Thursday, March 31, 2011

Essie Topless & Barefoot

I was super excited to get this polish. I was looking for a nude polish a few weeks ago for a friends wedding and this was recommended. I had previously seen it at Walmart, so I went down to look for it and they didn't have it. I went to Target, some drugstores, and called 2 Ultas trying to find it, and none of them had it. Where the heck did this polish go, seriously?? So I didn't get to wear it to the wedding, but because I had nothing like it, I decided I had to get it or I'd regret it. So I picked up this ghost polish on Amazon.

Sorry in advance for all of the photos. I just wanted to show the subtle difference in color in different lights, and because I like different angles. And when I want to see swatches, I love seeing more than 1.

Essie Topless & Barefoot Swatch

Essie Topless & Barefoot Swatch

Essie Topless & Barefoot Swatch

3 coats Topless & Barefoot
1 (VERY necessary) coat SV

Essie describes this as "a barely there soft beige pink". I think they're pretty correct with that description. I would say that while it is pinky, it's not so pink that yellow undertones couldn't wear it. It comes across as more neutral. I don't necessarily agree with calling it "barely there" because that implies to me that it's sheer, and this polish is certainly not sheer.
While I'm intrigued by the color of this polish, I'm disappointed with the formula. If you're familiar with Essie Mint Candy Apple, that is a similar formula. It seems thick, but I don't think it really is, or at least I think thinner is not appropriate. I'm wondering if it has to do with the brush, which doesn't seem to spread out at all. I'm not a fan of large brushes like OPI ProWide, but this was a little ridiculous. It was also fairly streaky, which could be due to the brush. I say SV was necessary because it was slightly uneven, and I specifically included a photo of what I am calling "SV ripple". Which I believe is also me just slapping on SV because I was so annoyed.
I had to be cautious of cuticle drag with this polish, too. Which is another reason it really needed SV. You just had to be very careful with application. Which happens and is fine, but I was trying to hurry up because I had places to go.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Swatches and Review - E.L.F. Spring Finds/Summer Essentials 5 pack

This is a 5 pack of ELF Nail Polish that is available on the ELF website as well as and in Target stores (If you go to the link, you will be able to see if it's in stock in a store near you). It retails for $5.00, making each polish only $1 each!!

The 5 polishes it includes are:
Blue Mist
Mango Madness
Purple Pleaser

Collectively, they all have a similar formula with the exception of Fuchsia, and similar brushes.

These were all fairly sheer shades, but certainly buildable. All are 3 coats except Fuchsia, which is only 2 and was definitely the stand out formula. Despite the sheer factor, they are so forgiving it's amazing. It is impossible to make these polishes uneven. As soon as you apply the next coat, it's weirdly self-leveling. It spreads out perfect, it truly is so cool.

Definitely the down fall of the polish. The brushes were pretty horrible all around, but Fuchsia and Purple Pleaser really had problems. The brushes as a whole I find similar to the defectiveness of MAC brushes. It's a wider, but entirely round brush with not very dense bristles, but the bristles are a bit thicker. You cannot fully push the brush to your nail or it will be a complete mess. You have to use a light, delicate touch.
Fuchsia and Purple Pleaser both had really wonky bristles. I had to trim Fuchsia, but Purple Pleaser was going to be way too much trouble to attempt to trim. Here are some photos:

This is Fuchsia. That's actually two longer bristles, they're just now sticking together. When I initially pulled it out, they were two separate ones. I thought maybe they were loose, so I tried to pull them. Didn't work. They were just longer than the others.

This is Purple Pleaser. The top of the side of the brush is not a clump of polish. That's a squiggly bristle. You can also see a long bristle peeking out amongst the others. And you can see the awkward shape of the brush at some angles.

Onto the swatches and reviews on each polish.

