Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Swatches & Review - E.L.F. Holiday 2011 Nail Polish Set at Target

This is the second 5 pack of ELF polishes I own... bringing my total to 10 ELF polishes lol. This is the 'tis the season to be beautiful set that is currently at Target for $5, I found mine on an end cap with a bunch of other holiday sets. I couldn't say no. I mean, there are some interesting looking polishes and 5 polishes for $5? Yes, please!!

I don't usually review polishes. I guess I always write a review on my polishes when I post them, but I'm treating this as more of a formal review, hence the title. I'm just swatching the polishes and talking about the formula. Instead of waiting for me to wear these, I figured I'd do it all at once. I hate when I can't find swatches of cheaper polishes, so I hope this helps you decide if picking up this set is worth it!!

The 5 polishes in this set are:
Mod Mauve
Royal Purple
Red Velvet
Metal Madness
Golden Goddess

The cap is NOT a vanity cap. You will be painting with the square cap, but I did not have any problem doing so. The brushes are oval and very slightly flattened. It is obvious that there are two sides to the brush for you to paint with because it is not round. Overall, the brushes were better than the spring set I reviewed, but two of them could still improve.

Scroll all the way down for photos of each polish with Golden Goddess top coat

Mod Mauve

ELF Mod Mauve

ELF Mod Mauve

2 coats Mod Mauve

This was the worst brush, but it wasn't that bad. It had one stray bristle that stuck out the side of the brush. But it was just one. This was also the widest brush of the 5, not necessarily a bad thing. It wasn't too wide. The end of the brush wasn't even, it was on a slight slant, which made it a little difficulty to paint evenly around my cuticles. But it still wasn't that bad.

Mod Mauve is a kind of chocolately mauve creme, kind of an auburn almost. Definitely looks different in different lighting. I don't think it's too "old" of a color. Something about it (the chocolately part?) makes it seem more current. Nice, simple.

The formula was smooth, not streaky but seemed uneven, then it self leveled and was not uneven. The consistency was great. Medium consistency, nicely pigmented. Not too bad at all!!

Royal Purple

ELF Royal Purple

ELF Royal Purple

2 coats Royal Purple

This brush was fine. Royal Purple is a blue based fuchsia-violet with a shimmery sheen. The shimmer seems almost silvery in the bottle, but comes across fuchsia/purple on the nail. Very pretty.

The formula was FANTASTIC. Reminded me of the old, non 3 Free polishes (but it is 3 Free). Thin, easily workable but very pigmented despite it being thin and flowy. Smooth and not streaky at all. I like this formula better than mod mauve, but it's that formula difference between a creme and a shimmer. I find that it's not uncommon for them to be different and have their own qualities.

Red Velvet

ELF Red Velvet

ELF Red Velvet

2 coats Red Velvet

This brush was a little thinner than Royal Purples. Not in a bad way, just an objective thing.

The color looks much richer with a second coat. I was skeptical when I saw the first. But with the second coat, it's a lovely, foil-y berry undertones red that I'm going to say is perfect for a darker winter/Christmas red. I liked Golden Goddess best over this color.

The formula was just like Royal Purple. Like exactly the same.

Metal Madness

ELF Metal Madness

ELF Metal Madness

2 coats Metal Madness

This brush was going back to being like Mod Mauves, it had kind of a slant.

This is a charcoal base with holographic micro glitter. Very interesting. The glitter is more prominent in real life than in the photos.

The polish went on without problems. It does need two coats, it was kind of sheer with just one, but totally opaque with 2. Wasn't streaky, stayed even, thicker than Royal Purple and Red Velvet but seemed less pigmented, which is probably why the two coats is necessary.

Golden Goddess

ELF Golden Goddess

This is a glitter top coat in the bunch. It will not become opaque, which is fine seeing as how I'm assuming that was not the intention of the polish.

It is well packed with gold micro glitter and it was round iridescent glitter. The round glitter isn't too plentiful when on the nail. Just painting it on gives you several pieces, but not a ton. They don't have a problem sticking to the brush, I just think there's SO much micro glitter and not as much of the round glitter. Not a bad thing, still pretty.

Here is Golden Goddess over all of the other colors:

Over Mod Mauve
ELF Mod Mauve with Golden Goddess

Over Royal Purple
ELF Royal Purple with Golden Goddess

Over Red Velvet (my fav)
ELF Red Velvet with Golden Goddess

Over Metal Madness
ELF Metal Madness with Golden Goddess

So overall, is this set worth $5? ABSOLUTELY!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gold Holly Stamping

I'm kinda obsessed with Gilty Pleasure for Christmas. It's just such a gorgeous, real gold, I hope I have enough time to use it again in another Christmas design as well. But here is just a quick, simple stamp with Gilty Pleasure.




iPhone photo that I think shows that the stamp was much more opaque than the other photos make it seem


2 coats Sally Hansen Gilty Pleasure
1 coat Poshe
Holly from Bundle Monster plate BM14 with Orly Enchanted Forest for the leaves and Orly Poison Apple for the berries.

