October 29, 2014

Glittery Halloween Half-moons [Nail Art]

Hey everybody! Happy early Halloween!

I am definitely in the mood for Fall, since it's looking pretty leafy around here, and the weather has been moody in general. But, I haven't been able to get gung-ho about Halloween this year, for some reason. So, I wanted to keep things simple and skip all the cute and intricate 'ween designs. (Although I have totally been admiring others' spooky works of art!)

So, I just created an orange and black half-moon manicure using various glitters as well as studs. Enjoy!

I'm not too happy about how the black base polish is peeking through at the top of the cuticle. I went in to clean the cuticles up with acetone and a brush, but it kept taking away the glitter and leaving the base polish. Blaaargh.  Anyway, you don't really notice it in person!

Polishes used for half-moons:

Illamasqua- Gamma is on the middle nail with Zoya- Beatrix layered on top. The ring and pinkie nails have Zoya- Beatrix by itself, and the index and thumb nails have Illamasqua- Marquise.

Not Pictured: Zoya- Willa from the new Wishes Winter 2014 collection which is the wonderful creme black base layer. 

I simply used arc-shaped nail vinyls to tape off the half-moon cuticle area, added various glitters, and removed the vinyls.  I had to go in with a second layer of glitter for some of the nails.  I originally wanted to do a mix of finishes, using creme and glitters, but Illamasqua- Gamma was not opaque enough in one coat, so I topped it with glitter too. I finished off some of the nails with rectangular, patinaed gold studs.

What do you think?
What will you be wearing on your nails for Halloween?

October 27, 2014

Zoya Color Lab [Promo][Press Release]

Go Mad For Zoya & WIN*!

Are you "MAD" for Zoya?! Now's your chance to bring the color of your dreams to life! Step inside our virtual color labooooooratory (muahahaha) to experiment with color and finishes to "mix" your very own shade. The Zoya color animator offers various pieces and parts (finishes, opacity and hues) to play with - feel free to use the description section to elaborate on your masterpiece. Give your creation a name, submit it, and there's a chance we will bring it to life!

NOW - Thursday, October 31st (10:00am ET) Piece together your creation for a chance to have it custom created just for you! The highest voted shade will win, so don’t forget to share your creation with your friends and family after it's been submitted!


How It Works:
  1. Go CRAZY! (You know we are) Create a custom shade using the Zoya Polish Animator
  2. Name your creation and describe any additional elements you would add to the polish.
  3. Submit (and don't forget to share!) your custom shade for a chance to bring it to life! Have more than one color you’re mad about? Create as many as you'd like!
  4. One winner will be selected on October 31, 2014 at 9am EST

*Terms and Conditions
Purchase not necessary to enter. Valid Art of Beauty account required in order to participate. Enter NOW through 10/31/14 (9:00am ET). One winner will be selected and contacted by 5pm ET 10/31/14. Please allow up to two weeks for production of custom shades. Winning shades will be created based on Zoya's Creative Director's interpretation of the description and cannot be returned, exchanged or duplicated at a later date.


This is a really fun promo, I think! Looking at the entry gallery so far, there's already a lot of potentially gorgeous shades!

Color Palettes: Fall [Nail Art]

Eeeek, Monday! Ew.

Welcome to the first installment of something I'm just calling "Color Palettes." Basically, I'll be showing a color palette skittle manicure quadannually, four times a year for each season. It'll just be colors that I'm particularly feeling that season, or that are inspiring nail looks!  It's mostly an excuse to experiment with mixing colors together!

For Fall this year, I kept it pretty traditional with deep, "vampy" tones of oxblood, indigo, and sparkly black! Enjoy!

Polishes used:

Illamasqua- Creator, LVX- Dahlia, LVX- Indigo Bleu

These are essentially my favorite types of manicures: skittles that mix finishes, but that create a unified feeling via the color palette!  I love wearing my nails like this much more than fancier nail art, to be quite honest!

What do you think?
What colors are inspiring you this season?

October 24, 2014

Zoya MatteVelvet Polishes [Swatch] & [Review]

Hey everybody! Welcome to Friday!

First, thanks to everyone who expressed concern for Ham! He's doing great at the moment, and I don't think he even knows he had surgery. He's in a cone-of-shame for the time being, and has even less spacial awareness than normal, which is pretty funny. We're just waiting for biopsy results, and I'll keep you updated! <3

Anyway, today I am very, very excited to be able to share the six MatteVelvet polishes that Zoya has re-released! I'm a big fan of matte nails, and I've loved these polishes from afar and in person for a long time. Let's take a look!

