Formula X in TGIF + Comparisons | Formula X System XCEL

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Last month I was sent some products from Sephora's Formula X line. I've been testing out the Formula X System XCEL against my favorite products, and today I'm going to show you the results.
The System XCEL features 4 products: CLEANSE XCEL Nail Cleanser, PRIME XCEL Base Coat, SHINE XCEL Top Coat, and the polish of your choice - I received TGIF. This set retails for $32, which Sephora lists as a $44 value, but the value can be higher or lower depending on which Formula X polish you choose (the price is $32 no matter the polish). I was also sent the Delete All 5-Finger Nail Polish Remover, which retails for $15. You can see how this system fared after the jump!


DISCLOSURE: These products were sent to me by Influenster for my honest review.





Chanel in #510 Gitane + Comparisons

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When I picked up the Fall 2016 "Le Rouge Collection No 1" polishes (swatches and comparisons here), I also picked up the rest of the reds released in the permanent line this spring. I decided to wear the most summery red first. This is #510 Gitane, a bright medium cherry tomato red creme (in comparison to #473 Coromandel, swatches and comparisons here, which I would call a traditional tomato red). I don't find this type of red to be the most flattering on my skin tone - I prefer either a red-orange or a deeper, more blue-based red, but the formula and wear on this were impeccable. I used 2 thin coats because I like a more gel-like finish, but this polish was opaque in one. The formula was just slightly thick for my preference, but it went exactly were I placed it and self-leveled: no ridges, no pooling, no staining! 

By the way, I am just using my usual Seiche Vite top coat with these, not the Chanel Le Gel Coat, since I already get great wear with these polishes, but Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book did mention she found that top coat to increase wear time with poor performing polishes; she also found the new Le Vernis Longwear polish has better lasting power (I haven't found a difference, but I typically get 5-14 days with most polishes).

Gitane translates to "gypsy woman," but Gitanes are also a popular brand of French cigarette. The packaging is blue and white, but I found a vintage poster from 1960 by Hervé Morvan featuring a similar red:

Source: eBay
Worn August 14 - 23, 2016.

More pictures and comparisons after the jump.

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Sinful Colors in Angelik + Comparisons

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I ended up picking up 15 polishes from the Kylie Jenner collections for Sinful Colors - not because I wanted to support her (I'm indifferent), but because they are so cheap, and - let's face it - there were a lot of great colors. Today, I'm showing one of my favorites, Sinful Colors in Angelik, a very pale, slightly cool-toned pink with white-flashing-gold shimmer and a matte finish. In some lights, it's so pale it looks like a soft white. I've really been drawn to these delicate, pretty colors lately. This one looks great matte and with top coat to bring the shimmer out. The formula is a bit thinner than I prefer, but application was a breeze. Because it has a matte finish, it dries really quickly. I did 3 thin coats - no issues with ridges or unevenness.

This was part of Sinful Colors's "Kylie Jenner Denim & Bling" collection for Summer 2016. SC & KJ released 3 different collections this summer: "Denim & Bling," "Trend MATTErs - Pure Satin Mattes," and "Trend MATTErs - Velvety Demi Mattes." And, you can see the cap of Angelik has "Trend Matters" printed on it, even though on their website and in their displays it was part of "Denim & Bling." Overall, these releases were a convoluted mess - some polishes were available at Walgreens or Target exclusively, and my Walgreens stores never received them. I got some at Target, but the majority I purchased online on Walgreens.com. They are still available there (I don't see them in stores anymore), and there's a promo code for 25% off regular priced beauty and personal care products using GLOWOUT at checkout (expires at 11:59 p.m. CST on August 27), if you're interested. The page I've linked shows all the Sinful Colors collections, and if you're looking for Angelik, it's listed under the "Trend MATTErs Collection Shimmer Mattes" link. ūüôĄ Also, the Sinful Colors website has a store finder for each Kylie collection here if you want to go out and hunt.

With all of that said, I have more swatches, including pictures with top coat, and comparisons after the jump.

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OPI in Movin' Out over Deborah Lippmann in Sexyback and Marc Jacobs #200 in Blacquer


Last month I got the urge to wear a duochrome, so I threw it way back and pulled out OPI in Movin' Out. This antique is from the Holiday 2003 "Holiday on Broadway" collection that also included the vintage classics Man of La Mancha, Mamma Mia, La Boheme, Thoroughly Modern Milli, Rent, Opening Night Gold, and SRO (Standing Room Only) Silver. OPI used to do special polishes so right! Not these lumpy glitter metallics we've been offered recently.

