Archive for November, 2012

A Few Polishes From Pretty Serious Cosmetics

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Pretty Serious Cosmetics is the beauty brainchild of long time friend and fellow nail blogger Kaz, of Pretty Random. I still remember reading on Facebook while I was on hiatus that Kaz was launching her own brand of cosmetics. She’s living the dream with pretty amazing results. Overall, I’m very impressed with the quality of these polishes as well as the gorgeous, vivid colors. Application was perfect with most of these. PSC polishes retail for 9.95 AUD, which right now equals roughly 10.40 USD. Also, a 10% discount is available if you purchase full collection sets. Although Pretty Serious is based in Australia, they do ship to the US and a few other countries.  I have several PSC lemmings to fulfill and, hopefully, I’ll be able to do a mini-haul soon. Of course, I’ll (slowly) post my spoils for you all. Until then though, here are a few pretties for your consideration:

Pretty Serious Cosmetics Morning Java – so, so complex. I’m not even sure how to begin to describe this color. The base is a sort-of milk chocolate-y brown, booming with gold shimmer and fine glitter. It sparkles gold, copper, and a hint of green. The application was awesome, perfect at 2 coats.

Pretty Serious Cosmetics Dream Delight is multisize irregularly shaped silver glitter suspended in a grey tinted transparent base. If you look closely, you’ll also see some very sparse holo glitter and hex glitter. The hexes are very sparse, in this whole swatch I only spotted one. The glitter is completely opaque at two coats, very cool. I used two coats of Gelous to smooth-out the surface.

Pretty Serious Cosmetics Nightopia is bluish green with fine shimmer and a tiny touch of gold shimmer. Wooweee. This color reminds me of Bloom Bianca and Rimmel Mania (both of which are hiding somewhere in my stash!!!). Rimmel Mania is from my original nail polish stash, circa 1999-2002! I do hope I find these soon and I will post comparisons when I do. For now, you can check out Polish Insomniac’s comparison of the two shades.

Without being able to look at my bottles and from looking at swatches online, I believe Nightopia might be a bit deeper than Mania and Bianca. Either way, Nightopia might be a lemming quencher as Mania is long discontinued and Bloom polishes retail for 19.95 AUD (Whoa… were they that expensive 3 years ago? I have so many of them in my collection but I can’t imagine I would have bought so many at that price). Application was easy, this is 3 coats.

And, finally, last but definitely not least – the ridiculously beautiful BSOD (Blue Screen of Death):

Pretty Serious Cosmetics BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)… HOLY $#!+. This photo does this color no justice, no justice at all. No matter how I set up the lighting, I just couldn’t capture the true beauty of this color – suffice it to say that this photo is sadly inaccurate. It does not even begin to capture to the gorgeousness of this color, not even a little. It is so much more than a night sky polish - it’s really in a league of its own. It was absolutely breath-taking, I couldn’t stop staring at it the entire time I wore it. And that’s not to mention the compliments – this one is definitely a show stopper. Even my beloved Essie Starry Starry Nights pales in comparison. In fact, I think BSOD may either bump SSN from the top 20 or take a spot of its own. That is how much I truly LOVE this color.

Okay, let me stop gushing and start describing. BSOD looks like fine blue glitter suspended in blue jelly, and, boy, does it glow. To me, it looked less like the night sky and more like a blue version of the green scrolling text from The Matrix. This mani was 4 coats. BSOD dries non-glossy, so I used 1 coat of Gelous under 1 coat of Seche Vite.

My only criticism of this other-worldly color is that the application was not as great as the other polishes. It was a bit thick, not horrible, but my bottle could definitely benefit from a few drops of thinner. The wear was pretty impressive – 4 days, no chips or tip wear.

Have you tried Pretty Serious? If so, any other colors I need to pick up when I haul?

_______

Disclaimer: These polishes were sent to me for review by Pretty Serious Cosmetics.