Blue Mist

ELF Blue Mist Swatch

ELF Blue Mist Swatch

ELF Blue Mist Comparison Essie Mint Candy Apple China Glaze For Audrey

ELF Blue Mist Comparison Essie Mint Candy Apple China Glaze For Audrey Orly Ancient Jade

I also threw some comparisons up because I was even sort of curious. Blue Mist is a very fresh and clean creme with a little bit of murkiness that you can notice in the comparisons, but not so much on it's own.
MCA is much brighter, and ironically, bluer than BM. BM is murkier in comparison, and is slightly more green/sage, though I would still call it blue as it's main color.
FA isn't even close, but it looks like BM has some of the green undertones that FA has.
I added Ancient Jade because I also wanted to see it next to FA. It's definitely a dark cousin of Blue Mist and I think BM and AJ look very complimentary.


ELF Lilac Swatch

ELF Lilac Swatch

Unfortunately, I don't have any other lilacs that someone might want to see compared to this (I'm thinking OPI lavenders/lilacs like DYLI or Lucky Lavender or Panda-monium Pink or RW).

On it's own, this is a gorgeous spring lilac creme that has a sort of dusty quality. This seems like a pretty true lilac, but with less pink and more purple. It is certainly muted and not bright, but still beautiful. I definitely like this color.

Mango Madness

ELF Mango Madness Swatch

ELF Mango Madness Swatch

WOW!! This is a pretty bright color. It is not true to bottle, it is definitely brighter and more orange on the nail. It has almost a jelly quality to it. If you want it to look more jelly and you're okay with VNL, 2 coats would definitely give that effect.
I'm calling this a bright (almost neon, but not there) orange coral with pink undertones. This is an awesome summer color. I was fearful for a moment that it might look too orangey or Halloween-ish, but it definitely does not.


ELF Fuchsia Swatch

ELF Fuchsia Swatch

Definitely my favorite of the group!! You have no idea how badly I wish I could compare this to OPI Houston We Have A Purple from the new Texas collection. But from swatches I've seen, this has got to be an incredibly similar polish and dupe-ish. This is a creme, but like Mango Madness, it has a jelly quality to it that I think helps it look so similar to HWHAP. Fortunately for me, I really wanted HWHAP and I even planned on picking it up today at Ulta, but now I'm not going to. Would be great to be able to compare, but I'm so frugal that knowing I have a color so similar that only cost $1 is good enough for me!!

This is a a blue/purple based (rasp)berry crossed with a little fuchsia that is so gorgeous. I know I keep talking about how amazing each color is, but they really are. I'm sure they're all dupe-able, but the fact that this is probably the cheapest of these colors you'll find, I think the importance is on the fact that they themselves MAKE great dupes.

Purple Pleaser

ELF Purple Pleaser Swatch

ELF Purple Pleaser Swatch

First, let me apologize for the messiness. I don't ever clean up (unless I'm water marbling), and the brush on this was just that bad.

I don't really know how to describe this color. I guess just a red based purple. The photos are pretty darn true to color. Again, this is a creme but does have a jelly-ish feel to it.

Oddly enough, I had initially thought this was dupe-ish for HWHAP. (Is it too obvious that I really want that polish?) Some photos look like Fuchsia, others look like Purple Pleaser. Because of this, I decided to compare Fuchsia and PP:

ELF Fuchsia Purple Please Comparison Swatch

(Purple Pleaser on index and ring, Fuchsia on middle and pinky)

They clearly look entirely different. It's so interesting to see how different polishes look on their own and compared to another polish. The pink of Fuchsia becomes very apparent, and that makes PP look more like HWHAP.


Unless you know you have perfect dupes of these colors already, I highly suggest picking this up. The bad brush quality can be overlooked by how even the formula is and how gorgeous the colors are. Collectively, this is a great pack of classic yet currently popular spring and summer colors. If you can get your hands on it, buy it!

Zoya Faye

So I had ordered Pheobe and Faye as my BOGO Zoya's. I ordered the first day and still don't have Pheobe (open order), but I received Faye last week. Super fast shipping for that one!!

