Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another French Manicure Kit from Nailene

This second french manicure kit from Nailene is a little more adventurous. It includes the standard bright white tip polish, but also a sheer pink shimmer with strong green duochrome.

Like the first kit that I reviewed, this comes with everything you need to complete your look. Base and tip polish, sealant top coat and 42 tip guides.

Since tip guides were included with the kit, I used them for these looks.

Here's one coat of white with one coat of the pink and green shimmer polish on top. Wow, my nails are stained... Oops!

Here's the same, but with two coats of the pink and green shimmer polish instead of one. Two coats gives you a lot more coverage. That's good, that way you can't see how bad my stained nails look!

Since the base polish has more tint to it than your traditional sheer nude french manicure color, it discolors the white tips. If you prefer a bright white tip, apply the white tip polish last. This is what it will look like:

Can you see all the pretty green shimmer? This polish seems like it would be great for layering. I think it would look pretty cool over a hot pink or coral, and it would be amazing over black.

You can also add a little flair to it with Nailene's Bedazzle Nail Art Decals. I chose a swooshy one from the kit. I think it would also be pretty with one of the snowflake designs as well.

Overall, this is another great kit for people who love french manicures. It's not the same plain pink-and-white french because this one has a little duochrome green shimmer added to it. It's extremely easy to use and there's no confusion because everything you need is right in the kit. It's an inexpensive and easy way to achieve a french manicure look without having to go to a salon. I'm all for being able to do your nails at home!

This kit is available at any drugstore and can be found in the nail art section near the decals and artificial nails.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rescue Beauty Lounge 50% off sale and Lippmann Gift With Purchase

Wanted to give you all a heads up on these awesome specials from two of my favorite brands!

First of all, Rescue Beauty Lounge is having a 50% off sale for a couple hours tomorrow. Stephanie at Polish Addict covers all the details in her post, so check it out to get the whole scoop!

Also, I know I'm a day late on this one, but Lippmann Collection is giving away the completely awesome Party Like A Rock Star kit with any $50 purchase. The email does not include a code to enter, so I'm assuming it will be automatically added to all orders $50 and over. I would mention it in the comments section just to be safe. This is also for a limited time- tomorrow is the last day to get the free kit!

Here are a few swatches to inspire you :)

Rescue Beauty Lounge Black Russian

Rescue Beauty Lounge Dead Calm

Rescue Beauty Lounge Frugalista

Rescue Beauty Lounge Locavore

Rescue Beauty Lounge Look Rich, Be Cheap

Rescue Beauty Lounge Recycle

Lippmann Collection Party Like A Rock Star Set

Lippmann Collection Whatever Lola Wants

Lippmann Collection Purple Rain

Lippmann Collection Maneater

Lippmann Collection It's Delovely

Lippmann Collection Pump Up The Jam

Lippmann Collection Shut Up And Drive

Lippmann Collection Rhapsody In White

Lippmann Collection Lady Marmalade

Lippmann Collection Fever

Lippmann Collection P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)


Nubar Disco Blue Glitter

I have a lot more french manicure stuff to post, but it's putting me to sleep!

So how about I spice things up a bit in between bland french mani posts?

Take a look at this beauty from Nubar:

Nubar Disco Blue Glitter.

Your eyeballs can't repel sparkle of that magnitude!

Disco Blue Glitter is a medium blue shade of fairly large size yet not chunky in texture glitter. It looks chunky, but it has a strangely smooth and flat feel for this type of glitter. That's the beauty of Nubar's glitters, they're unusually smooth.

The way the glitter lies on the nail is also fairly different from other glitters I own. It is really flat and smooth looking, the closest glitter I can compare it to is Milani Disco Lights. It's like little glitter platelets. Hard to describe, but the end result is spectacular.

Nubar is known for their out-of-this-world unique and breathtakingly beautiful duochrome shades like Peacock Feathers and Purple Beach, but they also have some of the best glitters on the market. They're all intensely sparkly to the point of being dangerous in their ability to distract. If you walk outside wearing one of Nubar's glitters on your nails, I guarantee that you will be staring at your hands more than is probably safe.

The other special feature of Nubar's glitters are the shades. Yes, they have the standard gold-silver-holo-red type glitters, but they also have colors that you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Orange glitter is one of my favorites, but they also carry a burgundy glitter, which is a color I haven't seen from another brand (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, I'm always looking for new glitters!). Grass Green glitter is the best green glitter in my collection. I'll be posting pictures of all of my favorites as soon as I can re-photograph them, but in this humble glitter addict's opinion, Nubar glitters are a glitter lover's dream.