Movie' Out is a sheer polish; it couldn't be built up to cover the nail line at 4 coats - and you wouldn't want to anyway because the duochrome really pops when layered. The shimmer particles in this one aren't used much anymore - they're slightly larger and more scattered, and they really glow and stand out in the light. These particles pigments are mixed into a sheer light pink cool-toned base. Some people compare the pigment to Clarins 230 (swatched here), but the effect is definitely less vampy because of the base used in Movin' Out. Layered over a similar base, the effect is subtle; you mostly catch the larger shimmer and a gold shift. But over deeper colors, there's an ever shifting array of gold, rose gold, teal, forest green, lime green, olive, blue, and purple that comes out - very reminiscent of the rainbow effect you can see on beetles. Swatches after the jump!


Chanel in #528 Rouge Puissant & #530 Rouge Radical Swatches + Comparisons | Fall 2016 "Le Rouge Collection No. 1" Collection


The Fall 2016 "Le Rouge Collection No 1" marks the first collection with Chanel's new Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer, Lucia Pica. Previously, Chanel Beauty was led by Creative Director Peter Philips, and since his departure for Dior in 2013, the collections haven't had a specified director.  Of her debut collection, Pica says, "Red is a pillar color for Chanel. So, it sort of made sense for me to start somewhere very familiar and very important for the brand. Really what I wanted to do was to explore the meaning of a color, and what's behind this color. How does this color make you feel, and how does this color make you think? And, I thought that an interesting way of showing this would be to show my process of inspiration. Because it was about one color, I decided to make a book and a video with a collective of people that I have a relationship with and that [sic] really understand my vision. This collection is very much about the power of femininity, and its strength, its vulnerability, its sensuality. Me, I'm a woman, and I'm talking to women by creating this collection, so I wanted to do something that represents what women are in terms of color. Mademoiselle Chanel used to say, 'Put your red lipstick on and attack!' which I find very inspiring as a woman." You can see a bit more from this brief promo below:


As a whole, the collection is gorgeous (see promo pictures here), but for a nail polish lover, adding two more reds to Chanel's bounty is not the most exciting start. However, these are two polishes seem to represent Pica's emphasis on making a strong statement through makeup that is bold, simple, and modern. I will include more information on Pica, her inspiration for this collection, and her palette for the next collection at the end of this post, but for now, let's get in to swatches and comparisons.

Marc Jacobs #202 Sunday's Cool, #204 Good Friday, #206 Resurrection, #208 Peep, and #210 Confession Swatches + Comparisons | Spring 2016 Collection


I'm finally getting around to swatching the Marc Jacobs Spring 2016 collection. I've slowly collected the majority of MJ polishes, and the names here appealed to me, so I snatched them up. The brand went with a seemingly typical pastel assortment, but I actually don't have any duplicates in my collection! See swatches and comparisons after the jump.

Chanel in #518 Cha√ģne Or + Comparisons

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As I mentioned in my Chanel Summer 2016 post, Chanel in #518 Cha√ģne Or - released as part of the permanent collection this spring - seems to have disappeared from all online retailers except Saks Fifth Avenue. I don't know whether it has been phased out of the permanent line, or there is a production delay or something and it will be re-stocked. So if you want to be safe, it's time to snatch it up now. 

Cha√ģne Or is a pretty standard yellow gold metallic with subtle shimmers that catch the light. It does show some brushstrokes (although not horrific), so I did 2 thin coats and sponged on a third. I think that third coat is necessary however you apply this polish, otherwise you can get some sheerer patches. The formula - apart from the brushstrokes - is very good. Not particularly special, and it isn't a travesty if it's been pulled from the permanent collection, but a solid, well-performing polish.

I have been slowly picking up the re-launched Le Vernis line, and so far so good. Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book has a more thorough rundown comparing the differences between the new and old lines (the brush is wider but still traditionally shaped, and she found the lasting power improved). I haven't fully tested for wear, but I have never had problems with chipping from my Chanel polishes, and that remains true for the new line, which is marketed as Longwear Nail Colour. I like the brush quite a bit and thing most people will welcome the change: for patchier shades especially, it helps with application, and I don't have trouble maneuvering the brush around my cuticles. I had one issue with the brush for #536 √Čmeraude, where the bristles wouldn't spread out fully when I put pressure on them. This meant I had to do a bit of cleanup to get close to my cuticles, but I haven't experienced that issue for any of the other new polishes. For those concerned about chemical formulas, these new polishes are 5-free.

