Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cirque - Tibetan Nights

It's been a while since I've had a Cirque swatch on here, huh? Let's remedy that today...

Cirque Colors Tibetan Nights is a rich, dark blue jelly with micro silver glitter and tiny silver bar glitters. I have used three coats in this swatch.

This polish is super duper beautiful. The delicacy of the silver glitters in combination with the rich royal blue jelly is quite lovely. The blue is one of the prettiest shades of blue that I have ever seen, and the polish itself is very glossy. The glitters in this don't affect the finish... it's smooth as glass.

The formula on Tibetan Nights is pretty thin. It can be a little runny so take your time applying and do thinner coats instead of trying to pile on the polish.

Another thing to note about this polish is that I had some problems with glitter sinking. Some of it remained suspended, but a lot of it collected at the bottom of the bottle. This could be due to the thinness of the formula. Even with vigorous shaking, most of it remained out of reach.

All Cirque polishes are .45oz and 3-free. They are lightly scented with lavender and clary sage oils, but I didn't notice the scent lingering past topcoat application. Tibetan Nights retails for $12. The other polishes in the Dark Horse Collection range from $12-$16. You can check out my previous reviews of Cirque polishes here.

You can find Cirque on Facebook or at their website. If you live in New York, you can also check out Cirque products at the Hester Street Fair!

The product in this post was sent to me by the manufacturer or their PR.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Into the Glitterverse: Galaxy Nails

I've only done galaxy nails once, and they were WAAAY back in September as part of the 31 Day Challenge! I thought I'd like to do them again; they have a really awesome effect.

I started with a base of OPI Black Onyx.

Then, once that was dry, I tore off bits of a triangle makeup sponge. I used the rough, torn edges to dab on tiny amounts of a few different polishes. First, I started with Nicole by OPI My Lifesaver (umm, sidenote, this may be my current polish crush). Then, I used Sally Hansen Blue It, Orly Frolic, and China Glaze White On White, in that order. When doing the sponging for this step, less is more. You can always add more layers of color for a stronger effect if needed, so only sponge on small amounts at a time.

After I was done sponging on the layers of colors, I painted China Glaze Fairy Dust in the black spaces where I hadn't sponged anything. You don't want to put the Fairy Dust over the whole nail, as it will overwhelm your nail art. Let the sponged bits speak for themselves!

Finally, I added larger white spots with a dotting tool to represent the stars that are "closer" to the viewer.

As an awesome celestial bonus, when this manicure is in the sun, the holographic glitter in Fairy Dust twinkles like distant starts. It's very cool.

I am very pleased with the way that these turned out. Overall, I think they look very spacey. I also like that they are kind of cool-toned while my first galaxy manicure was more warm-toned! It's a different type of look but they still feel like they go together.

Have you tried galaxy nails before? I have to say, they are much easier than they seem! If you like the way these turned out but are kind of hesitant, I strongly urge you to give this a try. You may be surprised by how simple they are to achieve. You could even try out color combinations and practice your sponging on paper beforehand!

Hope you enjoyed these! <3

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Happy Hands - Greetings from Florida Collection

Good morning everyone! It's the weekend! Today's post is an indie brand that is new to me: Happy Hands! Her Greetings from Florida Collection is made up of four polishes. I think they are really beautiful & unique, and they come together to form a well balanced and fun collection. LET'S GET STARTED!

Springs is an aqua/teal jelly with satiny light glitters. It also contains larger green and silver hexes. I didn't end up with many on the nail, but honestly I didn't mind at all! If you want more of the larger pieces, I would recommend storing this one upside down. I think this is beautiful and the texture of it is really unique. It's delicate while still being funky and fun. I have used three coats for this swatch. This one is on the thicker side, so when applying, make sure each coat is mostly dry before you put on the next one.

Afternoon Thunderstorms is my absolute favorite of the bunch. Its grey jelly base is accented by two sizes of black glitter (probably why this is my favorite) and heavy gold shimmer. The shimmer really sets this polish apart. Afternoon Thunderstorms looks like stone, but it's also kind of... alive! The glitter is abundant, and only requires a little bit of attention when applying. I have used two coats for this swatch. Also of note is that it needs very little topcoat to be smooth. LOVE!

