Archive for May, 2013

Some Random Swatches from Nail Girls London and a Sad Story About the Worst Mani Ever

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

 I recently traveled for a wedding in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. Things were so hectic right before I left that I didn’t have time to do my nails (that and I was wearing a really fabu color that I didn’t want to take off, Nicole By OPI A Phil’s Paradise, review and post coming soon). Normally, I take my mani kit with me everywhere I go, but I couldn’t on this trip because the airline had some seriously oppressive baggage weight limits. So, my only option was a professional manicure. I never, ever get my nails done professionally, never. In the last five years, I’ve been once… for my wedding. And I really regretted not having done them myself. But I figured, eh, it’s just this once, what’s the worse that can happen, right? Famous last words.

My poor sister-in-law scoured the town looking for a reputable nail place. She went to about 5 different places before finding a salon that didn’t totally skeeve her out and had appointment availability. (Just to be clear, this salon was a random local NC salon, it was not affiliated with the Nail Girls salons in England). The nail tech was really nice but it was the worst manicure I’ve ever gotten. She took a scorched-earth approach to my cuticles, pushing them back so hard that it still hurts. She didn’t even remove all the polish I was wearing before she started painting. The paint job was uneven at the cuticles and had bald spots everywhere. While I did ask for her to fix certain issues, there was so much going horribly wrong that there was no way to keep asking for corrections without seeming completely rude and insane. So, mostly, I just kept my criticisms to myself and silently endured the crimes against my nails. 30 dollars and nearly 12 hours later, I fell asleep and woke up with sheet marks. SHEET MARKS!! I had to go to Sally’s to buy a bottle of China Glaze Ruby Pumps and Seche Vite to paint over the original OPI Vodka & Caviar mani and save the day. In conclusion, I will never, ever, ever get another professional manicure ever again, ever.

I’m sharing this sad tale of woe and despair for two reasons: first, doing your own nails is the way to go, period. Especially if you are neurotic like me.  If you don’t like doing them yourself, that’s totally fine too but make sure that when you do find a good nail tech you stick to him or her like glue because not all nail techs are created equally. And a truly bad manicure can have some long term consequences. It’s probably going to take at least a month for my cuticles to get back to normal.

In any case here are some swatches from the new-to-me-brand, Nail Girls London. Overall, I’m really impressed with this brand – good formula, good application, and great colors. I also really love the color name concept – don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the wacky OPI names but there’s something so intriguing and mysterious about a naming system as simple as ‘actual color + number’.

Nail Girls Teal 1

Nail Girls Teal 1 is a Dolphins-ish teal (ugh, sorry for the sports reference but I didn’t know how else to describe it and I happen to be a Floridian), leaning more green than blue. This color is seriously flattering, I got a ton of compliments when I wore it. The application was smooth and easy. Teal 1 is extremely pigmented and this mani was perfect at two coats.

Nail Girls Taupe 5

Nail Girls Taupe 5, is a gorgeous mushroomy greige. The base color is similar to Chanel Frenzy, but Frenzy is a smidge deeper and darker. What makes Taupe 5 unique is the dark ash-like particles suspended in the color. The specks give the color a cookies and cream type effect, but not too obvious. The over all look reminded me of throwing clay. This is unique, but work appropriate – conservative enough that I wore it for a trial. This NOTD was 3 coats.

Nail Girls Taupe 5 Bottle

The ash-specks are much more visible in the bottle shot above.  Although I really loved this color, the ash-specks do make the color look somewhat grungy, which I suspect will turn some people off to it.

Nail Girls Purple 8

And, finally, Nail Girls Purple 8 is a mushroomy griolet (think grayed-out-grape). The consistency during application was a bit like a jelly polish so this is 4 coats. The formula here was on the thick side, but not terrible. I was really impressed with the wear time. This was a Monday to Friday mani with no chips and minimal tip wear.

