Archive for March, 2009

Probably the Most Amazing Nail Polish on Earth: Nfu Oh – 51

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Every once in a while I find a polish, so incredible, so… magical, that it rekindles my love affair with this hobby. Nfu Oh 51 is just such a color.

Behold, probably the most amazing nail polish on Earth:

nfu-oh-51

Wow.

I’m not even sure how to begin describing this color. It’s in the same family of colors as Clarins 230. Actually, 51 has been helping quench 230 lemmings for a while now, it’s probably the closest thing you can easily purchase on the market right now. It’s by no means a dupe, not even close (51 is a deeper purple than 230 and has multichromatic flakies which 230 does not), but it will definitely help the pains of a bad lemming.

nfu-oh-51-side

This swatch is 4 coats, but I could have gotten away with 3. 51 has a reddish purple jelly-like base color, but the polish flashes dark purple, blue, green and magic, yes, magic. It’s like an explosion of color, literally. The shimmer is mostly fiery but in some angles it flashes green or a gorgeous blue sheen. This image is a little off in terms of the base color, it’s more reddish purple, sort of like a tyrian purple. You can see the multichrome flakies in action below.

duo-view-nfu-oh-51

I’m fairly new to Nfu Oh, but so far I’m impressed. Their color range is nothing short of outstanding. They have every color under the sun in creme (which means the world to me since I’m not a fan of shimmers) and tons of high intensity holographics. My love for their bottle design is seriously unparalleled. I just cannot imagine a cooler bottle design than a corset top ball gown shape.

Right now Nfu Oh is only available from one source: fabuloustreet.com. Fear not, the seller is flexible, reliable, and friendly.

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Ji Baek is My Personal Hero: Rescue Beauty Lounge Spring 2009

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Ji Baek has out done herself yet again. For the past few seasons, Rescue Beauty Lounge has consistently pushed the boundaries by releasing innovative unique collections that have well exceeded my expectations; Spring 2009 is no exception. I have just one word: GLITTER. Because glitter is typically (and erroneously) associated with a younger age group, Ji set out to create a glittery polish that is more accessible to ‘adults’. While I don’t really agree that glitter is age exclusive, I think she accomplished what she set out to do. These polishes are ultra bling, very glimmer-y, but at the same time wearable and not gaudy.

Also, I really appreciate companies that step outside of their image. I associate RBL with chic edgy cremes. I never, ever, ever expected to see a set of chunky glitters donning the Rescue Beauty name. Ji took a risk, an awesomely blingy gorgeous risk, and I, for one, am very pleased.

These polishes consist of very dense multi-sized, multi-shaped brilliant glitter suspended in clear polish. You’ll see extremely tiny flecks of glitter (which help to build opacity and provide depth to bling) along with regular-sized glitter, both round and square shaped. I think these polishes are too dense to be used as a glitter top coat unless a thick coat of glitter is the look you’re trying to achieve.

All these swatches are 3 coats of polish and 2 coats of top coat.

rescue-beauty-lounge-lovacore

Locavore is gold, teal, and amethyst glitter. The main complaint about these  is that the glitter is too chunky, causing a rough finish. It’s definitely not smooth, but I found that one coat of regular topcoat, topped with one coat of Seche Vite gets rid of the bumpiness satisfactorily.

rescue-beauty-lounge-lovacore-up-view

The light refraction from the glitter created so much bling that my camera had a hard time focusing. Here’s an indirect shot that’s more true to color.

lovacore-close-up

*drool* This is a super close up shot. Absolutely gorgeous.

rescue-beauty-lounge-frugalista

Frugalista is composed of silver and amethyst glitter. I wore this one as a manicure. It’s sort of like an optical illusion, the shades of the glitter combine to create a platinum flash. This one is definitely a show stopper.

rescue-beauty-lounge-frugalista-side-view1Here’s an indirect side view for more accuracy.

frugalista-close-up

And again, a close up shot. I usually don’t do ultra close ups but I’m trying to display the different sizes and shapes of the glitter.

rescue-beauty-loune-look-rich-be-cheap

And finally Look Rich, Be Cheap is gold and purple glitter (slightly deeper than the amethyst shade found in the other two polishes.) Lovacore and Look Rich, Be Cheap really remind me Mardi Gras.

rescue-beauty-lounge-look-rich-be-cheap-side-view

Speaking of which, as a Florida Gator, if I had any kind of school spirit what-so-ever, I would not love this polish as much as I do because gold and purple are LSU colors. haha.

look-rich-be-cheap-close-up

Close up shot for full bling appreciation.

In my humble opinion, this was a really successful foray into the world of bling. I really hope it’s not a one time thing for Ji.

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Disclosure: This collection was sent to me for review by Rescue Beauty Lounge.

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Lancome Pink Irreverence Collection Spring 2009

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

I know I’ve been apologizing a lot lately but I have one more. My computer caught a horrendous virus last week and I haven’t been able to do anything on it since then. My images are okay, but sadly all the notes I’ve taken on all the colors I’ve been swatching were lost. That means I have to go by memory and some of these colors were swatched so long ago I’ll only have a vague recollection of my impressions. Also, if you’ve sent me an email or left a comment, I swear I’m going to get to it soon, I’m just totally disorganized and I’m trying to get everything together.

