Friday, July 31, 2009

Quick warning about Carolyn New York

EDIT: I'm bumping this to the top of the page because I think it's pretty important. Please read if you are thinking of ordering from Carolyn New York. Buyer beware!

Since the topic of Carolyn New York has come up recently, I thought it might be a good idea to address it here.

It appears that Carolyn New York is no longer in business. I personally called all of their listed phone numbers and they are out of service. There was no response via fax, and there has been no response via email (not that they ever answered my emails before).

There have been reports of people ordering from the website, having their credit card charged and the order never shipped. Since the company phone numbers no longer work, the fax goes to nowhere and no one is responding to emails, there is no way to have Carolyn New York either ship or cancel the order so it must be resolved through your credit card company.

Also, they do not have a new website. The Carolyn New York Colors dot com website is the old website- the last update in the news section is from 2008.

If I am ever able to contact the company and it turns out they were all on a (very) extended vacation and now they're back, I'll be sure to update. But, for now, even though it hasn't been confirmed by someone who works/worked there, it seems they're kaput. No phone, no fax, no email, no shipment of orders.... It doesn't bode well.

Sparitual Forbidden Collection Fall 2009

Here's SpaRitual's collection for fall: Forbidden.

Edit: Siobhan has really good swatches of these as well- we must be on the same wavelength lately!

Hush. Warm milk chocolate creme. I broke a nail in the middle of swatching this color and I didn't feel like taking off all the polish, fixing the nail and re-photographing it so... hehehe... sorry... Anyway... This is a very warm medium 'milk chocolate' creme shade. Outside the sunlight picks up more of the red tones, indoors it looks a little richer and darker.

Hypnotic. Warm charcoal frost. This is an odd color- it seems charcoal grey but it also has brown in it- brown-grey? In the bottle it looks more brown, on the nail it looks more grey. It's a shimmery frost, and for a frost it doesn't look so bad on my hands. I really like this.

Intrigue. Rich red-orange creme. This looks pretty red here, but it leans way orange in real life. Very orange-toned red. It seems to be nearly identical to Orly Poison Apple (I'll have the Orly fall collection posted soon so you can see the similarity).

Inner Sanctum. Warm peach creme. I say peach because I'm not sure how else to describe this.... It's warm, it's kinda red but kinda brown, natural and flesh-toned looking... I think it falls into the peach category. Again, the sunlight picks up the warm tones in it and in the shade it looks less warm/red.

Mystic. Neutral putty creme. My favorite from this collection. It's so normal but so strange! It's not a loud color, it's not green or purple or neon pink, yet still, I love it. It's sandy, creamy, mushroomy, putty-like. It has that same kind of 'edgy' look that Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge has.

Regal. Warm purple creme. This is a really pretty purple. Again, warmer in the sunlight than in the shade. It looks darker on my nails than it seems in the bottle.

The formula on these is decent. I did three coats on all the colors, some were more sheer than others. It wasn't particularly thick or particularly thin- in fact, it seemed just like Orly's formula to me. No problems with application- if you're used to Orly's formula you should have no trouble with these. Drying time is long, even with quick dry topcoat. Again, just like Orly. I also love the rubberized handle (noticing a trend? Haha!).

Overall, a very reserved, mature collection. Nothing wacky, nothing uber-fun, but not bad at all. I like all the colors except Inner Sanctum. I especially love Mystic, I'll be wearing this one often. They're calm earth tones. Very spa-like, and I think that's probably what this line goes for- a spa-like feel to the colors.

I believe the release date for these is September. I'm not sure which retail stores carry these, but I know you can get them from Sparkling*Nails on ebay.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sephora by OPI Beauty Insider Exclusive: Dark Room

The minute I saw this on Sephora's website, my heart skipped a beat. Dark green. Dark, lush, foresty, creamy green. It had to be mine. I eagerly anticipated the arrival of Dark Room and when UPS delivered the package I ripped it open right there in the doorway!

Sephora by OPI Dark Room. Three coats over Qtica base with Nubar Diamont topcoat. Taken after 12 hours of wear.