In terms of where to purchase these, I was able to get confirmation – these polishes are available on the Nail Girls London website (careful, it’s definitely not a .com lol). And they do ship throughout the United States because they have a distribution center here. (Which does makes sense since these polishes are manufactured in the United States.) These retail for £10.50 a pop, with the current exchange rate that is a little under $16 US.

 So, have you tried Nail Girls? Any other colors I should seek out? What about nightmare manis? Been there?

_____

Disclaimer: These polishes were sent to me for review by Nail Girls London. 

Edited to include updated information about shipping and also to explain that my manicure-nightmare was not at the hands of a Nail Girls manicurist. 

PinterestEmailShare

Experiments in Layering: Hits Phenomena Moonbow + Essie Grape Crush

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

I started writing this post during that week that my site went on the fritz. I gave up after I banged my head against my computer and had to go outside to burn a WordPress effigy. Last week, I finally figured out what caused the issue in the first place. As it turns out my website does not like the WordPress Jetpack Plug-in. I deactivated it, along with everything else, when I was trying to fix the problem originally. It didn’t help instantly, but after being deactivated for a couple of days, I logged back in to find that everything was working perfectly. Fast forward to a few days ago, I tried to check my stats and I realized that that function is dependent on Jetpack so I reactivated the plug-in. Instantly, the site stopped working again and it took about 24 hours after deactivation for the site to function normally. At the very least, I finally know what happened but I’m flying completely blind in terms of site stats. Haha.

In any case, back to the post, I got an email recently from a newly minted nail polish collector who was interested in layering techniques. I don’t layer often because my nail polish OCD compels me to wear a color in its unaltered form the first time I wear it. But when I do layer, I love it. And some colors scream “layer me!” despite my obsessive tendencies.

Hits Moonbow

Hits Moonbow, from the Phenomena collection, is precisely that type of color. This polish is ridiculous. Just ridiculous. It’s a color-shifting multichrone glitter suspended in a cloudy base.  The glitter shifts from green and fuchsia to purple and occasionally it flashes gold. When I first saw photos of this color I was instantly obsessed, I had to have it, stat! However, from the swatches I saw, it didn’t look like a glitter polish, it looked like… well… magic. So I was a little disappointed when I received it and discovered that while it was still quite magical, it didn’t really look the way it looked online. (This is the second time this has happened recently *makes Mikayla is not impressed face*). My next hope was that it would be a buildable glitter, meaning the whole surface of the nail would be completely covered within a few coats. It is buildable, sort of. The glitter will cover the surface of your nail but it takes about 4 coats. That would be fine, except that, for whatever reason, the glitter does not coat the tip of the nail very well. The end result looks a bit like tip pull. You can definitely see what I’m talking about in the photo above – needless to say, it’s not very flattering.

Hits Moonbow Top View

Because of that issue, I don’t recommend wearing this color on its own. It is gorgeous for sure and it definitely has a crash-inducing-stare-at-my-nails-while-driving quality to it but it looks infinitely better layered over another color.

Hits Moonbow over Essie Grape Crush

Case in point, Hits Moonbow over oldschool Essie Grape Crush. Looks much better, right? Grape Crush, a sheer purple glaze, is from an older Essie collection that consisted of all sheer glazes (as opposed to more modern jellies). For reference and comparison Essie Cherry Pop, which is still widely available, is from the same collection and has the same look and consistency. The beloved Essie Night Cap is also from that collection. I somehow neglected to photograph Grape Crush on its own – bad nail blogger, bad. I’ll make that up to you, I do plan to post the whole collection soon. I’m only missing one more polish, Essie Apricot Fizz, to complete the set of 6 from the original collection! In any case, this NOTD is 3 coats of GC and 3 coats of Moonbow. I know, I know that’s too many coats. But I liked the end result and I didn’t have any drying issues after a coat of Seche.

Hits is a new brand to me. I’m a little biased because it hails from the mother country, Brazil. The Phenomena collection is my first experience with this brand and I was pretty wowed by it even though it wasn’t what I expected. There are a few more Hits polishes on my lemming list, including pretty much ALL OF THE HOLOS. My one gripe is that the bottle is pretty small so you end up with that noticeable, and uber distressing, dip in the bottle after just one mani. It gave me some serious angst, another aspect of my nail polish OCD, so I do plan to get a back up bottle.  These bad boys retail for approximately $6.50 to $7.00.

