butterLONDON – Dosh

This is the second half of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day manicure.   As I mentioned in my previous post, I used two colors, one for each hand with an accent nail in the opposite color.

Dosh is a color that BL describes as a metallic apple green shot with gold.  I really don’t get the shot with gold from it and think it’s a bit darker than apple green, but that’s an acceptable comparison.  It’s not yellow enough for chartreuse and not green enough for pea soup (thank goodness!), so I would classify it as a spring or leaf green.

Other than very specific shades, green is among my least favorite colors.  And yellowy-green is definitely not among those few shades!  So why did I even buy this when it looked even more pukey online?  I have no idea, the most reasonable explanation I can come up with was that I was either a) stoned at the time or b) drunk from the fumes of 50% clearance plus 30% coupons.  I’d bet on the latter, but not ruling out the former….

So I’ve had it for a while and have not even been tempted to use it because the color is atrocious.  Then when I was browsing through greens for St. Pat’s looking for something different…. I landed on Green on the Runway.  Ha!  After that decision was made, I figured that I’d go ahead and break ugly little wallflower Dosh’s maiden by giving it an accent nail.  Then a funny thing happened on the way to the ball…..

I absolutely love it!  I know, right?  Crazy talk!  But, there it is I like posh Dosh and I can’t deny it.

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As I’ve mentioned before, Seattle’s own butterLONDON’s conceit is giving their lacquers British-y type names.  (Their website is even worse, it’s full of terms like bezzie mates and the like.  Come off it, you’re American!)  Dosh is slang for money.  I don’t know why.  I’d say it’s because it’s green, but I’m not sure that British money is green.  Somehow I have the idea that it’s like Canada and all different colors.  But maybe that’s just because they all have Queen Elizabeth’s picture on them.  I’m not sure if the term “monopoly money” is considered derisive or not, but I choose not.  Because I was raised on monopoly and loved all of the money and I also love Canada’s money!  It’s so pretty and ours is so boring…

Aside: (you knew it was coming…) I’m assuming that British money has always had the current monarch on it but, since I wasn’t even a distant thought when ER II took over the place, I have no idea what the money looked like before that.  I’m assuming that Ed 8 wasn’t even on the chair long enough for the mint to change over from his pops, but was WWII already in high enough swing where the money making was slowed down before they got George VI going?

And do they have plates made up and ready to go for when the inevitable happens and they can get the new mug on the money ASAP?  If so, how long have they been holding Charles in abeyance?  And have they had to redo the engravings as he’s aged?  Do they have the William plates already engraved just in case Charles either turns it over to William or passes before his mom?  Or that he’s of an age to where he isn’t going to be on the money for long so they might just skip him as a cost cutting measure?  Although I wouldn’t put money (ha!)on that, since he seems to have longevity on both sides.  Even more so than the Queen, I’ve got to give props to the Duke of Edinburgh.  They both just keeping going, and going, and going….

So there you have it, that’s the kind of stuff I think about when I am contemplating nail polishes.  Scary, huh?  If any English types are reading this, hit me up in the comments and fill me in on this because my curiousity is only exceeded by my laziness in actually looking up stuff on the internet….ha!

Where were we then?  Oh, yeah.  Dosh.

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Although it’s classified as a metallic, I’d put it in that hazy, middle of the road spot between shimmer and metallic.  It’s more sparkly than a shimmer, but not quite as pronounced and shiny as a metallic.  It also goes on much better than most metallics.  A little streaky on the first coat, but smooth as silk afterward and leveled beautifully!  This is three coats and there was no VNL at all.

So am I rapidly becoming a BL stan-girl?  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I do love Dosh way more than I should and I can definitely see putting this in my regular green rotation amid the teals, sages, and emeralds.

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OPI – Green on the Runway

For St. Patrick’s this year I used two different greens, OPI Green on the Runway and butterLONDON Dosh, with an accent nail of the opposite color on each hand.  I’d planned on just using Dosh as an accent but, once I got it on the nail I loved it so much that I decided to give it a entire hand by itself!  And according to my (admittedly small) sample poll, the Dosh hand won… well, handily!

So which review am I doing first?  Green on the Runway, of course!

But first, an aside: (because I never do that…)  How much do I love LunchMoney Lewis?  A lot!  That snappy piano on Bills never fails to make me happy when I hear it.

