Throwback Thursday: Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Precious Pearl

I’ve never done a Throwback Thursday post, but hey, I just happen to be wearing the first nail polish that started this whole nail polish obsession: Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Precious Pearl. More on that in a bit.

This is in outdoor natural light, two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

Precious Pearl is a very sheer, frosty ivory pearl with a strong pink shift. At two coats, it’s still almost transparent, especially from certain angles. The formula’s a bit watery, but it’s not bad to work with, especially in thin coats. It had an average dry time for me. Overall, it’s a decent polish, if you feel like wearing something sheer (which I was, for some reason, probably as a palate cleanser, so to speak).

I think the formula does possibly speed up nail growth a tad (at least when worn without base coat), though I can’t be sure because I haven’t taken down empirical data or anything. 😉 I have pretty fast-growing nails as it is, and I itch to trim them every few days, so I’m basing this purely on my qualitative impression that I’ve felt like trimming my nails again even sooner than usual.

Precious Pearl probably isn’t in production anymore; I haven’t seen it in stores in years. Also, if I saw it now, I think I would scan over and pass it up almost immediately, in favor of something loud, like a neon orange or teal holo. A few years ago, though, I owned zero nail polishes and had no interest in nail polish whatsoever.

So what got me started on nail polish? Wrecked nails after a gel manicure (my first manicure ever!), which I got for my wedding. I think my nails got buffed a bit too much before the gel polish was applied, so they felt horribly sensitive after the polish was removed. I ended up going to the drugstore that night and picking this up, hoping the Nailgrowth Miracle part wasn’t just a gimmick and wanting something that looked as close to my natural nails as possible…without being too boring. 🙂

And with that, my fate was sealed. I’m still not big on getting salon manicures (well, I’ve only ever had three in my life, two for weddings and one freebie when I got that first gel manicure removed when I didn’t know how to do it myself yet!), but maybe fourth time’s the charm? I usually feel bummed out afterward that my fingers are sore and that I could have painted my own nails just as well and cheaper. Maybe tomorrow’s (again wedding-related) salon visit will be better. ❤

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Blue opal nails (Revlon Brilliant Strength Beguile and Sinful Colors Green Ocean)

Mr. ‘Fiend and I were at our local Walgreens renting Captain America: The Winter Soldier in preparation to see Avengers: Age of Ultron when I spotted a new Sinful Colors display for their Having A Blast collection for this summer. I ended up picking up Star Blast-Off and Green Ocean. I think Star Blast-Off is new, and Green Ocean is usually released seasonally around St. Patrick’s Day. I want to save Star Blast-Off for Independence Day, but nothing was stopping me from giving Green Ocean a go. 😉

I started off with two coats of Revlon Beguile – from Revlon’s Brilliant Strength line, which is now sadly discontinued – shown here in indoor artificial light (cool white LED) because I painted my nails at night and didn’t have any sunlight to work with:

Beguile is a blackened base with what looks to me like a fine dark-teal-to-purple dichroic/iridescent shimmer. It looks like a dark royal blue in this lighting, but in natural light, the predominant color is definitely more of a deep teal in most lighting, including sunlight. I mentioned before that Revlon’s Brilliant Strength polishes are not all made equal when it comes to formulation, but luckily, Beguile is one of the good ones. It was evenly opaque in two coats for me, and the dry time was average. The brush is of the flattened, slightly wide variety, with a mildly curved edge, and it’s very easy to use. No complaints about this polish at all. It’s wonderful.

Then, I added one layer of Sinful Colors Green Ocean and topped it off with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel , the combination shown here in outdoor indirect natural light on day two (hence the slight tip wear :P):

Green Ocean is a glitter topper consisting of a somewhat goopy bluish green-tinted translucent base, suspended with a varied mix of multi-sized and -shaped glitters and flakies, most of which produce a dichroic indigo-to-green shift.

Here’s the same combination in outdoor direct natural light:

As I mentioned, Green Ocean’s consistency is a bit goopy, so you have to be a bit careful with application to make sure the flakies apply flat to the nail instead of sticking up and to ensure it doesn’t go on too thickly. The Sinful Colors brush is the standard round-stemmed, square-tipped kind, and it’s easy enough to use. The glitters and flakies suspend well enough that no fishing or special application is necessary to get the pictured density of particles in one coat.

Here’s another angle in direct natural light to show you the color shift to indigo:

Green Ocean does dry a bit matte, so a glossy top coat is needed to bring out the shine in this topper. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat worked just fine in this case, but a thicker glossy top coat that better smooths out the glitter/flaky texture might look even better.