Chanel in #524 Turban, #526 Cavali√®re, #532 Canotier, #534 Espadrilles, and #536 √Čmeraude Swatches + Comparisons | Summer 2016 "Dans La Lumi√®re de l'√Čt√©" Collection


So, my computer and camera died at different times. It's been a thing. Moving on! 

Have Chanel's beauty releases seemed a bit confused to you ever since Peter Philips's departure? The Holiday collection was a bit mixed up, and with this summer collection there has been different information filtered through various press releases. The Chanel website lists this collection as "Dans La Lumi√®re de l'√Čt√©" ("In the Light of Summer"), but other sites have it named "Les Souffles du Desert" ("Desert Breezes"). And, I believe #524 Turban was added to the collection after it had already been released on Chanel.com and Nordstrom.com. It took forever to appear on Neiman's (online and in-store). Some press materials have #526 Cavalier listed as limited-edition, but as far as I can tell from the Chanel website, it's not. I will be interested to see what's to come in Fall/Holiday, as that's when the new global creative makeup and color designer, Lucia Pica, will begin to make her mark.

In any case, there are five polishes in this collection. Let's get in to swatches and comparisons.

Chanel in #18 Rouge Noir, #18 Vamp, #757 Rose Fusion, and Le Top Coat Lamé Rouge Noir Swatches + Comparisons | Holiday 2015 "Rouge Noir Absolument/Vamp Attitude" Collection


For Holiday 2015 Chanel has released a collection filled with gorgeous tributes to one of their most famous polishes, #18 Rouge Noir. The collection is available in piecemeal fashion in stores (I found mine at Neiman Marcus Fashion Island) and online. Unfortunately, the release has been a bit confused. From what I can gather, the collection is called "Rouge Noir Absolument" for European customers and includes the polish #18 Rouge Noir. Based on what is available for purchase so far in the U.S., I believe we are getting the collection "Vamp Attitude," which includes the polish #18 Vamp. But, I can't be positive because Chanel's PR team sent Temptalia Rouge Noir to review, not Vamp! This is even more confusing for many people unfamiliar with Chanel polishes because Vamp used to be the same polish as Rouge Noir when it was originally released in 1994 (the two names, I believe were used for the U.S. and European market respectively). However, Chanel re-launched Vamp in 2003 under the same name, but with a completely different formula! Even more confusing to me is why they're now acting like Rouge Noir should only be for the European market, since they've re-released it many times in the U.S. since 1994 (most recently last year, if I recall correctly). In any case, both polishes are an important part of Chanel history, but it's a shame if Rouge Noir is not available for this release celebrating that very history, especially since I prefer it to Vamp. With that convoluted discussion out of the way, I should mention the other two polishes in this collection are #757 Rose Fusion and Le Top Coat Lamé Rouge Noir Gold Sparkle Nail Coat. Another picture heavy-post with swatches and comparisons after the jump.

Chanel in #519 Rose Exubérant, Chanel in #673 Singulière, & Chanel in #675 Troublante Swatches + Comparisons | Winter 2015 "Rouge Allure" Collection


For Winter 2015 Chanel has released another "Rouge Allure" collection. This includes two new polishes, #673 Singulière and #675 Troublante, and one re-released polish, #519 Rose Exuberant. I have quick and dirty swatches plus comparisons. It's a picture-heavy post everyone!

I am still working on setting up the blog sale! Stay tuned for that and posts on the other Chanel polishes released this year. Coming up as soon as I get the pictures edited is the Holiday 2015 collection. I already have the top coat watched on my Instagram.

Neon & Nude: Rescue Beauty Lounge in Plié over China Glaze in Love's a Beach, China Glaze in Orange You Hot?, and China Glaze in Sun-Kissed

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For some crazy reason (probably because I am going crazy with all the extra time on my hands), I decided to try my hand at some nail art. I've been wanting to do a neon/nude manicure for a long time, inspired by this NB post. However, I have absolutely no freehand skills, so I knew I wanted to use the striping tape I finally bought with my last order of swatch sticks. I looked through some of my favorite nail art blogs, and found this post from The Nailasaurus. And, donc, you have this design, which I am pretty happy with despite its imperfections.

