April 22, 2014

Bottle Spam: Favorite Zoya Polishes!

I was completely inspired by The Mercurial Magpie's Top 10 Must-Have Zoya Shades, so I thought I'd compile my own list!  (She picked some stellar colors, so do check it out!)

Anyway, since I don't think there exists such a thing as too many lists, I thought I'd provide one of my own ahead of the Zoya Earth Day Nail Polish Exchange which runs until the 28th. Hopefully it'll provide some inspiration/ enabling!

This was going to be a "top 10" list with two runners up, but I picked my polishes, then kept waffling on which two should be the runners up! So, Top 12, it is!

These won't be in the same order as the bottles shown above, and I haven't swatched them all for Polish Hound.  My ownership of some of these predates the blog!

1) Zoya- Harley, [Spring 2009 Twist collection]

The first polish that sprung to mind immediately I haven't swatched yet- but it may well be my very favorite Zoya!  I used to write a different blog, mostly about photography (which is no longer up), and this photo is the first I remember ever taking of my nails!

It just happens to feature Zoya- Harley:

Zoya- Harley with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear- Disco Ball on the ring finger.

This picture, although probably color-inaccurate, is so nostalgic for me because I had just stopped biting my nails for the final time. (This photo was probably taken a few months after they'd grown out from bloody stumps- yum!)  I had just learned about accent nails and begun reading nail blogs, and Zoya was already one of my favorite brands. For me, this polish was the beginning of it all, nail-wise, I think!

Harley is not just a grey; it's somewhere between lavender and dove-grey, and has gorgeous understated shimmer.

2) Zoya- Kelly, [Fall 2010 Wonderful collection]

This is one of the most famous Zoya polishes, and for good reason! It's not grey, it's not purple; like Harley, it lives in that space between the two (although it's a creme and quite a bit darker).  It pulls very cool on my cool-toned skin, but I love it. A perfect darker neutral. I own tons and tons of gray cremes, and nothing like Kelly.

3) Zoya- Gemma, [Spring 2011 Intimate collection]

Gemma is also fairly well-known, and also immediately sprung to mind as one of my favorites.  A classic, I think. I haven't worn it in a year or two, but it is one of the best greens that I have. Very unique- I need to swatch this one!

4) Zoya- Yara, [Fall 2011 Mirrors collection]

Yara is a faded Army green with chunky, flakie-type golden-yellow shimmer. Very pretty.  It's another neutral-ish green with a twist! This is so unique in my stash!

5) Zoya- Logan, [Winter 2012 Ornate collection]

I actually have three from the Ornate collection in this list, which goes to show how much of a giant win that set was!

Anyway, Logan was a surprise favorite of mine. It just looks like a metallic green in the bottle, with maybe some blue around the edges, but this is really the greener sister of Zoya- Charla, which is probably one of the most famous/ loved Zoya polishes ever.  It's glassflecky, with bluey duochrome tendencies around the edges, and sometimes also flashes yellowy.

6) Zoya- Aurora, [Winter 2012 Ornate collection]

 swatched here

Also from Ornate! Aurora was one of Zoya's first forays into scattered holographic shimmer.  This polish is so freaking lovely that I don't know what else to say.  The finish is divine, and they need to continue to make more of these!

7) Zoya- Blaze, [Winter 2012 Ornate collection]

This is Aurora's red sister! The holo shimmer is slightly finer than in Aurora, but not in a negative way.  The base is very cherry/ pink-red, and is just so flattering on pale skin.  If I had to choose between Aurora and Blaze, I might choose Blaze, honestly!  I don't think my photos did it justice.

8) Zoya- Jem, [Fall 2011 Mirrors collection] 

Like Yara, this is also from the Mirrors collection.  I remember bloggers raving about this when it came out, and it is amazing: a warm, glassflecky plum with golden duochrome!  Everyone who loves Zoya should have this one!

9) Zoya- Liberty, [Summer 2013 PixieDust collection]

I had a hard time choosing just one Pixie Dust finish, but I had to go with Liberty. It's just an incredibly saturated blue, and I want to wear it constantly despite my massive pile of Untrieds!

