March 31, 2013

Easter Ikat [Nail Art]


Here's babby's first attempt at Ikat design!  These were really fun to do, but came out a little sloppier than I would have liked.  Next time, I need to leave more room for the black fringe-y outline, and I guess just make each blotch smaller. 



Colors Used: The base color is Illamasqua- Monogamous; the bright blue is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear- Pacific Blue, and the purple is Essie- Play Date.  The black and white are just Stripe Rite stripers, and they were both a little dried out and gloopy, but I did the best I could.



The pointer finger nail is the best, and hopefully I will improve next time I do these!




Happy Easter!

March 29, 2013

Zoya PixieDust Polishes [Swatch] & [Review]


Here are three of the first set of Pixie Dust-finish polishes by Zoya!

A couple thing about the swatches before we get into it:

  1. These polishes don't photograph well, so in order to show all the twinkly goodness, I shot them with a very narrow depth of field. So, there will be a lot of out of focus areas, and you'll only be looking at one nail at a time- if that.  The easiest way to show these in still photos is out of focus.
  2. I only had sun the day I photographed Nyx, so refer to its swatches for the full effect of the shininess!  I assure you the others are just as sparkly.
  3. Sorry about the nubs!

Without further ado- let's get into it!

First up is Zoya- Nyx:




Nyx is a medium-toned, blue-leaning periwinkle. It looks more purple-leaning in the bottle, but pulled blue on my skin. In some lighting, it looks like there is a good bit of gray in it as well.

Artificial light, three coats:


Window-filtered daylight:




Outside, shade:


Sun!


Completely out of focus to show all the magical glitteriness:



These polishes really come to life when you move you fingers around and the sparkly particles embedded in the finish catch the light.  There's just no good way to represent that in photos!



Formula:  It's not too thick or thin, and glides on easily.  The second coat adheres nicely. Two coats are not quite opaque, and I needed three to obscure VNL completely- however, I think many people will be satisfied with two. I think thinner coats are better to create a smoother, even finish that's not too bumpy.

Zoya does recommend that you let the first coat dry completely before applying the next. I paint from pinkie to thumb, and by the time I got to my thumb, my pinkie was dry, so waiting wasn't really an issue!
--

Next is my favorite, Zoya- Godiva :




Godiva is a warm-neutral toned nude.  This one is reaaaally pretty, and people with many skin tones will be able to wear it.

It's almost a light beige color, but very soft.  It's just slightly too warm for my skin, but wasn't garish or anything, and it became my surprise favorite of the three!

Artificial light, three coats:


Window-filtered daylight:






Outside, shade:


I wish there had been sun for this one, it's gorgeous when the light hits it, and it's such a surprise since it's a neutral otherwise!

Formula:  About the same as Nyx: goes on easily, dries quickly, and I needed three thin coats for coverage.

--

Last up is Zoya- London :




London is warm-neutral, medium gray.  It almost has an ashiness to it.

Artificial light, two coats:




Out of focus completely:


It reminds me of mica embedded in an asphalt road.  I like it!

Window-filtered daylight:


Outside, shade:


^The in-focus nail doesn't look like that texture in real life.  It doesn't look bumpy, since all those particles are actually glitter.  They just photograph dull and gross!

Formula: About the same as the others, except a little more opaque!  I only needed two coats for this one, and that made me happy.
--

Overall:

Finish: I may have mentioned that I'm not crazy about texture finishes in general, but I do really like these, and think they're probably the nicest "sand" finish polishes out there.  They are so sparkly that I don't feel the need for a glossy topcoat, and the overall effect is really lovely and different. They look much better when completely dried and cured; when wet, the sparkles are subdued, so wait a few minutes to really be amazed.

They make a nice break from smooth, shiny polish, or even plain matte or satin finishes.  Sort of a palette-refresher. 

The finish is not smooth (obviously), but not overly rough either.  It feels sort of sandy under the thumb, but I tried to "accidentally" scratch my face, and couldn't, so I don't think the roughness will be too bothersome for most. Although, I did notice friction against my clothes- not snagging, per se, just a noticeable feeling that my nails were touching the garments.

Something else: they aren't "hungry" glitters either!  It only took one coat of Poshe to achieve a glossy, smooth finish.

Topcoat/ Basecoat: A bonus is that you don't need a topcoat with these, and they dry super quickly, so the quick-dry topcoat addicts (all of us, amiright?) shouldn't suffer too much.

I should also mention that you're also not supposed to use a base coat either, but I wore Orly- Tough Cookie underneath because it acts as a peel base for me, and since I was swatching three of these, I didn't want to have to deal with removal, which I'm sure is a pain as with any glitter (so use the glue-base method!).

Durability: I wore Godiva for a couple of days, and had pretty significant chips on the corners of all nails, so it doesn't seem to be as durable as I initially thought it'd be.  I think, if it just needed two coats instead of three, it might wear better, but that extra thickness+ no topcoat sets you up for failure. 

The Brush! Also, I noticed the brush seemed thicker than normal (in a good way!) so I compared it to an older Zoya brush:


Zoya- London, Zoya- Nidhi



On the left is London's brush, and on the right is the brush from Zoya- Nidhi, which was released in Summer 2010.  You can see London's brush is a bit thicker and more plush, while still retaining the same shape.