The Swamp is a bright orange jelly base with two sizes of blue hexes, green hexes, orange hexes, and pale colored squares. I believe this is supposed to be a homage to the Florida Gators! I, however, can't help but think of M*A*S*H whenever I hear "the swamp." This polish is really neat -- how many orange jellies do you own? Probably not many, and I bet the ones that you do have don't have sweet glitter like this one does! I have shown three coats here. This one probably needs the most attention out of the bunch when applying.

Finally, we have Flowers on the Highway. I have layered two coats of FOTH over Essie Yogaga for this swatch. This glitter topcoat is complex -- yellow, lavender, pink, black, green... it's a really unique glitter mix and I think it's just beautiful. The inspiration for this one was wildflowers growing in fields and ditches along the sides of the highways in the spring and summer. I can almost picture myself there!

Overall, I was very impressed by this whole collection. Each of the polishes are so unique and come together to make a collection that is bound to have something for everyone.

Out of the bunch, Afternoon Thunderstorms was the easiest to apply, while The Swamp was the most difficult. Fans of a more subtle glitter look will appreciate Springs, while the more die-hard glitteristas will enjoy Flowers on the Highway.

Happy Hands is sold on Etsy. You can also keep up with Happy Hands on Facebook for news of restocks and sneak peeks at upcoming colors.

The products in this post were sent to me by the manufacturer or their PR for review.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Coral Branches - China Glaze On Safari Nail Art

Ever since doing my ocean scene nail art, I have been itching to do another coral design. I loved the way it turned out in that and wanted to do a design that just focused on the coral. Since I used different polishes with different finishes for this design, it ended up not quite having the same effect, but I think it still turned out pretty well.

This design uses all China Glaze On Safari colors. You can find my other On Safari nail art here and here.

I started with a base of China Glaze Kalahari Kiss. I am not sure how to describe this color. People keep calling it camel, which I guess is true, but is not the most helpful term for me personally in the abstract. I would say it's kind of a dusty honey mustard, maybe? I used two coats for the base here.

Then using a small striper brush, I freehanded on the coral branches in China Glaze Adventure Red-y, a standard cherry red creme. I used this in my On Safari fishtail look and really liked it both times I used it. It has a lot of pigmentation and applies well.

At this point, my coral branches looked kind of like blood vessels rather than coral (and maybe they still do), so I added some texture using China Glaze I Herd That. This is the other glitter in the collection, and it is similar in consistency and density to I'm Not Lion, which I used in my On Safari leopard print look. I truly love both of the glitters and see a lot of applications for them going forward.

I definitely visualized this manicure differently in my head, but I'm not unhappy with the results! The colors all seem to work nicely together to create a refined, if not realistic, color palette.

What do you guys think? Glittery coral, or blood vessels? *nervous laughter*

The China Glaze On Safari collection is available now at salons and beauty supply stores nationwide. Individual polishes retail for $7 MSRP.

The products in this post were sent to me by the manufacturer or their PR.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

OPI Pure Lacquer Nail Apps - Reptile

Good morning friends! Today's post is my second set of OPI Pure Lacquer Nail Apps. This design is called Reptile. You can view my last Pure Lacquer Nail Apps post here, which shows another pattern, Girly Glam, and also goes more into the packaging.

While the Girly Glam patterned wraps were considered part of the "shimmer" line, these ones are from the "creams" line. As you can see, they look kind of metallic, and they aren't made of glitter pieces like the other set was.

Application is done the same way as the other set of strips that I tried -- super easy! You only have to select the size you want to use on your nail, peel it off the paper, stick, smooth, and then file off the excess at the tips. You don't need to use base coat or top coat. It's instant nail art for people that don't want to spend a lot of time on their nails!

Wear time was great on these as well. I wore them on a vacation because I knew I wouldn't be changing my nails. They wore for five days with no chips and only minimal tipwear. They probably would have lasted longer still, save for the fact that I change my polish so often and couldn't personally make it longer than that. :)

Also of note, in my first post about these wraps, I told you guys I would try to save my leftovers from the previous pack and see if they would last. They don't. I put them back in all their packaging and then sealed that up in a plastic bag, but when I took them back out, they were dried up and unusable. Use 'em if you've got 'em. If you have a lot of extras, have a nail session with your roommate!

