Posts Tagged China Glaze

Summer Polish Combo: Red & White

So…probably should have worn/posted this combo sooner, as it would have been perfectly apt for Canada Day (or with a dash of blue, Independence Day) – oops!  Anyhoo, I didn’t, so…idea for next year?  Yeah, that’s it ;)

I attended yet another wedding this past weekend, and had my outfit planned for weeks – a pretty, floaty, white patterned dress I scored for less than $30 at Forever21 when I was in Ottawa in May.  Since the dress was a bit busy, I wanted to keep my mani/pedi fairly basic.  I settled on a classic combination of red (American Apparel’s Downtown LA) on toes and a soft white (China Glaze Dandy Lyin’ Around) on fingers, which both looked classy and event-appropriate.  Have a look:

Summer Polish Combo - Red and White Summer Polish Combo - Red and White (2)

Red generally isn’t my first choice of polish color, but in this instance I liked the way it looked a lot. Dandy Lyin’ Around is a great white for darker skintones, but it is a bit fussy, admittedly.  However, it served its purpose!

Now…aside from the polishes, I must point out something else – THESE SHOES.  DUDES.  I bought them from Aldo to wear with my dress, but they didn’t really suit it at all.  However, I couldn’t bear to return them, because they were on sale and they are just MARVELOUS.  Revel:

Summer Polish Combo - Red and White (5)

Oh YEA.  Sexy, sexy, sexy.  I need to find a time/place to wear these, stat.  As it stands now, they just sit in my closet looking tantalizingly fabulous…they’re taunting me, and I’ve only had them for like, five days.  But I’m attending a bachelorette party this weekend (yeah…another wedding.  Does anyone else have this many in life, or am I an anomaly?) so I think I will have to bust ‘em out then.  Amazingly they don’t seem to be uncomfortable at all (though I’ll get back to you after I wear them dancing for hours…).

Aldo sandalsLook at the sparklies :)

Oh yeah.  Those babies are getting worn ASAP!

What awesome purchases have you made lately that rocked your world?

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Polish Comparison Swatches – The Best Kind of Post When You’re Sick

So yea.  I sneezed funny on Sunday and then the next day I was sick with a cold.  Has that ever happened to anyone else?  I’m being dead serious – it’s like the sneeze dislodged the sickness or something.  Ugh.  Anyway, I was off work today and pretty much was a slug all day; even looking at the computer screen hurts my eyes.  I am weird and don’t take medication when I’m sick (unless it’s that time of the month – then, JACK ME UP BABY) because I feel like it just masks the pain and makes me stay sick for longer.  Or I’m a martyr.  Either or.  At least I know when I get pregnant one day I’ll be totally used to not being able to take meds (but I will not hesitate to get an epidural – eff that).  So there’s that.

Anyway, I have photos of two polishes I had done comparison swatches for but never posted them, so here they are.  First up is Chanel’s Orange Fizz (which I happen to be wearing this week, and seriously – I LOVE IT SO MUCH you guys should all buy a bottle, it’s good times) which I swatched against all my other orangey-coral polishes (spoiler – there are no dupes that I own, so you should just go buy a bottle of the real stuff):

Chanel Orange Fizz comparisonsLeft to right: China Glaze Flirty Tankini, LA Colors Magnetic Force, Chanel Orange Fizz, China Glaze Surfin’ for Boys, Deborah Lippmann Daytripper

Chanel Orange Fizz comparisons (2) Chanel Orange Fizz comparisons (3)Chanel Orange Fizz comparisons (5)Thumb: China Glaze Flirty Tankini; Index: Chanel Orange Fizz; Middle: LA Colors Magnetic Force; Ring: China Glaze Surfin’ for Boys; Pinky: Deborah Lippmann Daytripper

You can see that aside from the LA Colors shade, the rest of the polishes are all in the same vein, but Flirty Tankini is less saturated and dries with a flat finish (though probably the closest match); Surfin’ for Boys is more pink and with a pearlesence about it; and Daytripper is more pink.  What I love about Orange Fizz is that it’s super-shiny on it’s own, has a squishy quality to it, and is somehow both soft enough for spring but bright enough that it will be awesome in summer too :)

