LynBDesigns Oh Captain, My Captain

I had LynBDesigns Oh Captain, My Captain sitting around in my stash for a long time, and I have no idea why I’d forgotten to wear it until now! (This polish is from the October 2014 Spark of Madness collection inspired by Robin Williams.)

As usual, two thin coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light:

Oh Captain, My Captain is a beautiful polish, with what looks like a sheer black (or maybe super dark blue?) base with scattered holographic shimmer particles and an oil-slick-like multichrome (iridescent, if you want to skip the nail polish jargon ;)) flash. At the edges of the nail, I could maybe see some dark blue, but for the most part, it seemed to shift from purplish pink to gold and olive for me. The overall effect reminds me of outer space – stunning!

Application was great, covering well in two coats and drying faster than average. Durability wasn’t so good, unfortunately. I had major chips on the third day with my typical base coat and top coat. So awesome while it lasted, though! Ah, well. I guess that gives me a good reason to repaint my nails in pastels for Easter. :]

P.S. Here’s a link to the Walt Whitman poem “O Captain! My Captain!” the polish name references. 😀

Sonnetarium Strawberry Smoothie, Banana Pudding & Cucumber Salad

I bought these three minis from a blog sale some years ago and somehow never got around to swatching them! These are three colors from Sonnetarium‘s Fresh collection from 2013 – Strawberry Smoothie, Banana Pudding, and Cucumber Salad. They’re as yummy-looking as they sound, and there are two additional colors, Blueberry Yogurt and Raspberry Sorbet, that I wasn’t able to track down at the time. (Someday!)

I feel so hungry just typing out those polish names. All of these are milky jellies (ugh, that sounds yummy, too), so they’re pretty sheer, but they all create that lovely, squishy, sugary jelly-sandwich look in three thin coats!

Strawberry Smoothie is a light pink jelly liberally dusted with fine white, red, and pink glitters – plus some holo ones, too, if I’m not mistaken. Yum! It’s got the densest glitter of the three. This one was also the most challenging to apply of the three, since it’s got the densest glitter and is sometimes a little clumpy. It’s also chipping pretty noticeably on day five of this manicure.

Cucumber Salad reminds me more of mint than cucumber, but it’s a lovely shade of blue-tinged green with a speckling of white and dark green glitters. This one was easiest to apply and is holding up beautifully at five days.

Banana Pudding is a pale yellow with white and yellow glitters. This one was had the least even application, but it dried the smoothest and had the glassiest finish. It’s starting to lift a bit at the edges but has only chipped minimally after five days, even on my heavily used thumb.

All three have thin formulas that require at least three coats for some semblance of coverage, but they dry fast! No glitter placement necessary for these, either. They self-distribute perfectly.

I love how tasty these polishes look and hope to someday find Blueberry Yogurt, which was my actual favorite of that collection, but which sold out before I even knew about it. Again, someday! 🙂

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).

Zoya Bela & LynBDesigns The London Season

In a moment of ambivalence, I asked Mr. ‘Fiend what color I should paint my nails this week. He said pink, then white-pink when I asked for more specificity. So, I dug out a pale pink I hadn’t tried yet: Zoya Bela, which apparently achieved fame as the nail polish featured in Black Swan (which I haven’t watched yet but have heard is a great film).

This is day two of two coats, plus one coat LynBDesigns The London Season on the ring finger and all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, photographed in outdoor natural light:

Bela is a semi-sheer cool-toned ballet-pink crelly/jelly polish, designed for use as a French manicure base but soft and pretty on its own. It’s still pretty sheer at two coats, as shown here, and could probably be mostly opaque in three. I kind of like it semi-sheer, though. The formula is pretty good, though it’s got a tendency to streak a bit, even at two coats, so it takes a bit of care to apply evenly. Glossy top coat helps, though! Dry time seemed average.

The London Season is from LynBDesigns’ Downton Abbey-inspired Meet Me at the Abbey collection and is a really fun glitter topper loaded pretty densely with transparent tiny hex glitter in red, green, blue, pink, yellow, and purple, as well as a pinch of transparent iridescent squares and microglitter. I can’t help but think of confetti and birthday cake when I see this glitter. The formula’s a bit goopy, but it’s easy enough to dab on and spread out the glitter where you want it. Dries fast.

I’m pretty happy with both polishes. The sheer/nude Bela is a nice palate cleanser between bright colors (I’m going to try one of this month’s Julep holo polishes in the next swatch, probably), and it’s nice that I’ve got someone that picks colors for me that I normally skip over when I pick out polish by myself! :]

LynBDesigns Mind Palace

This is three coats of LynBDesigns Mind Palace, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light:

Mind Palace is from LynBDesigns’ Sherlock-inspired collection, Baker Street. This one’s a beautifully glassy grape-purple jelly loaded with turquoise square glitters; variously sized purple, silver, matte black, and matte white hexes; and matte white diamonds. The glitters need a bit of help getting to where you might want them (I didn’t really help them along in these photos, so they’re not terribly tidy, but a little bit of dabbing and gliding would have fixed the clumping), but that’s to be expected of a glitter party like this. Lovely depth and bright colors!

The formula is pretty good. It’s not hard to apply compared to other similarly chunky glitter polishes, which take some gentle coaxing to even out their distribution and ensure that the glitters lie flat. As reference, I didn’t really do anything special because I was doing these quickly, but I still got a decent, if not amazingly even, spread. Dry time was faster than average for me, and the glossy top coat brightened up the finish, which dries to a semi-matte on its own. I bet this would look deliciously squishy with a matte top coat!