Oh yes, and because these shades have shimmer in them, they are all different and beautiful when top coated, so I decided to show them with partial glossy areas!

First, here is the darkest in the set, Zoya- Dovima:

Dovima is a deeper charcoal grey matte with rainbow microshimmer.

Artificial light, three coats:

I did kinda bump my middle nails before this was completely dry in a haste to take photos- sorry! (Just didn't want you to think that was an application issue. Nope, just me being clumsy.)

Window-filtered daylight:

This color makes me feel like a badass! I typically stay away from true blacks, but I think pale-skinned people can pull this one off!

Outside, shade:


When you get this in the sun, especially if it is worn glossy, the shimmer is just beautiful. Subtle rainbows!

Formula: It is on the sheerer side, and the consistency is also a bit thin, so it can pool at the sides of your brushstrokes. Dries down quickly, though, and the second coat goes on in a creamy way, and is, for the most part, opaque. I had some minor thin areas at the cuticle that weren't the result of dragging or anything like that- just the sheerness. So, in the end I used three coats (1 thinner + two thicker).

Next, the lighter grey, Zoya- Loredana, which is a medium gunmetal grey (or dark silver) that looks a lot like steel on the nail.  (I did have a hand-holding-bottle-up shot, but couldn't tell you where it disappeared to!)

Artificial light, two coats:

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside, shade:

I don't think this one looks particularly unique in photos, but I don't have another silver quite like it, and really enjoyed wearing it!

Formula: It is on the sheerer side, but goes on really smoothly and the viscosity is nice, so I'll take it. It's no secret that a lot of matte formulas suffer from dragging problems and other issues, so I was totally surprised when this went on almost effortlessly. Opaque in two coats!

Next, Zoya- Veruschka:

Veruschka is a matte forest green with shimmer. I think many people would consider this a cooler-toned green.

Artificial light, two coats:

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside, shade:

This is a really gorgeous and luxe green, guys!

Formula: It has a medium viscosity that paints over the nail easily. The first coat is a bit sheer/ streaky, but the second is fully opaque! Very easy to apply!

The purple, Zoya- Savita:

Savita is a cool-toned purple matte with fuchsia microshimmer.

This one is insanely stunning with top coat, and that would be how I'd choose to wear it as a full manicure. (Pictures do not do it justice.)

Artificial light, two coats:

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside, shade:

Formula: It has about the same consistency and level of pigmentation as Dovima (maybe slightly more pigmented?), but goes on so smoothly and is opaque in two coats!

Here is the warm-toned purple/pink, Zoya- Harlow:

Harlow is warm-toned purple which Zoya describes as a "rose plum." It contains very prominent silver shimmer, which is a bit chunkier than the shimmer that is in the others.

Artificial light, two coats:

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside, shade:

Formula: This one is slightly thicker than most of the others (a good thing, IMO), and is also a little more pigmented, perhaps due to the density and size of the silver shimmer. It applies really nicely, and dries down quickly like the others. Opaque in two easy coats!

Last, here is the red, Zoya- Posh:

Posh is a cool-toned wine red matte with lighter red (fuchsia?) microshimmer.

Artificial light, two coats:

I did find that this dries slightly darker than its liquid color.

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside, shade:

Formula: Like Harlow, it's a little thicker than the others, and is probably the most pigmented and opaque here. I had nearly opaque coverage in one coat, and just needed the second layer to make sure there were no thinner areas. Paints on well with no dragging or other issues! 

Overall: It's nice to see these mattes re-released all together! Last November, Zoya did re-release a trio (Veruschka, Posh, & Savita), which you can see here, and I remember being disappointed that Harlow wasn't in the set!  So, while that's a bit of a strange marketing strategy, I'm really glad they brought the entire set back. (Maybe they'll re-release the Summer Mod Mattes too?)

I think the quality of these polishes is fantastic, especially for matte formulas.  They are all rich and pigmented, and I encountered no application issues, which is usually something par for the course with mattes.  I think the inclusion of the shimmer really aids application, probably. The other thing is that the finish is fairly unique. These are not ultra matte- more like satin matte, since they do contain shimmers. I really like that! It adds versatility: nearly all of them are more gorgeous with top coat!

Like any mattes, they don't wear as long sans-top coat as normal polishes, but they do pretty well, considering! I wore Harlow for over two days and had really minimal wear, which I think is excellent. This type of finish will absorb natural oils, and, especially if you moisturize your hands, become gradually less matte during wear.

I like these quite a lot, and Harlow and Savita are my favorites, color-wise!

What do you think? 
Are you guys into this finish?

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