Back to the business at…hand!  Can you tell it’s just shy of 5 am and I’m apparently a bit punchy?  So, Green on the Runway… This was from the Coca-Cola collection put out by OPI last summer.  For some reason, neither my Sally or Ulta ever got these in stock.  So I ended up getting the mini-set.  As luck would have it, instead of putting out a mini-set with the usual four colors, this was a 10 pack with 7 of the 8 colors with a mini top coat and mini Nail Envy.  The only one they left out was an orange glitter that I had absolutely no interest in, so I was all over that for under 20 bucks on eBay!  Good news, I really liked several of them. Better news, there were none that I was absolutely so crazy about that I just had to have a full size.

This one was supposedly inspired by Sprite, but have no idea why.  It’s a dark, blackened green duochrome with flashes of brown and maroon.  Not Spritely at all.  Nicole by OPI is putting out a Coca-Cola collection this year and the Sprite in that one is much closer to the Sprite can.  It might already by out, but the only place I ever see NOPI is the grocery store and Wal-mart and I generally don’t scout out the nail polish displays in either of those places.

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It’s so hard to show duochromes in a picture, but you can kind of see brown cast in the bottle.  Not great, since it’s a mini, but it’s there. The blackened part of the green shows up a little better in this shot:

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This was three coats and I think I might have been able to get by with two, or at least a thinner coat for the third.  Like most duochromes, the first coat was just brown and maroon smears with a hint of green, but it covered really well with the second one.

I’m really not a green person, but the blackening gave this a bit more interest.  And while reddish-brown is certainly not my first choice for a duochrome flash, all duochromes tend to fascinate me.

So, much like it’s inspiration (Sprite), Green on the Runway isn’t my first, second or even third choice and I’ll generally leave it on the shelf, but every once in a while a couple sips of a nice cold one really hits the spot.

OPI – Gargantuan Green Grape

Yes, I’m finally getting to the one I sneak peeked a while back!  I have kind of a love/hate relationship with this polish, for reasons that will become evident…

Gargantuan Green Grape came out way back in 2005 in the Summer Brights Collection!  I actually had to look this up because I wouldn’t have taken this for a bright.  Then again, another one I have from that collection is Significant Other Color and that one is definitely not a bright, so who knows?  So GGG has been part of the core line forever, if you call ten years forever, which I do.  In the land of nail lacquer, that’s an eternity!  They brought this out in a matte version in 2009 back when everybody and their sister was gaga over mattes, but I avoid them like the plague so I don’t have any of those.

.Like most white based pastels, it’s a nightmare to work with this one.  It’s thin, streaky, patchy, you name it.  But I put up with it because I loved the color and there really wasn’t anything close to it, (I’ve since found alternatives, which I’ll go into below).  There are other mint greens, sure, but they were either too blue, or too dark, or had a shimmer, or whatever.  This was the perfect light mint green pastel creme!  Well, except for actually using it…..

Ggrape

“So what’s the problem?” you might say.  “Looks okay to me.”  Well, I’ll tell you.  For starters, you’re looking at six coats there, ladies and gentlemen.  That’s right, SIX persnickety, careful coats!  So six chances for everything to go terribly, terribly wrong.  For instance, you might notice that dent in the ring finger.  Yep that happened when I knocked it against a bottle on the end table reaching for the Seche Vite.  At that point, I damn sure wasn’t going to try to take off the polish on one nail to do over, because we all know in that way lies madness.  This happens so often that I finally faced facts and realized that I had to do something.  Options included:

  • Cleaning off the damned end table (I’ve tried that before, somehow it replenishes itself when I’m not looking)
  • Paying attention to what I’m doing when I’m reaching for something (Squirrel!!!)
  • Getting one of those grabby things from Sally to use with cotton balls so I won’t mess up the other fingers

I’ve always laughed at those things.  Like what kind of delicate flower needs an implement for a cotton ball so that their delicate little fingertips won’t get sullied.  It’s like people who use a bridge stick when they play pool.  Just swing the cue behind your damned back like a grown up and carry on with it!  Or using tongs to pull food out of hot grease.  Don’t be a baby, that’s what long nails are for!