PinterestEmailShare

A Few Shades From The China Glaze New Bohemian Luster Chrome Collection Fall 2012

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

I’m late to the party on this one… I should just stop saying this as it seems I am perpetually late to the party. The truth is, I swatched these a long time ago but I’ve been so backed up I haven’t had a chance to post them yet. I’m having some much-needed down time this week and it’s giving me an opportunity to catch up on posting.

I missed the little metallic-duochrome revolution sparked by Chanel Peridot. The unanimous consensus from speaking to other bloggers and collectors was that Peridot was a game changer. A few people, having no inkling of the phenomenon that would soon follow, rushed to buy back-ups of the then unique color. Now, nearly every major brand has a Peridot-like shade. There are SO many dupes, in fact, that they’ve been affectionately dubbed “peri-dupes.” In the long-long ago, I often voiced my frustration that nail polish companies failed to remarket or recreate highly sought-after discontinued shades. Although greens are common now, four years ago, getting a dark green often meant shelling out the big bucks for an older shade like NARS Zulu or OPI Jasper Jade. The frenzy caused by those colors went seemingly unnoticed (or ignored) as companies released an endless cycle of the same shimmery reds every season. The prevalence of peri-dupes seems to suggest that there may have been a shift in market strategy. The question then becomes whether the peri-duping phenomenon will be isolated only to Peridot or whether color copycating will be a new industry standard. I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I like to see inexpensive dupes of more expensive colors. I sink money on Chanel all the time, especially lately, but I rather spend less when possible. I begrudgingly passed on Peridot because I had already purchased OPI Just Spotted the Lizard. (Granted, I had to be talked down off the ledge by Scrangie because I really wanted Peridot, just for the sake of having it, even after seeing her comparison.) On the other hand, I’m troubled by the fact that since nearly every brand released a peri-dupe based shade or collection recently that also necessarily means that they did not release something new and exciting instead.

Of course, I have to wonder whether Peridot would have been so widely copied if it had been released by a less prestigious brand. Would there be so many peri-dupes if the original was Wet n Wild Peridot instead of Chanel Peridot? I think the color is unique enough that the nail polish community would have gone ga-ga over it regardless of the brand, but my guess is that there would have been no industry attention to the shade without the Chanel name attached to it.

In any case, Peridot has definitely left its mark and here are four shades from the New Bohemian Luster Chrome Collection, China Glaze’s interpretation of the metallic-duochrome trend. I only have 4 to show you. I skipped Want My Bawdy, sorry, shimmery, metallic-y medium blues don’t usually appeal to me and the name offends my Victorian sensibilities, haha. I also skipped Rare and Radiant, the China Glaze peri-dupe, for the same reason I skipped the original. You can see swatches of the whole collection on Scrangie’s blog - her post is also worth checking out because it discusses other known dupes for the colors in this collection. According to Scrangie’s post, a few shades correspond with colors by Deborah Lippmann - I can’t give much insight on that because my collection is still catching up with recent releases.

China Glaze Unpredictable, oh, love this metallic-y goodness. Unpredictable shifts from yellow-green to green to green-blue. The finish, like the other colors in this collection, is very mirrored. If you look closely you can see my camera’s reflection on my nail.  As hard as I tried with my limited photography skills, I just could not capture the blue shift which is only visible at certain angles. This is 4 coats.

China Glaze Swanky Silk is a rose-toned gold duochrome. The gold is very light, as is the pink tone, which gives it an antique-like foil effect – that quality, I thought, made it office safe.

 This one is more subtle than the others and not as reflective. Because the reflections are less obvious, it only slightly darkens the color on the nail, making it appear tarnished. The application was good but Swanky Silk is a bit sheer, so this mani is 4 coats.

Here’s a side shot to show the delicate pink tone.

I decided to mattify this using Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Matte Top Coat after a couple of days of wear. This look is my favorite – I think the other shades would look great mattified as well. The mattification did away with most of the duochrome and left only a very light rosy gold overall color.

China Glaze Deviantly Daring, love, love, love. In the bottle Deviantly Daring is a green to blue duo-chrome. The shift doesn’t translate as well on the nail but, still, the result is a gorgeous greenish-blue with a foil-like metallic finish. This was very tough to photograph, like the others, my camera’s reflection made the color appear much darker.