The end result reminds me of a blue opal – really lovely. I’d love to experiment and see what other colors Green Ocean plays well with. At $1.99 a bottle (or cheaper, if you wait for a deal or coupon), I’m especially pleased with this Sinful Colors topper.

Have any of you tried Green Ocean and have any layering combination suggestions? Does anyone miss the Revlon Brilliant Strength line as I do sometimes?

Nicole by OPI Lay it on the Lime

Nicole by OPI Lay it on the Lime is from last year’s Seize the Summer collection and the only one that caught my eye out of the set. It’s a fresh and bright melon-y, citrus-y yellow-green creme – almost neon and almost pastel, but not quite either. Very fun, though.

This is three coats, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat (which I actually don’t recommend paired with this polish because of some color transfer issues), in direct outdoor natural light:

The color is fantastic. Cheerily bright, almost loud, but just slightly softened with a milky touch.

The formula is thin, so it goes on a bit patchy. I used thinner coats because the polish seemed to take slightly longer than average to dry for me, and even after three thin coats and a glossy top coat, it still wasn’t entirely smoothly opaque. Maybe thicker coats were in order, but the dry time might be on the long side if it’s applied more thickly. I might have added a fourth thin coat to even it out, if I’d had more time during my lunch break. ;]

The Nicole by OPI brush is a flat, wide, square-tipped brush, but not as mop-like as some, so I didn’t have any trouble with it. Application, other than the challenges of a patchy thin formula, was pretty easy. No complaints overall.

The color reminded me of another bright yellow-green polish that I own – Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Chartreuse Chase – so I thought I’d post a quick bottle shot for your referencing pleasure:

In person (and in my swatch post linked above), it’s easier to see the fine turquoise shimmer in Chartreuse Chase, so the colors have a somewhat more similar feel. As you can see from this photo, though, Chartreuse Chase’s base color is definitely yellower and not quite as bright as Lay it on the Lime’s. Both are excellent colors, and both have slightly patchy formulas, but Chartreuse Chase definitely dries faster, true to the Insta-Dri name.

Bottom line: Lay it on the Lime doesn’t have my favorite formula, but I love the color enough that I don’t really care. 😀 What about you? Are you a fan of this almost-fluorescent green?

China Glaze Sun Worshiper

I’ve had China Glaze Sun Worshiper in my collection for a while – a present from Mr. ‘Fiend because he likes bright orange as much as I do :] –  but never got around to wearing it until today.

Not my best swatching job (sorry!), but here’s 3 coats topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat in indoor indirect natural light:

Sun Worshiper is a neon mac-‘n’-cheese yellow orange – delicious – that dries to a matte finish if not topped with a glossy top coat. It’s pretty darn sheer (this is three coats, and you can still see the nail line!), and the formula is a pain (more on this in a bit), but the color is so freaking awesome. So bright! ❤ Definitely more neon than my photos can capture.

Like I said, the formula is a huge pain. Besides it being sheer, which I don’t necessarily hold against polishes because it’s just a different look, it’s a streaky mess. It dries really quickly, which would normally be a plus, but because it dries so quickly, it also tends to leave very visible brush strokes when it dries because it doesn’t have time to self-level before setting. I tried to apply it carefully, but going over any area twice left bald spots, and this is the smoothest it got with glossy top coat. The brush – a standard non-wide round brush with a flat tip – was fine.

Here’s a a couple photos in outdoor direct natural light:

Yep, not my best paint job, but I hope it helps someone as a color/consistency reference anyway!

If there’s one thing I recommend when it comes to tips on polishing nails, it’s this: don’t polish your nails when you’re hungry! I did this before breakfast, and the hypoglycemic shakes made the ordeal with the trying formula even worse than it would have been already.

Oh, also, I do not recommend Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat with this polish. I used it on my right hand (not pictured) and had crazy color transfer onto the top coat brush (polish underneath was definitely dry). I think Miracle Gel Top Coat tends to dissolve and leach out the neon yellow pigment in polishes, from my experience. Yuck. A thicker top coat like Freedom or Seche Vite also hides Sun Worshiper’s streakiness much better.

Next time, I might try this with a coat of another, more opaque bright orange underneath, to minimize the patchiness. I know a white undercoat is often recommended for neon colors, but white polish itself is typically a huge pain to apply, so I might try the orange first. I’ll update this post if I get around to that!

UPDATE 4/23/15: Sadly, this manicure didn’t hold up so well. It might just be me, or the base coat I used this time, but Sun Worshiper started separating from the nail shortly after these photos, and it chipped so badly I had to remove it after a couple days. I also had a similar peeling problem with Julep Nina, another bright orange, so I wonder if it’s something to do with the ingredients that go into these bright polishes. I’ll have to try it with another base coat and let you guys know how it goes.

