August 25, 2014

Morgan Taylor- Going Native [Swatch]

Here is Morgan Taylor- Going Native from the recent Summer 2014 Island Treasures collection.

I've never tried Morgan Taylor polish until now, but I recently got a couple off of Amazon for a very reasonable price.  The Island Treasures collection, especially, really called to me- you know how I can't resist pretty cremes!

Going Native is a soft, muted seafoam creme/ crelly. I think in most light it can be classified safely as a (blue-leaning) faded green, but there are definitely blue undertones. It's bright, yet soft at the same time- beautiful!

It fits right in with the China Glaze- For Audrey family, and I would've included it in that comparison if I'd had it then! I can tell you that I do not have an exact dupe for it, even amongst all those similar bluish greens in the comparison. Going Native is darker and greener than China Glaze- For Audrey, and much darker and bluer than Essie- Turquoise & Caicos. Plus, it has that squishy crelly factor.

Artificial light, two coats:

Outside, shade:

Formula: It is a bit sheer, but oh man- it glides on effortlessly, and self-levels. The consistency and opacity level put this one securely in the crelly finish category.  It will bubble if you use coats that are too thick, so beware.  Otherwise, the formula is great! Oh yea, and it also sets quickly.

What say you?
Have you guys tried any Morgan Taylor polish before?

August 22, 2014

Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Mod About You [Swatch] & [Review]

Hi guys! As promised on Instagram, here is a mini-review of Sally Hansen's Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in 'Mod About You!'  I'm calling this a "mini-review" because I didn't plan to review these at first, and didn't take and 'before' photos or capture any photos of the application process.  Hopefully, you can still get a good idea!

I'm sure most of you have seen the Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail strips in drugstores.  They've been out a couple of years now...I think?  I didn't save the 'Mod About You' packaging, but I do have the package from a different set I can show you:

This design is called 'Check It Out,' and is a basic houndstooth pattern. I obtained both of these sets of nail strips in a blog sale over a year ago, and these particular patterns have been discontinued, although you may be able to pick them up online somewhere.

I guess they're 3-free!


Inside the box are two sealed foil packets of nail strips, each containing 8 individual strips of varying sizes. (Each of the two packs has the same 8 strips, so you get two of each size.) There is also a little packet that has an orange stick, nail file, and instructions.

I do have some of the leftover strips from 'Mod About You' I can show you:

Those two bigger strips are clearly intended for thumbnails, and were much too large for mine. There was another set of thumbnail ones, which I did end up using, that were still slightly too large. Mostly, though, I found that these were sized very well, and I was able to find strips that fit my nail beds well (aside from the thumbs).

The smallest sizes (not pictured here) I did use for my pinkies, so if your nails are really small or narrow, these might not have a size suitable for you! I suppose you could always trim them down though?

Here are the Sally Hansen nails strips in action! I'm touching a red sandstone outcropping at Red Rocks Park, CO!

In those above photos, the strips had been on my nails for 7 days exactly. The box claims up to 10 days of wear time, so we'll talk about that.

In Colorado, I did a ton of hiking everyday, and a lot of the hikes were all-day endeavors. Many included scrambling. Scrambling, or alpine scrambling, basically entails using your hands to ascend rocks or steep rock faces. It's somewhere between hiking and rock climbing. And, obviously, it's super rough on your hands and nails.

So, you can see that, by day seven, I had major chips on two nails, tipwear, and the middle finger nail had some flaking? at the cuticle line. I believe I tested these nail strips under extreme conditions, so I'll just come out and say that I'm really impressed with how well they held up!

I took close-up pictures when I got home. Here is how they appear on day 10:

You can see the wear and damage I'd previously mentioned, and the tipwear is a little more noticeable, but no new chips have formed or flaked off from previous chips. That's good news! I must mention that I did wear topcoat over these, since I wanted them to last as long as possible. I used one coat of American Classic- Gelous plus one coat of INM- Out The Door.

I did originally apply these (to ultra-nubs) almost right against the cuticle line, so the gap you see is about ten day's nail growth for me. (The power of Biotin- woop!).

About application:
I found these strips much easier to apply than either Jamberry nail wraps or Incoco nail polish strips! They are very thin & flexible- stretchy, almost. In fact, the directions suggest you stretch them slightly over the tip of your nail to get a good fit.  That actually did work for me.

I really like the texture of them; they were not thick and plasticky like the Jamberry wraps. If you're not careful when stretching them, it is possible to tear them, and that happened to me once when I was being too cavalier. However, the benefits of the strips being thin definitely outweigh the risk of them tearing. The thin, flexible nature makes them easy to apply to the nail surface, smooth down- and, the excess is easy to file off once you wrap the tip of your nail.