I think, if you are interested in trying out nail wraps, the OPI Apps are a great option. They are easy to use and they come in really unique and sophisticated designs.

OPI Pure Lacquer Nail Apps are available at Professional Salons, including Beauty Brands, Beauty First, Chatters, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Pure Beauty, Regis, Trade Secret, and ULTA, for the suggested retail price of $11.95.

 The product in this post was provided to me by the manufacturer or their PR.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vampy Fishtail - China Glaze On Safari Nail Art

Today's post is one of my favorite nail art looks... the fishtail chevron! This is the second of my China Glaze On Safari nail art looks, the first being the blinged out leopard print.

For my base color, I started with two coats of China Glaze Adventure Red-y. I really could have gotten away with one coat on this one, but I went with two for good measure. It's very opaque and the next photo is the most color accurate. It applied beautifully.

Then, using the polish brush, I freehanded on curved chevrons in China Glaze Jungle Queen, Purr-fect Plum, and Prey Tell. All of these colors required two coats for full opacity in this nail art look.

Jungle Queen is a dark purple-gray color with a violet shimmer that only shows itself at certain angles. I can definitely see myself craving this color a lot once the cool weather returns. Purr-fect Plum is a gorgeous berry shade. Rich and sumptuous! Prey Tell is a dark dark burgundy jellylike shade. I am not really into that kind of color but it worked well in this manicure.

If you are interested in trying out the fishtail chevron, never fear! I have made a video tutorial for this look in the past, which you can find here!

I promise, it's easier than it looks! That's not just me saying that, either, I've had a lot of people tell me that it's true. ;)

What do you think? Are you a fan of these moody, vampy colors? Have you ever tried a chevron manicure like this?

The China Glaze On Safari collection is available now at salons and beauty supply stores nationwide. Individual polishes retail for $7 MSRP.

The products in this post were sent to me by the manufacturer or their PR. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

What time is it? - Adventure Time Nail Art

I've been promising this post since Friday... and finally, here it is! Adventure Time is one of my favorite cartoons ever. I think the humor in it is so weirdly fantastic, and the characters are so entertaining. What better way to honor one of my favorite shows than with one of my favorite activities -- doing nail art!

I know I'm not the first person to do Adventure Time nail art, and that's okay! I absolutely loved the way that these nails turned out. On my thumb you can see the Ice King, followed by Jake the Dog, Finn the Human, Lumpy Space Princess (my personal favorite), and Beemo.

I think the Ice King turned out the best, but his face is also inherently more detailed than the other characters, and therefore it had more visual impact.

I used a load of colors for these nails. I'll go over some of the highlights, but I won't be getting into every color!

  • The Ice King's skin was done with OPI What's With the Cattitude?, his dark blue mouth was done with China Glaze Man Hunt. The crown color was a mix of a few colors as I was trying to get the right shade.
  • Jake's color was hand mixed using China Glaze Desert Sun and China Glaze Happy Go Lucky.
  • Finn's skin color is Zoya Kennedy blended with some white. His shirt color is Orly Skinny Dip.
  • LSP's base color is piCture pOlish Wisteria. I honestly could not have asked for a better color for her.
  • Beemo's color was made by mixing OPI WWTC? and OPI Mermaid's Tears.

These nails were done using a medium length striper and a fine detailing brush. There was definitely some frustration involved in this manicure because the perfectionist in me had to keep redoing certain nails multiple times. Jake, I'm looking at you...

I ended up being awake way later than I should have been (on a work night) because I was finishing these nails, and it was absolutely 100 percent worth it!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Arcs and Dots

Hey guys! It's Friday, hooray! For some reason it doesn't feel like a Friday. Maybe it's because I was up till like 2am last night doing (and redoing, and redoing) some nail art that was giving me a really tough time. Thankfully, that one sentence story has a happy ending, as I am really pleased with the results of that nail art. I will hopefully have that ready to post tomorrow.

On to today's nail art. I did this design with some L'Oreal Colour Riche polishes a bit ago. The photos have been in my drafts, so that's why you'll find my old watermark on them. You've already seen two of these colors in my Triangle Pattern Nail Art post!

