Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hottest New Nail Art Trends of 2014!

I recently got a super-exclusive sneak preview of what, according to an inside source*, are going to be this year's hottest new trends.  And since I'm so hip and trendy, I just had to try out all these new techniques right away.  You guys, this is seriously cutting edge stuff here.  World premiere.  You get to say you saw it before it was cool.

Les Ongles de Terre
All natural, organic, locally produced artisan terrain provides a sustainable and beautiful eco-friendly manicure. 

Nail File Manicure
Textures were the big trend in 2013, but this new type textured manicure has both form and function. Now, thanks to the geniuses at 3M™, you can file your nails with your nails. Whoa.

Whole Handicure
Take it to the next level and just do your whole hand. Why the hell not? Do it. Who cares. Life is meaningless.

Cherenkov Manicure
The materials for this nail look might be a little hard to get your hands on, but the end result is worth the effort.  Your nails will be so glowy, it's like they're actually lit from within.  The downside is that there may be some side effects, which could include sudden onset of superpowers or severe burns. Probably both.

Quantum Manicure
This one is a more complicated two-step process, but it'll definitely turn heads. First, apply your Cherenkov manicure as usual.  Then, using your new-found powers, turn your nails invisible or teleport them to another location or time period, depending on which powers you got. 

You heard it here first! 

*source is inside my head

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gwen Stefani by OPI Collection 2014 Swatches and Review

This is a small collection of mostly standard, mundane colors (red creme, pink creme, vampy burgundy), but with one really special standout shade.  Quick overview of the collection from the press release:

"OPI joins celebrity partner Gwen Stefani in announcing seven new limited edition nail lacquers for 2014, featuring standout color in breakthrough finishes. Highlights from the collection include a bold red lacquer that pays homage to Gwen’s signature lipstick, a new semi-matte satin finish in shades of gold and black, and a mirrored chrome paired with a special base coat. 

Inspired by the 2013 Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala that featured the theme “Punk: Chaos to Couture,” OPI Executive VP and Artistic Director Suzi Weiss-Fischmann decided to create a collection of lacquer celebrating the role of music as a major influence in fashion. “With her expertise as a singer, songwriter and designer, who better to collaborate with than Gwen Stefani?” asks Weiss-Fischmann. “Known for her trademark red lips, bold eye makeup and nail art, Gwen uses beauty to accessorize her style.” 

Gwen’s signature red OPI hue – Over & Over A-Gwen – is available in a boxed set, which includes Swarovski black crystals and silver, gold and pewter studs in bar, square, diamond and circle shapes for creating unique nail designs, as well as nail glue for easy application. Love.Angel.Music.Baby. and 4 in the Morning feature a new, semi-matte satin finish designed to be worn without top coat. Push and Shove, a bold chrome hue, is also worn without top coat but requires a special complimentary base coat – Lay Down that Base. One thin coat of Lay Down that Base topped with two thin coats of Push and Shove yields an intense, mirrored finish. The collection is rounded out with two glossy crème lacquers and one sparkly glitter shade: Hey Baby, I Sing in Color, and In True Stefani Fashion.

“OPI wanted to create a collection as dramatic, diverse and glamorous as its namesake,” adds Weiss-Fischmann. “With crème and glitter hues, new satin matte texture, a mirrored chrome and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS, Gwen Stefani by OPI presents the latest in pigments and finishes, while combining elements of haute couture and street fashion.”
Gwen Stefani by OPI Collection

 OPI 4 In The Morning
Very slightly shimmery dark charcoal/faded black satin matte.  Intended to be worn without topcoat.

 OPI Hey Baby
Blue-based hot pink creme.

 OPI In True Stefani Fashion
Sparse holographic silver glitter topcoat.  Shown here with three coats and still not full coverage. Nice feature of this polish: square glitter.

 OPI I Sing In Color
Vampy brown-burgundy creme.  Leans more jelly than pure opaque creme.

 OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby.
Light gold shimmer with a satin matte finish.  Intended to be worn without topcoat, but it looks pretty great with topcoat as well.

 OPI Over and Over A-Gwen
This is only sold as a set (pictured below) that includes some Swarovski Elements nail art pieces.  The color itself is a bright cherry red creamy jelly. 

OPI Over And Over A-Gwen Boxed Set

OPI Push and Shove
This is the special standout in the collection.  It's a mirrored chrome silver, and without resorting to Minx or other similar nail coverings, it's the most reflective, mirror-like silver out there.  It needs to be worn over a special basecoat, but that's included with the polish.

