Archive for September, 2012

American Classics Yellow Stopper: Really Useful… For a Problem that No One Has

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

During The Great Gelous Scare of 2012 (about two weeks ago when everyone freaked out because Gelous was OOS everywhere), I went to Sally’s to do a CP for Jeanette from The Swatcholic. The whole nail community was in nailapocalypse (Jeanette’s words, haha) hoarding mode thinking that this beloved basecoat/topcoat had been discontinued. WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT GELOUS TO SMOOTH OUT GLITTER POLISHES!?!?!?!? So, obvi, I went to Sally’s to stock up the fallout shelter. When I got there, to my horror: no Gelous, anywhere. Dejected, I looked around at the nails section of Sally’s Beauty Supply and my inner monologue went something like this: “hmm… I’m already here… Husband’s waiting outside, no need to waste a trip to Sally’s and walk out empty-handed, right? I mean, I have to buy SOMETHING, right????? Of course I do, it would be weird not to.”

And, there, like a glowing beacon next to the wasteland that was the empty Gelous display, was a full display of Yellow Stopper (which should have been my first tip-off), a treatment/topcoat made by the same company that makes Gelous, American Classics.

“Perfect!” I thought. In my constant battle against the horrific yellowing of my nails, I’m always trying new products for the affliction. And I’ve pretty much tried everything, nail bleaching products, denture tablets, scraping, buffing, color correcting basecoats, trepanation, hex-bags, bloodletting, leeches, ritual sacrifice, even using real bleach. (Ugh, no bueno, highly unrecommended… don’t judge me.)

In any case, I got home, super excited to try this out. I read the instructions: “Apply daily to natural nails or over a French manicure to prevent yellowing. Do not use over colored polish.”

Hmm… okay. Maybe I’m crazy, but I read that and thought that it was a basecoat. So I applied a thin layer to my nail, the same way I would with any basecoat. It visibly and immediately improved the appearance of yellowing on the surface of my nail. The clear liquid has a bluish tint to it. It’s not a shimmery pearlescence like the blue tint in Barielle Nail Brightener, the liquid itself has an inner brightness (if that makes sense). Excited, I painted my usual 3 coats of color polish over the Yellow Stopper and topped it with Seche Vite. The mani was Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine. I usually do my nails right before bed, so I finished, waited about 15 minutes, did my usual nightly beauty routine, and went to sleep.

I woke up the next morning to find terrible tip wear on every finger. I was seriously confused – that has never happened before, ever. Had I just woken up from a two-week coma? Had I been sleep-typing? I looked over at my husband. Oh no… did I claw him to death during a nightmare? Whew. He was still alive. My computer was nowhere in sight and I didn’t have any muscle atrophy (rather, I didn’t have any more than usual). It was like I had been wearing my polish for 7 days while typing out Moby Dick cover to cover, nonstop.  I didn’t want to go out in public that way – but, of course, the endless cycle of the yellow curse is that you wear polish, so your nails begin to yellow, so you wear more polish to cover the yellowing. I couldn’t remove it and go to work with naked, yellow nails so I let it be. Less than 20 minutes later, just in the process of showering and blow drying my hair, my polish peeled completely off. We’re talking like peel-off base coat style. At that point, I cut my losses. I removed the remaining polish and went to work polishless. Boy, after not doing that for a while, it sure felt weird.

After that I read some reviews online. Everyone had similar experiences without regard to color nail polish brand. Apparently, Yellow Stopper is really meant to be used solo or as a top coat over a French Manicure as per the instructions. (Although, I really can’t imagine wearing polish for so long that it turns yellow – does anyone really have that problem?). Most often, smokers reported it being very useful to correct yellowing from smoking cigarettes. That’s great… that accounts for maybe 5% of people with yellowing problems. And kudos to those people – this is the perfect product for them. But what about everyone else? This product seems entirely useless for anyone who wants to wear nail polish all of the time. It’s like the classic infomercial product that is really great for solving a problem that no one has. I think I’ll keep my bottle around in case I’m ever forced to go nail-naked again since it did a good job masking the yellow. But, with that said, this product was a pretty big let down, I don’t think I will purchase it again.

Thusly, the search for a product to help me cope with the yellow-plague continues. I’m currently trying out Bubble White, also from Sally’s. So far, so good. I want to use it a few more time before I post a review. I have been reading about at-home remedies as suggested by a few lovely twitter ladies too. I’ll definitely try that soon.