10) Zoya- Phoebe, [Summer 2011 Mod Mattes collection]  

This was my first matte nail polish, and still my favorite! Phoebe is an incredibly-bright, eye-catching matte blue! It also has aqua-teal shimmer running through it, so if you wear it with a top coat, it's completely different (and just as gorgeous).  I shook that bottle up really well before the photo, but I think you can still see the fill line. It's one of my most depleted bottles of nail polish, and is actually what Ham is wearing in the banner photo (although that banner may not be super color accurate, FYI)!

11) Zoya- Brigitte, [Spring 2014 Naturel collection]  

I had to pick one from the Naturel collection, and in the end, Brigitte is the most flattering on my skin (although I love Odette, too)! Is it mauve? Rosy-brown? I don't know, but I love it! It also had a great formula.

12) Zoya- Elodie, [Summer 2008 Gossip collection]  

Elodie is a polish that I don't see many people talking about, but maybe that's just because it is older. This is my first jelly polish- before I knew what a jelly was! I remember picking it up because I didn't have many corals.  Elodie is very, very bright- almost a neon, but not quite- and is squishy and shiny like a true jelly.

I remember being frustrated at first because it was sheerer than I was expecting, but I've grown to absolutely love this one- even more than the jellies in the Gloss set. It's definitely in my top 5 Zoyas with Harley and Gemma!

That's it! I had quite a time narrowing down my favorites to these twelve (out of >100, can you believe that?!), but I'm happy with my picks! There are definitely a few here that I wish I had time to swatch!

What do you think?  I'd love to know what your favorite Zoya polishes are!

[Press Release] Zoya Earth Day Polish Exchange 2014!

If you haven't seen this already, it's time for the annual Zoya Earth Day nail polish exchange! Essentially most polishes are half-off during this promo (with some exclusions like the newest Summer lines)! 

Here are the deets:

Give the earth a helping hand by joining the healthy nail polish movement! Since its inception, ZOYA has been the pioneer of toxin-free nail polish, releasing the most beautiful colors in the healthiest formula available each season. With Zoya Nail Polish, you don't have to compromise a healthier lifestyle for a glamorous one. go worry-free with a formula that is BIG5FREE**

Now you can join smart, eco-chic women who are changing their world, one gorgeous Zoya Nail Polish bottle at a time! To help kick start your "color cleanse", the Zoya Earth Day Nail Polish Exchange is BACK for 2014. Not only is ZOYA making it easy to swap out old, unwanted color for the world's healthiest and longest wearing natural nail polish formula on the market, we will dispose of your old shades in an eco-friendly manner!

This offer is only good for 1 week - so hurry - Don't Wait!
Valid 4/21/14 - 4/28/14 (11:59pm EST)

or visit zoya.com

April 21, 2014

Orly Blush Polishes [Swatch] & [Review]

Today, I have four of Orly's Spring 2014 Blush collection polishes to share.  The soft colors in this set really called to me!

First is Orly- Cheeky:

Cheeky is a peachy, orange-leaning, salmon color infused with yellowy-gold flake-type shimmer. The shimmer is never hidden, which is nice!

Artificial light, four coats:

The artificial light photos above are the most color-accurate. This wants to photograph more pink than it really is.

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside, shade:

Formula: It is sheer, and the first coat is streaky, but it doesn't cuticle drag. The second coat is a little better, but the coverage was still uneven. The third coat does a lot to improve the streakiness, but it's not perfect, and I needed four for swatches.

The good news is that it seems to dry down to the touch very quickly, so I didn't have to wait too long in between coats.  Cheeky is very pretty, but damn I wish it were less sheer!

I also had severe bubbling on my index nail- from what I do not know.  The other nails were fine, and I strive to make all coats the same thickness between nails, so it is a mystery. I would just be careful with your layer thicknesses; I had to take it off, and start completely from scratch for that nail.

TLDR: Too sheer, not the best!

Next, the most "standard" hue here, Orly- First Blush: 

First Blush seems to be the namesake of the collection.  It's a rosy pink creme/crelly that maybe leans slightly coral.  But I think most would call it a strawberry pink. 

Artificial light, two coats:

Window-filtered daylight:

You can just make out the nail line in stronger lighting, but mostly two coats was a nice opacity.

I'm not sure what to think of this one; it's a nice color, but I feel like I've seen it 1,000 times before, and I might even own a couple dupish polishes- I haven't checked yet.

