Archive for the ‘Specialty Polishes’ Category

Sephora by OPI It’s Real vs. OPI The Man with the Golden Gun

Monday, January 14th, 2013


By now, the novelty of the flakey gold top coat has warn off a bit. Almost every major brand, and many smaller/indie brands, have released their rendition of the gold leaf top coat. Two gold flake polishes have made their way into my collection, so here is a comparison of the two. I wish that I had Zoya Gilty to add to this comparison. Believe me, I felt compelled to buy it and the battle to refrain from doing so was hard fought. From swatches online, Gilty looks very similar to OPI The Man With the Golden Gun so I had a nail polish Sophie’s Choice. I love both brands and feel like I need to collect everything they release, mostly for the purpose of having an adequate “library” of polishes for this blog. Second, I am a total sucker for gimmicky polishes. However, the price tag that these polishes carry was a major deterrent to the “I need to own it just to own it” reasoning that I typically apply to my purchases. (I mean, let’s face it for a second… When you hoard nail polish, you probably don’t need anything because chances are your collection already contains something similar). In the end, I couldn’t justify owning two very similar polishes in the $30+ price tag range. Once I made that decision, the next issue was deciding which one to get. A lot of factors were taken into consideration. First, I love James Bond, love, and I especially loved Skyfall. The TMWTGG packaging and presentation also appealed to me even though I usually abhor opaque bottles. Finally, the price for TMWTGG on ebay, at the time, was less than $35, so it was more cost-effective than Gilty.

I will also admit that I was a little annoyed with Zoya. Don’t get me wrong, I love Zoya but I’m going to hate on them for a minute. Gilty was released around the same time that they released a couple of other limited edition sets of polish. This was incredibly distressing to me as a person who has a perpetually empty bank account. If something expensive is limited edition and I only have a couple of days to buy it, depending on what time of the month it is, the sad reality may be that I just can’t justify the purchase. Gilty and the Peter Som 2013 trio fell victim to this problem. I wanted these sooooo bad but I just couldn’t splurge during the tiny window of time that these were available. Food > Nail polish, right? Zoya’s twitter account taunted me daily: ”Get these while supplies last, once it’s gone - it’s gone!” It made me question my existence a little - my inner monologue: “Why did I go to law school?” “Why did I take out 9 katrillion school loans?” “Why have I made so, so many poor financial choices that have culminated in this paycheck-to-paycheck life style?” “I love my job but this sucks, do I need to give up something I love to find something that pays more?” When those sets went out of stock, I almost felt alleviated. And I quickly came to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to own them since I wasn’t going to pay exorbitant ebay prices.

Weeks later, after all that inner turmoil, Gilty was restocked and the polishes I wanted from the Peter Som trio were released in Zoya’s Spring 2013 collection. I still passed on Gilty because, by then, I had already budgeted for, and purchased, OPI MWTTGG. I wasn’t upset about the Peter Som polishes since I begged Zoya on twitter to re-release those colors and I appreciated the renewed opportunity to get them. But, still, it felt a bit like a slap in the face. One aspect of Zoya as a brand that I love is that they don’t generally make things limited edition and rarely discontinue colors. When they do discontinue shades, it’s usually after the polish has been available for a while. I hope that this situation does not represent a new trend for the company. I also hope that Zoya, before employing the “OMG!!! IT’S LIMITED EDITION!!!” marketing ploy, takes some time to consider the effect that that tactic might have on loyal costumers. Will people be so quick to frenzy over something that is “limited edition” if they know that in the past ”limited edition” actually meant ”limited edition (until we re-release or restock in a couple of weeks)”? On the other hand, I appreciate that I would have been able to acquire these eventually. So, even though I’m complaining, I suppose this weird ‘limited edition but not really’ thing is better than a truly limited edition color that can only be purchased on the nail polish gray market after the initial retail period is over.