And, like I mentioned above, Nubar's glitters are strangely smooth. Normally wearing glitter is like having little sheets of sandpaper on your nails (which doesn't bother me but is sometimes a deal breaker for people) but the glitters I have from Nubar aren't half as rough. I don't know why that is. Maybe it's the type of glitter they use or maybe it's something in the formula. Either way, it cuts down on the amount of topcoat you have to use to produce a smooth, glassy finish.

Really, what I'm trying to say is that Nubar glitters rock. I love them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Revlon Runway Collection 'Stella' Artificial Nails

Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but I'm sure you're all aware that french manicures and I do not mix. I feel very... strongly about french manicures. Indeed.

However, there are some exceptions. I have seen or worn french manicures that I actually liked. For example, french manicures with glitter for tips instead of chalky white.

So, when I received these artificial nails from Revlon, I was quite pleased. Finally, a french manicure I actually like!

Sorry, guys!  These are actually Stella nails.  Mine were mislabeled- sorry if I have confused anyone!  :)

These are the Starlet nails from Revlon's Runway Collection series of artificial nails. There are two styles of nails named Starlet- this is the first version. I'll post the second version soon- I just wanted to clear up any confusion caused by having two different styles with the same name.

Anyway, this is a set of false nails, also known as press-on nails. It comes with 24 nails that come in 12 different sizes, a bottle of nail glue and an orange stick.

The interesting thing about this set of fakes is that it has half sizes. Woohoo!! I am often complaining about sets of press-on nails that I would like to wear but can't because all the sizes are too large for my nails. These ones fit much better than any nails I've tried so far. I do have one complaint though- there aren't enough of the small sizes! I only do one hand for my pictures, but I used all but one of the smaller sized nails. I wouldn't be able to do both hands. They need to include more of the smaller sizes and less of the huge toenail sized ones.

But then again, maybe my nails are just freakishly petite and regular people have nails the size of the ones in the kit.

To apply them, you simply drip some glue onto your natural nail and press the artificial nail onto it. The glue bonds instantly. The application process is very fast and straightforward.

I do have a few tips on applying them, though- it can be very messy if you haven't done it before. The directions say to put glue on the fake nail and on you natural nail- DON'T!! You will have glue everywhere if you do this.

What I recommend is to put a very modest amount of glue onto your natural nail- don't cover your entire nail. The glue spreads out when you press the fake nail onto your natural nail, and even with a tiny amount of glue on your natural nail it can make a bit of a mess. The glue is a very thin texture and it oozes out from under the nail onto your cuticles. So, go easy on the glue.

Since these are a transparent french-style nail, you need to be careful of air bubbles under the nail because they will be very obvious. To prevent air bubbles, press the nail down firmly, making sure to provide firm, even pressure across the entire nail. Do not release the nail until the glue is completely dry- it should only take about 20 seconds. If you don't apply pressure until the glue is dry, the nail will lift from the natural nail and cause an air pocket.

Now that that's out of the way, here's what they look like on me!

Pretend that you can't see my pinkie nail sticking up over the top of the fake nail. I filed my nails down as short as they will go without bleeding and they're still a little too long to be covered completely by these nails.

Here's what I like about this particular french manicure design.

As you can see, instead of a thick bright white tip, these have a subtle semi-sheer natural looking tip with a fishnet/lattice design. I love the design on the tip- it has personality!

The shape of the tip has a subtle and natural smile line that perfectly mimics the line of my naked nails. The shape of the nails themselves is also very flattering- soft square. This shape looks good on everyone and it gives the nails a very groomed and professional look.

The colors of the nail are completely natural and clean looking. The base matches the color of my natural nail but provides just a hint of sheer milkiness. The tip is also very natural and has just a hint of pink to it. If you can see from the pictures, it's not a solid color. It's made of teeny-tiny dots of sheer color!

The best part about this nail for me is that from a distance these don't look french. They look like clean, shiny natural nails. Only when you look at the nails up close can you see that there's a french manicure with a fishnet design on the tips.

One more thing I love about these particular nails is the thickness of them. They aren't thick at all- they are perfectly thin and not obviously fake looking. I know I've used the word 'natural' about a million times already, but these are so natural looking, no one would be able to tell the difference!

There are a couple things I don't like about the nails. For one, they're very short. Like I mentioned above, my nails are filed down as short as they can go, yet my natural nail is still longer than the artificial nail. I have long nail beds, so my nails are long even when they're short. A slightly longer length would be perfect.

The other thing I don't like about the nails is the size. Again, like I mentioned above, there aren't enough of the small sized nails in the kit to do both hands. I think I used the same size nails on all but my pinkie- 7 or 6.5 and then an 8 for my pinkie. I think there was one leftover 7 in the box when I was done.

So, overall, this is a really great nail. It's not something I would normally wear, but the fun design and the natural, non-tacky look of this french manicure are really appealing to me.