The formula on every shade was perfect.  Literally nothing to criticize in the texture or application of any of these.  Push And Shove can get streaky if you apply the coats too close together or on top of still-wet basecoat, but it's minimal.  All shades except In True Stefani Fashion only needed two coats for full coverage (and that's how they're worn here).  Push and Shove is very fragile on the nail and doesn't wear for very long.  It doesn't chip on me, it actually wears away as if it's being wiped away.  Wearing topcoat makes it more durable. 

Most of the colors in this collection seem too bland to have Gwen Stefani's name on them, don't they?  Nothing unique in here except for Push and Shove.  It's not a true mirror reflection, but it's the closest I've ever seen.  I am completely in love with it.  It's even more reflective in person.  Only downsides are that it gets damaged easily and that it shows every single flaw on your natural nail (call me Ruffles.) Gently buffing your nails before applying the basecoat should make any ridges or flaws less noticeable.

Gwen Stefani by OPI nail lacquers contain no DBP, Toluene, or Formaldehyde, and feature OPI’s exclusive ProWide™ Brush for the ultimate in application. This promotion will be available beginning January 2014 at Professional Salons, including Beauty Brands, Beauty First, Chatters, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Pure Beauty, Regis, Trade Secret, and ULTA, for  $9.00 ($10.95 CAN) suggested retail for each nail lacquer. The boxed set including Over & Over A-Gwen and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS will retail for $14.95 ($18.95 CAN).

(collection provided for review.)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Rescue Beauty Lounge A Poem Collection 2014 Swatches and Review

From the official press release:

"I'm wobbling on the icy sidewalks of Manhattan against the sharp, brutal wind, which is mockingly slicing my face into pieces. I feel like I’m five years old again trapped in my one-piece zip-up snowsuit unable to raise my arms, intently concentrating with knitted brows trying not to walk sideways and fall on my derrière. There are so many layers underneath my puffy coat that I feel immobile and stuck. I grip the railing as I descend down to the subway, my boots crunching the grayed crystal snow-salt beneath me as I slide down the stairs. At the subway platform we’re all children again waiting for the school bus on a wintry morning, puffing out our breaths through our cocooned scarves with only our eyes peering through a tiny space like ninjas.

A text notification vibrates, my girlfriend (an ex-New Yorker) now living on West Coast: "Augh! Another stupid sunny day here! I miss New York, the cold, my sweaters and coats *cat face with tears* emoji."

I immediately reply with: "Three *angry red devil faces* emoji" while I mentally utter explosive curses at her—I picture her wearing flip-flops and shorts. Immaturely, at that moment, I hate her and pout like a child.

At the studio, I’m stirring the last shimmery touches on my mixing table, the almost completed color mixes for The Fan Collection 2.0 consume me. They are stunningly beautiful and simply lovely, yet, for my next round of mixing, I cannot fathom working with anything this pretty so soon. Instead, I start craving sensible soft cotton undies and my oldest sweats from college. That's the outfit I'd wear as I picture myself munching on Doritos and washing it down with beer while watching horrific “Lifetime” movies—I crave dichotomy. That's when I remember this quote from "The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker: "Even beauty, in abundance, turns creepy." I then call my girlfriend, I understand our finicky hearts.

My thirst to seek some kind of alluring forlornness leads me to words. Wordsmithing entrances me, I can marinate myself for days with its craft. Words are a magical and ancient medium. Great writers use words to depict the cinematic or to hint at nuances of imagination. Would I? Can I humbly dare to translate that into colors?

As soon as I read “Ghost House,” by Robert Frost (published on public domain), the colors revealed themselves. It was as if I was physically walking along the patch of earth from the poem. There are many layers in those verses that illuminate one’s soul; I’ve attempted to translate this into layers of colors. This entire collection was curated by a harmony of hues that go seamlessly hand in hand, including the glitters that can be layered with the opaque colors to give depth and texture depending on one's mood.

It's rare for me to make four opaque colors in one collection, but these earthy palettes ravished me, when I read the poem, these colors seduced me. The opaques themselves are all demurely quiet, neutral and wearable, yet sophisticatedly pensive for all occasions and seasons (my own version of the perfect little black dress). I know, I know, scandalously, there is only one color with that shimmery sensation and I've crushed on glitter again. That last time you've witnessed this was circa 2009.

Unfolding the ocean full of desires has completed this puzzle and it makes my hunger complete. I hope you’ll enjoy this journey as much as I did."

