Illamasqua Viridian & Glitterati

I got these polishes on clearance after the holidays from Sephora some years ago, before they stopped carrying Illamasqua products, and I busted them out again this year because I missed wearing them!

Here’s Illamasqua Viridian, one coat, on all nails, except for two coats Illamasqua Glitterati on the accent nail, all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. In outdoor natural light on day 2:

Viridian is a lovely metallic evergreen (blue-toned, somewhat dusty green) with fine silver shimmer. The bottle seems to show some blue duochrome/dichroic flash, but it doesn’t really show on the nail. Best thing is it’s got a great formula that’s completely opaque in one coat. So awesome. It’s still one of my favorite greens/teals. (I did a comparison post of several similar polishes earlier, if you’re interested!) Dry time was around average.

Glitterati is jewel-toned berry jelly with various sized holo glitters and some kind of fine iridescent shimmer that flashes blue from some angles. I seriously love this polish, and my crappy photo unfortunately doesn’t do it justice. The depth and coverage is good at two coats, but it’s a bit too uneven at one. No complaints about the formula, which dried pretty fast.

Both of these polishes lasted about four days or so with my typical base and top coats – pretty average for me.

Happy new year!


Julep Dakota & The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head

I did my Halloween nails a bit early this year, since I’ll be at Cuttlewig’s wedding this weekend and will probably be wearing something less garish. ;D

This is 2 coats Julep Dakota (index & pinky) and The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head (middle & ring), topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light. (The light’s a bit bluish because it was early in the day.)

Julep Dakota is an older Julep polish that I’d had sitting around but hadn’t gotten around to trying until now. It still had its shrink wrap on! Dakota’s a “[r]ose gold metallic chrome,” per Julep. Very coppery, like a new penny, with a kind of frosty finish that shows brushstrokes if you’re not careful. Top coat helps, though. I had no problems with the formula and got full opacity in two easy coats. Dry time seemed average.

The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head is a lovely grape-soda purple jelly packed with “brown microglitter, iridescent hexes and a mix of orange, copper and green dots” (from the maker’s description, which seems accurate!). Mine smells like pumpkin pie (you can pick a scent when you order) because I thought it’d be fun – and it really does smell kind of like a pumpkin spice latte or something along those lines! I had to fish around for the bigger glitters and do some dabbing to get them in place, but otherwise, the formula was great. Reasonably opaque in two coats and dries on the faster side. A little bumpy, like you’d expect from a chunky glitter, and it’s got a semi-matte finish if you don’t add top coat.

No complaints about either of these polishes! They were fun to wear, especially Pumpkin Head, and they lasted an average length of time for me without chipping (about 3-4 days).

The Lady Varnishes Have Some Candy & Candeo Colors Jellybean

Happy Easter! Thought I’d celebrate with a couple candy-sweet indie colors today. This is The Lady Varnishes Have Some Candy (inspired by Wreck It Ralph‘s King Candy, from her monthly Disney villains series) and Candeo Colors Jellybean.

Have Some Candy is a salmon-pink jelly base loaded with gold shimmer and various sized holographic hex glitters in purple, fuchsia, and gold-green. The polish is good to go in two coats, was easy to apply with no special glitter placement needed, and dried on the fast side of average. Better yet? It smells of bubblegum! ❤

Jellybean instantly made me think of Peeps when I saw it for the first time. It’s a thin creme base in pale, cool-toned yellow, with turquoise, pink, and purple hexes and microglitters. This polish takes two to three coats to get good opacity and seems to have an average dry time, but the glitters distributed evenly on their own and didn’t take special placement. In the bottle, I wasn’t sure if the bright glitters would overpower the pale base, but it works beautifully on the nail; the thin base gives it that jelly-sandwich effect that mutes the glitters a little to excellent effect. Great Easter polish, for sure.

I love both these polishes! Jellybean is my first and only Candeo Colors polish at the moment, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve picked up quite a few colors from The Lady Varnishes, but Have Some Candy is definitely one of my favorites when the mood for pink strikes.

Anyway, have a great weekend, and eat lots of candy! 😀

July 4th: The Lady Varnishes Stay Puft, Pure Ice Deja Vu & Sinful Colors Star Blast-Off

I’ve swatched a few festive colors for July 4th! Here’s The Lady Varnishes Stay Puft, two coats, on all fingers except the ring, which is two coats Pure Ice Deja Vu layered with one layer Sinful Colors Star Blast-Off.

This is day two of this manicure in outdoor natural light, all nails topped with Essie Good To Go top coat:

The Lady Varnishes Stay Puft, from The Lady Varnishes’ I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost collection, is a fun glow-in-the-dark glitter topper with a sheer white base and multi-sized matte white hexes, translucent blue-raspberry blue and red hexes, and white glass-fleck-y shimmer. The sheer white is subtle but gives the nails a cleaner look. Also, my bottle is marshmallow scented!

The formula is a bit goopy and clumpy, but it’s not too bad to work with, since it’s sheer and hard to mess up. The brush is a bit thicker and wider than the typical standard nail-polish brush and easily fans out to cover the entire nail. I typically prefer the finer standard-size brushes, but I didn’t have trouble with this one, though it did pick up a lot of glitter at once. Dry time was super fast, always a plus.

Did I mention that it glows in the dark? It’s beautiful, too – the glow is primarily a soft blue and looks like a galaxy with all the glitters:

Super sweet!

