China Glaze – Angel’s Breath

Angel’s Breath was a polish that China Glaze put out a few years back in a Breast Cancer Awareness collection, but is now part of the permanent line.  It’s a very sheer white with a slight hint of pink to it.  The only reason I have it is because it was part of a gradient set I picked up about two years ago.  Although it’s not anything I would have purchased on its own I do have a few sheers, including a couple pinkish ones, so  I’m not opposed to the color itself.  It’s just not anything special that would catch my eye and tell me that I must have it.

All of that to say as a disclaimer of sorts that I wasn’t prejudiced against this one before I even tried it.  In fact, since my nails are in the awkward stage I was looking forward to a soft shade and wasn’t even opposed to a little VNL in the process.   What I wasn’t looking forward to was four (!) coats of runny, cuticle flooding, streaky mess that left both bald spots and globs at the same time.  And, although it doesn’t really show in the picture, the VNL was still really prominent after all those coats.  There’s not a top coat on it because I could not get this mess off fast enough, so I didn’t even do both hands.

Even this Queen of Rationalization on why to keep something can’t recommend it as an undercoat, because the number of coats (four!) to even get a semblance of smoothness is way too many when you haven’t even added your main color or topcoat, or for a french, because after all those coats (four!) it’s not sheer enough for the nail color and not opaque enough for the tip color.

Angels Breath

 

But, wait! (you might say), the picture doesn’t look all that bad…  If you have the intestinal fortitude to zoom the picture, you’ll see the blobs, the patchiness, the raggedy cuticle line and and the complete non-leveling action, even after (did I mention?) four (!) coats.  I suppose it could have evened and smoothed out at some point, I just gave up after four.  Go ahead, zoom in, just don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Advertisements

OPI – I Have a Herring Problem

The two big deal OPI collections are the geographically themed ones for spring and fall (that actually come out a couple of months prior to the start of the season).   They have other collections they do every year, most notably the holiday and summer collections.  These have varying themes, most often a movie tie-in or a celebrity (their most recent celebrity is Gwen Stefani), but the spring/fall big guns are always centered around a geographical region.  Probably some of the hype over these is created by speculating on what city/state/country/region will be next.

The last couple years these collection have been a little hit or miss, but back in 2012 they were still going strong and the spring Holland collection was no exception.  There might have been a slight clunker or two, but no real flops and the collection as a whole was fabulous.  I probably have close to half a dozen of the Holland polishes and this is one of my favorites from that group.  I really don’t wear it that often, although I don’t know why.  That’s one of the fun parts of the Quest, discovering some real gems that I’d forgotten I even had!

I Have a Herring Problem is a medium, dusty blue with an understated shimmer of gold and silver.  Although it’s not even slightly teal, the blue leans green as opposed to gray (more on this in the following paragraph).  It’s a very wearable color, as the blue is about as close to neutral as blue can get and the shimmer is just a hint, rather than screaming GLITTER!!!!1  It was a bit on the thick side, but I think that was just due to the shimmer packed in there rather than it just being a straight creme.

Herring1

 

I really biffed the little finger on this hand, but I’m showing it anyway as you can see the shimmer a little better:

Herring

There is another shade in this collection called I Don’t Give a Rotterdam that, on first glance, looks just like Herring Problem.  I ordered them online and couldn’t decide between the two, so I got both (of course!). It’s funny, when you hold the bottles in separate hands they look identical, but when you put them together…

Herring Rotterdam

That’s Herring on the left and Rotterdam on the right.  See what I meant about the green in Herring?  You don’t even notice it until you hold it next to the slate blue Rotterdam.  In fact, I would have described Herring as slate blue before I compared the two side by side.  I think that Rotterdam also just has silver shimmer with no gold, but I can’t tell for sure until I actually brush it out.  When I do the Rotterdam manicure I’ll try to remember to use Herring as an accent nail in order to have a side by side comparison on the nails.

Here’s something else strange about these two; when I was looking for Rotterdam in order to compare, I couldn’t find it.  The label with the name has fallen off of the bottle and I kept picking it up and saying “no, that’s a gray shimmer”.  After I’d gone through the entire box of OPI I broke out the swatch sticks, compared and, sure enough, that “gray” was Rotterdam!  It didn’t look blue until I held it next to Herring.  Colors (and our perception of them) are weird….

 

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.

Queen vic1

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.

 

China Glaze – Escaping Reality

I think this might be the last one from my “old” batch of pictures before I cut all my nails down and went on hiatus.  But never fear, I’ve been busy making new ones!

