Friday, February 25, 2011

Sally Hansen Grey Area

Hook, line, sinker...I'm caught!  It's an addiction.  I can't stop buying these "edgy neutrals"!  They're just so versatile!  Interesting, yet work appropriate, but not boring at all.  The triple threat!  Sigh.  

The flavor of the week is Sally Hansen Grey Area.  It's the definition of "purple grey."  I really can't think of how else to describe it.  It's in a different vein than that of its more brown-toned relatives OPI You Don't Know Jacques (a taupey brown) and Sephora by OPI Metro Chic (a purpley taupe).  Grey Area is one smokey hotness of a polish!  This is two coats shown here, and I had zero issues with application.  Just smooth perfection.

(click to enlarge)

Grey Area is reportedly a dead-on dupe for Essie's hit Smokin' Hot from this past fall's collection.  The difference is that the Essie will cost your $8 (and good luck finding it), while Grey Area is just $2.99.  WIN!  It started hitting the shelves in Sally Hansen seasonal displays a few months ago, but I know a few girls on MUA have seen brand new displays out as recently as a few days ago.  I myself stumbled upon this tucked away randomly in the permanent display at my local grocery store (which never has any seasonal displays).  So, I'm not sure what Sally's ultimate plan is for this polish, but grab it if you find it!  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Illamasqua Baptiste

Remember when deep purple vampies were all the rage a few years back?  In magazines all the models were rocking some deep mysterious color on their short nails.  It was actually the trend that set in motion my undying need for polish.  I needed a deep, shimmery purple polish.  For some reason, it was almost impossible to find.  I found a few deep creme finishes that I liked, but they just weren't quite what I was looking for.  I stumbled upon OPI Russian Navy, which I love, but it isn't purple.  It filled the void well enough.  Or so I thought...

You guys...the heavens have opened, cherubs are singing, and fairies are dancing around unicorns in enchanted forests, because I finally found my true love!  I'd been interested in Illamasqua Baptiste for a while, and I finally brought it home in a swap.  I know I love a lot of polishes, but I'm not joking - Baptiste is magical.  

I've heard nothing but rave reviews for Illamasqua polishes, and I know why!  Baptiste applied like a dream in two easy coats.  It's totally a one-coater, but well...don't we know me by now?  It's the most beautiful blackened red-leaning purple with red and blue shimmer - the same kind that makes Russian Navy so gorgeous.  It wears like iron, too.  I've had it on for four days now with only minimal tip wear.  I am so in LOVE with this polish, I've been staring at my nails all weekend!  

Unfortunately, cameras don't like to photograph purples, so please forgive me, as I had to color-correct the photos to show a more accurate color.  I still don't think I got it exactly right, but it's pretty darn close.  Please enlarge them to see up close!

Look at that shimmer!  *swoon*

Baptiste is all that and a bag of chips.  Seriously.  This is easily a Top 10 polish for me!  It's everything I ever wanted in a purple.  This was my first Illamasqua polish, but I promise you it's not my last (stay tuned for Rampage - brought it home this weekend)!  It's worth every penny of its $14 price tag.  You can pick it up at, or at Sephora stores that carry Illamasqua, and I highly recommend you do, if you don't already own this beauty!

Baptiste, where have you been all my life?!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

China Glaze Swing, Baby

Hello, dearies!  I hope everyone's week has been going nicely!  Mine's been unbelievably long, as I covered a few shifts for a girl at work.  Thank goodness tomorrow's Friday!  Today I have for you the lovely China Glaze Swing, Baby from their fall Vintage Vixen collection.  I wanted this from the second I saw swatches, but for some reason just never pulled the trigger on buying it.  Of course right about the time the collection was picked over at all the stores was when my remorse set in.  It was totally a message from the nail polish gods when I randomly found one sitting all by its lonesome at my Ulta one day.  Score!

What I absolutely love about Swing, Baby is that it's so neutral.  I have such a hard time finding golds that work with my skin tone.  I seriously went through about four different golds before I just gave up.  But this one isn't quite gold, and it's definitely not silver.  It's a perfect sandy champagne.  And the formula is interesting too!  It's like what you'd get if a metallic, a frost, and a foil had a baby ('cause that kind of thing can happen).  The result is a gorgeous, blingy, brushstroke free finish in three easy coats.  Okay, I could have probably just used two, but apparently I'm a chronic three-coater now.  :-)

(click to enlarge)

Isn't it lovely?  I've gotten quite a few compliments on this one!  I think this could totally fall into the "edgy" neutral" category.  The color is understated, but the finish is what packs the punch.  It's so flattering on so many different skin tones, too.  I've seen girls on MUA totally rocking this color, whether they have warm or cool, pale or dark skin.  Yay China Glaze for another great hit!  If only they'd incorporate it into the core line.  *sigh*  If you like Swing, Baby, you'll have to track it down on one of the e-tailers like or Amazon.

