May 29, 2015

Nailstalgia: China Glaze- Lemon Fizz [Swatch] [Nail Art]

Hey nail friends, happy Friday! Short weeks are awesome, no?

Welcome to this month's edition of Nailstalgia, where we take a look at an older, but generally well-known (in the nail blogosphere hate that word!), shade! This is an ongoing series that takes place on the last Friday of every month.

This time, to shake things up, it's *Reader's Choice* edition! I took a quick poll on Instagram, asking which of three yellow creme shades you'd like to see swatched. The winner was China Glaze- Lemon Fizz with six total votes! Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear- Mellow Yellow was second with four votes, and Illamasqua- Load came in last with three votes, total.  This was a fun, interactive way to decide, so I'll probably do another Reader's Choice edition in the future!

Lemon Fizz was originally released in Spring 2010 as part of the Up and Away collection. (The same collection that Re-Fresh Mint was a part of.) I believe it's now part of the core collection, but don't quote me on that.

Lemon Fizz is a medium yellow creme that maybe has a touch of white in it. It's not the most pastel yellow creme I've ever seen, but it's also not super saturated and bright, either. Maybe like a dark buttercream yellow?

Artificial light, three coats:

So yes, it's not especially flattering on me, and brings out all the red in my skin. I wish I could wear yellows though! They are so fun and surprising and I think they look amazing on dark skin. *bemoans pale fate*

The ikat stamp is from MoYou London- Explorer 27 (the same plate from which these designs come), and I used Kleancolor- Metallic Orange and Kleancolor- Metallic Fuchsia for the double stamping. Metallic Fuchsia is a stainer, by the way, and could possibly stain your stamper head.

Outside, shade:

Formula: Well, it's a yellow. It's not the least workable creme I've ever used, by far. It is prone to cuticle dragging, but I do feel like you have enough time to get 3-5 brushstrokes per coat before problems arise. The texture is thick and a little bit resistant to spreading all the way down the nail, so you have to load the brush generously. People that like thinner coats will probably have a harder time. All that said, it builds to nice coverage in three coats.

What do you think?
Do you guys enjoy yellow polish?

May 25, 2015

Illamasqua- Prismatic [Swatch] [Nail Art]

Hey everyone! Happy Memorial Day if you're in the US!

Today I have a new polish from one of my all-time favorite brands, Illamasqua! This polish is Illamasqua- Prismatic, and it was just released with the new To Be Alive collection. However, as I'm posting this, the Illamasqua website now lists this shade as discontinued. I'm stymied as to why and a bit disappointed in the brand since it hasn't even been out very long! And now I feel bad for showing it!

At any rate, if you're interested in this shade, it may show up on Illamasqua's distributors, and maybe one day on, if you're in the US where the brand is harder to get now.  I did purchase this directly from the Illamasqua website, along with four other shades, for my Birthday this month, since you do get a 15% discount on your birthday. That essentially negated the high international shipping cost, and so made it a little bit more worth it for me! (I will have a mail-time post coming up for that order, as well.)

Prismatic is a baby blue (slightly green-leaning) base filled with dense, bright pink-purple glassfleck shimmer. The shimmer is very apparent both in the bottle and on the nail.

As far as similar polishes go, Model's Own- Indian Ocean is sort of close, but has pink glassfleck shimmer that is a lot warmer toned; in comparison, Illamasqua's looks almost fuchsia or purple. Indian Ocean is also much sheerer overall, and shows more shift into gold/yellow territory at the edges.

Artificial light, three coats (one coat over white on accent nails):

I wish I'd had the foresight to swatch this over a blue instead of white on the accent nails, but oh well!

Outside, shade:

I had really poor natural light the day I swatched this, and I'm not happy with these photos at all, to be honest. But, I think you can still get an idea of the color and finish.

Up close:

Formula: It's a little sheer, but it's got a medium-thick viscosity with a good texture. It's workable and self-levels- fairly easy to apply.

It's really going to depend on nail length + application style whether you'll need two or three coats with this one. On my shorter, right-hand nails, I'm getting away with two coats with slight VNL, but needed three for these swatches on my longer swatching-hand-nails. At two coats, it's like 90% opaque on me (although not streaky), and definitely looks better with the third coat.