I had intentions of putting a tiny red rhinestone in place of the berries. But I realized that I didn't have any and wasn't in a position to be able to go get some. So it stayed as is. Wish I had gotten a chance to do that, though.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sally Hansen Gilty Pleasure

Can someone tell me why this is spelled gilty and not guilty? I'm not getting the reference. Luckily, that's the only thing that bothers me about this polish! I think it's lovely...

Gilty Pleasure 4

Gilty Pleasure 1

Gilty Pleasure 6

Gilty Pleasure 5

Gilty Pleasure 2

Gilty Pleasure 3

2 coats Sally Hansen (Complete Salon Manicure) Gilty Pleasure
1 coat Poshe

This is a VERY nice shade of gold. It's very "real" looking. Instead of being an "artificial" yellow gold, it's more of a brassy gold. Like an old brass, not with a ton of luster or shininess, but an aged, antiqued brass while still holding true to it being gold. It's metallic as opposed to a shimmery or glitter gold. I don't know how it'd be on different skin tones, but I imagine it won't clash too badly with anyone.

The formula was lovely. It does show some brush strokes, but only when you look closely and concentrate. This was a very forgiving polish. It stayed where I put it despite my numerous brush strokes I used on each nail. No streaking, was opaque in 2 coats. Very nice to work with.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Poison Apple Snowy Scene

This was not initially what I had planned. I wanted to do more realistic colors (e.g. green tree with brown stump), but none of the greens I wanted to use would stamp well over the red, it just wasn't happening. So I ended up just using white. I'll have to try my other idea again with a different base. But this is ok for now.




1 coat Orly Poison Apple
1 coat Poshe
Tree from bundle monster plate BM-205 with Konad White
Snowflake from bundle monster plate BM14 with Konad White
All "snow" is China Glaze White on White and a dotting tool
1 coat Poshe

Not exactly what I wanted. I didn't want to use a dotting tool for the snow on the "ground", but I could not for the life of me find my brush. I think the whole thing looks a little too puffy. I wanted it to be more elegant, and I think it kinda missed that mark. Eh, oh well. 12 more days until Christmas... which means 12 more opportunities to do it better!!

Side note, I'm in LOVE with bundle monster Christmas/winter/holiday themed stamps. They're so just awesome!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Orly Poison Apple - The Best Red EVER??

I'm continuing on with Orly's Once Upon A Time collection that I intended to have finished in November, but that clearly did not happen. So here we are in December, but now is a pretty good time to be wearing reds, so I figure it worked out!!

These first photos were taken in artificial light*




These photos were taken in natural light*






1 coat Orly Poison Apple
1 coat Poshe

*I have two "sets" of photos because the second ones make the polish look very blue-based. I wanted the first "set" so you could see that it's not as blue-based as it appears. And so my description doesn't make me sound like a nut. Lol. Oh, and the indoor/artificial light photos were taken today (after 2 days wearing the polish).

This is a subtly rusty red creme, not your typical bright, blue-based red, so it's not super in-your-face and aggressive. For that reason, it also leans warm, though I think it'd be INCREDIBLY flattering on any skintone. It appears blue-based in some photos, but it's almost got a tomato-y quality. Like I said, subtly rusty, almost with a hint of vintage red. I really do think it's the perfect red for any skintone. Seriously.

I have very high expectations for reds. You figure there are SO many reds out there, there's no excuse for a red to be too thick, too thin, require too many coats, be streaky, etc. Application needs to be nearly flawless and Orly didn't disappoint!! This polish flowed beautifully, only requiring one coat for full opacity. I'm a big fan of Orly's brush, and I think the amazing formula paired with their awesome brush made application that much easier. There is NO clean-up in these photos. The polish went on where I put it, did not flood my cuticles, and just glided on to shape to my cuticles perfectly. An amazing formula to match possibly the most amazing, universally flattering red EVER!! Own this. Seriously.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wet n Wild Sugar Coat

I picked this up a WHILE ago in hopes of my job allowing us to wear nail polish, and because I heard it's dupe-ish for OPI Bubble Bath, and I love cheap dupes! So this is Wet n Wild Sugar Coat.



1 coat Wet n Wild Sugar Coat
1 coat Poshe



A second coat Sugar Coat over the 1 coat and 1 coat Poshe (it'd probably look cleaner if there wasn't a layer of Poshe sandwiched in the middle).