I didn't encounter any problems with fitting them to the curvature of my nails, and any potential wrinkles were easy to smooth out due to the stretchy, thin nature of the strips. I also appreciated that I didn't need a heat source to 'melt' them onto my nails.

Sally Hansen claims these are easily removed with normal nail polish remover.  I used nail polish remover containing acetone, and for the most part I found that to be true. They took a little more soaking/ work than your normal creme polish, but not nearly as much effort as a stubborn glitter. It was almost like you had to get through a layer of paper first? The darkest purple triangles in the design were the last bits to succumb to the remover, for whatever reason. All in all, not bad.

I like these a lot! The wear time and durability was more than I was hoping for, and application was very easy.  I do recommend wearing a top coat over them, for protection, but no base coat is strictly necessary. I suppose my one criticism would be the limited range of sizes included in each set.  I can see that what's included might not be ideal for everyone's nail size/ shape. Price-wise, I was inclined to consider these expensive at ~9$ to ~10$ USD per set (check Amazon for cheaper!!), but considering how long they lasted, and the quality of application, I actually think that's almost a fair price.

What do you think?
Have you tried the Sally Hansen Salon Effects strips?

August 21, 2014

Mail-time: Zoya Entice & Ignite Fall 2014 Polishes

Hey everybody!  This is my first official post since returning from Colorado. I had an amazing time! Lots of intense all-day hiking (elevation sickness is a real thing), white water rafting (class IV rapids, woo!), and general outdoorsy, photography goodness! I've been posting some landscapes to Instagram (@polishhound), and I'll probably continue to do so as I process the photos! The Rockies are more than incredible, and I can't wait to go back!

On to the meat of this post! Although it was pretty disappointing to return to Illinois, I did arrive to some killer nail mail. The Zoya Fall 2014 Collections, Entice & Ignite, have hit my doorstep! I've been really looking forward to these ever since seeing the promotional images. I love Fall color palettes, and Zoya's offerings during the season are always stunning!

Baby carrots may or may not have been used to manipulate Ham into "posing" for these photos:

Oh, you found where I'm keeping the delicious carrot-y rewards, huh?

Still gazing at carrots...

And, finally, the Ham-dragon:

Let's look at some bottle shots! I had a blast photographing these!


left to right: Yuna, Remy, Sansa, Teigen, India, Autumn


left to right: Geneviev, Ryan, Margo, Veronica, Claire, Nyssa

Some random macro goodness:

Aren't these so lovely?! I love how Zoya usually breaks seasonal collections into two parts: typically one consists solely of creme finishes, and the other of glassflecks, shimmers, or other non-cremes. Organization, FTW!

Of course, I'm working on swatching all of these gorgeous shades, but I do have to warn you that it will take a bit of time.  I've been gone a week and a half, so there are a lot of things that currently need my attention.  Also, these polishes really deserve the best representation possible, so I'm just going to take my time and do them justice.  Hope you don't mind!

If you're desperately looking for swatches ASAP, I recommend:

August 18, 2014

[Guest Post] Tunay Na Mahal: Glitter Placement with Zoya Monet

Hello! If all goes according to plan, I'll be back in town and back to the normal blogging routine by Wednesday, so today's post is the final guest post! This time, it comes from Sarah Lynn of Tunay Na Mahal.  Sarah Lynn is the master of stamped accent nails. Take a look at how she swatched Zoya's Naturel Deux collection! Come on! 

I'll let her tell you about this manicure!


I'm Sarah Lynn, from Tunay Na Mahal blog. I'm really flattered Cait asked me to guest post for her. :) Cait always has such gorgeous professional looking swatches, so I hope I do her guest post justice with my nail art today.

It's August, and I'm pretty much over summer. I'm ready to move into fall now. Fall leaves, fall weather, fall colors, and pumpkin everything! I've been wanting to wear darker more subtle colors lately, instead of bright summery colors.

Zoya Madeline from the Naturel Deux collection was my base for this manicure. It's a nice deep mauve rose color. I used two coats. I also decided to give Zoya Monet another chance. I want to love Monet because it's so pretty in the bottle, but it's just so goopy and sticky when you use it as a topcoat. So, I decided to do something a little different. I took an orange stick and picked individual glitters from Monet and lined them up on my nails. You definitely need some patience and time to do this, but the end result was really pretty, and much sparklier in person. Everything is topped off with Seche Vite topcoat.