Alas, it was not meant to be. That rich, leafy blackened green that I saw on the website didn't exist. Instead, I got this murky blackened teal. Boo.

I really had my hopes up with this polish. I thought it would be... well... green? This is way too blue for me to really call it green. Blue green, maybe. Teal, okay. But this is not forest green, this is not emerald green, and it certainly doesn't look like the promo pics.

Then I thought, well, maybe it will grow on me! So I left it on overnight. By the next morning I couldn't wait to take it off. It has that same almost-black quality that I hated about OPI Light My Sapphire. It's too black to be blue and it's too blue to be black... It's an 'almost' color.

Aside from the color disappointment, the formula left me disappointed as well. First of all, it was kinda sheer. That doesn't bother me, really, but I know it bothers some people so it's worth mentioning. I did three coats to make it even. It's that same base of green speckles that Zoya Envy and OPI Here Today Aragon Tomorrow have, just more watery and less dense. The polish texture gave me trouble- very watery and runny. I wasn't expecting it as the Sephora by OPI polishes are normally very thick. Drying time was average, not terribly long but not super fast either. As for these being the same formula as OPI... they aren't! I don't care what anyone says, these don't resemble the formula of any OPI I've ever used, and if you've read this website for any amount of time, you'll know that's a ridiculously high number.

Bah... maybe next time. Maybe someone else will release the perfect Zulu-esque rich, saturated dark grass green I've been looking for.

But, if you like those 'Almost black but not quite' type of colors, you might love this! This one has that stylish "murky" muddy look that's been really popular the past couple years. It's not a crisp, clean type of color.

This is available both in store and on and it retails for $9. It says it's a Beauty Insider exclusive, so you might have to request it... I'm not sure how it works in store, but online you have to be signed in to add it to your cart.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nubar Matte Experiment

I mentioned on Twitter a while back that I tried a matte topcoat on top of a duochrome and it actually turned out cool. I didn't get a picture then, but I re-created it, and while I was mattifying things I thought I'd try it on a holo too.

Since I was using Nubar V For Men matte topcoat, I decided to use Nubar polishes (my original matte experiment was Nubar as well).

Nubar V For Men on Nubar Wildlife. As you can see, the duochrome effect remains even when mattified. The matte topcoat gives a very fascinating look to this particular duochrome. It looks like metal or stone with a coating on it... You know how when it rains, sometimes you get a rainbow oil slick in the puddles in parking lots? It's like dropping a rock in one of those puddles. Or maybe it's like fish scales. Either way, I've never seen anything like it and I think it looks pretty awesome. It's something you have to see in person to get the full effect.

Nubar V on Nubar Reclaim. This one didn't turn out as well. While the end result does look cool, like a speckled green matte, it completely destroys the holographic effect of the polish. Ruining a holo is a crime! But I suppose this makes sense- sometimes when applying holos I wonder why they look so matte and don't have a holographic effect, but then they dry and become shiny and the holo shimmer appears.

So far I like matte glitter the best, then matte shimmer and now matte duochrome. I'm going to do some more experiments, as well as doing a side-by-side comparison of all the mattes and matte topcoats once they're all released. There are a few more companies doing matte this fall so I'm going to wait until I think I have all of them to compare so I don't have to re-do it if I miss one.

I'll do a more in-depth post on Nubar V For Men soon, I just wanted to show you guys my experiment!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Drugstore Awesomeness: Wet N Wild Craze

Ever since I saw the first promo pic for this line I've been scouring drugstores high and low searching for it. Steph's swatches put me over the edge- I NEEDED these!

Last week, I finally stumbled across a brand new full display when I least expected it. I think I did a little happy dance in the aisle.

EDIT: Someone just asked me and I realized I forgot to mention this: All swatches are two coats (with the exception of Glitz which is three). No basecoat, no topcoat. Opacity on these is pretty good, two coats leaves the polish with *slight* visible nail line, but not so much that it bothers me enough to do a third coat.

Look at the bottles, they're so cute:

New Wet n Wild Craze

Rustic, Goldmine, Inferno, Lust, Glitz

Nocturnal, Shield, Morbid, Jade

They're short and cute. 0.34 fl. oz, which is not quite mini but not full size either. They don't look skimpy, they're a decent size.