Anyway, I didn’t get the grabby thing for a while, so I can’t promise there aren’t any more blemished nails coming up, but sometime after this I reached my breaking point and got one.  Behold!  So simple, yet so useful!  The only concession I’ve had to make is that I buy those big-ass cotton balls and the claw can’t contain all of their awesomeness at once.  So I have to cut them down, which makes them last longer. So all the better, I guess.

But, onward with the touchy little number that is Gargantuan Green Grape.  You have to be careful with the application.  It’s hard to get a good cuticle line as it’s prone to flooding, so it’s necessary to leave room for the Holy Ghost (it’s a Catholic thing…) and hope for the best.  And if you try to just brush it on, you could put on 33 coats and it would still be streaky.  Instead you sort of turn the brush horizontally and lay the polish down on the nail instead of just brushing it across.  But, the results were usually worth it, until….

I got a butterLONDON polish called Fiver.  I’ve had it so long that I don’t remember the circumstances behind it, but I’m sure it was some kind of a sale (natch).  Then I got it home and compared swatch sticks and it looked just like GGG.  Damn!  I could have gotten whatever other color I was considering.  But I loved this one soooo much!  Everytime I love a color soooo much, I’m sure to have at least one, usually several, just like it at home.

However, while it’s not a perfect application (it is a white based pastel, after all) it’s a complete dream compared to GGG.  Good going, BL!  So that solved that.

Fast forward to this year’s OPI collection for spring, Hawaii, and I’m not completely thrilled with it, but they have one I really love.  That’s Hula-rious!.  Yeah, that’s highlarious, OPI.  But I wised up and decided the reason I like it is because it looked like GGG and Fiver.  Not going to be fooled again!  Then I got the mini set (my mini set addiction is worthy of a complete post of its own) and that was one of them!

Around the same time I also picked up an OPI base coat called Put a Coat On! on clearance at Sally that’s supposed to be used with brights and neons to intensify them.  It’s a solid white so I got it thinking it might help those multiple coat polishes that are such a hassle.  The following is the results of those labors.

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From left to right:  That’s Hula-rious!, Gargantuan Green Grape, Fiver.  As you can see from the bottles, Hula-rious is way different.  That also might be a reason that I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, so the mini will do me fine.  The GGG and Fiver don’t look a whole lot alike, but maybe that’s because of the different bottle, because they’re a lot closer on the nail.  Observe….

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From index to pinky, that’s Fiver, GGG, Hula and GGG with the white base coat.  As you can see, Hula isn’t even in the same ballpark, much more yellow. So much so it makes the other look practically blue in comparison and they don’t look blue at all on their own.

The Fiver looks a skosh lighter in the picture than GGG (they’re practically  bang on in person) but that could be because that’s SIX coats of GGG to THREE of Fiver.  And I could have gotten away with two coats, but I did three on Hula so I wanted to have an even comparison.  Even with SIX coats, you can still see bald patches on the GGG.  To be totally fair, I didn’t top coat any of them and that might have helped.  I also didn’t baby it as much as I would have if it was going to be an actual mani.

I have to give a big pinky up! to Put a Coat On, though.  While it looks a little patchy in the picture, it didn’t seem that much in person.  Also (hold on to your hat), that’s only two coats.  TWO!  Had I noticed the patchy, I would have done another coat and I usually do three anyway.  As for the base coat, it was such a solid white that I thought it might go on like Liquid Paper.  No way!  It went on smooth as silk and was completely opaque in one coat!  I’m going to try it with some of my other really sheer but not necessarily patchy polishes to try and reduce the VNL.  Never mind that i have like half a dozen different whites for that purpose…..ha!

Speaking of green, I had what I thought was a pretty cool mani for St. Patrick’s Day so that might bump a few others back, just to be somewhat timely.  Yes, it irks me that St. Patrick’s color is BLUE, for God’s sake, not green!  And, yes, back in the day I was a smart ass who wore St. Patrick’s Blue and dared someone to pinch me.  But I’ve mellowed a bit since then and just go along with the masses these days.

But in looking through my to be posted manis just now, I do have one that could be deemed a nice St. Patrick blue that I had on shortly before this week.  Hmmmm….Maybe I’m still a rebel, just a subconscious one….