The next polish I have to show you is one I recently picked up from American Apparel, called Downtown LA.  I was in the store a couple weeks ago buying Neon Violet for a gal at work, since she loved it so much on me, and decided to take advantage of the buy 3 for $18 deal (I also picked up their matte top coat for fun).  Downtown LA is a bold red that leans ever so slightly orange.  It is exceptionally close to butter London’s Come to Bed Red, though bL’s version really is more of a true red without the orange lean.  I can tell the difference between the two but if I didn’t tell you, I’m sure you wouldn’t guess:

American Apparel vs butter Londonbutter London Come to Bed Red; American Apparel Downtown LA

American Apparel Downtown LA (3) American Apparel Downtown LAIndex & ring: butter London Come to Bed Red; middle & pinky: American Apparel Downtown LA

I have a hard time wearing red polish as I find on my skintone it looks a bit garish; however, I wore Downtown LA last week and actually liked it quite a bit.  The warmer tone of the polish worked better on me than Come to Bed Red has in the past, and I made sure to cut my nails super-short which made the manicure less in-your-face.  I won’t be stocking up on red polishes any time soon but it’s still nice to have a few great ones in your arsenal!  I’ll likely pass along my butter London shade – I always hate to part with more high-end brands but I know I’ll never choose it over the AA color.  I have to say, I really like AA polishes – they are almost one-coaters and apply so well!

So, I hope this keeps you entertained until I get better!  I usually go into repair mode when I’m sick and rarely stay down for long, so I’ll be up and kickin’ by the weekend I’m sure :D

What do you do with your nail polish dupes?  Do you find red a difficult color to wear?

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Celebrating the Arrival of Spring With New(ish) Nail Polish Pretties!

Though I’ve been in somewhat of a nail polish slump, similarly to filling in gaps in my makeup collection, I’ve been picking up polish shades here and there that fit in nicely with the array of colors I already have.  For the most part, I’ve been beefing up my existing collection with shades that are generally thought of when we think ‘spring’ – pale, pastel-like shades that have a fresh, soft, feminine quality to them.  I know that there’s no need to stick to ‘seasonal’ colors any more, but I personally like to change the tones I wear (for both makeup and nails) each season, and typical spring shades are no exception.

New Spring 2013 Nail Polish

I actually don’t own a large array of pale nail polishes, as I normally gravitate toward broodier, richer tones, but this season I’ve accrued five new shades that I’m totally digging, which means I now have a good handful or two of polishes that are just perfect for the spring season.  My two favorites from past years have been Zoya’s Marley and MAC’s Mischievous Mint, and now joining those two are: Sally Hansen Barracuda, a pale yet bright blue; China Glaze Dandy Lyin’ Around (new from this season’s Avant Garden collection), a shimmering white; butter London’s Bossy Boots, a pale pistachio green, and Jasper (new from the Sweetie Shop Spring 2013 collection), a pale lemon yellow; and Chanel Orange Fizz, a slightly muted coral orange.

Sally Hansen Barracuda is a Complete Salon formula, which is supposed to mean that its the full meal deal, with base & top coat qualities rolled into the one polish.  I actually do find these polishes to wear better without base coat, and the swatches below with sans top coat – as you can see, this baby is SHINY.  There really is no need for top coat unless you need a quick drying one to get it on and get out the door.  I found it did require three coats to achieve full opacity and to look it’s best, so if you’re in a hurry you may need a fast-drying top coat anyway.  However, I found that it dries relatively quickly on it’s own, so its not an absolutely necessary step.  Also, I have to mention that I adore the brush on these polishes – it’s wide and thin and covers almost my whole nail bed in one go.  Application is a breeze!

Sally Hansen Barracuda swatches (2) Sally Hansen Barracuda swatches (4) Sally Hansen Barracuda swatches (3) Sally Hansen Barracuda swatches

China Glaze Dandy Lyin’ Around was a recent lemming of mine, having only first seen it on All Lacquered Up (a blog, by the way, I’m pleased to see back in action!) this past week.  A couple weeks ago, Taylor of My Lucite Dreams posted about a white polish, and it looked SO lovely on her but I knew the white polish trend was NOT going to be my friend.  However, when I saw Dandy Lyin’, I had a feeling that it’s softer, sparkling quality might be a way for me to try the trend, and I was right!!  I really like this polish a lot, even despite the fact that it’s sheerness and slightly streaky quality requires three coats – just be careful in your application.  It’s worth the effort for me as I’m loving the look on my hands!  I can’t wait to try it on summer toes :)  Note that no top coat was used, and I don’t feel it needs one, unless you want to get that smooth, uber-glossy look.