What about you guys – do you have staining issues? If so, what do you do for it?

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Some Swatches from Sephora by OPI Indian Summer 2012

Monday, September 24th, 2012

This is another strange collection like the Essie Yogaga collection. There’s been some coverage online, but most sites (like mine) only have a few colors from the collection. And it seems that at least some of the colors belonging to this collection are possibly re-promotes from another collection, Bohemian Brights. As far as I can tell from the Sephora website, there are six shades in this collection – four are shown here – the other two are What Aura You Gonna Where and It’s Totally Karma. Some sites are treating other shades as belonging to this collection too, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ll try to get some clarification on this.

These photos are all swatches and not NOTDs – I try my best to wear the colors I review but none of these are even mildly work apropos, not even a little. And since I can really only wear one ridic color per week during the weekend, I haven’t had a chance to wear these yet. There were some potential dupes in my stash for two of these colors – I will post comparisons soon but for now I’ve included links to other fab blogs for your viewing pleasure.

Sephora by OPI Paisley Attention to Me! is a bright, vibrant tangerine creamy crelly. It’s way brighter on the nail than in the bottle, shockingly so. This swatch is 3 coats. It applied well but the consistency was a bit strange, almost water-like. I didn’t quite get the name so I googled “paisley,” apparently it’s originally a Persian fabric pattern, made popular along with some Indian fabric patterns during the 1800s by the East Indian Trading Company. *shrugs* Learn something new every day? If I can get my hands of Cirque Neko (sadly sold out), Cirque Debris, or some other awesome black glitter, I might attempt a Halloween jelly sandwich with this one. As far as dupes, it’s tough to tell from bottle shade alone because of PATM’s crelly texture. Bottle-wise China Glaze Style Wars looks very similar but maybe a smidgen deeper. The other similar color in my stash is an older pre-2009 OPI that… HAS NO LABEL – OOOOH HOHOHOTHE HORROR!!!!!

I took it to the nail board, sadly we weren’t able to come to a consensus. I believe it’s OPI Atomic Orange. It’s definitely not Tangerine Scene or Osaka to me Orange – I have those and they both still have labels. : ( In any case, I’ll post comparison swatches soon (which will be totally not helpful to anyone since I have no idea what color this is, haha).

Sephora by OPI I’m So Sari is really complex. The base color is turquoise, the shimmer is very dense glass fleck, and the whole thing is topped off with small hexagonal holographic glitter. The glass fleck shimmer gives it a textured and somewhat foiled finish. It’s not a jelly, but the consistency is sheer-ish during application. Even so, application was issue-free. This polish was fine at 3 coats, but I was going for glitter-bomb-ultra-bling so the swatch is 4 coats. This polish eats top coat – this is two coats of Gelous and one coat of Seche. Overall, this one is pretty unique, the concept seems similar to Deborah Lippmann Mermaid’s Dream. Clearly, not dupes in anyway but maybe a suitable lemming place-holder.

Sephora by OPI Henna-Thing is Possible is a deep fuchsia with purple flash microshimmer that gives it a somewhat frosty finish that Sephora calls “metallic.” The application was excellent. This shade looks so familiar to me but I couldn’t find anything exactly like it in my stash. Even so, I feel like I’ve seen it before. In terms of base shade, the closest polishes in my stash were Zoya Tama, Zoya Anaka, and the coveted China Glaze It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere. Obviously IFOS has that bluish glow and glass fleckies that make it so special – but the base shade is pretty close.

Annnnd my favorite one from this collection, Sephora by OPI Seriously, It’s a Naan-Issue, a deep, gorgeous, dark purple. This is as dark as purple can get and still be purple. This was great at 2 coats, but I did 3 per usu. I’m pretty impressed with this color – I had no dupes for it. It was a shade between Rescue Beauty Lounge Mismas and China Glaze VIII. When I say I’m mostly indifferent to purple, I mean purple shimmers… purple creme, however, gets me every time. Love it.

I do apologize for not having the whole collection to show you. I’ll probably skip buying What Are You Gonna Wear, but the lime-y-ness of It’s Totally Karma is calling my name. What do you think? Pick it up or leave it be?

Sooo… any idea what my mystery old OPI might be?

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Disclosure: This collection was sent to me for review by Sephora’s PR.

