Friday, March 29, 2013

Essie Resort Collection for Spring/Summer 2013 Swatches and Review

I really like Essie's Resort collection this year.  I think I usually like their Resort collections, but I'm just really digging this one a lot right now.  The promo pictures actually make it look boring, but it's so good in real life.

 Essie Come Here.  A fairly bright red-coral creme.  Not super bright, but bright enough to make it interesting.  Still has a softness to it that gives it a bit of a sun-bleached effect.

 Essie First Timer.  Gorgeous blue-tinged light mint green creme.  Reminds me somewhat of MAC Peppermint Patti.  Creamy and sweet looking, like mint ice cream.

Essie In The Cab-ana.  A light sky blue creme.  In some lights it looks more turquoise than pure blue.  Either way, it's one of the more flattering light blue cremes on my skintone.  They usually give me dead-looking hands (yet I still love them), but this one is a bit warmer-looking.

Essie Under Where?  A light lavender creme.  Sorta pink, sorta purple, and with a really nice finish.  If it was a little more sheer, I'd call it a milky jelly.  It's not a solid chalky creme finish, but it's not quite sheer enough for me to call it a true jelly.  It looks soft and squishy, though.  Not harsh, not stark.  Just... pretty.

The formula on these was flawless.  Smooth, creamy, exactly the right consistency.  No streaking.  No problems at all.  Under Where is thinner than the rest of the colors but applies just as nicely.  I did three coats of each but only Under Where needed the third coat.  Dry time is fast.

Like I said, I really enjoyed this collection.  The colors are bright, fresh and interesting and the formula is perfect.  I'm in love with Essie's creme formula lately.  They seem to have perfected the formula of their creme polishes so that they apply effortlessly, are opaque and non-streaky (for most colors, at least) and dry really quickly.  I also like their small, precise brushes.  Sure, it takes me more strokes to cover my nail, but the small rounded brush makes it harder to get polish on my cuticles.

Plus, the names of these polishes are strangely dirty and that amuses me.

The only negative thing I can think of regarding this collection is that the colors are probably dupe-able.  Though, I think we're at that point in nail polish history where duplicates are inevitable, and as long as they have a good formula, I don't mind so much.

(This was sent for review.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Zoya Lovely Collection for Spring 2013 Swatches and Review

 Zoya's Spring collection, Lovely, is your typical set of spring colors.  Think easter eggs, flowers, frilly dresses, that sort of thing.  Very subdued, demure, typically 'feminine'/girly delicate spring colors. As usual, it's half cremes, half shimmers.  The colors are:

Zoya Blu.  A light baby blue pastel creme.  Has a distinct white opaque base that makes the color very dense.

 Zoya Gei Gei.  A light warm pink with a good amount of flaky/chunky/irregular-shaped iridescent silver shimmer.

Zoya Jacqueline.  Another dense/opaque white-based creme that's somewhere in between pale custard yellow and sandy light beige.

 Zoya Julie.  A light lilac purple with the same irregular-shaped large silver shimmer as Gei Gei.  Strong blue tones in this one.

Zoya Neely.  A light minty seafoam green pastel creme.  Has a slight warm undertone to it that keeps it from being too blue-green/turquoise and makes it more of a jade-like green.

 Zoya Piaf.  A light golden yellow shimmer.  The same type of shimmer that's in Gei Gei and Julie.  This one makes me think of Marshmallow Peeps!

The formula on these was good.  The shimmers have a thicker texture than the cremes, but they all applied pretty much the same.  I found that I liked all the colors best at three coats, so that's what I'm wearing here.  Dry time is about average.

Nothing new or exciting in this collection.  Like I said, it's your typical spring color collection, very traditional. Not much else to say about it! All of the colors are light, "springy", and delicate, though the creme shades tend to induce lobster claw hands on my fair, cool-toned skin.  All of the colors seem to be geared toward skin with warmer undertones, so if that's what you have, you'll probably find all of these quite flattering on you.

The Zoya Lovely collection is available now on

(This was sent for review.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Arms and Armory x Cirque Special Edition Alter Ego Set Swatches and Review

Alter Ego by Cirque is a special edition release that consists of a black holographic Cirque nail polish and a custom art deco-inspired ring by Arms and Armory.  You can view the entire announcement here, but if you just want to see swatches of this gorgeous black holo, take a peek below!

Arms and Armory x Cirque Alter Ego Ring

Cirque Colors Alter Ego.  An opaque black creme base with heavy holographic flake.  This is has a scattered holographic effect.  In dim lighting it looks like a soft charcoal shimmer with very little hint of holo.  In bright, direct light it loses the grey-ish smoky look and all of that lovely rainbow effect pops out.  In addition to the hologram rainbow, it also seems to have a golden tan shimmer in the base (visible in the two pictures taken with flash).