So this is my first time wearing Faye, obviously. I had a problem picking which other polish I wanted besides Pheobe. I love mattes (two polishes in one when you add a top coat!! Yay for frugal people!!), and I love blues, so I knew Pheobe was it. I knew I didn't want anything from the Summertime collection because they're just cremes. But the Sunshine collection is GORGEOUS. I debated mainly between Rica, Reva, and Kimmy. I tried looking at swatches on a few blogs, but all photos looked different!! I just couldn't pick. So I asked my boyfriend. I showed him all of the swatches from several different sites. He liked Faye. So I figured why not? Let's go with Faye. I don't have a lot of purples.

When I finally saw the polish in person, it was nightttime when I got out of work, but when I saw it in the light the next day... OH MY GOSH!! What a beautiful duochrome!! I thought it would have been too not-spring-ish. I was totally wrong. This color is absolutely stunning. (If you're curious, after getting those awesome swatches of each collection from my Zoya order, Rica would have been my next choice).

This polish is super interesting. I chose to put up a TON of photos because it's so dimensional. And if anyone stumbles across my blog looking for Faye swatches, I hope this helps them out!!

Zoya Faye Swatch

Zoya Faye Swatch

Zoya Faye Swatch

Zoya Faye Swatch

Zoya Faye Swatch

Zoya Faye Swatch

Zoya Faye Swatch

Zoya Faye Swatch

Zoya Faye Swatch
The two photos above show Faye in direct sunlight. It's so interesting because you barely see any gold once it's in sunlight, and the purple color looks very different. It looks far more like a true purple in the light. It's gorgeous. It's bright and sparkly. Definitely catches your eye. The sparkly-ness is gold, so that's where you see the gold. But it does not look how it looks when not in direct sunlight. It's substantially more purple, just with a gold sparkle.

Zoya Faye Swatch
This is the color indoors, not near a window. You can see why I take photos next to a window. It doesn't necessarily make the polishes look better, but it makes the photos so much more clear while still being very accurate. And it doesn't make my skin look dry and flaky like this photo does. I swear that's not how my hands and cuticles really look!! Gross. Anyway, I wanted to show this, though, because the duochrome really looks different in all lights.

This is 3 coats, and some photos have 1 coat SV, some don't. I thought it might make a difference, but it doesn't. This was a fairly opaque duochrome. It still had that sheerness to it, but not much. I could have gotten away with 2 slightly thicker coats easily. The application was fantastic and the color was very even. Absolutely wonderful!!

The thing about this polish, like most duochromes, is they change SO much. This one in particular. So if you like a certain photo but don't like another, I say get it anyway. Every way you move your hand it will look different.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wet 'n' Wild Starry Night French

Sorry for the boring nails today. When I wear a polish I've never worn before, I typically like to wear it once on it's own (unless I have a REALLY good idea for nail art/Konad/french/etc.) and then do something to it the next day. I hadn't realized I was doing that until a few weeks ago when I did it with a Tronica polish. Anyway, obviously yesterday was the first time I wore this polish. I didn't want to hide it with Konad because the polish is gorgeous and I didn't want to take away from that. So I added silver tips instead.

2 coats Wet 'n' Wild Starry Night
1 coat SV
Pure Ice Silver Mercedes for the tips
1 more coat SV

Kinda bummed because there is no sun today... it SNOWED last night... so the photos aren't as gorgeous as yesterday without the tips, but it still looks just as jelly and beautiful.

So I ordered my BOGO Zoya's! I picked Faye and Pheobe. I knew immediately after seeing swatches that I wanted Pheobe and didn't want any of the Summertime collection because to me, they're just dupe-able cremes. After significant debating between Kimmy, Reva, Rica, and Faye, I went with Faye. What'd you get?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wet 'n' Wild Starry Night

I was in a Christmas Tree Shop a few weeks ago and I saw they had these random packs of super old drugstore nail polish. They were in these clear zipper makeup bags shut with zip ties and each contained 10 polishes for $3.99 I believe (coulda been $4.99). The polishes were all random in the packs, so I dug through probably about 100 of them before I found one that had a good deal of colors I liked. I thought about undoing the zip ties and making my own, but I just couldn't do it.

I picked up one that contained these polishes:

The one that really stood out to me was that Wet 'n' Wild blue jelly with silver and blue microglitter. Sound familiar to anyone? *cough*Essie Starry Starry Night*cough*.
Upon getting home, I was able to read the name (I couldn't see the name in the pack). It's called Starry Night. How ironic.