Durability was middling. Probably because of the chunky glitters, it chipped in maybe two or three days (versus my average of three or four) because the edges of the glitter tend to catch on my clothing and things. I didn’t use a specially thick top coat to smooth it out completely because it was reasonably smooth (though not perfect) with one coat of regular top coat.

Overall, thumbs up! Love this bright, fun polish!

Vacation nails & Taiwanese nail lacquer: Julep Shay, LynBDesigns Thirsty & UNT EA055 愛情的微光 (A Glimmer of Love; English name: Mint to Be)

I recently got back from a two-week trip to Taiwan and had a great time there! Can’t go wrong with the company of beloved family, copious amounts of great food, and lots of hiking in brutal island sun to kick this post-baby body back into some kind of shape.

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…Plus, I had the chance to snag some Taiwanese nail polish while I was visiting the motherland! xD This is UNT EA055 愛情的微光 (Ai Qing de Wei Guang, or A Glimmer or Love) from UNT’s Love Captain collection:

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(UPDATE 5/7/16: I just discovered UNT has an English website, and this color is named Mint to Be for the English-speaking customers. I’ve updated the references below with the official English name, as well.)

It was 99 NT, or about three bucks, on sale (normally 199 NT, or about six bucks). UNT might be a drug-store polish, but I can’t be sure. I found it at a FamilyMart. In the department stores, I mostly saw familiar brands like OPI and such, so I was excited to try UNT when I saw that it’s a made-in-Taiwan brand.

I also picked up another UNT glitter topper called 欲望是合理的 LV035 (Desire is Reasonable; English name: Daily Miracles) that I’ll swatch on another day.

Anyway, I brought Julep Shay from my January 2016 Julep Maven box and LynBDesigns Thirsty on the trip with me, knowing that I’d be in the mood for some bright untried colors while I broiled in the tropical heat. The trip was so hectic that I almost didn’t get around to polishing my nails, but two days before I left, I threw in the towel and just painted my nails on the moving tour bus. It didn’t come out especially well as a result, though I tried to take maximum advantage of stop lights and traffic, and I didn’t have a chance to take better photos, but eh, other things took higher priority. 😉

This is two coats Julep Shay on all nails, except for two coats LynBDesigns Thirsty on the ring finger, topped with two coats UNT EA055, all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. The photo was taken on the Taipei subway in artificial light of some sort, probably white LED. The color’s not too off – though, of course, Thirsty’s neon doesn’t photograph properly.

Shay is a turquoise glass-fleck-y shimmer (described by Julep as a “[c]eladon iridescent chrome”) that’s beautifully bright. Perfect tropical vacation color. The formula was easy to apply, but the dry time was annoyingly long! I dinged some of my nails because I didn’t wait long enough for them to dry. Takes patience, but it’s a beautiful polish.

Thirsty is a neon mac-‘n’-cheese orange (yum!) crelly that is definitely way more impressive in person than in a photo, which just can’t capture those blazing neons. (Well, either that or monitors can’t display it.) Love. Perfect formula, fast dry time.

EA055 (愛情的微光/A Glimmer of Love/Mint to Be) is mint-green and teal multi-sized glitter topper with a clear base. Like an average glitter topper, it requires a tiny bit of fishing for glitter in the bottle and dab-and-glide glitter placement, but it’s not too bad. I needed two coats to get the glitter density I wanted. Dry time seemed average or maybe slightly longer than average for a glitter, but not bad.

Durability on this combination was fantastic, though; this mani lasted me a good week before chipping significantly. Happy with all three polishes overall. ❤ I hope I have more chances to travel abroad and collect foreign nail lacquers!

Face-off: LynBDesigns Time and Relative Dimension in Space (TARDIS) vs. Essie Starry Starry Night (Retro Revival version)

Been too busy to post for a while now, so I’m playing catch up today. 🙂 Going to try to make it quick!

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Quickie comparison between LynBDesigns Time and Relative Dimension in Space (TARDIS) and Essie Starry Starry Night (SSN), this year’s Retro Revival (RR) collection version, not the original. Index and ring are TARDIS, while middle and pinky are SSN, and both are topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. (Kind of sloppy application, but I was in a hurry packing to get on a plane!) In outdoor natural light:

 

I’ve previously written up a post about LynBDesigns TARDIS, so you can read all my earlier impressions it there. It could be from the pigments settling a bit, but I found the formula thinner than the last time I applied it last July, even after shaking up the bottle. Maybe it needed more shaking. In any case, these photos show four thin coats.

 

Essie SSN (RR) is not the same as the original SSN that so many nail polish collectors are crazy for and which I do not own. Michelle at All Lacquered Up did a really great swatch post comparing the two, as well as a few other polishes. Frankly, I almost didn’t pick it up because I already have Zoya Dream, which I love to death, and the finer sparkle in Dream captures more of what I love about the original SSN. After a lot of hemming and hawing, though, I gave in and purchased a bottle anyway. I wanted to give it a shot.

The new SSN’s got a deep sapphire-blue jelly base and small silver hex glitter (a bit smaller than the silver and turquoise square glitters of TARDIS) and is a much brighter blue than TARDIS and slightly brighter than the original SSN. These photos show two coats. Formula was fine and dry time was about average.

Here’s a shot after only one coat of each:

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Durability-wise, I didn’t have much luck with either polish; both chipped pretty significantly after only maybe two days, despite my usual base and top coats.

Bottom line: Obviously, these two polishes are not dupes, and neither looks that close to the original SSN, but they’re both pretty in their own way. (Ultimately, though, I think I still prefer Zoya Dream over both of them.)