Happy almost Friday!  :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine's Day Manicure: Deborah Lippmann Ruby Red Slippers

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!  I hope your day has been warm and full of love, whether you're attached or not for the holiday.

I personally don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, mostly because both mine and hubby's birthdays fall in January, as does our old "dating anniversary" (our wedding anniversary is in June).  So after Christmas, two birthdays, and an "anniversary," we're just plain broke by Valentine's Day.  We know we love each other.  Hehe.  But I did want to do a somewhat festive manicure for the occasion, so I thought it was the perfect time to break out another Deborah Lippmann!

This is two coats of Lippmann Ruby Red Slippers over two coats of China Glaze Lubu Heels.  Ruby Red Slippers is a combination of large hexagonal red glitter and smaller round red glitter suspended in a jelly black base.  It's a bit cooler toned than these pictures show - more of a true red.  It applies pretty easily, but you need short brush strokes to avoid moving around the glitter too much.  I love how this turned out - so dimensional, sexy, and full of va-va-voom!  Perfect for Valentine's Day!  Click to enlarge to see this saucy little minx up close!

I had been lemming Ruby Red Slippers something fierce, and I'm really glad I finally had the perfect occasion to wear it!  Hubby LOVES it, so I consider that a huge WIN for this polish!  The only down side, which I should have considered, is that the black base pretty much covered up Lubu Heels entirely. I thought they'd be a perfect match, but I could've just used one coat of a plain black and gotten the same effect.  But don't think you need to layer this.  Like Across the Universe, the base is colored enough to be opaque with three coats.  Ruby Red Slippers retails for $18, and you can grab it at Nordstrom or

Just for funsies, here's Lubu Heels all by its lonesome:

This is two coats, and I just adore it!  It's a black jelly base with red glitter.  It's subtle, but sexy - a good alternative if you don't want to go all out with Ruby Red Slippers (or pay the hefty price for it).  It's in the core line, so you can pick it up at Sally's or Ulta for about $6.

One more Lippmann left to try, so stay tuned!  I'm sure as soon as it goes on, an instant lemming will be born for more Lippmanns.  That's always how it goes, right?  :-)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Zoya Crystal

Let's keep the blue party going, shall we?  :-)

Last month Zoya did the most crazy awesome thing when they gave away three free polishes for reaching 20,000 "Likes" on Facebook.  That's right.  Three free polishes.  No catch!  I'm telling you, I've really been blown away with Zoya lately.  I love that they have amazing products, fantastic customer service, incredible public relations, and they're a company that doesn't take themselves too seriously (Have you seen their Festivus photos on Facebook?!  Hilarious!)  I love supporting this company, and My fingers couldn't click fast enough on Zoya's Crystal, Mimi and Ivanka, plus an 8 oz. bottle of their super duper Remove+ polish remover.  I have Crystal here for you today.

In a quick description, Crystal is an ice blue foil-finish polish with gold flecks.  But it's the foiliest foil finish I have ever seen!  I'm not kidding!  This stuff is like you put gold-flecked blue aluminum foil on your nails, in the most awesome way possible.  To be honest, aside from full sunlight, I wouldn't call it a particularly sparkly foil, but the gold stands out so beautifully, flowing seamlessly into the blue particles.  It really is stunning.  My pictures don't even do it justice.  Please click to enlarge to see all those gorgeous details!

Application here was a dream.  It's a three-coater, but it applies really quickly and easily.  The flecks that make up this polish are pretty large and flat, so they cover nicely.  Occasionally as I was applying one of them would stick straight up, but it just needed one more brush stroke to make it lay flat.  No biggie.

Crystal was released as part of Zoya's winter collection, Flame.  Pale blue isn't what you'd typically associate with a winter collection, but the iciness of this one just works.  Another thing that makes Crystal so awesome is that she is a dead on dupe for OPI's European exclusive, Reflecting Pool.  Lots of us girls on this side of the pond had been lemming that one for a while.  Score!  :-)  Thankfully, Zoya's seasonal collections always become permanent, so you can still pick this one up for $7 at

Monday, February 7, 2011

China Glaze Sea Spray

Sea Spray.  I don't think they could have named this polish anything more appropriate!  This is the second of the two that I picked up from China Glaze's Anchors Away collection.  It's a serene, pale, dusty blue with super subtle shimmer.  It's reportedly a dupe of Essie's Sag Harbor, but since I missed out on that, it's completely unique to my collection, and therefore a "must-have" for me.

