Christmas nail art fail! (plus Zoya PixieDust Chita and Zoya Logan)

My nail art experiments don’t always turn out well, and unfortunately, that happened this Christmas! I figured I might as well post the abomination I wore through the holidays, partly because I don’t mind if my failure amuses someone and partly because a  couple nails in there are swatches of nail colors I haven’t posted yet. Who knows? Maybe, on the off chance, someone will find it a little useful.

Sorry, it really is pretty ugly. This was taken in indoor fluorescent lighting:

I was too tired and annoyed with it to bother cleaning up my mistakes, too, so doubly sorry about that.

Anyway, I’ll start with the two somewhat decent swatches:

  • MiddleZoya PixieDust Chita, a lovely army-green polish with silver glitter scattered throughout. Great coverage at one coat and great formula. It dries very quickly to a finely textured matte finish and looks slightly yellower-toned and more desaturated in person. Couldn’t be happier with this one and wish I painted all my nails in this! One coat shown above.
  • PinkyZoya Logan, which strikes me as an overall blue-leaning medium-green foil-y shimmer with some gold shimmer mixed in there to warm it up. It’s super shiny and opaque in two coats, and I had no problems with the formula. Two coats shown above.

Now for the nails that I mangled:

  • Index – I started with two coats of Logan and dotted on Julep Margot (metallic gold), which I wasn’t satisfied with. I ended up trying to add some red dots of Milani Ruby Jewels (bright cherry-red glitter), but the result looked horrifying – like I’d somehow gotten blood spattered on my polka-dot pattern. D: In the end, I slathered a thin coat of Essie Hors d’Oeuvres over the whole thing in an attempt to mute the ugliness, and the above photo is what I got. Bleh.
  • Ring – I started with two coats of Julep Nicolette (white creme) and attempted a candy-cane stripe with Ruby Jewels. Nicolette was hard to work with, as it was strangely both runny and clumpy, which caused me to flood the cuticles on both hands. D: Ugh. I then waited forever for it to dry, but even when it seemed safely dry to the touch, it apparently wasn’t dry enough to use tape, and the stripes I taped down ended up pulling up polish, leaving a huge gooey mess instead of the clean stripes I’d wanted. I ended up brushing a thin layer of Ruby Jewels over the top to cover up the ruined white areas, hoping I’d still get a subtle stripe pattern. I guess it worked somewhat, but the white showing around the edges was way gross.

Lessons I learned: don’t overdo it with the polka dots and make sure to understand the quirks of a white polish (notoriously hard to work with D:) before attempting to do tape stripes over it!

Hopefully, I’ll have some time to post up something less appalling soon. :] Happy New Year!


Happy Independence Day!

I went for a sort of glittery graffiti/paint-splatter effect for Independence Day:

In natural light:

Ring: Julep Savoy (desaturated gold chrome, two coats), Julep Fireworks (sparse coverage silver, red, and blue multi-sized glitters in a clear base; one coat), Julep Diamond Theory (dense coverage gold and copper multi-sized glitters in a clear base, one thin coat)

The rest: Milani White (stark white creme, three coats), Julep Fireworks (one coat), Julep Diamond Theory (one thin coat), Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Rosey Shooter (sparse coverage red and white multi-sized hex, round, and bar glitters in a clear base; one coat)

I had some difficulty with both Savoy, which was brush-streaky but covered well enough in two coats, and White, which was thin enough to be drippy and applied patchily but seemed a little too thick to even out nicely. It was hard to make either look good on its own. The glitter polishes applied easily and swipe-dabbed on like typical glitters, though. All of them were sparse and best used as toppers, except for Diamond Theory, which can probably be reasonably opaque in two or three coats. I like how it looks over Savoy, even without the other glitters layered over it.

Truth is, I wasn’t planning on painting my nails again yet, but it turns out Julep’s new Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat doesn’t defend so well against staining, so I had to cover them up in a hurry. Boo. :[

Jennine’s vibrant teal from this past week stained my nails something fierce on the thumb, middle, and pinky fingers, on which I’d used Julep Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat underneath. I used my usual combination of Sally Hansen Nail Nutrition Green Tea + Olive Growth and Orly Bonder on the clean nails (index and ring), and the difference is clear as day. Unfortunately, this means Julep’s new base probably won’t go into my go-to rotation, since it’ll be reserved for use with light-colored Juleps. Such a shame.