Glitz. Purple, blue, pink and silver glitter. I made a mess with this one. My fault, not the polish. Anyway, this is a fairly dense glitter but it still needed three coats for total opacity. It could use four but three was good enough for me. It's different from Sally Hansen Rockstar Pink and LA Girl Rock Star Overdose- the overall color of the polish is different even though they're basically the same concept- pink and purple glitter in a clear base.

Goldmine. Yellowy metallic gold. Really nice formula on this one. Smooth with no brushstrokes. Very shimmery, looks gorgeous outside in full sunlight.

Inferno. Fiery red-orange-gold shimmer. Beautiful yet dangerous... Thermogenic, luminous... Er... It's an inferno all right. This is a really cool looking polish. It's almost duochrome, it flits between gold and orange, almost like it's flickering. Awesome.

Jade. Shimmery light golden green. I know, I'm always saying how much I hate seeing a million golden greens when I'm really looking for dark green... Well, this one is different. I love it. It's grassy and green and has lots of gold shimmer.

Lust. Bright, rich pink with purple flash. In the bottle the flash looked more blue to me, but it looks really purple on the nail. I love colors with flash. Makes it more interesting.

Morbid. Black with teal pearl shimmer. Ooh. Oooooooh. Speechless. *drool*

Nocturnal. Blackened blue creme. These dark cremes never want to photograph well. Ugh. Well, even though it looks like a plain black creme, it's not! It's blue. Very, very dark blue. The first coat looks noticeably blue, so if you can do a nice even first coat, you'll get a more blue color. The second coat darkens it significantly. It does look black, but you can also tell that it's blue, if that makes sense.

Rustic. Rusty brown shimmer. Man, this is so pretty. I can't even stand it. It's so rich and autumn-like. It looks dark around the edges and light in the middle, which I LOVE. I love everything about this polish.

Shield. Light gold, brown, tan, silvery shimmer. Hard to describe. It's a mixture of different colored shimmer particles that combine to create an overall neutral tan/gold metallic look. It's so pretty, it's almost painful to look at. What I like the best about this are the little copper particles in the polish. They make it so interesting to look at.

The formula on these is great. Smooth, even, great texture. No application problems at all. The bottles and brushes are great. The brush stems are short- very short, and this can lead to some problems if you're not prepared. So, be aware of the short stems and you'll be fine. All the polishes apply really evenly, no streaks, no globs of polish. They also dry really fast. Wear is excellent- I wore Morbid for four days and didn't have any tipwear or chipping. I'm super pleased with these polishes. And you know what? Under $2. Yep. Does that blow your mind?

Overall, I'm crazy excited about these polishes. Everything about them is good. The bottles, the shades, the formula, the drying time, the price. You wouldn't think these are $2 polishes. Which brings me to another point...

I have some friends who won't touch drugstore polish. It isn't good enough for them. The need Chanel, they need Dior, they need a big price tag and a giant logo on a bottle to make them think a polish is good quality. You don't need that stuff! You can't look at the outside of the bottle and make a decision about the quality of the polish (well, most of the time)- you have to experience what's inside the bottle. Now I sound like some sort of after school special. It's what's on the inside that counts! Hahahaha! But, seriously, you need to experiment with all kinds of polish... You will discover that a great majority of brands are so similar in quality that you probably won't go back to spending $20++ for one bottle. There's nothing wrong with a little luxury once in a while, hell, I have almost all of Rescue Beauty Lounge's polish line! But when a polish has a high price tag, I think the polish should be worth it. And, from polish junkie to polish junkie, these $1.89 Wet n Wild polishes from the grocery store are much higher quality than some of the $20+ 'luxury' brands I own.

Okay, that was a bit of a rant. What I'm trying to say is this: Embrace the inexpensive polish. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, July 27, 2009

BB Couture For Nails Limited Edition Hot Rod Collection

BB Couture has released a set of six hot rod themed polishes for fall. Actually, I'm not 100% positive that this is the official fall collection, but it's one of them! This isn't the fall collection (Thanks, Kim! :D) This collection is limited edition- very limited - only 100 bottles of each color! It's also an exclusive- you can't get this collection anywhere else!