I didn't really know where I was going with this design as I was doing it. I just started with the nude base color and then kinda made it up as I went from there. It's definitely different from my normal nail art aesthetic. Maybe it will resonate with different people, too!

Let's talk colors. The base is L'Oreal Sweet Nothings, which is a nude creme/jelly hybrid. It's a sheer color and it's got a lot of shine. I've posted pictures of this polish alone at the end of this post, because I think it's a great color for me to wear if I ever want to just cover up my stained nails. My boyfriend really liked when I wore Sweet Nothings on it's own, he kept commenting on how healthy my nails looked!

The pink is L'Oreal Check Me Out, which is a hot pink creme. The consistency of it is good and it works pretty well for nail art. If you like pinks, this is definitely a nice bright one!

The grey/mushroom color is L'Oreal Eiffel For You. I really like this shade a lot and I was super impressed with the formula. I've been into neutrals lately and this one is beautiful!

Finally, the vampy dark dark red color is L'Oreal Haute Couture. If you are wearing this polish alone, it will need a few coats for evenness. You can see that if you compare the red dots with the red arcs. Since I went over the arcs a few times, the color is more opaque and even. The dots were just a single pass, and you can see how the edges lighten a bit. It's a nice color but vampy reds aren't really my thing.

Here are the photos of Sweet Nothings on its own. It's cool, right? Healthy and even. I can't lie, it was weird seeing my nails like this when I have crazy nail art or glitter combos on most of the time. Weird in a good way, though.

As I said in my last L'Oreal post, I was really impressed with the Colour Riche polishes. I didn't know much about L'Oreal before, but now I will definitely pay closer attention to their polish.

L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche polishes retail for $5.99, and are available at www.lorealparis.com, as well as a number of other chain drug, food and mass market retailers.

The products in this post were sent to me by the manufacturer or their PR.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pretty and Polished Beach Duo

Hi guys! Today I've got the Pretty and Polished Beach Duo to share with you.

First up is Beach Bunny, a neon orange-pink jelly base with lots of white, pink, and silver glitter. I tried my best to get this color accurate you guys, but the neon freaked my camera out a little bit. I think I got really close though... if anything, this polish is just a smidgen more pink. If you have China Glaze Surfin for Boys, I imagine that would make a good companion base for this as they are very similar in color.

The base color of this polish makes the pink glitters look a bit dark, almost helping to create a sandy texture in conjunction with the smaller white glitters. I've shown two coats of Beach Bunny alone here.

I had no problems with application, especially for such a glitter heavy polish. One thing to note is that when this polish dries, the jelly base dries down flatter and the glitters remain on top. You will need a few coats of topcoat to even this one out. I've used two for this swatch.

The second polish in this duo is Beach Bum, a beautiful blue and green glitterbomb! There are large, medium, and small hexes, squares, micro glitters... it's a glitter party! I've shown two coats of Beach Bum alone here, but this would also make a great layering polish. It's very dense. 

Because of the massive amounts of glitter in this, it can be a bit tricky to apply evenly. You should definitely wait for each coat to dry before adding your next one. Be patient when applying, it's worth it!  I mean, just look at the complexity!

I do have a kind of strange tip to offer you that can smooth this (or any dense glitter polish) out a bit. Apply all your coats, wait for them to dry most of the way, and then lick your finger and pat the polish down lightly. You want the polish to still be moldable but you don't want it to stick to your finger when you touch it (licking your finger helps with this, too). This can even out any lumps that you may have ended up with before you go to topcoat.

I love this duo! I think they make great companions to one another. They kinda have the masculine/feminine thing going on when put together, which is reinforced by their names. The colors are vibrant and fun, perfect for summer.

Pretty and Polished is sold on Etsy. Check the Pretty and Polished Facebook page for restock information and other news.

The products in this post were sent to me by the manufacturer or their PR.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blinged Out Leopard - China Glaze On Safari Nail Art

Good morning! I'm back from another brief pause in posting due to vacation! Today I'm sharing the first of my China Glaze On Safari nail art looks.

If you'll recall, instead of doing swatches of new collections, I prefer to try to use all of them in various nail art techniques. I am not particularly fond of swatching and find that this method suits my area of expertise best. I also think that doing it this way provides people with some applications for these collections that they may not have considered! Hopefully soon I will have posts ready for you guys that use the rest of the colors.