China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around (8) China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around (20) China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around (24) China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around (26)

butter London Bossy Boots has NOT been a recent lemming; in fact, I wanted this bad boy last year but held out until a couple months ago when I got it on discount.  As a general rule, I do not like green nail polish – not on others (typically) and definitely not on me.  However, light greens are totally exempt and I love the way they look.  I’m not 100% sold on the yellowish undertones in Bossy Boots as being the best for me, but I still enjoy this shade and am glad I finally picked it up.  The application was good with no real troubles – shown is with two coats – although it would benefit from a top coat to give it a bit more gloss and shine (no top coat used in photos).

butter London Bossy Boots - Natural Light butter London Bossy Boots - Artificial Light butter London Bossy Boots - Flash

butter London Jasper was another longer-term lemming of mine since the launch of the Sweetie Shop collection earlier this year.  I could have easily bought every shade from the release, but held myself back to just this one.  I don’t own a single yellow, and dislike most versions of the shade, but this pale shade hooked me from the get-go.  I love it on and it just screams spring to me.  I’ve read conflicting reviews on this color’s formula – I don’t have a lot of experience with pale yellows, but I think that this formula is pretty darn good.  It does require a bit more attention to application, but as far as it goes this is a good formula with minimal issue, for me at least!  I did go with three coats just to get the best opacity, but it wasn’t that much of a pain.  Like Bossy Boots, it would benefit from a shiny top coat, which I did not use in these photos.

butter London Jasper swatches (19) butter London Jasper swatches (12) butter London Jasper swatches (16) butter London Jasper swatches (2)

Chanel Orange Fizz was sort of a random buy, which happens very rarely these days.  When I picked up a few things from Chanel earlier this year, I was disappointed with the spring shades released but wanted a new polish.  This one grabbed my attention and I’m super-happy that I bought it, it’s a stunner!  This shade is obviously more pigmented/intense than the other shades I’ve shown above, but it still has a soft quality to it that feels spring-like to me (though this will also be kick-ass in summer!)  The formula is thicker (typical of many Chanel polishes, I’ve found), but flows well and is self-leveling – again, just take care in your application and you should have no problems.  I love the glossiness of this polish on it’s own – no top coat needed!  I used three coats in these swatches, and you can still see slight VNL, but in person it’s hardly noticeable, and you could probably opt for two coats – I’m just fussy :P

Chanel Orange Fizz Chanel Orange Fizz (9) Chanel Orange Fizz (3) Chanel Orange Fizz (6)

So there you have it!  A handful of pretty polishes – a perfect way to shove usher in spring :)

New Spring 2013 Nail Polish (2)

So!  What spring shades are you lemming/have you picked up?  Do you go with softer shades or stick to whatever floats your boat at the time?

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Take China Glaze’s Nail Apps for a Quick and Easy Spin!

Since I’ve been so busy, I’ve been relatively slow in my manicure upkeep – at the moment I actually have just a couple coats of Deborah Lippmann’s ‘Turn Back Time’ base coat on since fixing nail polish chips while traveling is SUPER annoying.  Last week, I threw on a pair of China Glaze nail apps I’d received from Nail Polish Canada as they seemed easy to apply and required no drying/wait time.  What more can you ask for?

The China Glaze nail apps are made from real nail lacquer, and are like a decal for the entire nail.  Each pack retails for $11CAD on Nail Polish Canada and contain 16 apps of various size, which is essentially good for one application with a few leftover for mistakes/emergencies.  I chose the ‘Cherry Blossoms’ design, which is cute little red cherry blossoms on a creamy white background.  The process is insanely simple.  After separating the decal you want from the strip, you peel the backing off the decal and then the front and apply the sticky side to the nail, choosing the appropriate size for each.  Then you merely tear off the tab, fold the free edge down, and file it off to your nail shape.  It’s really as easy as that!  The whole process took me maybe 5-10 minutes to completion.  They also provide the  file and orangewood stick for you to push your cuticles back if need be.

I wore these decals for about 3-4 days and had absolutely no peeling, chipping or the like – just minor tip wear which I actually think I caused when I originally filed them.  While I liked the ease of these decals and durability, the one drawback was that the sizing seemed off.  There were many small decals that did not fit the width of even my smallest nail, and only a handful of sizes that were the perfect fit for most.  See evidence below.