What do you think?
Can you think of any dupes for this?

May 22, 2015

Zoya Paradise Sun for Summer 2015 [Swatch] & [Review][Nail Art]

Heya nail people! Is everyone ready for a long weekend? Those are the best!

Today I've got swatches of the other half of Zoya's Summer 2015 offering to share with you! This is a set of six metallic finish polishes called "Paradise Sun." The sister collection of cremes, Island Fun, can be seen here.  :)

Zoya describes the finish on these as "micronized metallic pearl." I think that's fancy talk for glassfleck, because that's pretty much what most of these are.

Let's get to it!

First up, the vibrant green, Zoya- Selene:

Selene is a slightly blue-leaning green metallic shimmer. Almost like an emerald-type of rich green. It has tiny glassfleck-like particles that are an icy blue. It's extremely similar to Zoya- Giovanna, but the finishes are different, and Selene is less "frosty."

Artificial light, two coats:

Formula: A lot of foil-like finishes have easy, excellent formulas, and this is no exception. (This is a glassfleck, but very tone-on-tone, and super foil-like and metallic.) Goes on smoothly, self-levels, and is decently pigmented! Easily opaque in two coats. If anything, the shimmer particles can stick up the tiniest bit above the base, but that is easily fixed with top coat. Very nice!

Next, the blue, Zoya- Oceane:

Oceane is a saturated, medium blue shimmer metallic with a lot of green in it. Zoya describes it as a "true turquoise," but I think it's bluer than that. It has the same icy blue tiny fleck particles that Selene has; but, because the base color is more similar, they don't show up as much on the nail, giving a very ultra-metallic finish- simiilar to Selene. 

Artificial light, two coats:

You can see by my overblown highlights how reflective this one is! I think I am going to love it on my toes.

Formula: It's extremely similar to Selene: pigmented, leveling, and goes on smoothly. The second coat is especially buttery, giving opaque coverage.

Here is the purple/indigo, Zoya- Isa:

Isa is a vibrant, midtone, blue-leaning metallic purple shimmer with the same light blue, tiny flecks as the previous two. This could really be considered an indigo, and I could even see some people calling it a blue- it's just right in between! (Color-corrected in post.)

Artificial light, two coats:

The flecks are the most prominent in this polish, contrasting well with the base, and lending a stunning blue flash to the finish.

Formula: It's not too thin, but seems slightly more watery than the first two, and has a tendency to skip (not drag) on the first coat. It's really hard to describe, but as long as you load the brush properly, it's not an issue. Overall, pretty similar to the first two, and opaque in two coats.

Here is the white, Zoya- Genesis:

Genesis is a white base filled with tiny, silver metallic flakes. Zoya says it's supposed to look like "micro-fine diamond dust."

Artificial light, three coats:

Formula: It's sheer and streaky during the first two coats, and the texture is not as nice as any of the previous polishes. It's a little sticky, and doesn't self-level readily. It can cuticle drag if you overwork it. The second coat goes on a bit more easily, but was still streaky for me. The third coat wasn't opaque, but most of the obvious streakiness was gone, and VNL was knocked down sufficiently for me.

You can see that my nails did end up looking a tiny bit thick, and the shape was a little distorted, even though I tried to use thinner coats.  Overall, not my favorite formula, but it's not impossible if you love the color.

Next, Zoya- Mae:

Mae is bright magenta pink metallic shimmer filled with tiny, light pink flecks that can look silver.

Artificial light, two coats:

Formula: Unlike any of the previous shades, the base of Mae has a bit of a jellyish texture, and it's a little bit sheerer for that reason. But, it goes on wonderfully: it's smooth, non-streaky, and easy to control. With a second thicker coat, this was ~90% opaque for me, so I left it there for you to see. I think people with long nails or dark nail lines will want a third coat, and you can see that it was a tiny bit thin at the tips of my nails.

This did stain my nails. I wore it for just over an hour while swatching (took a break to eat dinner in between), and my actual nail bed was stained afterward. I had Duri- Rejuvacote underneath, for what it's worth.

Finally, here is the red, Zoya- Aphrodite:

Aphrodite is a saturated, warm-toned red metallic shimmer with tiny, pink/magenta flecks that sometimes appear to flash gold.