My first look is a leopard print! If you want to check out my tutorial for doing leopard print, here it is. I only use a dotting tool to achieve this look, so anyone can do it!

I have been doing a lot of these lately, but what makes this one special is the glittery base. I used two coats of China Glaze I'm Not Lion, which, um, I love. First of all, I love the consistency. It's not thick or hard to apply at all. Second of all, I love the density. Full opacity in two coats? Yes please. Third of all, I love the color, a champagne-y pale gold. Finally, it's just so SPARKLY.

It's a little gritty, but way less gritty than I was expecting it to be. I applied one coat of topcoat before continuing with the rest of my nail art. By the end of the manicure, I had applied two coats of topcoat, and that was enough to tame the glitter pretty well.

Then I added the lighter pieces of the spots in China Glaze Desert Sun. I have seen this color described as butterscotch on a lot of blogs. It's very warm and reminds me of caramel. Something about the color is really comforting to me. Desert Sun is a creme and was easy to use in this nail art.

Finally, I added the irregular markings on in China Glaze Call of the Wild. It's a dark brown red-leaning creme. This one gets a bit sheer around the edges, almost like a jelly. It's difficult to explain, because it is definitely a creme... You can kind of see at the edges of some of my spots where it gets thinner, clearer, and redder.

It seemed appropriate to start off my "On Safari" nail art with an animal print manicure. The base color was being truthful when it said "I'm not lion!" (get it, cause it's leopard?) ... *crickets*

And here's a bonus blurred picture so you can see the sparkle in I'm Not Lion. It's definitely got holo glitter in it, but still has a nice even texture when not in direct sunlight!

I hope you'll stay tuned for the rest of my On Safari nail art looks!

The China Glaze On Safari collection is available now at salons and beauty supply stores nationwide. Individual polishes retail for $7 MSRP.

The products in this post were sent to me by the manufacturer or their PR.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vivid Lacquer Swatches

Today we're going to be taking a look at four polished by Vivid Lacquer! Let's just jump right in...

First up we have The Harlequin's Adoration. This polish is crazy packed with lots of different components! There are the large red hearts, black and white diamonds, back and white small glitter, red medium glitter, and a duochrome pink/gold shimmer. The shimmer in the base is very heavy. This is just one coat of THA over China Glaze Recycle. Since there are so many types of glitter, you are bound to end up with something interesting on each nail, be it a diamond or a heart. I recommend storing this upside down to get to the hearts more easily.

Here is a photo of my nails angled to show the secondary duochrome color in the shimmery base.

Next we have The Ice Queen's Lament. This polish consists of various blue, white, and silver glitters in a frosty blue base. Notable glitter shapes include silvery diamonds (you can kind of see one on my middle finger) and large blue hearts. For this look I have layered one coat over China Glaze Sea Spray. This polish is a bit trickier to work with. The frosted base shows brushstrokes easily, and it also tends to bury some of the glitters if applied unevenly.

Theoretical Rockstar is a super unique polish. Its grey base is a cross between a shimmer and a metallic, and it is studded with lots of micro black glitter. I love the texture that the black glitter creates on this one. In addition to the awesome base, there are also white and black squares, small white, and micro silver glitters. Application can be tricky on this one too, because of the nature of the pigment used in the base. I really dig the look of this one, but I would also love to see it without the larger square glitters. I think that would really help emphasize the unique texture of the base! These photos show two coats of TR alone.

Finally, we have Your Princess is In Another Castle, a pink jelly based polish with micro...flecks (I think?), square and hex shaped pink glitters, and black hex glitters. I lost my notes sheet for this one but I am pretty sure this is three coats of this polish alone. The polish is super reflective and shiny. It's very eye catching. The black glitter makes it look like seeded watermelon. It's very juicy and definitely unique!

Which one is your favorite? I really like The Harlequin's Adoration, but that shouldn't surprise you guys since it has lots of black and white glitter in it!

You can find Vivid Lacquer on Etsy, where Anni also sells some custom made stamping plates (I love the honeycomb one)! Vivid Lacquer is also on Facebook.

The products in this post were sent to me by the manufacturer or their PR for review.
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