However, this problem was not terribly noticeable and I can get past it.  It’s going to be impossible to have a one size fits all as everyone has different shaped nail beds.  Overall, they were fun and easy, and while not the *cheapest* option for just a regular-day mani, they’d be fabulous for an event – and they’d probably last a lot long than I left them on.  I was able to wash my hair and do my regular thing without even a hint of peeling (strangely however, they came off easily by just pulling an end and peeling off).  If you’re in the market for some fancy nail art, for whatever reason, I think these are a great option and pretty much fool-proof!

Have you tried nail apps before, or would you?  Do you still paint your nails while traveling or leave them be?

*Product was provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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China Glaze Summer Neons Collection: Part II (Swatches and Review)

You remember how yesterday I talked about my admiration of those fabulous bloggers who were in the business of swatching full collections of nail polish on the regular?  Well today I’m in admiration of anyone who buys a home!!  Holy moley, let me tell you – it is SUPREMELY exciting to buy your first home (I guess, any home really!) – but there is so much to learn and info to absorb, wowza!!!  It’s a lot for a brain to handle.  Thankfully we’ve had absolutely stellar people working with us to find the condo and get our financing in order, but its been a relatively consuming pastime for the last few weeks. Well worth it, but mindblowing all the same!!

Anyway, we spent some time at the bank tonight wrapping things up, then come home to make dinner, then talked numbers some more…suddenly my evening has gone *poof* and I’ve hardly even done anything!  I really wanted to get the second part out for the Summer Neons collection from China Glaze though, so here I am!  The second half is just as eye-popping as the first, so get ready!

I’m With the Lifeguard is a ‘glimmering lime green,’ and while I love this shade in theory – makes me think of lime koolaid! – I’m not liking it on my skintone at all, though it is lovely to look at.  The last picture is the most accurate for how bright this is.  I found 3 coats was best to even out a bit of streakiness, and it had a similar formula as most other shades – thicker but fairly easy to work with. This dried semi-matte.

Sunlight

Sunlight

Sunlight (different setting)

The description of Ride the Waves - a ‘dark ocean blue’ – is so terribly enticing to me.  Due to the sheer, thin, jellyish formula, it really made me think of the deeper waters of the Caribbean!  To avoid any VNL, 3 coats is absolutely necessary.  I really like this shade – it reminds me of Nails Inc. Baker St. (which Beyonce was apparently wearing shortly after she had Ivy Blue, hence everyone wanted it) but it’s not quite as electric, though it’s still really very eye-catching. It’s darker and not as cool-toned in real life, and the squishy nature looks like you could just drink it up.  As I was wearing it as my mani this week, I realized it would be perfect as a base for Lippmann’s Across the Universe!

Indoor lighting

With flash

Natural light

Sunlight

Just as juicy and ripe-looking as the fruit to describe it, Under the Boardwalk, a ‘fluorescent raspberry’, has almost the same formula as ‘Ride the Waves’, but not quite as jellyish.  Again, 3 coats best, though 2 is workable here, and it’s deeper in tone than it looks in photos.  I feel pretty ‘meh’ about this shade – it’s quite nice but nothing stand-out to me in any way.

With flash

Sunlight

Sunlight

Love’s A Beach, a ‘sizzling hot pink’, is slightly warmer than ‘Hang-Ten Toes’, but the differences are slight and I personally wouldn’t feel it necessary to own both.  If I had to chose, I think I’d pick this shade, as the blue-leanings are less pronounced.  Formula was good; it applied easily without fuss.  3 coats were used here for good measure.

With flash

Natural light

Sunlight

In theory, Surfin’ For Boys would be the ultimate shade: a ‘glistening bright coral’? Sign me up! However, there’s something off about this color for me; I think it’s the shimmer which looks almost purplish in certain light, and just feels a bit gaudy to me.  It’s actually remarkably similar to another shade I own, LA Colors in Magnetic Force, except I think I like that polish better (well, at least the color).  However, I think this is still a great shade for summer, and definitely a perfect pedi shade.  It went on very easily in 2 coats, and dried semi-matte.