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Rescue Beauty Lounge Real Housewives of the Tudor Dynasty Fall 2010

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The saddest thing about my absence was that I missed a lot of really amazing collections. Since coming back, I have been on a ‘do or die’ mission to catch up on everything I’ve missed. Rescue Beauty Lounge, in particular, released a ton of polishes that I feel like I NEED (yes, I’m still a major RBL fangirl, like whoa). Diddy Mow might actually be my new Zulu. I missed out on Insouciant and Recherche but was lucky enough to pick them up in a blog sale recently. And finally, Ji will be re-releasing Pui Mosso and Aqua Lily in November – thank the polish gods because I really *need* those too. And, of course, the Tudors. While I spent the past 3 years tuned out of the nail polish world, I did catch wind of this collection, only to sadly miss out during the original release. It is freaking awesome that these were re-released as a part of the Bring it Back series (and that, consequently, they have made their way into my evil clutches.)

Aside from being a genuinely awesome collection – it’s conceptually interesting. As a collector, more so than a beauty-aficionado, I am drawn to collections that have interesting concepts, inspirations, etc. Particularly with this collection, the concept sold me immediately. Truly, as a lover of all things British and historical, these polishes could have been OPI and Apple Pie style fug x 4 and I still would have squealed and swooned. Fortunately though, these polishes are impressive in their own right, quite apart from their unique historical theme.

I tried to include some interesting historical facts that I remember from reading Alison Weir’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Of course, it’s been years since I read that book so some of these “facts” might be inaccuracies residual from my love of the Showtime series The Tudors (mmm Henry Cavill *makes Homer donut sounds*). As an aside, I highly recommend anything by Alison Weir if you have any interest in English royal history at all - I’ve read a few of her books and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.

Okay, without further blah blah blah… here are the swatches.

 

Rescue Beauty Lounge Jane – loooooove. This is a greige putty, with very light sparse gold shimmer. The shimmer is invisible on the nail – while you can’t really see it, I feel like it does add to the overall color of the polish. This mani was 3 coats – excellent wear and application per usu. I really loved this color, it’s chic and obviously work appropriate for any environment. One aspect of this polish that appealed to me is that it is reflective of Jane Seymour, at least in my opinion. Jane Seymour was Henry VIII’s third and favorite wife. He called her his one true wife. Probably because she gave birth to his first and only surviving legitimate male heir, Edward VI. By all accounts, she was just a class act and I think this color really embodies that.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Anne – probably my favorite from this collection (me and everyone else on Earth). It’s a very dark green, with complex gold, green, and fuchsia cast shimmer. This is 3 coats, like Jane, great application. The shimmer, which is strangely nearly invisible in bright sunlight, gives it a metallic glow. This quality makes the color not readily identifiable as green. Instead, it reminds me of tarnished metal. For that reason, I did wear this one to work – it’s green without being BAM in your face green, so I didn’t think it would be offensive in an office environment. I wouldn’t classify it as work appropriate by any stretch but I think most people could get away with this one, save for the most conservative environments.

Here’s a bottle shot to exhibit the shimmer more clearly – very tough to capture, but very beautiful. Like Jane, I thought Anne was pretty reflective of its muse, Anne Boleyn. I know Ji was inspired by the fabrics of the time as much as the historical personalities involved – but Jane and Anne were both really on point personality-wise. Anne Boleyn was kind of a badass – just like this color. Henry VIII’s second wife, widely hated in her time and known for swiping Henry from his first wife Catherine of Aragon. She was intelligent, conniving, and powerful. Her (male) contemporaries described her as “more like a man than a woman.” She had immense control over Henry VIII and his court… until she wasn’t able to produce a male heir. Accused of adultery and incest, she lost her head. Historians speculate that Anne’s only daughter the future Queen Elizabeth, who was also kind of a badass, never really got over what happened to her mother – which partially accounted for her aversion to marriage and her sobriquet, The Virgin Queen.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine H – I do apologize my photo is not exactly color accurate and my attempts to color correct are sad and pitiful. I would describe it as a muted, but dark periwinkle blue (maybe a touch of violet?) My picture makes it a tad too bright, it’s much more muted and demure in person. This is also three coats, also great application. I think I would classify the mainly blue and fuchsia shimmer as glass fleck. It was also glitter-like in the sense that it ate ALL of my top coat, giving the final mani an overall satin, instead of glossy, sheen. I  wore this one to work as well although I wasn’t planning to do so originally. Fate had it that I was taking photos of this collection around the time of the Democratic National Convention (yup, I’m also still a flaming, dirty liberal). I was inspired by FLOTUS to wear muted blue in a professional setting. Rather, I used that as an excuse – If questioned I planned to say – “Hey if Michelle Obama can rock it – so can I!” Of course, as I’ve previously observed, no one cares about my nails and I wore it undisturbed.