A Lonely House: The sleepy night sky swallows up the last of the dim sunlight. Like a black and white photograph from long ago, naked tree branches are covered in the snow that is falling on the ground and the ubiquitous snow wins with a smirk. A brown, weathered, broken wooden house remains, without any apparent light or life. Just there, content, scattered, and waiting. Out of this friendless and disparaged landscape dwells the perfect opaque brown. Like handsomely worn English saddle leather, a rich and lush one-coater. 

Forgotten Road: The snow has melted. A howling wind stamps, turns, and tangos with the broken brown house too many times. In the morning after they part, a charcoal road, faded over time, leads to the house yearning for companionship. In the slick asphalt road after the rain, I found a charcoal opaque gray. It is the color of a deep gray river rock that fits perfectly in your hand, the darkest shade of gray in the spectrum. A darker, moodier sister to Stormy. 

Footpath: After the incessant rain and flood, the yellowed-clay earth slowly recovers and hardens. Unhurriedly, the path heals, baked by the sun. The earth, for a short while, forgets and forgives its muddied past. The willow branches persistently swings, whispers, and sheds its confetti of mustard-colored pollen, which blend to celebrate a marriage between two earthy-yellow opaque hues. This earthened-yellow is truly mellow, wearable, and surpassingly neutral. If you're on the fence about wearing a bright yellow, this is a perfect shade to ease into.

The Mosses Mar: The small creek sings and chatters, conversing with the busy birds pecking away at nature’s supper. In between the brown house the wood has shed, there are sage-colored mosses bursting up for their new eager, erratic life. This is the color of the mosses in between stones or scattered deadwoods, parched and lightened by the sun, almost identical to the underside of Aspen leaves when they tremble in the wind. (This is a less yellow version of Diddy Mow 2.0)

Wild Raspberries Grow: One spring morning, a sparkling hint of brilliance appeared in the periphery where wild raspberry patches thrived. The ruby fruit twinkled. Like Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz, the raspberries find their ruby slippers—turning the grayed world of black and white into a beautiful spring day. In the light of the sun of a new day, the micro leafy green glitters and sparkling fuchsia berries float. Combine this with any of the opaque colors in this collection or use three coats to see a kaboom of glitter!

Small, Dim, Summer Stars: Lost in the woods on a moonless, un-illuminated night, they stumble through the darkness. Looking up at the sky amid the fragrant forest, the weeping willow tree branches recite a monologue in the distance. A whippoorwill sopranos—its cadenza joins to compete. Then they appeared, countless tiny stars embedded in the dark sky, it was always there to be found in every gentle, trusting heart. This sweltering silvery black base hammered with multifaceted and spectacular green, blue, pink, shimmery, glittery twinkling stars will bring you back to that summer night long ago, full of wonder and beauty.

As Sweet Companions (one coat over Forgotten Road): In the end, it was the hardship and the beauty that all flourished together. The sonatas will always have the contrasting movement that settles what the perfect ending was meant to be. The silver-lavender and matte black glitter were meant to be playmates. This is not your typical screaming glitter, it's more discreet, reserved, with muted tones. You can create a perfect polka-dot nail art overlay with any of the opaque colors from this collection as base. Or better yet, for those who want it real--layer it on for jeweled digits!

 Wild Raspberries Grow (one coat) over A Lonely House

The formula on these was very good.  As usual, the creme shades are extraordinarily pigmented and completely opaque in one coat.  The texture is thick and slow-flowing, so if you're going to do more than one coat it's best to let them dry for a few minutes to avoid any clumping or smearing.  The two glitter shades are much more thin in texture.  Wild Raspberries Grow is easy to layer (I'm wearing three coats) for solo wear, while As Sweet Companions is more sparse and can be worn alone, it requires a little dabbing and arranging of the glitter with the brush to apply evenly.  Dry time is long.

This collection will be available for 48-hour pre-order starting at 12:00pm EST on Friday, February 7th on rescuebeauty.com

(collection provided for review)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Get Awards Season’s Best Red Carpet Looks with L'Oréal Paris (Sponsored)

Awards season is upon us and that means new looks on the red carpet. L'Oréal Paris has got you covered because their new interactive series of how­to videos will show you how  to get the most popular beauty looks from the red carpet.  Beauty blogger Sona  Gasparian of MakeupbySona shows you how to get the perfect orange­hue lip, statement  eyes and lips, or that camera­ready hair with the perfect manicure. The best part ­ the  videos are interactive, allowing you to purchase any L'Oréal Paris product on Target.com  straight from the video with just a click!