Remember that movie Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away that came out around Christmas of 2012?  Yeah, me neither.  But China Glaze apparently thought so highly of it that they did an entire full size collection devoted to it as a tie in.  Remember that 2012 holiday collection from China Glaze called Cirque du Soleil:  Worlds Away?  I do, but just barely and vaguely at that….

But, after brushing up on it in preparation for this post, it did have a couple of cool glitters that I liked.  But I find it physically impossible to pay full price for China Glaze (as reasonable as it is for a salon brand) and there were only a handful of cremes left when Sally finally got around to clearancing them.  So I ended up with two of them, a coral whose name escapes (ha!) me right now and this one.

Escaping Reality is a hot pink that borders on neon.  If it was a brighter or lighter shade it could very well go neon or fluorescent, but the pink is a darker blue leaning shade that saves it from being too loud and makes it much more wearable, rather than just being a “just for fun” choice.  I still classify it as a “hot” pink because it’s highly pigmented, plenty bright and not at all soft.

China Glaze Escaping Reality

As far as the formula goes, it was a bit on the runny side for a creme but I didn’t have a problem with any cuticle flooding.  It wasn’t even necessarily that patchy but since I like to do three coats anyway, that doesn’t really work against a polish for me.  Unless it’s one of those that you’ve still trying to even out half a dozen coats into the thing!  While it wasn’t exactly a matte, there wasn’t much shine to it, but a coating of my precious Seche Vite fixed that up and left my nails looking creamy smooth and ultra shiny.

I also added an atrocious attempt at some tiger stripes at some point before I removed it.

China Glaze Fingerpaints Charcoal

Although I’m far from the best nail artist in the world, I can usually do a pretty decent animal print, so I don’t know why this is 1.  so amateurish and 2.  why I took a picture of it.  Since I’m holding a FingerPaints striper in the picture, I’m pretty sure that I’d just gotten the stripers and….. wait!  I do remember!  Sally was having a B2G1 sale on FingerPaints stripers and I got those at the same time as the two China Glaze polishes!  Since it was the first time I’d gotten the FingerPaints brand of stripers I was testing one out while sitting on the couch with just a shaded lamp for a light source while chatting away with my sister.  Now that I remember the circumstance, that striping job turned out pretty well!

The striper was Ch-art-coal Black and is a really nice one.  Granted, my only other stripers are Salon Perfects that sell for a buck or two at the drug store but FingerPaints are definitely my favorites.  The brush is very narrow, but really long with flexible bristles and a nice point so you can get really thin lines as easily as thicker ones.  The polish itself is thin enough for a light touch and good control, but not so runny that it will drip and spread.  It’s pretty much like a nice fluid eyeliner, it goes where you put it and not where you don’t.

OPI – Big Apple Red

Big Apple Red made its debut in the New York Collection way back in 2000 and has since become a classic in the line.  It’s easy to see why, it’s a classic middle of the road red, nice opacity and shine and, of course that famous OPI smooth as a dream creme formula.

But it enough?  I don’t know.  I’m on a perpetual search for The Perfect Red.  Although red is one of my favorite colors, I don’t really wear a lot of red polish.  I think it’s because for so long there weren’t many options in nail varnish and red was pretty much the default go-to.  Plus I can’t wear red unless my nails are fairly long because short, stubby nails + short, stubby fingers + red polish = man hands.

So, while Big Apple Red was the closest for quite some while to my dream red, it wasn’t quite there.  And I only have it in a mini because I couldn’t quite commit to a full size bottle of a color I don’t wear that much when the search was still on.  That’s also why the bottle shot shows Seche Vite instead.  The mini is too small to really show but a bottle is something to hang onto so you don’t relapse into Claw Hand.

OPI Big Apple Red

As you can see, this was one of the 70% of times that I forget to wrap the edges.  Pro-tip:  If you’re wearing red, make a real effort to remember to make it the 30% that you remember to wrap because it’s a lot more noticeable than with a lighter color!

What keeps this from being The One?  It’s a nice clear, true red but I think it leans just a skosh blue.  And, while I’ll take a red that leans blue over a red that leans orange every day and twice on Sunday, it’s not The Perfect Red.  I’d also like it to be just a tad more squishy, like a crelly rather than a straight creme.  But, it’s shiny glossy and fabulous so I highly recommend it for someone that isn’t as picky as me.

