Cut Above. However I have to give Essie props for choosing a softer, coppery pink rather than a bright pink. I think it greatly adds to the versatility of layering with this polish. 

Have you purchased any of the Essie LuxeEffects collection? What have you layered the fun, sparkly polishes over? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

02 December 2011

Urban Decay Apocalyptic Nail Kit

I have to say that I was really excited when I saw this nail polish set pop up on Hautelook a few months ago. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about Urban Decay's previous line of nail polishes, so I was hoping for great quality and fantastically unique colors. When I received the kit in the mail I certainly wasn't let down by the shades or variety of colors. It may not be a brand new to the market product/set, but I wanted to show it to you anyway in case you haven't come across it before! If you'd like, you can read on for the rest of this review including individual color descriptions and my overall verdict if this collection lives up to the hype of it's brand.

The official description for this nail kit is as follows:

"The long-awaited revival of Urban Decay Nail Enamel is finally upon us. Our tightly-edited collection of shades lets you experiment without the commitment of full-size bottles. Our long-lasting formula is Toluene, Formaldehyde, DBP-free. (And as always, cruelty-free too!)"

The seven polishes come packaged in a purple foil zipper pouch that is slightly distressed. Inside the pouch is a plastic form that keeps all your polishes nicely arranged and orderly. The polish names are Fbomb, Big Bang, Meltdown, Grunge, Apocalypse, Gunmetal, and White Widow. The colors range from a shimmery off white to a creamy bright red. The polishes are inside of light weight rectangular glass bottles with smooth round black plastic caps. Each bottle contains 5ml of polish, and the brushes are of surprisingly good quality for mini-polishes; very flexible and easy to fan out to cover the nail.

Before I show you the swatches I'm going to ask for your forgiveness at any messy swatching or non-perfect cuticles. Some of the chemicals I work with at my job aren't very cuticle friendly and it's a battle of cuticle cream versus paint thinner- and sometimes, the very drying paint thinner wins. But hey, it's the colors you're here to look at mostly, right? Ok. Onto the swatches!

First up is White Widow, a warm winter white that has a smooth formula that reaches opacity in three coats. The color has a slight iridescent shimmer and a softer white color that isn't stark like white-out or most white polishes. The only issue I had was a bit of dragging between coats, but I think that's mostly user error from impatience! 

Gunmetal was one of the colors that immediately intrigued me when I first opened the set. It's a muted chocolate brown with subtle ice blue shimmer that's much more evident in the bottle than on the nail. The polish itself was very sheer and had a thin consistency to the point where it was almost runny and difficult to keep from flooding my cuticles. It reached opacity in three coats.

Apocalypse is sort of the namesake of the collection in a way and it's definitely one I wish I could have loved more. In the first coat it had a beautiful red toned deep purple but as I applied more layers it darkened into an almost black to where the lovely purple color was lost. This color is full of jelly glossiness and reaches opacity in two coats. 

FBomb is the cheekily named polish of the collection, and the color definitely matches the name. It's a nice bright red jelly that leans a tad more pink than blue. Application was easy with a smooth formula that reached opacity in just two coats, but the color darkens with more. 

Grunge is hands down my favorite of the collection. It's a dark teal with subtle shimmer that definitely won me over. I don't have a teal that's this shade or tone in my collection and it's unique qualities make it a keeper in my book. Application was easy and it was opaque in two coats. 

Meltdown is a shimmery medium purple that reminds me of one of my favorite colors, Zoya Harmonie. I don't think they're dupes, but the base colors seem similar- Meltdown is a tad darker/richer in color. The application was decent but not perfect, and the polish reached opacity in two coats. This is the only color of the collection where I wanted the name to be a different color- I always think of greens when someone mentions "meltdown". I guess it's because of cartoony nuclear meltdowns with glowing green goo huh?

In direct sunlight
And last but certainly not least is the most attention grabbing of the collection- Big Bang. This polish definitely has some personality as a pink. It's a mix of bright pink and silver glitter that applies and behaves much like a foil. In fact, I think i'll take a guess and say that's what this is- a hot pink foil polish. It's opaque in two coats, but it was almost opaque in just one. This polish definitely came in a close second for me, but it was only because of the color that it didn't end up as my favorite. I'm just not a bright pink polish kinda girl!

Overall I'm not terribly wow'ed or impressed by this mini-collection. Some of the colors are definitely pretty polishes, but nothing is very unique or jaw-dropping. I guess I got sucked into the hype of "Urban Decay" polishes of the past and was hoping to be really impressed. But with some colors having lackluster application and the colors all being fairly dupe-able, I'm gonna say pass. If you haven't purchased this collection don't rush out and go get it unless you're in love with one of these colors- you'll probably be able to find something similar elsewhere. I won't be getting rid of this set, but I can't see myself reaching for it very often. Anyway, that's just my final verdict and two cents.

Have you ever gotten excited about a nail mini-collection/product/color and been a little disappointed when you encountered it in person? Leave it in the comments! Thanks for reading!

01 December 2011

Nail Polish Collection & Organization II

So for the past few months I've been avoiding the massive mess that was my polishing desk. See, my stash outgrew my storage, and instead of using more bins or getting a melmer, I had my sights set on the one and only beautiful Ikea 9-Drawer Alex. The problem was that I live more than five hours away from the nearest Ikea- so I had to wait for the opportunity of a free weekend to make the long trip. So my polish sat on the desk in piles, stuffed into bins and boxes gathering dust and not being loved properly- I just couldn't bring myself to tackle the mess without the hope of a new home for my polishes.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel- I eventually did make the journey to Ikea (which was awesome, by the way!) and came home with my dream nail polish storage unit. After assembling, organizing, and cooing over all the little polishes in my stash, I just had to document it and share it with all of you! And if you're interested in seeing how my polish collection has grown since the last time I did a post about storage, you can click here.

And as a special treat I also have something I don't usually do for my blog- I made a video! If you like seeing something more interactive than just pictures, you can take a few minutes and watch the video of me giving a little tour of my Alex. 

I know there's a lot of debate over whether to go with the Helmer or the Alex from Ikea, and after seeing the in-store displays and testing drawers and stability I was even more in favor of the Alex. The Helmer is a lot smaller and less expensive, but seemed like it would fall over if I pulled out a fully loaded drawer.  My stash certainly isn't the size that most people expect for bloggers with the Alex, but I figured it would give me room to grow and also allow space for nail polish packing supplies, all my removers, nail art supplies, and my little make-up stash. Plus, it felt a lot sturdier and seemed more versatile in the long run. But, to each her own- the Helmer happens to be the perfect fit for lots and lots of nail bloggers. I'm just sharing why I chose what I did!

How do you store your nail polish? Have you outgrown your storage before, or do you just purge polishes once you get close to the limit? Expect another post tomorrow, and thanks for reading!