Here’s Deviantly Daring at a different angle with less reflection to show the greenish-blue. I noticed with this whole collection that the brushstrokes become less obvious as the polish dries – which is good.

Sometimes, at some angles, the color shifts from a deep blue to the more electric blue, captured above. I wore this as a full mani, this is 3 coats and one coat of Seche Vite. I scooped this one up on sale at Sally’s - it was 50% off. Woot, woot!

China Glaze No Plain Jane seems different from the other shades in this collection. In the bottle it looks like a gold to purple duochrome. During application, it looked like there was metallic purple shimmery pigment suspended in a gray toned base. On the nail it just looked like a standard shimmery purple that would sometimes shift to a more gray-toned purple. The formula was very sheer, but it was good at 3 coats.

Finally, this collection features silver caps. I suppose this was done because this is a “chrome” collection. I own several old silver capped China Glaze polishes. Despite their age, the caps are still mostly pristine – which is unique for silver caps. My older silver capped OPI bottles are getting discolored. My previous experience with China Glaze silver caps made me pretty surprised to find that the silver caps in this collection are much lower quality. I had some acetone on my fingertips and the silver actually rubbed off on my finger! C’mon China Glaze, bring back those awesome older silver caps!

What do you think about the peri-dupe phenomenon? Do you appreciate more affordable dupes of expensive colors? Or would you prefer that companies expend effort creating new colors as opposed to copying already existing shades?

_________

Disclosure: No Plain Jane, Swanky Silk, and Unpredictable were sent for review by China Glaze’s PR. I purchased Deviantly Daring myself. Rescue Beauty Lounge Matte Top Coat was sent for review by Rescue Beauty Lounge.

PinterestEmailShare

Blue for Diabetes Awareness Month: Sephora by OPI Cartwheels on the Catwalk

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Last week I received a touching email from a very inspiring woman named Hannah. Rae, Hannah’s 10 year-old daughter, was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Hannah describes her daughter as beautiful and incredibly resilient. Hannah’s email explained that November 14 is world diabetes day – around the world people encourage diabetes awareness by wearing the color blue. While I’ve never dealt with diabetes on a personal level, I have many friends and loved ones that have battled the diabetes. Hannah’s email prompted me to pull out the blue helmer drawer and select a fitting color to show support for Hannah, Rae and the 26 million other Americans that fight Diabetes everyday. So here are some more facts from the American Diabetes Association:

1 in every 400 children and adolescents have diabetes.

1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.

While Type 1 Diabetes is not preventable, a healthy diet and exercise can help reduce the risk of the Type 2 Diabetes.

I can only imagine how difficult it must for a parent and young child to cope with a disease as all-encompassing as Diabetes. So here’s Sephora by OPI Cartwheels on the Catwalk for Hannah and Rae! <3

I picked up Sephora by OPI Cartwheels on the Catwalk recently. I saw someone post it on twitter and immediately called Sephora to see if they had anymore bottles available. It was released as a part of the Betsey Johnson Spring 2012 Collection. At the time the collection was on clearance so I snagged it and a bottle of Sephora by OPI XOX Betsey for a mere 5 bucks a pop. *does a snoopy dance*

Cartwheels on the Catwalk is a gorgeous, intriguing shade of ultra light blue that leans towards green. Not exactly pastel, it’s a sleepy, muted light blue. I LOVE the color, it’s very flattering to my skin-tone. The application however… well, we have a word for it: PITA. I had to do battle with this one – it was a bit thick and chalky. As expected, it applied unevenly. Each coat pulled off the previous coat no matter how long I waited between coats. This even happened with the top coat, causing a lackluster finish. Usually I would have just left well-enough alone, but this time I decided to try to fix it. As it turns out, an extra coat of top coat solved the problem pretty well. This NOTD is 3 coats of color and 3 coats of top coat (Cult Nails Wicked Fast under Zoya Armor under Cult Nails Wicked Fast). I wouldn’t call this color work appropriate but it’s demure enough that if someone were so inclined, they could definitely sneak it into a work/office environment. (*wiggly eyebrows* Whaaaaat? It was for a good cause!)