Outside, shade:

Formula: It is sheer, but buildable. It goes on very smoothly, and seems very forgiving, self-leveling decently. It dries quickly to a very glossy finish.  It's  a bit of a crelly! Two coats are not quite opaque, but this is squishy, so it was good enough for me!

Next, here is Orly- Naked Canvas:

Naked Canvas is a warm-toned cream color that contains fine pink and red shimmer. When the light hits, the overall effect is sort of a purple flash, but in most cases the shimmer is fairly hidden, and really just lends the polish an understated glow.  Not a bad thing!

Artificial light, four coats:

Window-filtered daylight:

Mixed artificial and natural light:

Above you can faintly see the glow I was talking about. This is a fairly unique polish- I can't think of anything else exactly like it...and I really enjoy it!

Formula: It is sheer, and the first coat is definitely streaky.  It doesn't really cuticle drag, but it doesn't really self-level very much, either. The viscosity is medium- thick, and it does go on pretty smoothly, despite the streakiness.  It also dries down surprisingly quickly.

My third coat was still faintly streaky, so I really needed four.  This formula is not the greatest- four coats, really??- but it could have been a lot worse.  I'm just grateful there were no pulling/ dragging issues.

Last is Orly- Flawless Flush:

Flawless Flush is a purple-leaning, pastel pink (lilac?) infused with golden-bronze shimmer. 

Artificial light, two coats:

Window-filtered daylight:

This is like the quintessential Springtime feminine shade, I think. Girly and pretty.  This shimmer is more subtle than the shimmer in Cheeky, but it's still there and not invisible.

Mixed artificial and natural light:

Formula: It's a bit on the chalky side, and will cuticle drag if you overwork it.  You really need to be able to do 3-5 quick strokes per coat to avoid issues. If you can do that, however, the formula works out quite well, and was fairly usable.  I was able to achieve a good result, I think!

Happily, it was nearly opaque in two coats, unlike a couple of the other shades here.

Overall, This seems like a fairly standard offering from Orly.  For me, Flawless Flush is clearly the standout color, as it's a combination of the most unique polish with one of the least frustrating formulas. I wasn't pleased that Cheeky and Naked Canvas took four coats for decent coverage.  I feel like, hey- it's 2014, we should have the technology to make usable, opaque nail colors. Maybe I'm wrong!

If you do have the patience for Cheeky, it's an uncommon color!  The only other in my stash that comes remotely close is Rescue Beauty Lounge- NailsandNoms (but it's a totally different shade of orange with different shimmer), and I remember complaining about its formula too!  First Blush is nice if you don't own a color like that, but it is very generic, and I think designed to please the non-polish-obsessed masses.

I feel the most conflicted about Naked Canvas.  It's unique among the neutrals in my stash, but the four coat coverage really bummed me out. I love the glow that the shimmer gives it, but at the same time, I wish the shimmer were slightly more prominent (nitpicky, I know!) I want to see how it does layered over another cream or white, but it was a little streaky, so that might not even work.

What do you think?


April 19, 2014

Pastel Purple Easter Skittlette [Nail Art]

Well, not entirely pastel- I got a little carried away with glitter. (But who doesn't?)

Actually, I was trying to disguise some tipwear on my thumb nail, so I really need opaque glitter coverage there.  Initially, I wanted to fade it out as a gradient, like on the pinkie nail, except diagonally, but it got out of control!

I wasn't in the mood for eggs or bunnies, but I was feeling like a nice skittlette, and I don't think I've done one for the blog before!

Here are the polishes I used for this design:

Orly- Flawless Flush is the base color as well as the tip color in the gradient (and half-moons).  This is a polish from the company's recent Blush collection for Spring 2014, and I have swatches coming up for four of those, so stay tuned!

Illamasqua- Scarce is the milky pink glitter- swatched here separately.  I used regular scotch tape to get that clean line.  Illamasqua- Jo'Mina is the darkest purple in the gradient, and also used as the base color on the pinkie. I used binder reinforcements to create the half-moon shapes, and as you can see I've been having trouble with those adhering properly to the corners due to the curvature of my nails. Advice?

Finally, Nubar- Violet Sparkle is the gorgeous purple glitter sponged onto the pinkie and free-handed onto the thumbnail!

Artificial light:

Happy Easter/ Egg Holiday!