Sugar Coat is a milky pink sheer but buildable polish that gives your nails a very clean, natural look. One coat is nice, but it can probably reach opacity at 3 coats.

The formula was decent. Biggest problem I ran into was having enough polish on the brush to go down the length of my nail. Could be because my nails are a little long. I just had to make sure I had more polish on the brush... which didn't happen on my pinky in my two coat photos.

Overall, just a simple, clean polish that you can wear sheer or opaque. Not too bad!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Swirly Stamped Mirror Mirror

I was going to just do a fun top coat over Orly Mirror Mirror for something fun. Then I decided stamping with black would be PERFECT! I found the designs I wanted to use, then went from there! Here's what I came up with.

Mirror Mirror 7

Mirror Mirror 4

Mirror Mirror 1

Mirror Mirror 3

Mirror Mirror 2

Mirror Mirror 8

2 coats Orly Mirror Mirror
1 coat Poshe
Swirl stamping with bundle monster plate BM-201
-Black is Sinful Black on Black
-Silver is Pure Ice Silver Mercedes
Stamping on ring finger with Essence stamping plate
-Black is Sinful Black on Black
1 coat Poshe

Yup! I top coated it... well, some of the photos have a top coat. I took photos beforehand in case the top coat smudged the design. But it didn't! So I retook a few more photos with the top coat.

My initial intention was to make this kinda subtle. Obviously that went in a different direction! The silver didn't contrast the way I wanted it to, so I decided to do the rest of the swirls in black because I didn't want to bring a vibrant color into the design. I left the silver on my ring finger and decided you couldn't see the silver well enough and it looked like I forgot to stamp a nail. I had my Essence stamping plate right next to me, picked a design off of it, and went with it!

I think it looks really pretty. I'm a sucker for whimsical, swirly designs (obviously) so I really like it! What do you think? Should I have gone with a pop of color? Is there just too much going on? Lemme know!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Orly Mirror Mirror

I had planned on doing all of the Orly Once Upon A Time collection back in November, but it didn't happen. So I'll try to finish it up in December! So here we have Mirror Mirror.






2 coats Orly Mirror Mirror
1 coat Poshe

Mirror Mirror is a light grey creme that can look a little different in different lights. Indoors in not so bright like, it looks blue-ish almost with a lavender feel, and in brighter lights it can look like a light cement or it can be a little darker. Regardless, it always looks like a lovely light grey-light/medium grey. I would expect this polish to not work great with my pale, warm toned yellow/olive skin tone, but it actually works very well.

The formula was unfortunately NOT like most Orly cremes. Orly does a great job with pigmented, smooth, flawless, opaque cremes that are amazing to work with. This polish did not fit that standard. It is on the thinner side, which would generally be an ok thing, but the pigmentation isn't there. If you use too many brush strokes, the polish already put down lifts from the nail. By the second coat, it is completely opaque, but it is VERY uneven. Uneven in the sense that it's not smooth. I have like 2 ridges in 2 nails, and the way this polish leaves the finish makes it look like my nails are not smooth and have lots of ridges.

I overall suggest that you make sure you use a generous coat of a thicker top coat (SV, Poshe, etc), and if you have imperfections on the surface of your nail, use a good base coat or a ridge filling base coat to help smooth the nail and give you a good surface. Other than that, the uneven surface is combated well with a thick topcoat. And the color of this polish is just beautiful.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Orly Stone Cold

Words and photos cannot describe this polish. But let's give it a shot.

Orly Stone Cold

Orly Stone Cold

Orly Stone Cold

Orly Stone Cold

Orly Stone Cold

Orly Stone Cold

Close Up

Orly Stone Cold

2 coats Orly Stone Cold
1 coat Poshe

Holy goodness. Let me start by saying that I was drawn to this polish because I love Orly and I heard people loved these polishes... and I had 15% off at Sallys =D. I chose Stone Cold because I love blue polishes and nothing else really stood out to me. But after trying this, I want all of them!!

This polish in the bottle does NOT do it justice!! Even the swatches on the displays do not do this polish justice. I just don't understand. I was reluctant to purchase it because it has a higher price tag than normal Orly's, and it just didn't look that special. Well it lived up to the hype and more.

It's a beautiful vibrant blue that is FILLED with these small, irregular shaped pieces of... glitter? I don't know if you'd call it glitter per say, it reminds me of like tiny flakes of a blue cellophane with kind of a blue iridescence in a matching blue jelly base. But it's packed with those little pieces whatever you wanna call them. Regardless, it makes for an effect that is so beautiful and unusual. You HAVE to see it in real life and on the nail.

The formula was lovely to work with. A bit on the thicker side, but I think that was a good thing. Very manageable.