In any case, to get back into the regular flow of nail polish blogging I’m starting off with the Lancome Pink Irreverence Collection which is in stores now. I have the Lancome Le Magnetiques but this is my first rodeo with their Le Vernis line. These are some pricey polishes but I have to say I’m pretty impressed overall. The formula for both these colors is excellent – smooth, perfect application. The brush size and wand length is absolute perfection. The wand is just long enough to keep the polish flowing consistently without cuticle pooling. The brush is like a toned-down version of OPI’s Pro-wide, making Lancome’s brush shape and size just perfect for the shape of my nails. My one major critizism is that Lancome opted to go with the non-removable square cap. Other companies like Chanel and Butter London make the square cap removable, which is preferrable because square caps can be awkward to hold. With that said, I love the over all style of the bottle – mirrorred cap and a sleek bottle body with a mirrored silver rose stamped in the corner.

lancome-piha-black

(Ahhh, I’m kicking myself right now because I had such elaborate meticulous notes concerning this color.) Piha Black is black (I’m captain obvious) with glass fleck glitter. My picture doesn’t properly exhibit the sparkliness of the glitter – it’s visible but not in an ‘in your face’ kind of way. There are a few blacks with glass fleck glitter that have varying prices and are different degrees of rarity on the market. Just to name a few, there’s Dior Black Sequins, Sally Hansen Salon Raven’s Wing, OPI Baby It’s Coal Outside, Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Black Diamond and Pure Ice Electric. You can see comparisons of a few those on Steph’s Closet and if I can ever get it together, I’ll have comparisons of the latter 3. Without having side-by-side swatches for true comparitive value and by only eye balling the bottles, my initial impression is that none of these look exactly alike. There are slight variations in the depth of the black as well as the luster and density of the glitter for each polish, however, if you’re on a recession budget the lower end polishes (that Pure Ice will only set you back $1.50, tops) might be worth your consideration. What makes Piha Black stand out from the others, at least for me, is that it’s completely opaque in one coat. Making it not only perfect for nail art as pictured below, but also saving application and giving you double bang for your buck.

lancome-sassiness1

Sassiness is a soft translucent pink, perfect for french manicures. The subtle genius of the Pink Irrevence Collection is the dichotomy between the edgy black and the feminine pink… which together… kick butt. Instead of doing a traditional funky french, I decided to do a chevron and a half moon just for illustration purposes, I absolutely love the way these colors compliment each other. My index and middle fingers are 4 coats of Sassiness. It applies perfectly so one coat looked excellent but I wanted to test buildability. Sadly, it doesn’t build. Sassiness looks pretty much the same at 4 coats as it does at 2 coats, which is pretty much the hallmark of a good french manicure base color. I can only hope that the colection’s designer, Aaron De Mey, is secretly attempting to usher Lancome into the realm of nail art. I hope Lancome takes the plunge.

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Disclosure: This collection was sent to me for review by Lancome.

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Water-y Blue Goodness: BB Couture for Nails – Electric Avenue

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I’m in the middle of the worst week ever as far as due dates go but I wanted to take a minute to update so as to not neglect you guys too much. I promise at the end of this week I’ll reply to all emails and comments, bear with me.

bb-couture-for-nails-electric-avenue1

BB Couture for Nails Electric Avenue is a ghostly watery blue from the 80′s Collection (in case the name didn’t give it away.) I’m not a fan of the 80s but I do love this polish. It’s so light that I almost want to put it in the off-white category but it’s definitely visibly blue. I know a few of you are probably hoping, so I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Electric Avenue is a lot lighter than Rescue Beauty Lounge Bikini Bottom.

The application was a pain. It was tough to build bottle color. I used 4 coats, which usually wouldn’t bother me but during application it seemed like 4 coats wasn’t going to be enough. If I had had more time, I probably would have done more coats because 4 just didn’t look good. I was really frustrated because I thought the outcome was going to look crappy and I just didn’t have time to do another manicure. But then the strangest thing happened, I honestly have never encountered something like this before. As the polish dried, the color evened itself out. The dried end product is stunning and looks nothing like it’s wet mid-application counterpart. I actually liked it enough that I wore it for 4 days over my mini-vacation last week. It’s practically unheard of for me to wear a polish for more than 2 days. If you decide to get this color, my advice is to not let yourself get discouraged by the difficult and seemingly unattractive application, it strangely works itself out once it dries and the pay off is huge.

You can purchase BB Couture for Nails on Overall Beauty as well as the BB Couture for Nails main page.