Visit L’Oréal Paris' Guide to the Latest Red Carpet Looks to see more #GetTheLook videos!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dance Legend Chameleons 092 Roz

 Dance Legend 092 Roz

Dance Legend's Chameleons collection is amazing.  There are five shades, and each one is an extremely intense multichrome.  This one's called Roz, and as you can see, it truly is a chameleon.  It has a burgundy-plum base and it shifts to a glowing red-orange-gold-green rainbow.  It has decent coverage on its own (I used three coats for opacity) so it doesn't need to be layered, but layering it over black (or another dark, opaque creme base) accentuates the green flash.

The formula is a little on the thick side, so I needed to be careful to apply very thin coats to avoid bubbling or lengthened dry time.  Since the finish is slightly frosty, it's also a good idea to be conscious of your brushstrokes. Most of them disappear when the polish is fully dry, but not all of them.  Other than those two issues, I was very happy with these polishes.  Dry time is quick as long as your coats are thin, and they have been very durable and chip-resistant each time I've worn them.

Dance Legend is available either directly from their website (RU), or from Ninja Polish and Llarowe (US).

(sent for review)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Girly Bits Cosmetics Bawitdaba

 Girly Bits Cosmetics Bawitdaba
Another really cool glitter from Girly Bits!  This one is new; it's from the concert series collection.  Bawitdaba is a mixture of gunmetal and grey microglitter with larger pieces of red, silver and black hex glitter, and then some even larger pieces of silver hex glitter.  It has this sort of grey-red sheen to it that makes it look like it has a pink base, but I think that's just an optical illusion.  Either way, it's a great color combination, plus it's full-coverage.  I used three very thin coats, plus one coat of topcoat. 

(polish provided for review)

Monday, January 20, 2014

China Glaze Crinkled Chrome Textured Polish Collection 2014 Swatches and Review

China Glaze Aluminate

China Glaze Crush, Crush Baby

China Glaze Don't Be Foiled

 China Glaze I'm A Chromantic

China Glaze Iron Out Details

China Glaze Wrinkling The Sheets

The formula on these is very good.  They're thick but easy to control, and completely, 100% opaque in just one coat. In fact, they look better at one coat than they do at two.  They have a true chrome finish (think China Glaze's Khrome collection from 2009) that becomes reflective when dry.  They have some sandy grit like other sand/textured finish polishes, but they also contain white matte bar glitter for extra texture. They dry almost immediately.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about these yet.  My gut reaction was, "oh, lumpy-looking chromes.... okay," but they're growing on me.  To tell you the truth, I was expecting them to crinkle up almost like a crackle polish as they dried, so the grit texture was a bit of a surprise to me.

Still, it's a unique idea that I haven't seen done before, so that's pretty cool.  Good formula at least. 

This collection is available now!

(collection provided for review)

Monday, January 13, 2014

OPI Mariah Carey Collection Holiday 2013 Swatches and Review

OPI Mariah Carey Collection Holiday 2013

 OPI All I Want For Christmas (is OPI)

 OPI All Sparkly and Gold

 OPI Cute Little Vixen

 OPI In My Santa Suit

 OPI My Favorite Ornament

 OPI Sleigh Ride for Two

 OPI Ski Slope Sweetie

 OPI Underneath the Mistletoe

 OPI Visions of Love

OPI Warm Me Up

OPI Wonderous Star

The collection also includes a special, large-particle hologram glitter called I Snow You Love Me.  I find that it's too sparse to apply directly from the bottle as a topcoat, but works very well as a jewel accent when you place the glitter on the nail with a toothpick or nail art brush:

You can do something quick and simple like this,

Or add more pieces for something a bit flashier.  The clear polish base acts like glue so the pieces stay right where you put them.  Just be sure to let the clear polish on the dots dry before adding topcoat or else they might slide around a bit.

The formula on all of these was perfect.  Application was so uneventful that there's nothing I can really say other than that they all apply exactly how polish should.  I did three coats of each polish (only the glitters and Ski Slope Sweetie actually needed three) and dry time was very fast. 

My favorite of this collection is My Favorite Ornament, but I'm also really into Ski Slope Sweetie.  It's a lot like China Glaze White Cap from a few years back.  It's sheer enough at one coat to use as a color-transforming topcoat over various base colors (it adds gold, yellow and green iridescence and glass fleck shimmer), but I love how it looks all by itself at three coats. 

This collection also includes six new shades of OPI Liquid Sand textured polish, which you can see swatched here.

Mariah Carey Holiday is limited edition and can be purchased at Professional Salons, including Beauty Brands, Beauty First, Chatters, Dillard’s, jcp Salons, Pure Beauty, Regis, Trade Secret, ULTA and ulta.com for $9.00 ($10.95 CAN) suggested retail for each nail lacquer. 

(collection provided for review)