Artificial light, three coats:

Formula: It has a jelly-like texture similar to Mae's. In fact, this is a straight up crelly-leaning-towards-full-blown-jelly, in my opinion.  And, that is a good thing! It goes on effortlessly, and really does all of the work for you. Like Mae, it's also a little bit sheer, but dries down pretty quickly, so three coats isn't too much of an endeavor.

On me, I don't even think this would be opaque at four coats, so you either have to be okay with doing multiple coats, layering it over another red, or wearing some visible nail line. I do think it's worth the effort though- so gorgeous!

Bonus! I took some macros of the watermarbles I did with these polishes. I also had marbles on my thumbs, which were not visible in swatches, so you can see those too!

Selene, Oceane, & Isa:

Genesis, Mae, & Aphrodite:

If you couldn't tell, these polishes don't marble particularly well. They are too metallic, and when spreading in the water, the pigment balls up and breaks a little (hard to explain). This happens especially when you start to drag the design in the water- you can see what I mean by looking at the weird wavy edges/lines. Sort of interesting though?

Overall, well, I'm not so hot on this collection as a whole, to be honest. I don't dislike it! I just love Island Fun a lot more. The color palette, taken altogether, and unlike Island Fun, doesn't do a whole lot to get me in the mood for Summer. Mostly, this is just a a reflection of my personal preference!  So, really it's just a finish x color aesthetic that's not speaking to me- which is not to say that it won't be perfection for someone else!

There are some highs, and lows, though- and definitely a couple of polishes worth picking up if you're into the colors, regardless of season! Isa is stunning, and if you're into blues, purples, or indigos, you need it. Aphrodite won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's an amazing crelly red with a lot of depth and is actually a great punchy Summer red! I also love Oceane, and my pictures don't do it justice. It's just incredibly saturated and metallic!

Mae, I feel like I've seen before...a lot, and maybe even something close from Zoya- though I'd have to go hunting. Selene is well executed, but not to my aesthetic. It actually reads more as a Holiday color to me, and if I'm wearing a green like that, I prefer it not be metallic. :shrug:

The formulas, save Genesis, on all of these were very nice! A couple were on the sheerer side, but nothing crazy, and Mae & Aphrodite had particularly excellent, amazing formulas.

What do you think of this collection?
Which shade is your favorite?

*Disclosure: polishes in this post were provided to me as press samples for honest review, and all opinions are my own.

May 20, 2015

Rainbow Lightning Watermarble with Indigo Bananas Neon Polishes [Nail Art]

Hey guys! I meant to post this manicure this morning, but didn't really have time to finish the photos. Still, I wanted to get a mid-week post up, so tonight it is! Hope you don't mind! And, oh yea, RAINBOWS ahead!!

Basically, as you can tell, I've done another watermarble with the 5 Indigo Bananas Neon, the 10th Element polishes that I have! This time, I used every polish for the bullseye, rainbow-style!

I started with two coats of KBShimmer- Eyes White Open on all nails, and added Glisten & Glow- HK Girl fast drying top coat to the nails that were going to have the lightning bolt NailVinyls added. I waited a little under an hour to be safe before applying the vinyls to those nails. HK Girl seriously sets everything fast, so that was probably pretty conservative!

Then, I just did each marble individually, and removed the two lightning bolt NailVinyls as soon as they came out of the water. (I will mention that, although I have tried Color4Nails' Crystalline Nail Veil now, I still prefer to tape off my nails with scotch tape. It's just easier, faster, and less messy for me!)

Then, I topped everything with a coat of HK Girl, and cleaned up the edges!

I did manage to grab a quick shot of the typical design in the water:

So bright! I made the back-and-forth chevron drags pretty far apart so that I would end up with thicker lines and swirls. I did dip each finger individually, since I wanted the specific vertical orientation and thick color lines.

Some close-ups!


Not totally happy with that point/blob on my ring finger. Probably a result of not carefully dipping the needle in after a stroke.

And, UGH, these polishes marble so nicely! They spread in the water and the pigmentation is so nice! It's actually becoming really addicting for me, even though I know I need to practice other nail art, and do more swatches!

*Disclosure: polishes in this post were provided to me as press samples for honest review, and all opinions are my own.