Here’s some more shimmery bottle shot goodness. Catherine H is named for Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife and a cousin to Anne Boleyn. She was just a child when she married Henry, mostly at the behest of her male relatives who had previously enjoyed much favor when Anne was queen and had aspirations of reviving their former glory. By then, four wives deep, Henry was old and a pretty big dude due to a chronic ulcerated leg injury as a result of a jousting accident. Her contemporaries described her as frivolous and silly, so I think a periwinkle blue is pretty fitting. She was accused of adultery for which she was ultimately beheaded – but unlike Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard was probably guilty.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine – a rich, but greyed-out dark plum. Shimmer, texture, finish-wish this one is more akin to Anne than to Catherine H. No glass flecks here, instead you have complex predominately fuchsia with very fine goldish shimmer and some sparse blue sparkle. Application was good at 2 coats, but I used 3. I really loved this one, despite my general indifference to purple nail polish. I did my first mani with this using a new product (that I will soon be reviewing), Yellow Stopper. BIG MISTAKE. My mani peeled right off, glue basecost style, in the morning. I had to re-do it and in my ridiculous neurosis found myself so disappointed that I was wasting this polish by having to reapply twice within a 12 hour period. (yes, I know, I’m totally weird – double you tea eff.)

Look. at. that. shimmer. g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s. This was the only polish out of the set of 4 that I didn’t quite catch the connection with the namesake. Catherine of Aragon was rigid, regal, stubborn, and really, really, really Catholic. I don’t picture her as a purple – and she was such a tragic character, perhaps black or dark grey. She was Henry’s older brother’s wife – but he died before their marriage was consumated. Later, Henry married her for political reasons – her nephew was the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. During the Great Matter, Henry would use Catherine’s marriage to his brother as a partial basis to support his plea for a divorce. Not to over simplify but, basically, the Pope said “hell to the no” and then the Anglican church was born. Her only surviving daughter, Mary I, of Bloody Mary fame, picked up that moniker for burning and maiming hundreds of protestants during her reign as Queen.

Gosh, I love history. Reviewing this collection makes me finally want to read Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry the VIII which I purchased in college for my major and never got around to reading.

My one and only criticism of this collection is that I wish there had been six polishes instead of four (Six wives = Six Polishes!!). I do hope to see RBL do more historically themed collections. (French Revolution Anyone!?!?!? Heian Japan??!?!?! Come on!!!)

Is there any period of history that you would like to see translated into a nail polish collection?

*edited to correct historical inaccuracies – thanks Sue!!*

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

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AND THE WINNER IS!: Zoya Haiku Giveaway

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

So sorry about my absence last week – I got really sick and then I pretty much had to pull 48 hour work days to catch up at my job. All is well now – so regularly posting is resuming.

Tonight though, it’s spotlight Zoya HAIKU. It was so much fun to read all your entries and I really had a lot of favorites. I hope you all had as much fun reading and writing as I did judging! There were some late entries, but I considered everyone because I realized that midnight in Florida is not midnight in California, and so forth. Haha. Second, I wasn’t very strict with syllables, mostly because… well… I have trouble with syllables. : P (You can file both of these issues under #thingsyoudontlearninlawschool.)

 

First up – the honorable mentions. Sigh, I really wish I had awards for everyone!

The first one is by Michelle, a fellow nail blogger. You can check out her blog here: Pardalote. This one is both beautiful and descriptive. And it used alliteration!! Bravo!

Slowly the drop falls
The brush spreading the color.
Tao glides, glistens grey.

 

The second honorable mention goes to Fitzy, also a fellow nail blogger. You can check out his blog here: Lacquered Lad. I really loved this one, I thought the concept of abandoning a former self was really haunting.

Toni was her name
Transgender was the journey
He left her behind

 

Third up – definitely one of the funniest posted – is a haiku by Dani, the blogger at Tea and Polish.