SOPI It's Real vs OPI TMWTGG swatch

*whew* Okay, I’ll stop belly-aching now and get to the actual review. Both swatches are over black. Sephora by OPI It’s Real consists of very small irregularly sized gold flakes suspended in clear polish. I picked this one up at Sephora on clearance for $8, reduced from around $30. I had been eyeballing it after I saw it on twitter used over Sephora by OPI XOX Betsey. I passed originally because of the price tag but did a little happy dance when I was able to pick it up at such a reasonable price. This swatch is one coat. OPI The Man with the Golden Gun consists of larger irregularly sized gold flakes suspended in clear polish. This is two coats. It’s Real had an easier application, surely due to the smaller gold flakes. TMWTGG didn’t disburse evenly so I had to dab to get an even placement of flakies. I picked TMWTGG up on ebay for a reasonable price – I can’t remember now but I want to say it was around $20. These are different enough that owning both is justifiable. I think I like SOPI It’s Real a little better just because it’s more subtle – but I do love the Rorschach test-like  look of TMWTGG. Can you spot the continent of Africa on my nail? Haha.

Did you pick up or skip the gold flake trend? If you indulged, which one did you get?


Ultra Belated Valentine’s Day Mani – Essie Status Symbol + Maybelline Clearly in Love

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Essie - Status Symbol + Maybelline - Clearly in Love

I know what you guys must be thinking – is she really posting a Valentine’s Day mani… in September. I know, I know, but I’m trying to catch up on my mani photo back log. Back in February I decided against posting this mani, mainly because everyone else’s Valentine’s Day manis were so elaborated and beautiful. Mine paled in comparison.

I’m a pretty big fan of the Maybelline heart polishes. Sadly, I’ve only been able to snag one bottle over the years because the displays are ALWAYS empty when I find them. My sole lonely heart polish is Clearly In Love and it’s comprised of medium grain silver glitter suspended in clear polish with silver holographic hearts. Some girls complain about the application of these polishes. They’re finicky because the hearts are big and heavy enough to make it fairly difficult to apply strategically using the brush. If you want a random pattern of hearts, like in my picture above, just use the brush. If you want your hearts strategically placed, try using the fine point of an orange wood stick to pick the hearts off the brush and position the hearts carefully on the nail. This mani used two coats of the Maybelline Clearly in Love.

The base color here is Essie Status Symbol, a mid-tone pink and a semi-jelly consistency, from the Spring 2009 Collection. Speaking of Essie – take a minute to take their survey. They’re trying to fine tune their customer service and you can get a promo code for a prize after completing the survey.



Disclosure: Status Symbol was sent to me for review by Essie.


Hard-to-Find Week Launch: Lancome Le Magnetique Bleu Enigma

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

It that time again! If you’re like me, HTF week is bittersweet. I love seeing coveted polishes from yesteryear but usually HTF week sprouts many uncontrollable lemmings.

The polish I’m writing about today, Lancome Le Magnetique Bleu Enigma was actually released this past holiday season so it’s not temporally HTF, rather it’s spatially HTF. For some reason, which is a complete and total mystery to me, Lancome decided to release this color only in the UK. Last year Lancome released a brown Le Magnetique in the U.S. called Bordeaux Esmee that sold pretty well and ended up on the HTF black market for upwards of 40 dollars. L’Oreal, of which Lancome is a subsidiary, also released a collection of magnetic polishes in Europe, but not here. It’s becoming more and more frustratingly apparent that nail polish companies are more willing to “take a chance” on a unique color in foreign markets.

(Scary rant starting in 5…4…3…2…)

I’ve been on a veritable RAMPAGE since I found out that OPI released different versions of some Designer Series colors in Japan. Not to mention that last year they released 6 gorgeous glitters in place of the 6 reds we got in the Holiday in Hollywood collection. My rage (and I’m serious when I say – rage - I was ready to go burn Suzi effigies in protest in front of OPI headquarters)  caused by this realization only subsided when Jen over at Never too Much Glitter clued me in to the tyranny of Japanese nail polish prices. One OPI color from the Designer Series is going to set you back 32 dollars as opposed to the 7 to 12 dollars it would cost you in the States.