There's good news and bad news in the application department.  The good news is that, for being a very light color, it's extremely pigmented.  Like, this could be a one-coater with careful application.  The bad news is that it's pretty thick.  It wasn't completely impossible to work with, but as you can see, I didn't get a flawless finish.  Thick formulas lead to chipping (I already have a small chip on one nail) and make it really difficult for me to wrap my tips smoothly (hence the kind of jagged edges).  I was honestly a little shocked that even Seche Vite didn't even it out for me.  Two thick coats later, and here's the final product:

 (click to enlarge)

That gorgeous shimmer in the bottle is not as noticeable on the nail.  For all intensive purposes, this is basically a creme (think Essie Sew Psyched here).  If you already own Sag Harbor, you can pass on this one with no regrets.  Another similar color is I Vant to Be A-Lone Star from OPI's new Texas collection.  From what I've seen, it's a little lighter, but still has that same dustiness with subtle shimmer.  Sea Spray sure is a lovely color, and I think it's a keeper despite its application flaws.  Though, I do recommend thinning it out first, if you do pick this one up.  I'll be thinning out my bottle as well.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

OPI Black Shatter

"Resistance is futile." - Locutus of Borg, Star Trek:  The Next Generation

Oh you didn't know I was a Star Trek nerd?  (Ok, let's be honest I'm a nail polish, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Warhammer, Harry Potter, and Star Trek nerd.  But that's besides the point.)   Well, I resisted Black Shatter for a while.  I'd seen early swatches of this stuff on MUA and a few other blogs, and while I thought it looked really cool, I just didn't want to go through all the hassle of trying to track it down.  Being released as part of OPI's Katy Perry collection, this polish was insanely popular.  I think it sold out on Trans Design in something like two hours??  Craziness.

Anywho, I decided a few days ago that I would probably regret it one day if I didn't get this polish, so off I went!  I told myself I'd check my local JC Penney salon to see if they had it.  If they had it, I'd get it.  If they didn't, then it just wasn't meant to be and I'd just go without it.  So I made the turn around the corner, and what did I find??  An almost completely full Katy Perry display, but only one Black Shatter.  Mine!  It was like the nail polish gods ('Cause believe me, they exist.  Don't piss them off.) were on my side that day.  Woo-hoo! 

The hubby and I went out with some friends to watch the UFC fights last night, so I of course needed an equally bad ass manicure for the event.  I was so exited to try out Black Shatter, and lemme tell you, it did NOT disappoint!  I applied it over my previous manicure, China Glaze Ahoy!, and I was so thrilled with the result!  I love the combo of the black and pink!

 (click to enlarge)

So the deal with Black Shatter is that it's meant to be applied over completely dry polish.  Thinner coats lead to more cracks, so you can see more of the base color underneath.  Thicker coats lead to fewer cracks, but you have those nice chunky black parts.  So you can really play with the application to get the look you desire.  I used a good medium coat, and I was really pleased with the result!  It wasn't too hard to work with either, but I was definitely surprised to see that this stuff starts cracking almost as soon as you apply it, so work quickly!  You'll also want to slap a top coat on it as soon as possible.  Some girls on MUA ran into some problems with it flaking off if they went too long without top coat.  Also, it may start to thicken on you pretty quickly (I noticed thickening by the time I finished my manicure), but according to OPI, you can add some good ol' polish thinner to Black Shatter to make it good as new.  :-)

The Katy Perry collection is out now at JC Penney Salons and Ulta, but don't worry if you can't track down Black Shatter, because China Glaze is releasing its own line of crackle polish in six different colors (black, white, pink, grey, purple, and turquoise).  Those should be at Sally's within the next month or so and at Trans Design in the next few weeks.  Who knew crack could look so good?  ;-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

China Glaze Ahoy!

I've been drooling over promo images and early swatches of China Glaze's spring collection, Anchors Away, for a few months now.  I seriously want the entire collection.  All of them!  I didn't expect to find these until late this month or even next month, knowing how slow my Sally's is at getting new collections and how fast new collections go at my Ulta.  Much to my surprise, I found a completely full display of Anchors Away at Ulta while I was there to pick up a few other things.  YAY!  While I really wanted to just walk up to the register with all 12 polishes (and the cardboard display), I managed to find some self-control and got two - Sea Spray (which I'll review soon) and this one, the lovely Ahoy!