I suck at haikus
But I love Zoya so much
Refrigerator

 

Fourth, another one chosen for hilarity’s sake, is by Amy S (who apparently does not have a nail blog – go get a nail blog Amy! lol.) And it’s a very astute observation – Zoya has every ”off beat” name ever, but is missing some major typical names! Get it together Zoya!

So many weird names
is it too much to ask for
polish named Amy?

 

Which finally leads me to our winner – drumroll please!!! 

My name is Rachel.
It’s NOT Richelle or Racquel.
Where’s my damn polish?!

I seriously lol’d when I read this haiku. It was submitted by Rach, the blogger at Stuff I (S)watched. Hopefully, the peeps at Zoya will see this post and give you your wish!! For now though, I know you will give Natty and Toni a good home! I will be emailing you with further deets. Congratulations!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated! : ) I have a similar idea for the next contest, hopefully we can do it soon.

And again, thanks so much to The Verve 360 hair salons in Pittsburgh for providing us with Natty and Toni for the contest!

 

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Reminder – Zoya Haiku Giveaway Deadline, Today at Midnight!

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Sorry for the lack of posting last week! I was pretty sick and had to take some time off of work. I pretty much slept for 72 hours straight. I feel a lot better now, so posting will resume as soon as I get caught up at work. (I have a huge deadline on Tuesday, so I probably won’t be able to post until Wednesday at the earliest). I have a ton of swatches backed up just waiting to be posted – I just wanted to reassure everyone that I’m not disappearing again! : D I will also be responding to all your comments – I promise!

We’ve gotten some really great entries for the Zoya Haiku Giveaway – I want to remind everyone that today is the last day of the contest. If you plan to enter, have your Haiku’s in before Midnight! : )

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NOTD: Essie Yogaga

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

This collection seems to be shrouded in a bit mystery – it doesn’t seem to be widely available yet, even though its release date was slated to be August, 2012. Swatches are strangely absent from the interwebs – I only saw two or so sites with full collection reviews.

In any case, I was pretty excited for a few shades from this collection when I saw the promotional photos – particularly Yogaga, Gym Dandy, Boxer Shorts, and Pilates Hottie. Sadly, I only have Yogaga to show you for the time being.

I *really* love this color and I think it fits pretty well into the category of edgy, but work appropriate. This one is definitely safe even for the strictest working environments. Essie’s site describes it as a ”peachful sandy beige.” I’m not sure peachful is a word and this polish doesn’t seem peach-toned at all, so I wonder whether it is a typo on their site. I think it’s actually meant to be “peaceful.” Get it… zen, peaceful, yoga is relaxing and peaceful… yoga… yogaga… Bueller? Bueller? I would describe it as a dusty, putty greige creme. It reminds me of the color of throwing clay. (Which makes me smile because my one and only attempt at pottery ended about 15 minutes in when I realized the clay was going to make my nails peel, womp womp). The base color is similar to Rescue Beauty Lounge Jane, but one full shade lighter and, obviously, minus the shimmer. Definitely not a dupe, but would be a suitable lemming quencher should you be disinclined to drop the big bucks.  As usual with these shades, the overall look was really elegant and sophisticated. Additionally, this shade really seemed to compliment my skin-tone which is warm and olive-toned.

This NOTD was three coats. I believe I used Nubar Foundation (currently undergoing a trial period for a possible spot as my new HG basecoat) and Seche Vite as a top coat. I did have application issues – the consistency of my bottle was very thick. It applied well after 10 or so drops of polish thinner and some hardy shaking. I’m not sure whether the thickness was unique to my bottle – the other reviews I’ve read online didn’t discuss application. I can’t give you an accurate wear time assessment because I’m having some wear issues resulting from the use of Foundation (I’m still trouble-shooting this).

I really wish I had the whole collection to show you – I am so sorry that I don’t. Right now, the collection seems to be available on Essie’s website, but I have yet to see it at any of my usual haunts. When I’m finally able to pick these up, I will definitely buy Gym Dandy, which I will promptly swatch for you. I’m undecided on purchasing the rest of the collection – I’ll probably hold out until I see swatches from Scrangie (yup – I usually wait for her swatches before deciding what to purchase myself, haha).

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Disclosure: This polish was sent to me for review by Essie’s PR representative.

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