With flash

Sunlight

Sunlight - different setting

Last but not least, we have Flirty Tankini, a ‘shimmery strawberry smoothie pink’ with a particularly good formula.  I could have done 2 coats with no problem but I did 3 to be nitpicky.  I really liked the sweetness of this shade and though it went particularly well with my skintone.  The shimmer was understated (as it didnt’ contrast with the base color) and I’m looking forward to wearing this as a full mani very soon!!   

With flash

With flash

Sunlight

That wraps it up for the China Glaze Summer Neons collection!  I liked this half equally as well as the first, and I have my faves – Ride the Waves, which grew on me, and Flirty Tankini, which is just too darn pretty!  Though I enjoyed the formula of most shades as a whole, it was a bummer to apply 3 coats for almost all of the polishes here.  A suggestion was made that I could layer these shades over a white polish to let the neon qualities really pop, and I think I’ll take that recommendation to heart.  Every single shade was majorly bright, and to enhance that aspect would only serve to make this collection that much more special (and allow less coats of color overall!).

As a whole, I found a few of the shades in the collection not as unique as I’d like – some seemed to replicate shades I already have in my stash.  However, I chose those shades for a reason, so what’s not to like? lol  One complaint I have about the collection as a whole is that there are a fair amount of shades that are quite similar to each other – there are no dupes, but they’re close enough that I personally wouldn’t feel like I needed to own both/all.  However, in person the differences between them are more obvious, so you may refute me there and I would be OK with that :)  Really, this collection is the epitome of fun, splashy shades for Summer, and if you want them all, who am I to argue?

What is your idea of the perfect Summer polish shade(s)?  Would you try out a neon polish?

*Product samples were provided to me by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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China Glaze Summer Neons Collection: Part I (Swatches and Review)

Before I begin, I just want to give some serious accolades to any bloggers out there that have swatched an entire nail polish collection for our viewing pleasure.  O.M.G.  I’ve done maybe 4 swatches at a time, which was still quite a task, but 12 shades!?!  Good grief!  I spent most of my day Saturday and part of my day Sunday painstakingly applying each of the 12 shades of the Summer Neons collection from China Glaze, fearful that I was going to lose my sun, waiting between coats, hydrating and rehydrating my cuticles, and taking shot after shot of my nails to capture each shade as accurately as possible.  Man Oh Man.  It was truly exciting to have the opportunity – receiving the big box in the mail and knowing I’d never otherwise have such a chance – but I just wanted to give a shout out to the more established bloggers who are used to this sort of thing.  You rock!!  It’s quite a job, and I will forever have a different appreciation for collection swatches moving forward.  Thank you, my lovelies :D

Ok, with that out of the way – let’s get to the polish, shall we?  Today I bring you the first part of my swatchapalooza; there really wasn’t a defined split between the shades, so I just kind of put them together in a way that made sense to me. The collection as a whole was a surprize hit for me.  In promotional shots, I was unsure how I felt about a bunch of neon shades with shimmer – typically odd colors like electric green and eyeball-searing yellow do NOT do it for me, and I’m not a fan of shimmer overall – but somehow they made it work in a big way with this collection.

First up, we have Sun-Kissed, described as a ‘hot highlighter yellow’, and it was exactly that!  I would never in a million years imagine I’d like a shade like this, but consider me converted!  Somehow, this super-bright shade won me over, and I definitely see a full manicure with this in my near future.  Obviously, I don’t have much experience with yellow polishes, but from what I hear they can be tricky to work with – this shade, while slightly streaky, was relatively painless to apply; you can get away with 2 coats but I applied 3 for the best opacity.  Like many shades in the collection, it dries semi-matte.

Indoor lightingWith flashSunlightSunlight

Next up, Orange You Hot? - a ‘bright orange with attention-grabbing gold glimmer.’  I find the shimmer particles very fine, and the gold tone is lost in the base shade, but it’s still lovely.  I liked it but didn’t love it on my skintone – I think it’ll be more of a pedi shade in my rotation than anything else.  I felt similarly about the formula; it was good but not great.  I applied 3 coats to get the smoothest application possible.

Indoor lightingWith flashSunlightSunlight

~Ah~ Pink Plumeria.  My personal favorite of the whole collection.  A ‘light pink with gold shimmer,’ it came out more like a coral-pink on my nails, and was soo flattering.  It retains quite a neon look but in a way that’s tasteful and eye-catching rather than gaudy – it’s actually brighter in person than I was able to capture in these photos.  The gold shimmer really gave it an extra-pretty sheen.  Application was pretty good – 2 coats was sufficient, and how I wore it as a full mani, but I think 3 would probably be better, as it had a hint of patchiness on a few nails.