I honestly forgot how much I love pinks.  I wear them all the time as pedicure colors, but I can't remember the last time I wore a pink manicure.  I guess I got swept away by all those edgy neutrals, lol.  But not anymore!  Ahoy! is a berry pink jellyish polish with deep gold glass flecks.  I LOVE GLASS FLECKS.  The trend really started this past year, and as far as I'm concerned, it can just keep right on rolling!  :-)  It adds such depth and interest to this polish.  And it applies smooth as butter in two easy coats.  What more could I as for?  Please click to enlarge these photos so you can see those gorgeous glass flecks!

Here's a comparison of Ahoy! with China Glaze Strawberry Fields.  Sorry for the blurry photo of the nail wheel - my camera finds it hard to focus on this type of finish.  Kinda frustrating, actually.  But you can still see the difference in color between the two.  Strawberry Fields is more of a medium, warm-toned pink, while Ahoy! is deeper and more cool-toned.  Strawberry Fields is also a creme finish, and the gold shimmer/glass flecks is more apparent with this one.
(L) Strawberry Fields, (R) Ahoy!
(L) Strawberry Fields, (R) Ahoy!

I feel like a broken record sometimes when I say this, but these two are definitely sisters.  :-)  Different enough to own (and LOVE) both!  You may have a tougher time tracking down Strawberry Fields, but Ahoy! is out now, so pick it up while you can! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Quick Comparison: OPI Done Out in Deco

Fun fact:  During my epic hunt for Done Out in Deco, I tried to fill the void with a few other similar purple OPIs - Parlez-Vous OPI? and Do You Lilac It?  Now, I still have yet to try either of these as a full manicure, but I was definitely curious of how they compared with Deco.  I finally picked up a few nail wheels today, so I decided to do some comparison swatches.  This is two coats of each.  Click to enlarge for detail.  :-)

Left to Right:  Do You Lilac It?, Done Out in Deco, and Parlez-Vous OPI?

I had originally thought Do You Lilac It? would be pretty close to Done Out in Deco, but even in the bottle, they're totally different.  Do You Lilac It? is much brighter and more saturated in color.  It might be closer in color to Zoya Malia, but I don't own that one to compare.  I think it would make a great pedicure color, especially for spring.  It's the easiest to get out of these three, as it's part of the core line for OPI.  

On the other side, Parlez-Vous OPI? is like Done Out in Deco's darker older sister.  It even has the same dusty quality to it that Done Out in Deco does.  These two are definitely in the same color family.  I could totally see these two as a mani/pedi combo or even part of an  ombre manicure.  Unfortunately, OPI decided to discontinue Parlez-Vous OPI? (I know, right?!), so you may have a hard time tracking it down outside of internet stores.  But if you can, you won't regret it.  It's beautiful!

Bottom line:  These are totally different enough to own all three.  Yay!  I'm just loving these colors right now, so I'll probably be expanding my collection of lavenders/lilacs. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OPI Done Out in Deco

There's a story behind this one.  A few weeks ago I was working the front desk at the spa I work for, when one of the estheticians, Melissa, came up to write follow-up recommendations for her client.  My eyes went immediately to her nails (usually unpainted), clad in this fresh, gorgeous, pale lilac purple.  "OHMYGODWHATISTHATINEEDITNOW," is what I was thinking.  "Melissa!  I love your nails!  What color is that?" I managed to get out instead.  She said "Um, Deco...something-Deco, I think?"  "OPI Done Out in Deco.  Done."  Music played, cherubs sang, and a lemming was born.  I began stalking swap lists on MUA.  Three failed swap attempts, before I finally got this bad boy home.  And so worth it!

(click to enlarge)

I love this for so many reasons.  It's refreshing after all this snow and cloudy days - winter in general, really.  It's actually the perfect color for spring.  Maybe this will be my Easter manicure!  :-)  Also, this baby was a two-coater.  TWO coats!  Not that the formula was an absolute dream, but I've had far too many struggles with four-coat pastels.  Complete opacity in two coats?  Yes, please!  The only down side here is that it debuted in spring 2009 with OPI's South Beach Collection...and it didn't make the perm line.  The good news is that even though you can't just pick this up at your local Ulta, you can still find it online pretty easily (and cheap!).  It's also readily available at beauty supply stores, if you have access to those, or know someone who does.  Happy hunting!