Anyway, just thought I’d give you all the heads up that Julep Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat doesn’t seem to guard very well against staining. It did fine bonding the color to the nail, though, with relatively minimal chipping after a week of wear. Did you have better results?

Happy Fourth!

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Chartreuse Chase, Zoya Louise, and Milani Sugar Rush

As soon as I saw Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Chartreuse Chase at the drugstore, I knew I’d have to pick it up. I love the creamy almost-neon, almost-pastel yellow-green with subtle cyan shimmer.

Here’s day 2 in natural light, three coats of Chartreuse Chase (except for the ring finger, which I’ll talk about later), topped with Julep Freedom top coat:

Chartreuse Chase needed three coats because it goes on a bit patchy in the first two, but it does dry really fast, like its name suggests, so slapping on three layers isn’t that bad. The brush is wide with a rounded tip and workable, but it felt a bit clumsy for precise application. One weird quirk of this polish: the shimmer was very visible when I first applied it, but I’m now on day four of this manicure, and I feel like the cyan shimmer’s gotten less and less visible. I’m not exactly sure why. The color hasn’t otherwise faded, though. Any ideas? Is it my top coat?

My ring finger has on Zoya Louise, a chocolate brown creme/crelly from the fall 2013 Cashmeres & Satins collection (on the Cashmeres side), as well as Milani Sugar Rush, which is a new Gold Label glitter topper introduced this spring, comprising a clear base with medium holo and pastel matte hex glitters in silver, peach, light yellow-green, and yellow. I was thinking of Easter chocolate when I picked these colors, natch. Yum!

Both of these polishes have more typical brushes that are smaller and flat-tipped. Louise is great and glides on super smooth, covering completely in two coats. Sugar Rush is cute but a bit more of a pain to apply. I definitely needed to dab and deliberately place glitters to get an even distribution. Because Sugar Rush needed extra manipulation, it actually melted and smudged Louise underneath while I was pushing glitters around, so I had to redo that one. Just fair warning!

Milani Golden Romance

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! ♥ I’m not into the idea of commercialized love, but I still enjoy the holiday, in all its pink, red, and chocolate glory. Blame the residual warm fuzzies from trading elementary-school valentines all those years ago – I loved it!

Anyway, I picked Milani Golden Romance (from Milani’s new spring 2014 collection) to swatch and wear this week because 1) its name and color are so Valentine’s Day, and 2) my husband gave me this polish! (He’s one of those rare men who loves going nail polish shopping as much as I do.) It’s hard to capture in photos exactly how extremely mirror-shiny this polish is, but it’s extremely shiny. It’s densely packed gold metallic microglitter (almost too fine to be called a glitter, really) and multi-sized pale pink hex glitters in a clear base. Also, I could be wrong, but the base looks a touch pearlescent to me.

This is two coats, topped with Seche Vite:

The formula is good – a little watery, but not too runny to apply easily – and it dries fast. It’s a little bit sheer, probably purposely so, but I think it stands well on its own. My only issue with the polish is that it started flaking off my nails a bit on the second day. That could be partially my fault, though; I didn’t use my usual Orly Bonder underneath, and that tends to make a noticeable difference in polish durability for me. The chipping’s not too noticeable, though, because of the polish’s subtle color.

This is two coats, before top coat, in direct sunlight:

You can kind of see how the polish is a bit sheer, such that the pinkness of my nail shows through in some lighting. You can also maybe see what I mean by a slight pearlescence in the finish.

And, here’s two coats, before top coat, in indirect sunlight, to better show the coverage of the gold glitter/shimmer, which tends to look reasonably opaque in most lighting:

I just really love this polish, and I love that it’s an inexpensive drugstore polish. In person, it’s super shiny like a foil/chrome polish but has more going on, with the multi-sized glitter texture. I can’t help but wonder if it looks anything like Maybelline Gilded Rose (from their line of Brocade polishes) or Sephora Formula X Love Chemistry (from the Sparklers line). I don’t own either right now, but if they somehow end up in my possession, maybe I’ll do a face-off. :]