I don't know exactly when Zoya changed this, but I took a look at the Ornate polishes too, and they had the thicker, newer type.  It's a good change though, in my opinion!


--
TL;DR: As far as texture finish polishes go, these are superb and interesting! Really sparkly, not too rough, they dry quickly; new thicker brush! 


Have you guys tried any of the Pixie Dusts? 

March 25, 2013

OPI- My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours VS. OPI- A Good Mandarin Is Hard To Find [Comparison]


Here are two very, very similar orange shades by OPI. 

OPI- A Good Mandarin Is Hard To Find (left) is from the Spring 2010 Hong Kong collection, and OPI- My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours (right) is from the most recent Spring 2013 Euro Centrale collection.

They are both bright oranges with red undertones (many people might just consider them red-oranges). 

Are they dupes? Let's find out!



Comparison Time! 

Artificial light, three coats each:



I acquired A Good Mandarin Is Hard To Find sometime last year after seeing it looking amazing on an acquaintance's nails, and it's one of my favorite oranges.  I didn't realize how similar My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours would be when I purchased it.  (Why do these OPIs have such long names?!)

Mixed Artificial & natural window-filtered daylight:



Can you tell them apart?  I barely could in person. 

My Paprika is supposed to have shimmer, but I photographed it in all sorts of light, and it did not show up, and I still couldn't see it with my naked eye. If anything, maybe the shimmer gives My Paprika a bit of a glow even though you can't really see it?

At any rate, for comparison purposes, I'd consider these both creme finishes. Outside, shade:


I think A Good Mandarin Is Hard To Find has a less pronounced pink undertone than My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours, but...it's so subtle.



They're both extremely vivid.

Sun:




^Above the sun is shining directly on My Paprika, and no shimmer is to be found.



Verdict: I don't think these two are exact matches, but for all intents and purposes they're dupes!  I really couldn't tell them apart, and had to keep checking the bottle labels to make sure I was painting the correct nail with the correct color.

I will have to relegate one of these shades to my Cull/ Trade list, but I'm not sure which yet.  They both took three coats for opacity, although My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours has a formula which is a bit thicker.

I like A Good Mandarin Is Hard To Find for sentimental reasons, but I think I'm drawn slightly more to My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours.  Ah! Decisions, decisions!  (First world polish problems)

March 24, 2013

[Press Release] Zoya: Stunning & Irresistible for Spring 2013


Zoya has just announced twelve new polishes for Spring 2013! 

There are two mini collections of six shades each.  "Stunning"  has six bright cremes, and "Irresistible" has six bright "foil metallic" finishes.




Zoya SUMMER 2013: STUNNING Collection

    Darcy (ZP663) - Sunny Yellow Cream - Full Coverage
    Thandie (ZP664) - Citrus Orange Cream - Full Coverage
    Micky (ZP665) - Amazing Coral Cream - Full Coverage
    Yana (ZP669) - Rubine Red Cream - Full Coverage
    Josie (ZP667) - Grassy Green Cream - Full Coverage
    Rocky (ZP668 ) - Serene Blue Cream - Full Coverage





Zoya SUMMER 2013: IRRESISTIBLE Collection

    Kerry (ZP684) - Yellow Gold Foil Metallic - Full Coverage
    Amy (ZP670) - Red Orange Foil Metallic - Full Coverage
    Tinsley (ZP671) - Rose Gold Foil Metallic - Full Coverage
    Bobbi (ZP672) - Hot Magenta Pink Foil Metallic - Full Coverage
    Hazel (ZP673) - Blue Green Foil Metallic - Full Coverage
    Rikki (ZP674) - Fern Green Foil Metallic - Full Coverage


These will be available starting April 15th!

I love Zoya, but I'm not so sure about these.  I wish there were bottle shots to look at.  Maybe there are a couple from Irrisistible that will be interesting, but the rest don't look terribly unique to me.  We'll have to wait and see!


What do you think- does this collection catch your eye?


ZOYA IS THE NEW COLOR OF FASHION!
$8.00 ea. (US).
Available on Zoya.com

March 20, 2013

Illamasqua- Fragile (Speckled/ Imperfection) [Swatch]


Here is Illamasqua-Fragile, the other speckled polish I have to show you!  (I reviewed Scarce here.)



Fragile is a baby blue base with a matrix of matte black 'speckled' glitter in three sizes. There are very, very tiny pieces, as well as two sizes of larger hexes that are closer to each other in size.

The base color has the barest hint of green in it; when I held it next to Zoya- Blu, which is a much lighter and cleaner, pure blue, you could definitely tell.  It is more along the line of Essie- Sag Harbor or China Glaze- Sea Spray, although much less grayed-out. Although, when you see Fragile by itself, it just appears as a perfect baby blue. 


Artificial light, two coats:




It does really remind me of Robin's eggs, and I think that's where its moniker comes from!

Window-filtered daylight:


Outside shade/ rain:






I also cut my nails down significantly while wearing this polish, and I just wanted to show the difference, since I think these speckled shades look much, much cuter on shorter nails:



The free edge was barely out past the tip of my finger there.  I much prefer it on stubbies than on longer nails! 




Formula: It's very similar to Scarce, and that's a good thing. It's a lovely formula: easy to work with, and opaque in two coats.  The density of the speckled glitter pieces is also perfect (and the same as Scarce).



What do you think?