I really hope that nail polish companies wise up. I always defend companies that release reds and pinks season after season, because, at least theoretically, the demand controls the supply but at some point we have to wonder whether that’s actually true. Do people buy reds because they actually like reds, or do they buy reds because it’s the color that is most readily available. I think it’s the latter. I’m the perfect example. In the long long ago when I didn’t have access to purchase worthy nail polish, I had a small stash which was 70% red. Why? Because I used to buy my nail polish mostly at drug stores. And what’s available at drug stores most of the time? Red. If companies release more unique colors the effect will be that people will wear more unique colors. This fallacious belief that Americans will only wear red and pink is rampant. Most big companies are guilty of cool color discrimination, even our  prim and proper Essie released Japanese exclusive glitters, as did my beloved Color Club. And Sally Hansen, shame on them, has released 2 AWESOME Canadian exclusive dark greens and a dark blue that will likely never see the inside of American stores.

If the big nail polish companies don’t get it together and let go of this ridiculous notion that the only colors that will sell in the U.S. are reds and pinks, they will have a very rude awakening when they find that a lot of their business has been diverted to companies like Barielle, Nubar, BB Couture for Nails, Misa, Zoya and China Glaze, that are not underestimating the American buyer and are actually releasing unique colors in the United States.

Whew. *catches breath* Ooooookay and now for the review, haha.


Bleu Enigma is a magnetic polish. For those who may not be familiar with this type of nail polish, basically the formula reacts to a maganet and creates a star burst formation on the nail. It’s pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, ever. The image taken from this angle doesn’t show the crispness of the stars because the top coat refracts the light in a weird way.


This images shows the stars at their best. Unfortunately, this image doesn’t reflect the amazing depth of color that this polish exhibits. The base color is a grayed out blue. The magnet pulls out all the darkness so that the embedded star is completely devoid of dark blue. All the dark blue pulls to the areas between the arms of the star. The effect creates a 3-d-like quality. It makes your nail look like a gem, it’s absolutely stunning.

For those of you who own magnetic polishes and have had trouble with the application I found that getting the star to appear crisply requires a strict state of motionlessness. You have to stay perfectly still. I held my nail very close to the magnet for upwards of 30 seconds. I didn’t use a base coat but Tobywoo (star of ALU’s post on this subject) said she wears Barielle Camo under this polish with no ill effect to the formation of the star. The one down side, and it’s a very small downside is that your fingers end up smelling a little like metal.

The Lancome rep said that it’s still possible that this polish will be released in the US but it’s unlikely. If you love this, which I suspect many of you will, email Lancome and let them know.

A very special thanks to my lovely friend from the UK that hunted this color down for me. <3


Hard To Find Week Pre-Party: Cover Girl Crackle Lacquer

Monday, July 7th, 2008

All next week is Hard-to-Find Week on the MUA nail board. In preparation for the festivities the girls, myself included, have been rummaging through stashes in order to find those elusive polishes we all love so much. So I decided that I’m going to dedicate the next few posts to my favorite hard-to-finds. To kick things off, I present to you, a flash back to the year 2000 – Cover Girl Crackle Lacquer.

These two are Halloween themed, Boo Hou and Jack-o-Lantern, but if my memory serves me, there was a full line of these. I think I remember owning a white one that I used to layer over black nail polish. Oh ho, my teenage self was *so* edgy. If I had it now, I would use it over gold polish to rip off the MAC Antiquitease mani.

Crackle actually has an interesting back story (here’s the original press release), apparently the person who invented it did so by accident while trying to invent something else- then tweaked the formula to be marketed as cracking nail polish. The patent is held under the title “Nail Enamel Composition Having Decorative Appearance”, which I find highly amusing.

This bottle of Crackle was given to me by MUA’s lovely lindyspendy. I almost died when I got it since I’d been hunting Crackles unsuccessfully for a long time. Seriously, opening that package was like opening Tutankhamun’s tomb. The formula has thinned out over the years. This bottle may very well be over 8 years old. You can’t really do multiple layers with Crackle so there’s no way to curb the thinness of the formula – but – I actually think it actually looks cool over black. The thinness gives it an eerie faded quality.

This bottle of Crackle is from evilbay. It was a bit pricey but not horrible, totally worth it. This bottle’s formula was too thick, also probably from age. However, it dried with excellent cracks, so I won’t complain. You guys will notice I only swatched 2 nails for each color whereas I usually do a full hand. That’s how special this polish is too me, I feel bad putting it on just to take it off!