February 27, 2013

Illamasqua- Scarce (Speckled/ Imperfection) [Swatch]

Here is Illamasqua- Scarce, one of five new Speckled polishes that are part of the new Spring 2013 Imperfection line.

Scarce is a soft, slightly warm-toned pink with a matrix of tiny black "matte" glitters and two sizes of larger matte black hex glitters, which give it an eggshell-like effect*.  The base color is almost a baby pink actually.

*Be prepared for more than the usual number of photos, because I really adore this polish (and am still wearing it as I write this!)

Artificial light, two coats:

I have always wanted my nails to look like tiny eggshells- how did Illamasqua know?!

I love the color of the base with my skintone; my skin is so pinkish, it's almost like a nude on me...or an off-nude. (Is that a thing?)  Anyway, it just makes my fingers look really long, and it's delicate and pretty.

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside, shade:

I love the milky quality of the base and how you can see depth because the glitters are suspended in different 'levels,' if that makes sense.

The density of the glitter is just perfect; any more would be too much, and any less would looks too sparse.

I love this polish so much that now I'm tempted by the other Speckled shades- ah(Actually, since going back and editing this post, I have since purchased Fragile, the blue version, and can't wait until it gets here!  Hopefully I can resist the others...hmm.  I really love Freckle, the beige/nude one, but it's a type of beige that will look like death on me so I am sad.)


Formula: Lovely! It's on the thicker side, but I wouldn't call it 'thick' per se, and Illamasqua definitely has thicker formulas than this. The first coat applies easily, and the second goes on just as well. It's opaque in two coats.

(Don't try to place the glitter in specific spots, or you will end up overworking the polish and creating bald patches; the density of the glitter is designed so you get just enough randomly dispersed on the nail.)

Also, Scarce is really hard-wearing.  I was extremely impressed.  I kept it on for four days and nights and had no chips and no tipwear (which is unheard of- my job is rough on my hands!) I wore it with INM- Out The Door on top, but I have a feeling it will be just as durable with just about any topcoat.

One thing to note is that this is essentially a glitter polish, and I found the glitter particularly hard to get off.  You'll need the foil method for this one- or use a glue basecoat!

Are you guys jazzed about the Speckled polishes? 

February 23, 2013

OPI Euro Centrale Polishes [Swatch] & [Review]

Today [tonight!] I have four polishes from OPI's Spring 2013 offering, the Euro Centrale collection, to show you.  First up is the color that got me hooked into the collection to begin with-

OPI- Can't Find My Czechbook:

Can't Find My Czechbook (ba-dum-chk) is a slightly dusty-looking, medium aqua blue creme.

Artificial light, two coats:

It's a really bright, clean-looking color.

It didn't really come through in the photos, but it seems to dry a smidge darker than the bottle color.

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside, shade:


Formula: I like this formula! The first coat is streaky, but doesn't really cuticle drag, and self-levels very well. Second coat goes on like delicious butter. Two easy coats for opacity.

One thing is that it chipped very readily on me.  (I wore OPI- Nail Envy as base, and INM- Out The Door topcoat.)

Next up is-

Suzy's Hungary Again!

Suzi's Hungary Again is a very bright, medium-toned,  warm-leaning pink.  There is supposedly shimmer in this, but it did not show up for me...in the bottle or on the nail.

Artificial light, four coats:

Missing shimmer notwithstanding, this is a really special shade of pink!  It looks like sort of a normal medium pink in the bottle, but was surprisingly bright and happy.  Love the color!

Mixed artificial & natural daylight:

Window-filtered daylight:

^In some lighting, it almost looks like it leans coral- pretty!

Outside, shade:

Now for the downside-

Formula: The formula was a big disappointment for me. The first and second coats are streaky, and I needed three coats for some semblance of opacity.  And then, still, I needed a fourth coat to even out streaky patches, and achieve a smooth, even finish. Bummer.  It also dries darker than bottle color.

Such a shame; the color is so amazing, but the formula makes me not want to bother.

Nextly, is-

My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours! 

My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours! is a bright, red-leaning orange polish.

Like Suzi's Hungary Again!, it is also supposed to have subtle shimmer, but it was completely non-existent for me.  You would think that I could locate it while editing photos up close, but no!

Artificial light, three coats:

I am a real sucker for red-orange cremes, so I'm not surprised I chose this one- totally in my comfort zone.