Cherry Baby. Red with red glitter. This is a cool cherry red with sparse red glitter. In the bottle it look like it might be similar to China Glaze Ruby Pumps, but it's really not. You don't usually see the words 'subtle' and 'glitter' used together, but this is a very subtle glitter. It's not in-your-face sparkly, but it gives a little added interest to an otherwise normal shiny red creme.

Cruisin'. Light orange creme. This is a light orange shade that's not pastel. Would you call this shade 'Creamsicle'? It's creamy orange, very pretty. I did have a bit of trouble applying this one- it was a little streaky and needed four coats to become even. The color is worth it, though! I love how this looks!

Hot Spot. Red-Orange with gold shimmer. This one fits quite well with the hot rod theme- it reminds me of painted-on flames! It's a medium saturated orange that leans very red and it's covered with a decent amount of subtle golden shimmer.

Little Deuce Coupe. Soft yellow creme. This is a really lovely shade of yellow, I don't have many like it in my collection. Like Cruisin', it's light but not totally white-out pastel. This looks lemony to me- lemons and ice cream. This one also gave me some application issues, but not the ones I was expecting! Yellows are normally thick and streaky- this wasn't. It was thin and fairly streak free, but it was sheer so it needed four coats to cover the bald spots. And then, of course, I had to go and stick my finger in it before I took the picture so that's why it looks all funky and lumpy... Sorry... >.< Lowrider. Frosty purple. Low-ri-der drives a little slower.... This lowrider is also very frosty. It's a frosty metallic purple that looks like it could be a close relative of the long-discontinued OPI Pike's Peek-A-Boo Purple. For a frosty metallic, the brushstrokes visible after application are minimal. It has a really nice smooth formula.

Nitro-Injected. Frosty medium blue with shimmer. Another frosty metallic, but this one has little speckles of shimmer embedded in the polish. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice color, but the only things I like frosty are my beverages and my snowmen. I just don't think frost finishes flatter anyone's hands- they age even young hands. Despite the frosty finish, I really like this color itself. Sparkling beachy blue. The shimmer flecks this has are interesting... I don't have another polish like this... Though they kinda sink into the frosty metallic polish when it starts to dry and make it look speckled. It would probably look fine with a topcoat.

The formula on these was decent. The two cremes gave me a bit of trouble, but the rest were problem-free. The formula has three-free tendencies, often being thick and runny at the same time. One interesting thing to note about BB Couture polishes is that they claim to be 4-in-1- base coat, treatment, color and topcoat all in one polish. I always use a basecoat/treatment and a topcoat when I wear these, but it's interesting to note that these polishes dry to a very shiny finish even without topcoat. Some shades are shinier than others- all of these pictures are taken without topcoat. I'd still recommend using one- I can't live without my quick dry topcoat.

Overall, this is a really cute collection. All of the colors have a fun retro feel to them. A good varitey of shades and finishes as well- not all cremes or all shimmers. Two cremes, one shimmer, one glitter and two frosts/metallics. I love to see a variety of shades and finishes in any collection and this one is spot on.

One thing I mention every time I review BB Couture for Nails polishes is still true- they're not afraid of colors. They're not afraid to be adventurous. They're not afraid to play with different finishes and textures. I adore that about them. They've done pretty much every color of the rainbow in a variety of finishes. They have glitter galore and they also have multiple greens. Of course, that makes me a happy camper. But, honestly... For such a small color range (I can't imagine they have over 200 shades... I've never counted but it seems fairly small) they have the most variety and some of the most interesting and unique shades I've seen. I say it over and over again... I love variety. It's okay to have a million light pinks and reds as long as there are other colors to balance it out, and BB Couture does just that. They balance. They have something for everyone. That makes me very happy.

Like I mentioned above, the Hot Rod collection is limited edition and available exclusively at Overall Beauty. They can be purchased as a set or individually. There were only 100 bottles of each color made, and I know that only 60 or so remain of certain shades.