Indoor lighting

With flashSunlight
Sunlight

Hang-Ten Toes was actually the first polish I tried on from the collection; a ‘bubblegum neon pink with iridescent purple shimmer’, it looked and sounded far too enticing to pass up.  In person, this shade is searingly bright – I found it difficult overall to capture the true neon nature of most of the polishes in the collection, this one in particular (I took about a million shots of this polish, and I’m still not satisfied!).  Easy flowing with good consistency (you don’t need too much on the brush), it dries to a semi-satin finish.  At an angle, the shimmer is somehow both obvious and elusive, which gives it mysterious depth.  2 coats is enough to reach good coverage, but 3 erases any VNL. I found the drying time of this shade was slower than I’m used to – which I found for a handful of shades in the collection (perhaps because I was applying 3 coats for many of them).

Indoor lightingWith flashSunlightSunlight

On of the best formulas of the bunch, Beach Cruise-r is a ‘glimmering fuchsia grape’, which only required two smooth coats to full opacity.  On the nail, it reminds me a lot of American Apparel’s Neon Violet except with shimmer.  This kind of color is a bit unexpected in Summer I think, because it has a deeper jewel tone that makes me think more of Fall, but the brightness makes it appropriate and fun for the warmer months too.  Like Neon Violet, I’m slightly ambivalent toward it as a mani, but quite like it as a pedi shade. It’s brighter and more richly hued in person – closer to the last shot, below.

Indoor lighting – looks so purple!SunlightSunlightSunlight

Finally, we have Splish Splash, a ‘bright sky blue shimmer,’ also with a great formula, though 3 coats is still best.  This is not at all my kind of shade, but is an absolutely glorious color on it’s own – I want to own other things in this shade (just not wear it on my nails).  Looking at these photos, I’m mesmerized by this color; but with my skintone, it looks a bit garish.  In person it’s much more blue than aqua like it looks in these photos – closer to the last shot, below.

  Indoor lightingWith flashNatural lightSunlightSunlight

And so we conclude Part I of the Summer Neons collection!  Overall I felt that there were some beautiful shades, even if they all didn’t ~go~ with my skintone.  While many of the shades required 3 coats to look best to my liking, I still felt that the formulas overall were quite good; they didn’t dry too quickly and cause dragging, and applied very easily for the most part, with an excellent consistency in formula.  Mostly I found that they were just a touch sheer and just the slightest bit patchy, but applying 3 coats cleared any of those issues up with ease.  I also normally do a fast-drying top coat, whereas I used none in the swatches above (nor base coat), which could be why they seemed to take longer to dry than normal.  In any case, I liked some of the shades so much that I’d be more than willing to put up with the extra coats.  They all scream Summer to me, and just make me happy looking at them!

What are your thoughts on these shades from the collection?  Are you into neon brights?  Would you prefer them with or without shimmer?

*Product samples were provided to me by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Breaking Out of My Comfort Zone: China Glaze Crackle Glitters!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big follower of trends – not because I’m too cool for them, but because sadly, I’m just not that trendy LOL!  I often favor classic and simple over original and eye-catching – though from time to time I’ll branch out and try something new and exciting.  This week, I was able to check out for the very first time, a trend that blew up in the nail polish world this past year – crackle polish. China Glaze has come up with several adaptations to the crackle phenomenon, and this time around it’s meshing with another popular nail technology, glitter!  The China Glaze Crackle Glitters feature four shimmering shades:

- Glam-More: a bold fuchsia

- Luminous Lavender: a luscious light purple

- Gleam Me Up: a bright sky blue

- Jade-d: a radiant bright chartreuse green

As it’s my first run-in with crackle polish, I made sure to understand how to use them properly.  A lighter coat creates a fine crackle, and a thicker coat will offer a deep shatter effect.  Apparently, you can brush it sideways or at an angle to also create different looks.  I suspect the technology has improved since the first slew of these polishes as it really wasn’t that challenging – the main point is to be sure that the coat(s) of whatever base polish you use is fully dry before applying any of the crackle polish, or the effect won’t come out as well.  I found out the hard way, and the crackle pulled apart my base coat as well and left bald spots (as evidenced by my pinkie).