They're fast and easy to apply, and they're inexpensive to purchase and maintain. Think about it this way- a fill on a set of enhancements will set you back around $50-$70 a month (not including tip!) depending on where you go... Four boxes of these press on nails will cost you around $20 tops per month, and you can do them yourself. You might be able to get two full manicures per box if you have larger nails than I do. No damage, no unhygienic conditions, no appointment, no tip!

These can be purchased at any drugstore (though they're with the nail art section and not the regular Revlon section) and they're around $4.50 a box.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dude, wtf?!

EDIT: It looks like they've made it invite only... But I was able to take screen shots and get a .pdf of it before they made it private! :) Thanks for your support and kind words everyone! I really appreciate it. You guys are the best!!

This jerk stole a bunch of my pictures and then cropped out my watermark!!

Not only did they take them and alter them without my permission, it clearly violates my creative commons license terms.

This makes me absolutely sick.

There sure are a lot of assholes in the world.


Nailene French Manicure Kit

I'm sure you all know by now how I feel a bout french manicures, so I won't get into that in this post. :)

Despite my feelings about french manicures, I get a surprising amount of emails and requests for them! So, when I received the opportunity to try out some french manicure kits from Nailene, I thought it would be the perfect chance to address all of those requests.

This is the first kit I tried. It includes a clear topcoat, an opaque white creme, a sheer pinky beige and a sheer warm pink with blue duochrome plus 42 tip guides.

Since guides were included in the kit, I used them for these french manicures.

Please excuse the 'bruises' on my nails. French manicures aren't ideal for hiding them!

For this manicure, I placed the tip guides on my nail after my base coat was completely dry. I painted one coat of the opaque white over my tips, waited for it to dry and then removed the tip guides. I used two coats of the sheer pink beige on top and I sealed it with the included topcoat.

Here's the same manicure with a few decals from the Nailene Bedazzle line.

For this look, I started with white tips and then applied two coats of the sheer pink with blue duochrome and sealed it with the included topcoat. Since this polish has a little more color than the other one, it caused the white tips to appear yellow. Normally, I would start by painting tips first, but for this shade I would recommend doing the tips last.

Here's what it looks like with the white on top instead:

I should point out the difficult part of doing the white tips second while trying to use the guides. I'm sure you've all experienced it before. If you try to place the guides on top of an already polished nail, they will often peel off the polish when you remove them. You can remedy this a little bit by removing some of the stickiness from the guides. Put them on the back of your hand once or twice- it causes them to become less strong and sticky and reduces the chances that it will peel off the polish on your nails. You also should wait until the base polish is 100% dry before attempting to use guides on top.

And here it is with a Bedazzle decal:

This decal was a little too stiff and wouldn't lie flat on my nail. You can see in the photo that the edges of the decal are sticking up and visible. It may have been too cold out when I tried to apply the decal- it might become more flexible if you warmed the sheet between your hands or near something warm first.

This kit was extremely straight forward and easy to use. It would be perfect for beginners and people experimenting with the french manicure look. People looking for a more natural looking french may not be satisfied with the white tip polish included in this kit because it is very bright and stark.

If you're looking for a more natural french manicure look, try using two coats of the sheer pink beige color as your tip color and then one coat of it as your base color. Alternately, you could add some white and sheer pink into the clear topcoat to create a custom tip color.

Nailene French Manicure Kits can be purchased at any drugstore.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Shades from KO!

I just saw this on KO's facebook page- new colors!  On the top are Calamine and Karen, which we already have.  But on the bottom- Ox, a matte purple and Liberty, a matte mint green!


These look amazing.

They also mentioned two more colors to be released- Pool and Concrete (I'm going to assume they're blue and grey).

Looks like the companies really are listening to us. 

KO polishes can be purchased directly from the company's website, although I have heard some complaints about the customer service.

Sephora by OPI Revisited

I have two new Sephora by OPI polishes that I want to swatch, but my nails are in no condition for swatching right now. I always break them doing stupid things! Opening cabinets, car doors, doing laundry... Ugh.

So, instead, let's revisit the Sephora by OPI line. When it was originally released, I did a bunch of swatches with all the polishes I bought. The formula was so thick and awful that the swatches suffered. Now I've added some thinner to them and they've come out quite a bit better.

Beauty Junkie. I admit that I only bought this for the name. It's kind of a vampy-brown-red-plum creme, too red to be chocolate.

Brainiac. One of the biggest disappointments. It was described as spiced pumpkin, but does this look like spiced pumpkin to you? No! It's kind of a weird burnt-salmon...

Cab Fare. Yellow with shimmer. It's pretty sheer in addition to being thick, stringy and goopy. All yellows are streaky and thick to some extent, but this one seems worse than others. The color is pretty nice and I like the sparkles.

Call Your Mother. Very pretty muted taupe-purple creme.