When I was on the hunt for Moonbow and company, all the e-tailers had it listed as out of stock. That day, I placed orders with both Llarowe and Ninja Polish for several other colors. I included a note in the comments section of my order for both e-tailers that I really needed this color and asked that if they happened to have a bottle laying around in the stock room to please add it to my order and charge me for it. Ninja Polish did just that (excellent customer service on their part), meanwhile Llarowe very kindly included a bottle of it in my order without charging me. Even though I do want a back up bottle of this color and I was very grateful, I felt badly because I like to support small nail polish related businesses whenever I can. I figured that the best way to repay that kindness was to gift the bottle that I bought to another blogger and keep the gifted bottle. I did that in hopes of spreading the awesome around because more swatches = a better world, right? In any case, I don’t say this often but I highly recommend both e-tailers. They are both great so you can’t go wrong with either one. 

 Thoughts on Hits or Moonbow? What about nail polish OCD? Do you have it? If yes, how does it manifest for you?

PinterestEmailShare

Rescue Beauty Lounge Emoting Me Collection 2013 Part 2

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

And now for the second set of colors from the Rescue Beauty Lounge Emoting Me Collection (Nearly two weeks later!! Sorry!!!)

Rescue Beauty Lounge Thank You

Rescue Beauty Lounge Thank You is a very light, muted nude toned pink with very subtle fuchsia shimmer. The shimmer creates a somewhat frosty effect. This color is very delicate with a hint of glimmer, perfect for conservative work places. The application, like some of the other colors in this collection was a bit on the thick side. This swatch is 3 coats.


Rescue Beauty Lounge Become One

Rescue Beauty Lounge Become One is a leafy yellow toned green creme. It is my absolute favorite color from this collection. This color fills me with feelings of happiness and nostalgia. It reminds me of childhood, of beautiful colorful leaves, of crayons, of Luigi! This photo is a little bit inaccurate, it’s a little more yellow-toned in real life. The application was good, very smooth but it did get thicker with each coat. It’s definitely a stainer though, so double-up on base-coat.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Pause

Rescue Beauty Lounge Pause is a very pigmented, vibrant mid-toned violet with subtle purple and blue shimmer. I feel like I can’t fully appreciate this color because of my purple-hatred. As far as application, like the others, it is also a bit thick. This is 3 coats.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Smile

Rescue Beauty Lounge Smile is a gorgeous, vivid mango pink with subtle fine gold shimmer. This one was not thick like the others and applied very well. This is 3 coats. I want to say I’m usually not moved by colors like this but who am I kidding? I’m such a sucker for these red/pink/coral/orange chameleons even though I hardly ever wear them.

 Bah. I’ve been going through an abnormally excessive amount of stress lately. So much so that I’ve been getting physically sick as a result. In an effort to take the edge off, I’ve taken up a few new hobbies. While I love nail polish collecting, it isn’t as relaxing as it used to be… probably because I still feel like I’m catching up. I’ve been trying out vegetable gardening for the first time, quite successfully might I add. *toot my own horn* I’m really enjoying it so far because it’s something that I get to do with DH and it’s just about the coolest thing ever to watch plants grow. Not to be a total cheese-ball but it’s pretty fulfilling. I’ve also taken up an old hobby, compulsively checking out and hoarding library books (obvi with good intentions of actually reading them) haha. I’m also trying to do my nails with more frequency. In the long, long ago when I had all the time in the world, I did my nails every day. Every. Day. Crazy, I know. Now I’m lucky if I get to do them more than twice a week. Although I do love my new unwinding techniques, nothing beats a shiny, glossy new mani in a great color.

Do you guys have any hobbies other than nail polish? How do you relax and unwind?

___________________

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

PinterestEmailShare