I began my experimentation using OPI’s I Brake for Manicures, a deep dark eggplant, as the base shade.  I think black would’ve look best, but shamefully I don’t own one (something I must remedy IMMEDIATELY).  After a little trial and error, here’s the results (first picture, natural light; second picture, with flash):

Top to bottom: Glam-More, Luminous Lavender, Gleam Me Up, Jade-d 

My first go around didn’t fully produce the results I wanted – Luminous Lavender is the sheerest of the bunch, and as such, the crackle effect was nearly negligible.  As well, I wasn’t pleased with how Glam-More, my favorite of the four, turned out.  Re-done, here’s my second try (first picture, natural light; second picture, with flash):

MUCH better!!  (Note that I didn’t use top coat in any of these shots)  With the ‘effects’ properly showcased, I was able to analyze just how I felt about the crackle trend.  Sorry to say, it’s still not my cup of tea – I guess my anal nature likes things to be a bit more precise, and the crackle effect just looks haphazard and messy to me.  But, if I were feeling particularly ‘adventurous’ shall we say, I’d certainly give Glam-More and Gleam Me Up another shot – the color of these two shades is simply luminous and would look absolutely stunning against a true black base.  Partially because of it’s sheerness, and also because of it’s pale tone, Luminous Lavender left me cold – and Jade-d, while quite funky, just isn’t my bag either.

For those of you who DO love a good crackle to spice up your manicure, China Glaze’s Crackle Glitters will be available at salons and beauty supply stores nationwide in May.  As always, China Glaze polishes are free of DBP, toluene, and added formaldehyde!

What do you think about crackle polishes?  Do they rock your world, or can you take ‘em or leave ‘em?  Any of these pique your interest?

*These products were provided for my unbiased consideration by the PR company/brand.

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China Glaze Capitol Colours: Agro and Stone Cold

I can’t even handle all the excitement I came home to today!!  Aside from the absolutely amazing hoard of fragrance samples the Jo Malone counter at the Bloor Street Holt Renfew sent me (I’m sure I got samples of every single scent they have), I also received an exceptionally excellent treat – two shades from the highly anticipated Hunger Games-themed China Glaze collection, Capitol Colours!  They arrived not a moment too soon, as the collection is slated to launch March 1st. The shades I’ve been sent are ‘Agro’ – moss green with gold shimmer, and ‘Stone Cold’ – a matte slate grey with shimmer.  Two pretty edgy-looking polishes in the bottle, I must say!  I have unfortunately still not read the series yet – though I have picked up the first book – so I can’t comment on how these reflect the story or the districts of Panem (the fictional nation’s capital).  Nonetheless, I am entirely capable of showing you swatches and reviewing the formula, so let’s hop to it!  First up is ‘Agro’:My instant thought when I saw ‘Agro’ was that it was a dupe for ‘Peace on Earth’, a China Glaze polish which came out in their Holiday 2010 collection.  In the bottle, they look pretty close but not exact – see for yourself:The differences between the two are also visible on the nail – ‘Agro’ is darker and has a more smoky tone, while ‘Peace on Earth’ has got a golden glow that radiates from within, giving it a brighter feel.  As well,  ‘Agro’s thin, easy flowing formula is better than ‘Peace on Earth’, which tends to be a tad thick, though it still applies relatively well.  I also find that ‘Peace on Earth’ has a bit of trouble with brushstrokes, of which ‘Agro’ has next to none.  Below, ‘Peace on Earth’ on index and ring fingers; ‘Agro’ on  middle and pinky fingers.Overall, I really like the tone of ‘Agro’ – likely in part due to it’s similarities to ‘Peace on Earth‘, as I’ve noted before I’m quite a fan of that shade.  ‘Agro’ is like it’s more badass cousin, and as its less golden, will look great on most skintones, warm and cool.