It also dries darker than bottle color; it looks more orange in the bottle than it will dry on your nails- although to my eye it still falls solidly in the orange family, not the red.

Window-filtered daylight:

That said however, my boyfriend said "Wow your nails are really red!" while I was wearing this one.  And I hardly ever hear comments from him on my various nail colors.  So, who knows.  (Although I'm pretty sure he is at least slightly red/green colorblind, not kidding.)

Outside, shade:

I do really like this shade, but it reminds me of another OPI I have- I'll do a comparison soon!

Formula: Thick; first coat goes on well with some streaking, but self-levels decently. However, the next coats do not level as well as the first one...for some reason. Two coats are mostly opaque, but I needed three to fix streakiness issues.  It does dry quickly, though.  Oh, and this one really wanted to stain my skin and cuticles during removal.  Ew.

All these streaky polishes are sort of a let-down from OPI!

Lastly, is-

OPI- OPI...Eurso Euro:

I...hate the name of this polish.  It's a terrible pun, but who would say that "you're so Euro!" anyway?  I don't know, it just makes me cringe!

Anyway, this is a really lovely color that totally surprised me when I received it!  All swatches that I saw prior to seeing it in person showed it much too blue.  (Digital sensors do have issues capturing violet light.)

There's a decent amount of purple in this, and it verges on being a true indigo creme.

Artificial light, two coats:

Mixed artificial & natural daylight:

Window-filtered daylight:

This is a keeper.  It's a really great color, and I have nothing exactly like it, although it's well-within my dark blue/indigo creme comfort zone. 

Outside, shade:


Looks much more purple in the sun.

Formula: It's pigmented and on the thinner side, but not too thinThe first coat is a little patchy, but not bad. The second coat fixed all the patchiness and was opaque.  Like all the others I tried, Eurso Euro also seems to dry slightly darker than its bottle color.  Another thing is that the smell was a little strong.


Overall, I don't know, I feel pretty neutral about these.   The colors are all really beautiful, but aren't terribly unique, and two that were supposed to have subtle shimmer seemed to have none at all.  

I also hate to see streaky formulas from OPI- that's certainly not what I expect from them, and when I have to apply four coats of a polish to get an even finish I get a little disheartened.  These weren't awful by any means, (in fact, two that I tried had pretty decent formulas), but I tend to expect a higher level of consistency from a major label!

What do you think?  
Were there any others from this collection that wow-ed you or were disappointing?

February 21, 2013

Illamasqua- Venous [Swatch] & [Comparison]

Here's a polish that showed up on Sephora.com recently: Illamasqua- Venous!

I was deciding which of the Speckled polishes I needed (turns out, only Illamasqua- Scarce (swatch to come!)) and I noticed this beauty, so of course I had to snatch it up!  I have no idea whether this is going to be a Sephora exclusive or if it is part of a collection.  All I know is it's a gorgeous creme!

Artificial light, two coats:

"Venous" refers to veins, which is a clever moniker for this polish, as it really sort of looks like that grayed blue-green of veins seen through skin.  I love Illamasqua polish names!

Mixed artificial & natural daylight:

^That's pretty much the true-to-life color of Venous.  It's photographed against a greenish wall!

Green-lovers and dirty-ish blue-lovers, this is a great shade for you!

Window-filtered daylight:

Outside shade:

It looks much bluer in the shade, but in most lighting it definitely is a type of green (with blue undertones).


Formula:  I don't even know what to say; it's buttery and wonderful, self-levels magically, and surpasses expectations.  It's a one-coat wonder, but I did two for swatching, although next time I wear it I'm definitely stopping at one!

There are a few greens that this guy reminds me of, so it's-

Comparison Time!

 Left to right: Misa- Dirty, Sexy Money, Illamasqua- Venous, Barielle- Sweet Addiction, OPI- Jade Is The New Black

 (Look how clean and refreshing that Illa bottle looks next to all the others without all the writing on the front! Also, sorry, my Jade Is The New Black is separated- I shook it like mad, but it didn't want to mix completely.)

You can probably tell that there are no real dupes here, but these are still worth comparing.  

Artificial light:

Venous seems to be, obviously, the bluest of the bunch; I just threw in OPI- Jade Is The New Black to give some sort of reference context, since many people are familiar with the shade.

Outside, direct sun:

Venous is most similar to Misa- Dirty, Sexy Money (a cult favorite), but DSM is much more muted and grayed out, greener, and less vibrant.

What do you guys think of this Illamasqua?