A Few Words on … Beauty Steals

So just last week I was thinking here it is almost the middle of March and I haven’t seen anything on Ulta’s semi-annual Beauty Steals promotion.  And then this weekend I get the newest circular with the BS (ha!) calendar!  I was so excited that I stood in the driveway and checked it out…

As an aside, what ever happened to the excitement that getting the new phone book generated each January?  Damn you, internet and your infernal immediacy!  That used to be a really big deal and I probably haven’t even opened a phone book in the last couple years.  I get two or three different ones every year and, when I finally toss them to be recycled, the spines aren’t even cracked.  Kind of sad, isn’t it?

But back to the matter at hand…

Generally, the only nail lacquer represented is butterLONDON, but I’m always hoping for a Zoya or OPI one.  Or even a CND Vinylux, since I really like a couple of shades in their spring collection, Garden Muse.  Hell, I might even check out some Orly or Essie on a BS!  But it’s still a BL-only world, so I’ll have to save my coupons for the others that I want.

So, BL fans, start your engines and circle March 19 on your calendars!  It’s so exciting!  Well, actually not.  Instead of the usual BOGO, it’s a flat $9.00.  Now that might actually be a better deal for some.  You don’t have to buy in pairs and it also covers nail treatments.  Those are usually $19 a pop, so that’s even better than 50% off!  However, I’m not even feeling a tiny bit of want on this one.  It could be because I still have tons of untrieds from my BL sprees last fall.  I even got a really good deal on cuticle remover/oil sets or I might go for some of the treatments.

For those wondering about the various treatments, I really can’t give much of a review.  The treatment products I have are the Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator, Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil, Nail Foundation Flawless Base Coat and Hardwear PDQuick Top Coat.  Of those, I haven’t tried the cuticle oil or the base coat.  Once I run out of my current oil and base I’ll start using those, so a future review might be in the offing.  I’ve been using the Melt Away for a while now and, while I can’t say it’s appreciably better than any of the Sally Hansen ones I’ve used, I like it well enough.  But at 9 bucks, it’s only a few dollars more than the drugstore varieties and the BL treatments are in bigger bottles than the lacquers, so it might work out to the same or less per ml/oz than the ones in glass bottles with a brush.  Probably not the gel kind in a squeeze bottle, but I prefer the brush types so it’s worth it to me.  I will say I like it a lot better than Blue Cross remover, which is so thin it’s like water and just comes in a big ol’ plastic bottle with no applicator.  I have scads of the Blue Cross since it’s actually cheaper than water, so I started using it in the foot bath and went for better stuff on my nails.

I kind of banged on the PDQ top coat during my Seche Vite review, but I’ll backtrack a little on that.  All of my in use bottles of SV need some Restore and since I’m too damned lazy to do it when I’m thinking about it, I forget until my nails are wet and I pick up the bottle.  So I’ve been using the PDQ for my last couple manicures.  Is it as good as Seche Vite?  No way!  It’s not as glossy and it’s not as hard so you don’t get that satisfying click-click.  It also doesn’t dry as fast, but it does do a lot better than I previously thought.  I’ve been using it when I don’t have anything to do afterward except play on the computer with no typing involved.  If I needed to get up and go somewhere or have some activity right after, I’d still definitely go for the SV.

The only reason I have the base coat is that it came in a set, so it’s not that I’m dissatisfied with my regular OPI base or Seche Clear.  My OPI is really getting low, so I’ll probably switch to the BL after that’s gone and wait for a sale instead of replacing the OPI right away.  The cuticle oil was also in sets at a huge discount so I still had plenty of my other oils left.  I have a big bottle of Super Cheap Super Nail that I use when I want need a big oil drenching (like after my nails have been through an acetone soaking), but I’ve been using some Sally Hansen and Gelish as my daily oils.  Once one of those runs out, I’ll start on the BL.

Since I don’t have any pictures for this post, I’ll just give a random sneak peek at an upcoming BL polish:

All Hail the Queen with West End Wonderland accent

As well as a bottle shot of one of the cuticle oils that I’m currently using up before I start with the Handbag Holiday:

Polish is OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress

Polish is OPI I’m Not Really a Waitress

butterLONDON – West End Wonderland

Well, well, well…here we are again.  Oh, Butter London, I just can’t quit you…  I’m going to keep using you until I love you, dammit!  Truthfully, I’m almost there, at $8.00 or less, anyway.  I got this one in a Holiday two-pack that was half off the regular price and then I got 50% off of that.  Butter London at $3.75 a bottle?  Yes, please!