Pure Ice Deja Vu is one of my favorite Pure Ice polishes. It’s a royal-blue metallic/shimmer with a fuchsia/purple duochrome/dichroic flash, and it’s opaque in two coats. The formula is a tad more watery than optimal, but it’s not too hard to work with, and the brush is pretty standard. Dry time seemed average.

Sinful Colors Star Blast-Off, which I picked up at the same time as Green Ocean from the Having A Blast display at Walgreens, is a glitter topper with matte white stars, small matte white round and hex glitters, and medium matte blue and matte red hexes suspended in a clear base. The base is a bit watery, so some fishing, dabbing, and manual glitter placement is needed to get a good distribution of glitters. The brush is pretty standard and picks up glitter decently. Dry time was a bit longer than average for me.

I think Stay Puft is a new favorite for me. I even like how it looks sheer. 🙂 It goes for $11 at The Lady Varnishes’ Etsy store and is still in stock as of this writing. The other two polishes were $2 polishes at Walmart for Pure Ice and Walgreens for Sinful Colors.

What are your favorite July 4th polishes?

Have a happy and safe Fourth!

Durability update 7/8/2015: Stay Puft started chipping within 2-3 days, but the other two colors lasted about a week without too much damage.

Easter skittles with older Julep colors

Happy Easter! I wasn’t sure I’d have time to post this today, but I’ve got a few minutes’ downtime to type up a post while I wait for my Easter meringue cups to dry in the oven.

I decided to do pastel skittles swatching some of my older Julep colors this year, since I haven’t worn them in some time. :] From thumb to pinky, here’s two coats each of Julep Simone, Susie, Leila, Clara, and Martha, in indoor natural light, topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat:

Leila (yellow with subtle gold shimmer) and Simone (lavender with subtle blue shimmer) are technically shimmers, but the shimmer isn’t really visible on the nail, so I generally use them the way I would a creme. Their formulas are a bit chalky, especially Leila’s, so a third coat might have been better for even opacity, but I was in a bit of a hurry. They dried relatively quickly, though.

Susie is a straight up pale minty green creme, and it probably had my favorite formula and brush (pretty standard-width brush that is less wide than the newer Julep brushes) of all five.

Clara (peach) and Martha (pink) are both cremes/crellies. Martha took a little longer to dry than the other colors, but otherwise, both of these polishes also had pretty good formulas that went on smoothly. I may have liked Susie’s application better mostly because the finer-tipped brush was easier for me to use.

Susie is from 2012, and the other colors are from 2013, so many of these colors probably aren’t available from Julep anymore. I’ve got a special fondness for them because they were some of the first Julep polishes I’d ever bought, and my nail polish habit only started in 2012 – something I picked up to cover up my gel-polish-removal-damaged nails after having them done for the first time ever for my wedding. (Before that, I was definitely a strictly unadorned nails kind of girl, and I still generally wear no other cosmetics!)

I was amazed to discover in 2012 that since my childhood years, nail polish makers had actually broken out of that old-fashioned pink/red/nude rut and now embraced colors I actually wanted to wear – like blues, greens, and neon oranges – as well as glitter and other special finishes.

I’ve been enamored of nail polish ever since, and I don’t think that’ll be changing anytime soon. :] Anyway, my meringues are pretty much done now, so I’ll cut it off there.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Zoya Rebel & Essie Peak of Chic

For my first nails of the year, I wanted to do something wintry before the season’s over. I went with Zoya Rebel (from the spring 2014 Awaken collection), two coats, and Essie Peak of Chic (from the winter 2013 Encrusted Treasures collection), about 1.5 coats, applied in a gradient on the ring finger.

This is in full direct sunlight, all topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat, on day two of the manicure (forgive my horribly dry winter skin, please!):

Rebel is an icy-looking, mostly cool-toned sky-blue and silver shimmer/metallic. When I look more carefully in some types of lighting, I can see some flashes of gold in there, too. It was reasonably opaque in two coats for me, but the formula was a little gloopy and took longer than average to dry. The consistency was a bit thicker than optimal, but it was still reasonably workable, and I had no problems with the fairly standard brush.

Peak of Chic is a mixture of matte white and holo silver bar glitter suspended in a clear base. I picked it for this combination thinking it might look reminiscent of snow, as I’m guessing from the name that Essie intended, but I’m still a bit lukewarm on the bar glitter. I don’t hate it, but in the end, it makes me think more furry Yeti than snow. I guess that’s all right. It looks okay over Rebel, but I may have to brainstorm some more to figure out a better way to use this polish. Maybe over a shimmery white or some kind of silver for Yeti/tinsel nails? The formula is slightly thick, as many glitter suspensions are, but it’s not too hard to work with. I almost wish the glitter density was higher to give a truly furry look with fewer coats, though. It dries relatively quickly.

As often happens with Julep’s Freedom top coat, I had some pretty noticeable shrinkage when it dried, causing the weird lines in the polish and visible tip wear by the second day. Drat. I think shrinkage has been a bit more drastic now that my bottle is nearing empty, maybe because the consistency may be getting a bit thicker. I’m guessing more care may be needed to thickly wrap the nail tips and deliberately cover more surface area than the polish itself when the bottle runs low. I’d thought I’d top-coated all the areas I painted, but maybe that wasn’t enough.

I think I still got the wintry look I was going for, though, so I’m reasonably satisfied. Rebel’s a great color and totally up my alley. I’m still looking for Dillon, the minty green from the same collection, though. If I ever catch that one on clearance (like Rebel is at Ulta right now) or sale, I’ll nab it for sure. :]

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!