Charge It. Metallic gold. This one is pretty similar to Chanel Gold Fiction. I haven't done a side by side to see if they're exact dupes, but they have a very similar shade and texture.

Domestic Goddess. Bright candy grape purple creme.

Don't Go There. Another nice muted purple creme.

Metro Chic. Hard to describe... Mousy, grey taupe creme? I do love this color. It's the only Sephora by OPI polish I've worn since doing my original swatches...

Never Enough Shoes. Black with multicolored glitter. The glitter in this is small and subtle.

Queen Of Everything. Gorgeous metallic platinum-silver.

Run With It. Warm grey with coppery speckles. Reminds me of wet cement. Sort of similar to Zoya Harley.

Like I said before, I was not impressed with the formula of these. It's not consistent with OPI's formula, it seems like a completely different brand. Not all of the polishes were bad- some were a normal texture. The rest were insanely thick and gooey. I added thinner to them and it helped tremendously. Also, a lot of them have streaks of unmixed pigment that never mix back in no matter how hard you shake it. The streaks will occasionally transfer to the nail.

I don't like the way the bottles look, either. They look cheap and strange. The plastic they use to seal the bottles is also difficult to remove.

Nice colors, but I feel like they need to to a little quality control on these before they sell them.

Hopefully my nails will grow back soon so I can swatch my new ones!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NYX Revisited.

About a year or so ago I did a post featuring swatches of my entire collection of NYX polishes.
Looking back at them, I realized that the pictures could be a lot better, so here I am at number three in my series of collections revisited.

I've also revisited China Glaze Bahama Blues and Color Club Dance To The Musique.

Antique. Smooth, shimmery metallic antique gold. More of a bronze, really.

Asphalt. Black jelly with multicolored glitter. I call this one "Clown Roadkill."

Aurora. Light, pearly green-tinged yellow. This is soft and springy. Very difficult color to pull off, though. Makes my hands look super red.

Jungle. Duochrome aqua, green and turquoise shimmer. This is a must have color for any blue or green lover. It is breathtaking.

Las Vegas. Deep rich green with tons of green shimmer. This is incredible. Again, another must have. It is impossible to capture the beauty of this polish on camera. It has so much depth and sparkle, you just have to see it to believe it.

Lime Sparkle. Golden green glitter in a lime green jelly base. One of the best glitter polishes in the universe. It's so smooth and shiny, so ridiculously sparkly and over-the-top insane. I adore this.

Paradise. Light blue shimmer with golden-green duochrome. Serene and tropical.

Rainbow Sparkle. Opalescent glitter in a neon yellow jelly base. Holy cow. One of the most bizarre polishes in my collection. It is super bright and neon, much closer to the bottle color than the color on my nails. Awesome.

Tahitian. Spring green shimmer. Crisp light green, doesn't necessarily make me think of Tahiti, but it's still nice.

Techno. Pearly, frosty medium purple. Much, much more purple in real life but still a little on the blue side.

Wild. Shimmery, rich purple. It is a nice color, but it's one of the worst polishes ever. It's insanely sheer. If I recall correctly, this was either five or six coats. It needs them. You won't achieve bottle color with fewer coats than that.

Purple Avenue over Wild. Blue-opal chunks of plastic in a sheer purple base. Honestly, this is an awful polish. I'd pass on this if I were you.

And one old picture because I couldn't find the polish to re-photograph it:

Peach Avenue over Wild. Peachy opal chunks of plastic in a sheer orange base. Another awful polish. Do yourself a favor and get Sinful Green Ocean if you want the plastic-chunk look, it's much better and easier to use.

The formula on these is very hit-or-miss. Some were dreamy, like Techno or Jungle. Others were sheer, like Wild and Las Vegas. Some were thick, some were thin, some were just right. I don't know what's up with their formula. Drying time is also all over the place. I can't make a definite statement on this.

The color selection is unbelievable. They have everything you could want. Sheers, reds, pinks yes but also duochromes, glitters, brights, vampies, GREEN, blue, et cetera. I don't know if they regularly release new colors or if they only have a core line, but this brand is hardly lacking in variety. The one downside is that they have changed formulation on some colors but kept the same name, so you may have two entirely different colors that share a name.

The only thing I really hate are the "Avenue" polishes. I thought they would be neat mylar glitter or something, but they're just crap. They are nearly impossible to apply. You will have an inch thick coat of sheer goo before you even have a decent amount of glitter on your nail. You could use the toothpick trick that I use to apply the heart polishes (Like the Valentine's Day Nicoles) but it's just not worth it. The 'glitter' is large chunks of sharp plastic. It sticks up through the polish and doesn't lie flat. At least they're really pretty to look at in the bottle!

I bought all of my polishes directly from Nyx Cosmetics.