I’ve since gotten a couple of candidates that just might be The Perfect Red, but I need to compare them head to head.  I think at some point I’ll do an entire post consisting of the Tournament of the Reds.  I’ll need to wait a bit longer until my nails grow out a little more so I can go all Dragon Lady Style with it and quite possibly crown an Ultimate Grand Supreme Empress of the Reds!

 

China Glaze – Sweet Hook

This color was first introduced in the Spring 2012 Electropop collection.  With a name like that you’d think bright, flourescent, maybe even neon, but  the majority of that collection was pastel creme and we will be re-visiting Electropop a few times during this journey, since I’ve got several of those cremes.

I was fairly certain that this was now in the permanent line.  I looked it up to make sure and, unless they’ve changed this color with it went stock, the shade that China Glaze shows for this one is really off.  It’s showing a medium-dark lavender and the original is a light, pink leaning lilac.

I’ve got a couple of really rough looking spots on this one (did I not even look at these before I uploaded them?), but the color does show true, so I’m going with it.  Just imagine that index nail had a meteorite fall on it just before the picture was taken.

China Glaze Sweet Hook

This shows my why (as I’ve mentioned before) I’m sort of meh on China Glaze.  Nice color but nothing spectacular.  Not a great formula, but not really awful.  And that’s pretty much China Glaze.  Not bad enough to avoid it like the plague, but not good enough to seek it out and reach for it over something else.  I’m probably somewhat spoiled, as I have a lot of OPI and Zoya, who are masters of creme formulas and colors.

But Sweet Hook does have something that makes it one of my favorites and has me overlook the formula being a bit thick.  This is one of the most complimented shades I wear, especially from the men.  You’d think they’d go for the sexy, vampy stuff, right?  Whether it’s just the shade itself or it just looks good with my skin tone, there’s something about this otherwise innocuous nail polish that makes people notice it and remark.  And, hey, who doesn’t like a little positive reinforcement when it comes to their manicure?

FingerPaints – Art Nouveau Nectarine

As promised, I’m attempting to get back on track with stuff that I’ve let slide during the last 9 months when life got in the way.  I’ve got a couple old ones to get out and then it’s time to get on the journey of getting my nails back into shape.  Since I cut them all off about 6 months ago, I’ve had maybe a cumulative month to six weeks where they’ve looked decent.  I’m now experimenting with some gel bases and different cuticle stuff, so that will be a journey all its own.  So far, I’m pleased with how it’s going, but that worm could turn at any time….

I only have a few FingerPaints, and that was because with a combination of a sale/coupon/total purchase % off, I ended up getting them for like $2 each.  As such, I don’t know a whole lot about the line except that it’s exclusively at Sally Beauty and apparently their conceit is that all of the polish names are “arty”, much like Zoya does the girls’ names thing (although that’s getting strained lately).

I was never really interested because I figured it was basically a glorified house brand a few steps up from Wet ‘n Wild and why pay China Glaze prices when I could get Sinful Colors or Salon Perfect for a buck or two at the drugstore?  I am glad I took advantage of the afore-mentioned deal, because I really do like the polish!  Although I have only added one bottle and a few stripers (I think I might have had these before I got any lacquers) to the four bottles I originally purchased, it isn’t for lack of trying.  I took I don’t know how many trips to Sally trying to get a few of the last couple collections and the ones I wanted were always sold out!  But it’s likely that there’s a FP or two in my future the next time there’s a BOGO or some equally ridiculous sale.  Now, onto the review!

Art Nouveau Nectarine is a color in the standard FP line.  I should have thought more about the word nectarine, because I was really looking for a peach and this is kind of a dark peach with a touch of orange, which I guess is kind of what a color called nectarine should be!  So, it took a while for me to actually use it because it looked too orange on my swatch stick.  However, I’m happy to report that the orange didn’t really translate that much to the nail.

Fingerpaints Art Nouveau Nectarine

You can see that it’s not a pure peach, but what saved it was how juicy it looked, like it was a solid jelly (it isn’t, just a plain creme).  I also didn’t realize how crunchy my cuticles were looking when I took that shot.  Who says that fancy retina pixels and super close up is a good thing?  I also don’t know what’s going on with the tip wear on the index nail, as I don’t remember having any wear issues and didn’t think I waited long to take a picture but it was over six  months ago and I’ve slept since then.

After a few days I was tired of it (as I usually get after 2-3 days), but either didn’t feel like or didn’t have the time to do a new manicure, so I freshened it up with a coat of Colorful Collage!