The formula on this is good.  It's very thin but it doesn't streak or leave bald spots.  It applies very smoothly.  I think it looks best at three coats, and that's what I'm wearing here.  The dry time is quick and the wear of this is very durable compared to a lot of other holographic polishes.  I got a week with only minimal chipping at the corners.  In addition to the durable finish and smooth formula, the polish also features Cirque's signature herbal-floral scent for a little bit of soothing aromatherapy while you're wearing it.

The ring is adjustable- it has a gap in the back.  Cirque states that it fits sizes 4-9.

The polish and the ring are both right up my alley.  Black and silver is my favorite color combination for jewelry, and I absolutely love black holo polishes.  I like the style and shape of the ring a lot.  Despite how much I love the set, I do have a few small critiques on it:

-It's expensive ($42 for the set).
-Arms and Armory doesn't appear to have a webshop and their Etsy store is closed.
-Alter Ego could be a little stronger in the holo department for the price.

The ring is so cool that I'd love to see more of what Arms and Armory has to offer, but the lack of a functioning website is a turn-off for me.  Cirque is on the level, though, no doubt about it.  Their website has all the information you could need, swatches for every color, and great customer service. 

The Arms and Armory x Cirque Alter Ego set retails for $42 and is available directly from Cirque Colors.

(This was sent for review.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

China Glaze Hologram Collection Spring/Summer 2013 Swatches and Review

Now here's a collection to be excited about.  I'm excited, at least.  Tweleve new holographic polishes from China Glaze.  Some shades are similar to the older, discontinued OMG collection holos, but some are completely new.  These feature an improved formula and a really pretty fine linear hologram effect. 

China Glaze Astro-Hot.  Light lavender-leaning pink holo.

China Glaze Cosmic Dust.  Light dirty silver / pewter holo.

China Glaze Don't Be A Luna-tic.  Pale, cool-toned seafoam green holo.

China Glaze Galactic Gray.  Medium warm graphite gray holo.

China Glaze Get Outta My Space.  Light, soft, pinky-lilac purple holo.

China Glaze Infra-Red.  Vibrant warm magenta holo.  This is the most colorful and saturated of all the holos in this collection.  I find it to be quite striking. 

 China Glaze Not In This Galaxy.  Warm medium peach-coral holo.  Almost as colorful and saturated-looking as Infra-Red, but lacks the same punch.

China Glaze OMG A UFO. Warm, yellow-toned, mossy-olive green holo.

 China Glaze Sci-Fly By.  Light, silvery sky blue holo.

 China Glaze Strap On Your Moonboots.  Dark midnight blue holo.  Slightly soft/dusty look to the base color even when the hologram effect is visible.

 China Glaze Take A Trek.  Medium denin blue holo.  Slight lean toward blue-green.

China Glaze When Stars Collide.  Warm, slightly dirty/murky dark purple holo.  This one is the most interesting to me, I haven't seen many holographic polishes this exact color.  If you want a unique holo, this is the one I'd recommend.  

The formula on these was great.  Absolutely perfect.  Thin and smooth-flowing without being runny, yet nicely opaque.  I didn't have any of the typical holo-polish application problems like bald spots, running or streaking.  Most colors were almost completely opaque in one coat.  I used two coats for all colors here.  No basecoat, no topcoat.  The only problem I had with any of these is that a few of the brushes were frayed on the ends.  Very fast dry time on all shades.

 The holographic particles in the Hologram Collection polishes are very fine, but not as smooth at the OMG collection.  You can still see a speckled texture to the polishes, sort of like static on a TV screen.  In dim light, the polishes look slightly frosty with a faint rainbow sheen, which to me makes them better-looking than the OMG polishes.  However, the Hologram collection polishes don't have the same intensity of holo effect in full sun that the OMG holos do.  They're not weak, and they're much better than the Tronica ones, but they're not quite as strong as they could be.

For reference, here are some other popular holographic polishes, shown in indoor light.
Left to right:
Sally Hansen Magical Nail Makeup in Crystal Ball
China Glaze Sexagon
China Glaze OMG
Layla Mercury Twilight

I think these are really good.  I'm not disappointed.  The formula is better than I expected it to be and the colors are nice.  Not all of them are unique, but attractive nonetheless.  The holographic effect could be stronger, but, you know, I'm pretty happy with them.  They're a lot better than the limited edition Tronica holo collection that was gone in the blink of an eye last year (or was it the year before?), and they have a smoother holographic sheen than some of the other holos that have been released recently.  They're not chunky like the Kaleidoscopes and they're not too frosty and streaky like the OMGs.  I approve.

The China Glaze Hologram Collection will be available starting in April 2013.  MSRP on these is $14 each due to the cost of the materials.

(This was sent for review.)