Essie Haute As Hello & Revlon Brilliant Strength Dazzle

After last week’s moody dark-green polish, I really wanted to wear something bright, so I thought I’d swatch a couple colors that I don’t think I’d posted yet.

Essie Haute As Hello and Revlon Brilliant Strength Dazzle are both older colors in my collection. Haute As Hello is a summer 2010 color, and I believe Dazzle was from 2012, from the Brilliant Strength line that’s been discontinued. Both have the same issue for me: I love the colors, but I’m just not a huge fan of the formulas. More on that in a bit.

Here’s three coats of each in natural light. I topped Haute As Hello with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, but Dazzle is shown without top coat:

Essie Haute As Hello is a hot pastel coral/peach creme that sometimes looks muted and sometimes looks like a soft neon, depending on the light. As I mentioned, I love this color. The formula, though, is honestly a bit of a pain to work with. It’s a bit thin, applies a bit patchy, and doesn’t self-level super well. It took me three thin coats to get a relatively even finish, and even then, the ridges from the brushstrokes didn’t completely level out. A glossy top coat fixed that, thankfully.

I wouldn’t recommend Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat with this polish, though. As I’ve mentioned before, though this top coat has great durability, it tends to have some color transfer with some polishes, even if you make sure the polish is dry before applying top coat, and Haute As Hello is one of them. The top coat brush ended up picking up the yellow pigment in the polish and some of the actual polish itself, even when I applied only light pressure. Again, not recommended.

Revlon Dazzle is a bubblegum-pink jelly with an iridescent glass-fleck shimmer. Like most jellies, it’s pretty sheer and still shows visible nail line after the three thin coats I applied. I think I’d used five thin coats for opacity the last time I used this polish.

In any case, the sheerness isn’t what bothers me about Dazzle; it’s that this polish just refuses to dry! I waited about half an hour between coats and checked that the polish was dry to the touch before applying a new layer, but no luck. Even with the help of quick-dry drops, the polish half-dries to a malleable, clay-like consistency that doesn’t wholly cure until maybe the next day, so it’s really easy to ding up the finish (or make weird textured indentations in it) in the meantime. Ugh. It’s really too bad because I otherwise really love this color, and the brush (rounded tipped and slightly wider and thicker than a standard brush, but not nearly as thick and mop-like as the OPI brush) and application are excellent, if you don’t count the atrocious dry time.

The Brilliant Strength polishes were advertised as all-in-one formulas and meant to be worn without a base coat or top coat. Some of my Brilliant Strength polishes are better than others, and they don’t all have this drying problem, but I’m guessing the formulation is part of why the line isn’t available any longer.

The colors look more similar in the bottle, but Dazzle is much cooler-toned on the nail.

 

Obviously, I love these colors enough that I haven’t relegated either to a nail polish sale yet, but are they worth the struggle? For Haute As Hello, maybe. It at least dries fast and can be fixed with a good top coat. For Dazzle, I’m not so sure. I’ve worn this color maybe three times because I like the color too much to give up, but it makes me angry every time! I might try it one more time with a quick-dry top coat and see how that fares.

Zoya Dillon, plus Revlon Transforming Effects Gold Glaze & Matte Pearl Glaze

I’m back with another experiment using this year’s new Revlon Transforming Effects toppers! :] This time, I decided to try out Gold Glaze, a clear top coat with a warm yellow-gold shimmer, and Matte Pearl Glaze, a matte top coat with what looks like a blue-to-magenta dichroic/duochrome shimmer.

I started off with Zoya Dillon from last spring’s Awaken collection. I purposely picked a shimmery polish to experiment with, since I’ve seen some swatches of the toppers on cremes and bare nails, and I wanted to test how they’d interact with something that already had its own shimmer.

Here’s three coats of plain Dillon in strong outdoor sunlight, no top coat (again, please excuse the dry/dehydrated fingers!):

Dillon is a minty medium blue-green metallic with silver shimmer. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I sometimes see a bit of gold in the shimmer. The polish is a bit sheer and takes three coats to reach a good opacity, and it dries with a squishy finish, like a jelly. Formula is easy to work with, though it’s not the fastest drying, and as usual, I like the standard-sized (not wide like many brands’ brushes) Zoya brush.