West End Wonderland is a light gold glitter in a clear base.  I’m not really a fan of gold in general and gold nail lacquer even less.  But this always looks so tempting that it’s been on my “maybe” list for several years.  When the aforementioned deal came up (the other one in the pack was Come to Bed Red, which is another one that’s been on that list for a while). I finally took the plunge.

And I’m glad I did.  It looks pretty dark on the BL site, but in person it’s much lighter and brighter and even has a sprinkling of sparkly copper and pink!

West end wonderland

 

Here’s another shot to show how delicate it looks when it’s in the light:

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Like most clear glitters, it goes on quite sheer.  In fact, I think that a light coat of this would be a great topper to a creme underneath.  Unlike a lot of clear glitters, it was perfectly opaque after three coats. It also came off really easy, not just swipe, wipe like with a creme, but it didn’t require soaking, either.  Also like most glitters, it wasn’t perfectly smooth but just one coat of Seche Vite fixed it up nicely and, since I always finish with the SV, it wasn’t even an extra step.

Will I wear this all the time?  No, because even though it exceeded my expectations I’m still not a real fan of gold glitter.  Will I wear it again?  Yes, it’s easy to apply and easy to remove.  I might even try it as a topper for some sort of holiday manicure come December.

butterLONDON – Queen Vic

I have a somewhat rocky relationship with Butter London, which I expounded in a somewhat blistering fashion in a previous BL review.  But I’ve been on a bit of a BL spree in the last several months, what with BOGOs at Ulta and 50% coupons off of already reduced last orders on their website.  In spite of myself, I’ve begun to love it.  I still don’t love it $15 for 11ml worth, but I really love it at $8.00 and under…

This is Queen Vic, which BL calls a red wine/cranberry creme.  I only had a few BL cremes in my collection previously, but I’ve gotten quite a few more with my latest acquisitions.  For the most part I’ve liked them, I find them better than China Glaze, but not quite up to OPI standards.  I’d put them just under Zoya, which might be attributed to the brush.

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I’d classify this more as a berry than a cranberry, which I think of as more red.  Maybe red wine/dark mauve as it does lean just a taste purple.  I find it very close to OPI Anti-Bleak from their one of of their Mariah Carey offerings a few years ago or Casino Royale from the Skyfall collection.  Also Got Cherried Away from the Coca-Cola collection, which I actually have.  I’ll need to remember to do a comparison when I get around to reviewing that one.  Or maybe Zoya’s Veronica.

In other words, there’s nothing unique or special about the color.  Well, I shouldn’t say not special, because the color itself is a great one.  Probably why there are so many variants of the shade available.  Work appropriate but not boring, understated but not granny-ish, attractive on just about every skin tone and any nail length.  In other words, a pretty classic shade and one that I’m quite fond of in general, not just in nail varnish.

 

A Few Words on … Willpower

So in my last post I mentioned that I get suckered into trying to love butterLONDON every time Ulta has a B2G1 sale.  So what was I supposed to do when Ulta had its semi-annual 31 Days of Beauty promo and one of the daily Beauty Steals was two BL for $15?  That’s a BOGO deal!  Will I be twice the sucker on this one?  Let’s find out…

My BL collection stands at the same count as before the BS (ha!) of the day happened.  How did I manage this?  It was a multi-pronged approach that leaned heavily on the lazy-ass tine.

Ulta is abut a 20 mile round trip, which saves me enormous amounts of money.  But I had talked myself into going on BL day because I wanted to find a specific shade of OPI  and look at the new Zoyas.  I also wanted to check out the clearance rack because, you know, half price stuff!

As the day wore on and I kept putting it off and vacillating back and forth on the wisdom of succumbing to the siren call of the BOGO, I decided to check out the BL colors online to make my selections in advance.  Ordering online was an option, but is less preferred for a couple of reasons.  1. They don’t sell Zoya online 2. You can’t see the colors in person 3. Shipping.