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White with Gold Shimmer is Love: Rescue Beauty Lounge Moxie

Friday, March 13th, 2009

rescue-beauty-lounge-moxie

There are a million whites with gold shimmer (just to name a few: Essie Amalfi, Essie Tennis Corset, OPI She’s Golden, OPI Oh So Glam!, Icing’s Goddess, and Orly Meringue). And I love every single one. To me each one is unique in its own way. Rescue Beauty Lounge Moxie is no exception. It’s an off-white with iridescent gold shimmer that occasionally flashes a very subtle goldish-green. The amount of gold shimmer in relation to the off-white is somewhere between that of Essie Amalfi (which is almost completely gold with very little white) and the OPIs from the Beyond Chic Collection (that have a more subtle gold shimmer). When Moxie isn’t glimmering gold, the combination of the white and the gold together creates a sort of white platinum shade, very chic. This color is transitionally work appropriate, meaning no one at the office is going to bat an eye at it but it’s in no way boring.

 

Moxie’s formula is thin. I needed 4 coats to get full coverage. The first time I wore this color, several months ago, I had a lot of trouble with the application. We’re talking some major issues with bubbling, so bad, that I didn’t take a picture that time. As you can see from the image this time, I didn’t have that problem, so what changed? There are a lot of things that can contribute to bubbling. The usual culprits are drafts (like an overhead ceiling fan), oil on the nail bed (which can be avoided by wiping with a nail prep or vinegar) and applying coats of color too thickly. I think my problem last time might have been my own application shortcomings. The first time I wore this color I was still applying very thick coats of color. Even with very think coats, I do still get bubbling sometimes with some polishes but a coat of Seche Vite usually takes care of it. Seriously, it just makes bubbles disappear. (If you have yet to experience the miracle that is Seche Vite – go buy it now). The other factor that may have contributed to my more successful application this time is Rescue Beauty Lounge’s ridge filling base coat which I used for this manicure but not the previous one.

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Disclosure: The Rescuse Beauty Lounge Ridge Filler was sent to me for review by Rescue Beauty Lounge, but I believe I purchased Moxie.

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A More Work Appropriate Kind of Spring: Barielle Shades Spring 2009

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Sorry for my extended absence. I took the MPRE last week and then took a mini-vacation for spring break. I’m back now so normal posting will resume. : )

I like the approach that Barielle took to Spring. Now wait, before you throw stones, let me explain. This Spring collection is not very Spring-like, it’s all work-safe variations of pinks and a sheer taupe, whereas traditional Spring colors tend to be bright. Barielle probably would have gotten fire from me for releasing a collection like this with nothing more. But, Elle and Barielle, knowing best, released the Spring and Summer collections nearly simultaneously.  Together, these collections contain something for everyone and my irrational (irrational because soon I won’t be able to wear them) desire for out of the ordinary colors is well met. (I’ll have swatches of Barielle Summer 2009 soon but Scrangie already has some excellent swatches for your viewing pleasure.)

As an aside, I’m trying a different approach to my swatching. I’m going to be using for left hand for a little while in order to get swatching done a faster. I’m sure you have all noticed that I’m really behind on the Spring collections so I’m playing catch up. The added benefit is that my left hand is no where near as yellowed as my right hand so you’ll get more accurate swatches. Bare with me as I get the kinks worked out, photographing my left hand is still very awkward.

barielle-shades-nauti-gal

Barielle Nauti Gal is a translucent taupe with tiny flecks of translucent glitter. It’s a great professional/work appropriate shade. I’m a little disappointed in it only because it looks opaque in the bottle. I am a huge fan of taupe so I was really excited for this color only to find that it applied sheer. I love sheers but I just can’t wear them properly anymore, my nails are just too yellow. Nauti Gal applies very well. Not a streak in sight so this would make an excellent french manicure color at 1 or 2 coats. Even though it applies sheer, it is build-able so at 3 to 4 coats you get a semi-translucent nearly opaque shade of taupe. If my nails weren’t so horrifyingly yellow, this color would be stunning. This swatch is 4 coats.

barielle-shades-sailors-delight

Sailor’s Delight is a somewhat muted although vivid medium pink creme, very flattering. At first glance I thought it was going to be too pink to be considered professional but on my skin-tone the color tones down and the muted-ness of the pink becomes more pronounced. I suspect it might look different on girls with lighter skin. The consistency of the polish is chalky but it applies well, this is 3 coats.

barielle-shades-beaches-and-dreams

Beaches and Dreams is a very light sandy-ish creamy peach creme (a little tough to describe haha). I think it might be too stark for an ultra-conservative office but it’d be perfect any where else. I really like this color, it’s like a peachier version of Color Club Coastal Creme. It’s my favorite from this set.

barielle-shades-skinny-dip

Skinny Dip is a delicate muted pink nude sheer. It’s perfect for french manicures at 1 or 2 coats but the color is build-able. This swatch is 4 coats with no top coat.

barielle-shades-sand-al-chic

Sand-al Chic is less muted than Skinny Dip and more pink. It’s also makes an excellent french manicure shade but builds well. This is 4 coats with no top coat.

barielle-shades-shell-shock

And finally, Shell Shock is a slightly lighter than a traditional barbie pink. It’s sheer like Skinny Dip and Sand-al Chic but I don’t think it would make a good french manicure color because it’s a little too bright. Also I had trouble with the application. This is 4 coats. The color applies smoothly but the sheerness is such that it takes some effort to build it properly.

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Disclosure: This collection was sent to me for review by Barielle Shades.

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