Saturday, May 29, 2010

American Apparel Nail Lacquers -- Part One!

American Apparel Part 1, originally uploaded by

Finally! I have moved to Chicago and I am now comfortably situated 3 blocks from an American Apparel. And guess what? They have a 3 polishes for $15 deal going on. Needless to say, I picked up six. When I am less poor, I'll pick up the rest.

Swatches to come soon, I just thought you might like a pic of what's to come. From front to back: Coney Island, Factory Grey, Hunter, Manila, Mount Royal, Office.

I'm wearing Hunter with Essie's Matte About You top coat-- I love it. The wear has been decent, too-- even with it mattified.

Have you guys heard anything about American Apparel's polish? I've heard the formula is quite good and the colors are pretty phenom. Either way, I'm excited to try them all out!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nail Science Throwdown-- Seche Vite v Essie Topcoat

Seche & Essie To Dry For, originally uploaded by

As I'm sure you all know by now, I am an Essie fanatic. However, up until recently I have been a Seche Vite loyalist. After all, the stuff is quick-drying, can take some serious wear-and-tear, and it's just downright glossy. HOWEVER,

Given that Zoya is having their Earth Day promo, I went out and ordered a boatload of Zoyas (those coming soon). Much to my dismay, I found that my Seche had serious wear problems. The culprit? Cellulose Acetate Butyrate.

See, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate is known for being a quick-drying, glossy, tough substance. It's denser than water and used for the glossy finish on a lot of stuff. And I mean a lot of stuff.

But for whatever reason, Zoya doesn't work with it. So I found this Essie quick-dry topcoat. And friend, this stuff is the bomb!

Instead of using CAB, it uses Nitrocellulose. Fun science lesson: Nitrocellulose is a super-flexible, super glossy material. Because solvents evaporate completely in nitrocellulose, it means it dries fast. And because of it's rigid molecule structure, it's hard-yet-flexible. OPTIMAL.

And I don't just mean ideal. That was poor word-choice. I mean optimal. This stuff is used to varnish wood floors to "bring out the grain" (don't believe me? click the link!). I mean, I'm practically dancing at this revelation.

So, sorry Seche, but I think I'm a full convert now. Essie just gets the job D-O-N-E.

Only downside-- Nitrocellulose is sort of explosive. No, really. It blows up. But have no fear, the nitrogen content in this topcoat is low enough that it doesn't constitute explosive.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Private Jet-- OPI Night Brights Collection 2007 (Blue Version)

As you may or may not know, there is a bit of controversy surrounding My Private Jet. In fact, this was the very first nail polish I ever bought with my own money way back in 2007. The original is my favorite polish I have ever owned, and so MPJ holds a special place in my heart.

But, I lost the poor thing! I moved 3 times and somewhere in the hustle and bussle I lost my bottle! I searched and searched for another but to no avail.

Then, 2 years later I found a bottle and bought it. When I got home, I noticed the color wasn't as bright as I had remembered, or as glittery.

In fact, OPI changed it's formula! (If you're looking for a dupe of the original, Color Club's Revvvolution is a good alternative). So today I present you with the bluish version. I have the brownish version, too, and soon I'll have the original. Oh, and sorry for the tipwear. It was finals when I swatched this so it took me a day or two before I took the photos.

MPJ (Blue Version) 1, originally uploaded by

Even though in the bottle this version looks blue, on the hand it looks brown. In fact, while out the dinner my friend asked me where I found such a fab brown. She couldn't even see the glitter.


Even better, that same friend is a pretty successful attorney and she said that she was going to pick up a bottle and wear it to work! So I'm declaring it work friendly and definitely un-gothy.


The formula was fine, this took three coats and left no VNL. It's just the right amount of thin but I have to admit, I miss the holo version.


Anyway, that's all I have for today! HAGS.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

OPI's Hong Kong 2010 Collection-- A Good Man-Darin is Hard to Find

Today I present to you OPI's "A Good Man-Darin is Hard to Find". I was a little skeptical of the bottle because it looks red! This color, however, is most definitely not red. In fact, it is an almost-neon orange that is highly-saturated with pigment. It's definitely a reddish-orange and it's a pretty stunning color. I don't even like orange and this color has me drooling for some OJ.
As you can see, it dries super glossy. The formula on this is pretty great. Not streaky at all. My only qualm? It took 3 coats to kill VNL, and even then if you look really hard you can still see it.
A Good Man-darin is Hard To Find is probably the best "summer" color I've come across yet. It's bright, it's cheery, it (surprisingly) works with my skin tone. I am definitely going to keep this color on my nails until it falls off. Needless to say, I'm a fan.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

OPI's Hong Kong 2010 Collection-- Panda-monium Pink

Panda-monium Pink is from OPI's 2010 Hong Kong Collection, and it the bottle it looks like a straight dupe for Lucky Lucky Lavender of the same collection. Seeing it on the nail, I suspect this is only a wee-bit true. Indeed, this one is a COLOR CHANGER.

When I put this polish on, I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting a pink similar to OPI's Mod About You, but when I was putting it on, it looked like what I imagined Lucky Lucky Lavender to be. Most of the time, it looks like a slightly-more-pigmented pale baby pink. The rest of the time, this polish looks starkly lavender.

It was pretty much impossible to catch the lavender on photo, even after I spent a ridiculous amount of time tweaking the camera settings.