Here's a nice close up of the bottle:

Wet N Wild Starry Night

Now, I don't have SSN to compare it to, but from the photos I've seen of it, it's pretty close. It looks like SSN has more glitter, and I think the blue might be a little different. Some of my photos look just like certain SSN photos, but others are a little different. I'd say while it can't be an exact dupe, if you have a CTS near you and you don't have SSN and want it, you need to buy this immediately.

I want to mention that I have yet to have a polish photograph as insanely well as this polish. I literally wanted to use every single photo I took of it!! But I limited it to 6.

So what do you think of my knock-off SSN? This is 3 coats and 1 coat SV.

Wet N Wild Starry Night

Wet N Wild Starry Night

Wet N Wild Starry Night

Wet N Wild Starry Night

Wet N Wild Starry Night

Wet N Wild Starry Night

This photo shows a nice close-up of the jelly-ness and the blue and silver glitter.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Orly Ancient Jade with Cherry Blossoms

I'm loving Ancient Jade, and I just recently watched MissChievous's video on a Cherry Blossom tutorial. I loved the look with the blue/green as a base, so you can see how this was just meant to be!!

Here's my take on it:

Orly Ancient Jade Cherry Blossoms Nail Art

2 coats Orly Ancient Jade
1 coat SV
Sinful Black on Black for the branches
Sally Hansen White On for the white of the blossoms
Wet N Wild Blaze for the pink centers of the blossoms
Topped with 1 coat SV

While MissChievous used a nail brush and dotting tool for her cherry blossoms, I didn't have either of those things. Mine is done with toothpicks. Branches and blossoms were both done with just toothpicks. Yup. Haha.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Orly Ancient Jade

I'm so ridiculously excited that it is finally spring!! Though I am not excited to be looking out of my window and see that it is SNOWING. Yes. Snowing. Stupid New England... Anyway, I don't always follow the appropriate nail colors for the seasons, but I try to just because it keeps me excited for something!! Spring is obviously the time that pastels start coming out and you move away from some of the darker colors of the fall and winter. So, I decided I would finally try Orly Ancient Jade:

Orly Ancient Jade Swatch

2 coats Ancient Jade
1 coat SV

Orly is my favorite brand of nail polish. I think they have consistantly great quality polishes from a great formula to a wide selection of colors and finishes. They're also easily available in my area (Sally's).
This polish is why I love Orly. I used 2 coats, but truly I could have used one. It is insanely opaque but not streaky at all. It is the perfect consistancy to allow for 1 coat, but it's not so thick that it requires thinner or is unworkable. It's literally my dream formula. Not gonna lie, kinda wish I had just left it with 1 coat. I did this last night in poor lighting, and I was ready to go to bed. I think I was totally impatient with the second coat.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Love & Beauty Nude

This was actually my NOTD yesterday. I don't usually get to wear nail polish on Saturday's because I work every Saturday, however I had yesterday off for a wedding!! My dress was very loud, it was actually this dress from Forever 21:

So I wanted neutral nails. I realized I literally had NO opaque nude nail polish. Nothing even close to it. I had sheer polishes, but they were all unbuildable sheers. I asked on MUA for recs for a nude polish for pale skin. I got some good suggestions, my favorite being Essie Topless & Barefoot. I had seen it at Walmart a few weeks ago, but when I went to look for it, they didn't have it. Neither did Target, drug stores, or 2 Ultas in my area. And I had no time to order the polish. I wasn't impressed by any others, and I didn't want to spend $8.50 on OPI Samoan Sand. I remembered seeing a few neutrals at Forever 21 when I bought my dress, so I wandered myself over there and picked up "Nude" and "Camel". Camel was way too dark for what I wanted, but I felt Nude was totally acceptable!!

Forever 21 Love & Beauty Nude Swatch

This is 2 coats Love & Beauty Nude
1 coat SV

I had actually wanted something a little lighter and more cream-ish, but this worked well enough.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Day 5 - Final!!