In this next photo, taken in the same strong outdoor sunlight, I’ve added:

  • Index & pinky – Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, one coat (glossy clear)
  • Middle – Revlon Transforming Effects Gold Glaze, one coat
  • Ring – Revlon Transforming Effects Matte Pearl Glaze, one coat

Gold Glaze‘s effect isn’t immediately obvious in all lighting, but it does add just that touch of extra gold shimmer and scatter to the finish. Because Dillon’s already got a similar shimmer effect to begin with, it’s not quite as dramatic as it’d look over a creme, but it’s there. It’s also a bit more visible in person.

Matte Pearl Glaze obviously matte-ifies the finish and adds a cool-toned shimmer. The magenta in the shimmer is still there, somewhat, but I found that it mostly looked blue over Dillon.

I also feel like the Miracle Gel Top Coat seems to bring out the gold notes of Dillon’s shimmer that I mentioned earlier.

It might be slightly easier to see some of the differences in the shade (indoor indirect sunlight):

And, finally, I slapped another coat of Gold Glaze over Matte Pearl Glaze on the ring finger, just to see what would happen. Here it is in strong outdoor sunlight:

And in shade/indoor indirect sunlight:

The gold sparkle from Gold Glaze creates a pretty interesting effect over the cooler-toned shimmer from Matte Pearl Glaze, resulting in something relatively neutral with a bit more depth. Pretty neat.

Anyway, that’s my layering experiment for the week. Hope it’s helpful or interesting to someone out there!

Zoya India, Zoya Cyma & Revlon Hearts of Gold FX

I was kind of sloppy with my Valentine’s nails this year, sorry. It was past my bedtime when I did them. ;P

This is Zoya India, two coats, on all fingers, except for the ring finger, which is Zoya Cyma, two coats, plus Revlon Hearts of Gold FX, roughly one coat brush-dabbed on, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat. In direct natural light:

Zoya India is from the Ignite collection last fall. (I swatched Remy from the same collection earlier.) It’s a rich cranberry purple-red jelly packed with dichroic glass fleck-y shimmer that looks to me like it shifts from pink to gold. This polish looks like a jewel-toned dark red in some light. So lovely. No problems at all with the formula or brush, and dry time was average.

In retrospect, I think the Miracle Gel was a poor top coat choice for this polish. It’s not quite thick enough to bring out the best glow from India’s complex shimmer, and even though the polish underneath was completely dry when I applied top coat, I experienced a lot of color transfer onto the top coat brush (which the Miracle Gel top coat has a tendency to do – my main peeve about this top coat). Yuck. I definitely recommend using a different top coat in this case.

In the shade (please excuse the wrinkly fingers of first-thing-in-the-morning dehydration, haha):

Zoya Cyma is from the Flourish collection from the 2008 holiday season that I don’t think is available anymore, but which I got as a random freebie from Zoya in one of my previous orders. It looks more reddish in the bottle, so I was surprised that it came off more as a cherry-candy red-pink on the nail. It’s also got a lit-from-within gold shimmer that’s hard to see in my photos, since I layered glitter on top, but Cyma does look pleasantly glowy on its own. Bright pinks and reds are not my typical go-to colors, and I probably wouldn’t have bought this polish myself, but it’s a great Valentine’s color . Great formula and usual easy-to-use Zoya brush, average dry time.

Revlon Hearts of Gold FX is a clear base with sparse holographic heart glitters and fine gold square glitters. I really like the concept of this polish, but the execution, sadly, leaves something to be desired. The base is watery, and I definitely needed to fish for the elusive heart glitters. Placement wasn’t easy, either. You’d think it’d at least be somewhat simple to deposit glitters with such a watery base, but the hearts tended to stubbornly stick to the brush right when I needed them to come off. I spent too long dabbing hearts into place and the goopy base melted Cyma a little onto one of the hearts. Ugh. D:

A tip for this one – collect the glitters you want on the brush, then carefully let most of the clear base drain off the brush before dabbing the glitters onto the nail. That seemed to work most of the time.

I think I’m going to want to look for a different heart-glitter topper for times I have less patience to work with Hearts of Gold FX. The two Zoyas, though, are excellent.

UPDATE 2/15/15: Bah, lots of staining with Zoya India on removal, which I’ve never had with a red polish before. I don’t know if it’s the base coat I used (Nail-Aid Peeling Nail Intense Repair Gel, my current go-to for the past year or so, which has usually been pretty reliable in preventing staining – I’ll have to write up a post about this product sometime!), a combination of the top coat and base coat, or just the polish itself. Gross. As you can see, the accent nail with Cyma was fine (though there’s some residue from the heart glitter in this shot). Next time I wear India, I’ll try a different base.

Just a heads up. Anyone else experience this with India?