Fingerpaints Colorful Collage Nectarine

This is a standard glitter in a clear base with a borealis type color of silver/blue/pink.  I’m not going into an in depth review on that, as I want to do separate reviews for the glitters and sheer holos with a variety of looks.

OPI – Can’t Find My Czechbook

This was part of the Spring 2013 Euro Centrale Collection.  I think I “only” got four from that collection and three of them (not sure about the fourth) were added to the permanent line.  Does that mean that I have good taste or I’m just pedestrian and part of the crowd?  I’m going with the former…

Can’t Find My Czechbook (har, har) is perfect in every way!  It’s got the exceptional formula that most of the OPI cremes have and could probably be a one coater.  Plus it’s a deep turquoise blue that doesn’t have any green in it.  That might sound weird, but most really blue turquoise is kind of washed out and this has a beautiful pigmentation.

I want to call it robin’s egg blue, but I think it might be a bit deeper than that.  Or maybe sky blue? Or a darker Tiffany blue? I don’t know.  What I do know is that I’m not very fond of the color blue, outside of some very specific shades, and this is one of them.  It’s smooth and clear and just… well, just perfect!

image

image

 

Nail Art – Easter Watercolor with OPI Sheer Tints

When I got the mini pack of the Sheer Tints, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with them.  Did that stop me from wanting them?  Ha!  I wasn’t really looking for anything at the time, but I was reading some reviews on them and saw some ideas at Phoenix Beauty Lounge.

I must say that I think I got more comments on this mani that I’ve ever had before.  Of course, I routinely get comments from women, especially at places like Sally or Ulta because people there are more likely to be into that kind of stuff.  But when the guy at Lowe’s notices them while cutting your PVC pipe, now that’s something!

I wasn’t completely happy with this one, but that was due to the crap job I did on the white polish (OPI Alpine Snow).  I loved how the Sheer Tint effects turned out, so I’m going to do it again some time, but use a different lacquer for my undies.  I’m thinking that one of my white jellies might be really nice and add even more delicacy to the look.  I pretty much just used the Alpine Snow so I could get it out of the way and check it off  of the review list.

It was really yucky, but I’m not laying all the blame on Alpine Snow’s doorstep.  Opaque creme whites are probably one of the toughest colors there is as far as getting a good formula.  If it’s not streaky, it’s globby, if it’s not runny, chalky.  This pretty  much had the consistency of Liquid Paper.  But I’m willing to cut it a little slack, because it’s a mini bottle that I’ve had a long time so that could have a great deal to do with it being gunky, as well as using the tiny brush.  And I’ll concede that it’s possible that there was some operator error involved as well.  I’ve used it before and, while I’ve never been really thrilled with it, I don’t recall it being this bad.

Here’s the tremendously bad picture I took for posterity:

image

Now to the good stuff!

I described the whole idea behind the Sheer Tints in my previous post, but I’ll put in the picture again just for a reference point on the colors.

image

From left to right –  I’m Never Amberrassed,  Be Magentale With Me, Don’t Violet Me Down and I Can Teal You Like Me.  Yeah, I know.  They  must stay awake at night thinking up this stuff…..

This was really easy and looks so much more impressive that it actually should.  The most frequent comment was “Did you do that yourself?” Followed closely by “Are those your real nails?”.  To which both of my answers are the same.  “If I was paying someone to do this, I would have made them redo the white base and if I was paying for fake nails they’d at least all be the same length!”  Well, that was the answer in my head.  My out loud answer was a very witty “Yes.”

I started with the white undies, which is basically like primering your walls so you have an even color when you paint them a different color.  Then, one by one, I just painted on streaks and strokes of each color, overlapping them to create even more colors.  I should have taken a photo before the top coat because, while it looked okay, it was when I put on the Seche Vite that the magic occurred.  Besides making them shine like crazy, it also blended the colors without muddying them, which was how I got the Monet effect.  Please ignore the raggedy edges, I did manage to smooth them out a little the next day before I inflicted them on an unsuspecting public….

image

The next picture is the bottle shot.  Yes, all of those different shades were created with just those four colors!

image

My verdict on the Sheer Tints is resoundingly positive!  Once my nails grow back (more on that later), I want to really play around with some different techniques and some monochromatic stuff.  At some point I’ll probably add an additional review showing how all of the colors look by themselves rather than blended.  I should have done that before, but didn’t think of it  until now and, honestly, I wouldn’t really have had the time lately anyway.

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.

 

image

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?