‘Stone Cold’ is a polish I likely would have never picked up myself, but upon learning that it was matte, I eagerly tried it on, as I’ve never owned a matte-finish polish – and also have no similar shades in my collection.  Let me just say that I am a total convert – the matte effect is absolutely awesome and I can’t stop looking at it!  Not at ALL what I expected.  It looks really tough and chic, and I totally adore it.  The formula of ‘Stone Cold’ was also really wonderful, and applied very easily – another lovely flowing polish that left you enough time to make sure each stroke was perfect, but nonetheless drying relatively quickly.  It’s also quite opaque – in the first shot above, I only have one coat on (the rest are two).  Just for you fans of the shiny finish, here is ‘Stone Cold’ with a top coat:I’m not nearly a big of a fan of this as I am the matte version – this to me just looks like your regular old sparkly charcoal polish.  Granted, the shimmer is comes alive a bit more and is quite pretty, but it loses it’s unique quality with the top coat applied – and I’m all about originality ;)

So, there you have it my friends – two offerings from the twelve shade Capitol Color collection; one like revisiting an old friend who got a great makeover, and the other like the guy you’d thought you’d never go for but ended up falling in love with and getting married and popping out a few babies…..errr, yeah (just found out that another one of my friends is preggers [again!], which brings the tally of Summer babies-to-be up to something like 5 – THIS is what happens when you start nearing 30 my friends!! :D).  I’m definitely going to pick up a few more of these shades once they’re released – I’m thinkin’ ‘Riveting’ (a bright orange shimmer) and possibly ‘Fast Track’ (soft sandy brown with golden metallic shimmer).

What shades are you lemming (if any) from the upcoming Hunger Games-themed collection?  What polish shades for Spring are on your radar?

*Products were provided for unbiased consideration by the PR company/brand.

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A Holiday Red Staple: China Glaze Ruby Pumps

In the spirit of the Holiday season – here’s another red polish for your viewing pleasure :)

This polish has quite a history (not my particular bottle, but the shade itself :P).  It was released as part of China Glaze’s first go at the Wizard of Ooh Ahz collection back in 2001 – WELL before I began my journey towards polish insanity.  They re-released the collection in 2009, but I heard the shades weren’t as gorgeous the second time around.  In any case, I picked up this beauty in the summer of 2010 and instantly fell in love.  It truly looks like Dorothy’s ruby red slippers!  The rich red sparkly within the slightly darker, somewhat sheer red base is mesmerizing.  I wear this every Holiday season – though I admit it doesn’t get much play during the rest of the year (though I’ve read from several other blogs that they frequently use it as a pedi shade).

Unfortunately, I simply could not seem to capture this amazing polish on film, so my pictures below are not doing it justice in the least.  Imagine it much more sparkly and eye-catching in real life:Truly, in any lighting, this shade simply glows with radiance.  I wore it over one coat of Essie’s Limited Addiction so that I would get better depth (and you can still see a touch of VNL without a base, unless you apply several coats) – next time I think I’ll use a brighter red as the deep shade of L.Addiction pulled to color down a bit.  Anyway, this is a great polish, easy to apply with absolutely no issues whatsoever, and I think you can still pick it up around various retailers of China Glaze.  If you’re feeling festive, I highly recommend scooping this up!

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China Glaze Confirms Upcoming ‘The Hunger Games’ Inspired Collection!!

I’ve been reading a lot about the ‘The Hunger Games’ lately, and I’m ashamed to admit I know very little about the books and the resulting movie coming out next year.  However, what I DO know is that the new collection that was rumored to be coming out from China Glaze, with polishes inspired by the phenomenon, looks AWESOME.  I just received confirmation from their PR that the collection will be released, and I’m pretty stoked – and also happy I have time to get on board the ‘The Hunger Games’ train before it comes out :)

Below is the official swatch sheet from the “Colors from the Captiol” collection, which has 12 new nail polishes influenced by one distinct setting in ‘The Hunger Games’ – the Capitol of the nation of Panem:The reasoning behind the shades: “Awash in lavish fashion, food, and entertainment, Capitol citizens enjoy extreme cosmetics and body modifications, bold wigs, and outlandish costumes.”  While there does appear to be some unique shades, I actually think there are also a handful that are more demure – but I’m not complaining, because I think they’re pretty much all right up my alley!  I’m especially diggin’ all the shades on the bottom row…and ‘Agro’…and ‘Smoke and Ashes’…oh, who am I kidding?  I love ‘em all!!

At the moment, I don’t have any further description on the shades or the release date, but I’ve seen the rumoured information around the web.  An educated guess says sometime in late January-early February.

Are you excited for the upcoming collection?  Are you a fan of ‘The Hunger Games’, or out of touch like I am?

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