After giving it a bit of  rationalization deep thought, I came up with advantages to ordering online.  1. They had the OPI shade I wanted, while the store might not 2. The same might be true of any BLs that I selected 3. The gas spent on the trip would be about the same as shipping and 4. I didn’t have to get dressed.

Yay! I’m all set to go, BL here I come!  Wait, I’m supposed to be mowing through the lacquers I have, not adding to it.  And I already broke up with BL.  The next review in line was the one for Wallis, so I started writing it in my head.  Starting with all of the reasons why I don’t like BL.

Bottom line:  I ordered NOTHING.  Nil. Bupkis. Sweet FA.  I am a rock.  Encased in steel.  Surrounded by an electric force field that nothing can penetrate.  I am TI-TAY-NEE-UMMMM!!

The next day I went to Sally because I needed shampoo.

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That’s just the nail lacquer portion of my purchase.  The China Glaze was BOGO (and it’s less than half the price of BL to start with), the Gwen Stefani (far left) was on clearance (half price!  And that was the last bottle of Hey Baby they had!) and the other two OPI I had already planned on purchasing at some point.  So, there’s that.

I forgot to get the shampoo….

 

butterLONDON – Wallis

The lengths to which I have gone to love butterLONDON (hereinafter to be referred to as BL because….come on, ReAlLy??) are even more ridiculous than my China Glaze efforts.  At least my reasons for wanting to love China Glaze are sound: availability, affordability and selection. BL is pretty much the anti-a/a/s.

Availability? You can get it online or you can get it at Ulta.  I think you can sometimes find it in schmancy places like Nordstrom’s but that might only be in the Big Cities and I’m not going to the mall to find out!

Affordability?  $15 for 11 ml/.4 oz.  You heard that right, fifteen scoots for 4ml/.1 oz LESS than other brands.  Except for Julep and they’re just crazy ass.

Selection?  If you go online to their site I think they have a reasonable selection, but whenever I’ve gone to Ulta and wanted something specific, they don’t have it.  Racks and racks of other lacquers, maybe a couple dozen (if that) of BL.

And pretentious?  With all their fancy British references on their lacquer names and the actual name of their company you know where they’re based, right?  Yep, Seattle….

I mean, really, is a cool rectangular bottle that stacks together so nicely worth all that?  Apparently, because they’re still in business and I still keep swinging away whenever I see a B2G1 at Ulta (until last week!  But that’s another story for another time).

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at Wallis.  Yes, the bottle is upside down on purpose.  It’s got a huge, tall cap (that I think is an illusion to make it look like more than it is, because it’s hollow and you have to pull it off to get to the brush) and holding it the other way my fingers cover up the color.

 

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This came out a couple of years ago (might have been for the Queen’s Jubilee (because, again, Seattle….) and I got this and Bluey at the same time.  Now, I ADORE Bluey and, to be fair, a couple of BLs are among my favorites.  But $15 a pop is too much to be doing too many crapshoots.

Where were we?  Oh yeah, Wallis.  To be completely fair to Wallis, I don’t know why I got it.  I don’t even like the color normally.   I think I wanted West End Wonderland and ended up ordering this one.   I now must confess that when I went to their site to get links for those shades I caught  myself looking at some colors and going “oooh!”.  Then I slapped myself and closed it out but quick.  Curse you and your ways, BL!!!

Or I think I might have imagined it would be something like OPI Just Spotted the Lizard aka Chanel Peridot aka Jessica Irisdescent Eye aka China Glaze Rare and Radiant aka Color Club Editorial aka The Most Duped Lacquer on the Planet, a gold/green duochrome that I love so much I have a mini and 2 backups.

What I got was a metallic described as gold/olive green that looks more like cheap brass with a dirty patina.  To be honest, maybe it’s just my skin tone or some of the pictures I saw online while I was deciding on it weren’t based in reality.  I’ve worn this several times, trying to make myself love it and sometimes I get a little flash when the light hits it just right and I glance that way at the right time and I think I might like it.  Then I come back to reality.  It’s a little bit runny and I have to watch out for cuticle flooding and it’s a bit patchy after one and sometimes two coats.  But I won’t castigate it much for that, because that’s been my experience with a lot of metallics.

Poor Wallis, the homely outsider in my polish collection that I just can’t bring myself to dump.  Aptly named, yes?