The final day and... St. Patty's Day!! I will be spending my St. Patty's Day being the DD for some of my friends. What about you??

Anyway, I decided to do a water marble of some St. Patrick's Day related colors. And of course that would be green and gold! I had a ton of different ideas planned, and for some reason, didn't execute them throughout the week. At the end of it, I ended up with 2 manis I didn't like and 1 that was just edited from the way before. Like I mentioned, I'm assuming it's because I insisted on using so many light greens. Oh well. There's always next year!!
Onto the mani...

Pre Clean-up/Redos

I ended up redoing a total of 4 of the nails you see. My thumbs were fine so I didn't redo them. Water marbling is exhausting and I hadn't done it in a while, so I half wanted to just leave them as they were. But after a push from someone I showed the picture to, they convinced me to redo the bad ones. With the help of my very artistic sister, I dragged myself over to do them over.

And if you're curious about the little green dots on my fingers, as I said, this is before clean-up. However, the dots are because I used medical tape instead of scotch tape and if you didn't know, medical take has tiny perforations, which apparently lead to tiny green dots all over your fingers when you try to water marble.

Final Mani

Green Water Marble

Green Water Marble

Green Water Marble

Here is the finished mani!! I love how macro shows you all the tiny places you didn't clean up.

If you couldn't tell, I redid my middle finger on my left hand (first two photos), and my pinks, middle, and index finger on my right hand (last photo). I know my ring finger has a dig, but this happened after everything was put away and I could not bring myself to drag everything out and redo it.

What I Used
1 coat Sally Hansen White On as a base
Zoya Shawn
Orly Enchanted Forest
Sinful This Is It
Sally Hansen HD Hi-Def
OPI Gargantuan Green Grape
1 coat SV

I do not currently have the skill to do a repeated pattern, so all of my nails look different. However, I am getting better and hopefully will be able to do actual continuous designs by the summer.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patty's Day 4

I don't know what my problem is when it comes to trying to pick good green polishes. I think I just really want it to be spring, so I'm trying to avoid using my darker greens. I'm really disappointed in this mani. While it TOTALLY looks like it gives me lobster hands, it actually doesn't. The lighting is poor because it's taken at nighttime. Busy day!! Anyway, here's the atrocious mani:

1 coat Sally Hansen Lavender Cloud for underwear
2 coats Sally Hansen HD Hi-Def
1 coat Love & Beauty "Light Green"
1 coat SV

To make up for the fact that the mani is so not flattering, I'm posting this old photo of Veruschka, which is clearly what I should've worn today.

1 coat Zoya Veruschka

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St. Patty's Day Nails

I started doing St. Patty's Day nails on 3/13 and will obviously continue doing so until St. Patty's Day. These are the ones I have done so far:

Day 1

2 coats Finger Paints Chrysanthe-Mum’s The Word.
1 coat Sinful Green Ocean on ring finger.
1 coat SV

Application for CMTW was HORRIBLE! So thick, streaky, goopy, and uneven. Not true to bottle, either. Darker on the nails. I'm really disappointed because I was hoping it was going to be a better version of OPI Gargantuan Green Grape because GGG is so thin and streaky. Apparently you just can't win with these greens. Anyone have any suggestions?

Day 2

This came out a thousand times better than yesterdays mess with FP CMTW.

2 coats Ardene Emerald Green
Lots of coats (like 6) Sinful This Is It
1 coat SV

I was super stubborn about that Sinful polish. It’s the exact polish color I imagined to use for gold for St. Patty’s nails. It’ll probably come up again. It just has that pot-of-gold feel from the shade of golden yellow gold with the perfect shimmer and light, sparse holo microglitter. PERFECT.

Day 3

I was in a wicked rush to get out of the house today, so instead of doing a brand new mani, I added to yesterdays.

As of yesterday:
2 coats Ardene Emerald Green
Lots of coats (like 6) Sinful This Is It
1 coat SV

As of today:
Fauxnad clover design with bundle monster plate BM03 in Ardene Emerald Green
Emerald nails have 1 coat China Glaze Golden Enchantment