Ultimately, I like the color enough that I’m willing to overlook my application woes. But I’m still hunting for the perfect shade of light blue. If you remember, I posted about my dream wedding shade. I didn’t know this at the time but Oscar de la Renta actually makes that polish!!!!! (I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me when I first saw that color… I mean a lot of big name designers have polish lines. I guess I just automatically assumed it was some sort of nail artist franken created especially for that runway show.) I ordered bottles of it recently, we shall see if it lives up to those gorgeous photos!

 

PinterestEmailShare

Some More Belated Cult Nails Swatches

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

I meant to post these during all the Cultober festivities, but the last two weeks at work have been hellish. The upside is that I was so distracted by work that I managed to go nearly two full weeks without buying anything (woo hoo for small victories); the down side is that I neglected the blog big time. I also nervously picked at my nails the whole time such that they are now injured, little nubbins. The nubbins were also accompanied by peeling, oh the horrible peeling. My nails are in such bad shape, they have never been like this before. I can’t figure out whether the peeling is a result of my nervous picking (both from using my nails to pick and from the damage to the nail bed caused by peeling off nail polish) or whether it’s the new base coat I’ve been using, Nail Tek Foundation III. To combat these issues, I picked up some Biotin today. The next couple of weeks will be stressful too, but they shouldn’t be as bad as the last two. I’m making a conscious effort to stop picking. Hopefully, we’ll see some improvement too.

In any case, the polishes in this post were my biggest Cult lemmings. And, oh boy, they are every bit as amazing as I hoped they would be. All four polishes were worn as manis. I was very impressed with the quality, good consistency, perfect application and wear. The bottle style is standard and sturdy. I liked the brush style too. These retail for $10.00 on the Cult Nails website. All in all, I’m pretty impressed with this brand.

Cult Nails Awakening… LOVE IT. I first saw this color on twitter, instant lemming. Subsequently, I went into a panic when Maria tweeted that this color was being discontinued and that supplies were running low. I’m so glad I was able to get my hands on this before it was gone. (Hopefully, Maria will bring it back some day). Awakening is a very deep, dark muted teal that leans toward blue as opposed to green.  I would say this is a crelly, definitely more creme than jelly. This is 3 coats, excellent application. I wore this one to work. Not exactly work appropriate but I thought it was subtle enough that it wouldn’t offend anyone. The wear was outstanding: 5 days, no chips.

Cult Nails Vicious, another beauty, is a dark, red-leaning plum creme. The color is very well pigmented, great formula and application. Perfectly opaque at two coats. I used Vicious as the base for an evolving mani that I will post soon.

Cult Nails I Got Distracted is fine holographic glitter and small green hexagonal glitter suspended in a blackened green base. This was another twitter-initiated lemming and it’s pretty amazing. Totally not work appropriate but I wore it to work anyway because I’m a sneaky-sneak. My husband said it was okay because even though it’s blingtastic-like-whoa, the darkness of the base makes it as subtle as something this blingy can be. This mani was 3 coats, but it was good at 2. IGD is a top coat eater for sure, I used 3 coats of Gelous and 1 coat of Seche Vite.

Cult Nails Living Water is blue and green micro glitter suspended in a dark blue jelly base. I love colors like this, dark and sparkly without being ‘in your face.’ It dries a bit matte so I used a coat of Gelous under Wicked Fast. People are constantly raving about Wicked Fast – the jury is still out for me but my initial impressions were good. It was ultra glossy and it dried very quickly to the touch.

Here’s a side shot to exhibit the gorgeous glitter. Finally, like the others, the application and wear was awesome.

I’m really looking forward to picking up some polishes by Cult. Do you have any Cult favorites that I need to own?

_____

Disclaimer: These were sent for review by Cult Nails.

PinterestEmailShare