That said, I'm pretty sure that this is my favorite pink I have encountered thus far (and that's saying something). At first I was kind of curious as to why this color made it into a Hong Kong collection, but I think I get it now-- it's a chameleon. In most lights it's a soft, pretty, girly pink-- but it's apt to change into a funky pink-lavender hybrid. If that doesn't scream Hong Kong, I don't know what does.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Neons! -- Essie's Pink Parka

essie pink parka (1), originally uploaded by

Hi there! I went on a total nailpolish binge the last couple of days so I'll try to upload some swatches as soon as possible. Today, however, I present to you Essie's Pink Parka

In short, this is what Pink would look like if it joined a rock band. It's pretty rad.

Pink Parka is a neon, so it's difficult to have true color-parity in pictures and it dries matte. I've tried several different lighting combinations in order to help give you an idea of what it looks like-- but you'll just have to try this one for yourself if you truly want to experience the fantastic that is neon.

essie pink parka (2), originally uploaded by

I know the darkness of the photo is really annoying but it's the closest I could get to capturing the depth of color.

essie pink parka (3), originally uploaded by

essie pink parka (4), originally uploaded by

The formula was pretty great, as per usual. Although Pink Parka isn't marketed as a matte, it is one, so I have to say-- Essie nailed the matte thing. Unlike the OPI mattes that tanked, Essie's formula dried at a good pace and refrained from looking chalky. All in all, I'm pretty happy with this polish.

That said, I do prefer the glossy look of most polish, so I slapped some Seche on top to see what it would look like.

essie pink parka w/seche(1), originally uploaded by

essie pink parka w/seche(2), originally uploaded by

Anyway, that's all I got for today. I'm totally digging these pinks.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

OPI Absolutely Alice -- Alice in Wonderland 2010 Collection

I managed to swipe this bottle of Absolutely Alice before the ridiculous Alice in Wonderland Collection craze at my local Beauty Brands for just $8. I haven't been able to find it in any beauty supply store since-- but hey, it could just be Kansas.

I have to say, I'm a pretty big fan of Absolutely Alice. I know it's famous for being a glitter, but it really looks a lot like blue and gold glitter over a black base as opposed to just glitter, glitter, glitter. It's actually a pretty fantastic effect, and keeps the polish from looking too girly.
And, it only takes 2 coats to make this baby opaque!

That said, the polish has some flaws. Lots of people have been complaining about terrible wear-time and incessant chipping. After much research and testing, I'm inclined to believe that the chipping is due to two factors:
>> 1) It's true. It's a glitter so the edges of your nails get rough with glitter when the polish tries. If you can try to minimize the rough edges, it will seriously help your wear.
>> 2) The quick-dry topcoats seem to be causing a problem as well. I love my Seche just as much as the next girl, but before you apply it, you should apply a coat of non-quickdry top coat to sort of help seal the glitters without stressing them. I've been using OPI Top Coat with Seche and my wear has been fine.

However, wear is actually not on my list of complaints for my polish. My major complaint lies with application. The glitters make the polish too thick, and consequently AA seems like it's halfway to drying as soon as it hits the nail. The brush ends up looking like a gooey mop of glitter and makes application of thin coats nearly impossible.

That said, it's a beautiful polish. It definitely looks best in natural daylight, but the glitter is deep and vibrant inside, too. The blue is not a too-blue-blue, and looks far deeper than I anticipated; it looks almost like a royal blue (and looks particularly fantastic against the gold glitter). Anyway, I'm posting 5 swatches in this post, but just click the link and you can see the extra photos, too!

Friday, April 30, 2010

nail/color/love -- Essie's Lovie Dovie


I started this blog because of my acute obsession with nail polish.

So today is post number one. And it's about color.

I first got obsessed with nail polish one day when I was thinking about a 6th grade art class where I was trying to paint a white vase. Have you ever tried to paint a three-dimensional white object? It's pretty difficult. See, you can't just use white paint. It looks flat. So in order to paint a white vase you have a use a dizzying array of subtle colors-- blues and yellows, reds and oranges-- in order to create three-dimensional-ity.

I'm not sure how I happened upon this thought (after all, it was the 6th grade), but afterward I kept looking around at the color in the world around me, trying to imagine how I would paint it on a canvas.

About this time, I was due for a haircut, and when I entered the salon, a single color caught my eye. I was hooked.

So when I'm not reading, writing, working on my BA, teasing my cats with laser pointers or traveling to see family-- I'm searching for color. And when I find a really cool one, I plop it on my nail and smile at it for a few days.

So today I present to you my first set of swatches.
From Nail Swatches
Today I nailed (hah-hah, nail joke on a nail polish blog) Essie's "Lovie Dovie" from their Summer 2009 collection.

Essie is probably one of my favorite polish brands. I know, I know, she's [in]famous for doing muted beiges and pinks; but her polish wears like iron, her formula is more-than-ace, and when Essie nails a color-- man, does she nail it.

Not to mention that whole feminist angle. She's a self-made entrepreneurial machine. And I gotta say, I respect that.

Lovie Dovie is no exception. While the brush is a little skinny for my taste (most Essie brushes are), the formula is to die for and the color of pink (yes, pink, you Essie-haters) is a nearly-neon (though not quite) lavender-y creme pink. And it looks good.

From Nail Swatches

From Nail Swatches

From Nail Swatches

Anyway, carry on, have a good day, and check back with ya in a jiff!