This is actually a fairly easy look to achieve, it just takes a bit of time. Before I went to bed, I did my neon base colors. These three polishes are all from China Glaze's Summer 2012 "Summer Neons" collection. The warm, shimmery pink is China Glaze in Love's a Beach. I used 3 thin coats and didn't have problems, although it dries to a matte finish fast, so you have to work quickly. The shimmery tangerine is China Glaze in Orange You Hot? I used 2 thin coats and 2 medium coats and didn't have any problems with the formula. The highlighter yellow shimmer is China Glaze in Sun-Kissed. It is not as green-leaning as other similar highlighter yellow neons, but it has a bit more than my pictures captured. I used 2 thin coats and 2 medium coats and didn't have any problems with the formula. I topped these base colors with a layer of Seche Vite and went to bed.

The next day, I laid down the striping tape in my design, working one finger at a time. The only trick to applying striping tape is to make sure it is conforming to the curve of your nails and press down at the edges of your nails so polish doesn't pool under the tape. Also, if you have a design where the tape overlaps, remember what order you placed the tape on your nail - I drew a rough sketch and numbered it for my thumb. Once I had the tape down, I applied a thick coat of polish over the whole nail. I used Rescue Beauty Lounge in Plié, a ballet slipper pink creme from the Fall/Winter 2008 collection, which straddles the line between pink and nude on me. Immediately after you apply your polish, you have to pull up the tape using tweezers; otherwise, the polish will start to dry and leave polish strings all over your design. Because I'm not great at this technique, I went back over the areas where Plié had smudged into my base colors with some remover. I used my favorite clean-up brush for fine detail work, the brush that comes with the Chanel Illusion d'Ombres and Zoya Remove, which is a mild acetone remover, so it doesn't eat through polish as quickly and lightly went over those spots where the lines didn't look clean. It was very easy to do this because the layer of Seche Vite over the neons acted as a barrier to keep my base colors from being picked up. I cleaned up around my cuticles with pure acetone and my Elf concealer brush, and then added a layer of Seche Vite to finish. You can see that on my ring finger there is some bubbling. This is because the horizontal lines caught the Seche Vite brush instead of allowing it to float across the surface of the nail and created bubbles. Next time I would go across that nail horizontally rather than vertically to prevent this.

It sure didn't turn out the way it would have for other bloggers that excel at nail art, but it looks awesome from a regular viewing distance! By the way, sorry, I didn't notice there was a hair on my thumb in some of these pictures. Also, I know the claw pose is awkward as hell, but the design looks a little pedestrian without the thumb!

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Worn August 18 - 22, 2013.

Chanel in #571 Fracas + Comparisons

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Here are my new and improved pictures of Chanel in #571 Fracas. Fracas was a limited-edition polish from the Spring 2013 "Printemps Pr√©cieux de Chanel" collection. I had taken some pictures back in January, but with the diffused lighting from the snow, they made this polish look rather bland and soft. As you can see, Fracas is really a vivid, bright shade. The French translation I think most applies to this polish is "wallop" because it packs a punch (out of school a couple months, and I'm resorting to cheesy copy like this)!

Chanel describes Fracas as a "vibrant pink. It is a bright, yellow-based pink with extremely subtle gold, pink, and white pearl shimmers - you really can't ever see the shimmer on the nail, although you can sometimes see it in the bottle. It's just the right level of bright but still sophisticated, and it's unique to my collection. The color reminds me of South Korea, where I was born; their national flower is the rose of sharon or hibiscus.

Source: Beechwood Landscape

I am positive that my bottle of Fracas was a bad one. Every single review I've read has talked about how amazing the formula is, which is common for their vibrant cremes. My bottle was overly thick and had a gloopy, balding formula that wouldn't self level; when I applied it on the nail there were sporadic chunks of dried polish that worked their way on my nail. I'm pretty sure this was a fault of Neiman Marcus's quality control, since my bottle seemed like it might have been opened before I got it. In any case, clearly the formula was a big disappointment for me back then. However, for these pictures, I thinned the shit out of Fracas and shook it up really well (I actually added a tiny bit too much thinner), and the formula was much better if now a little too thin. Most people won't have any problems with the formula going by others' descriptions, but I just wanted to mention it. I used 3 thin coats of Fracas.

Worn January 21 - 23, 2013.

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Sally Hansen Sugar Coat in #230 Pink Sprinkle over Chanel in #589 √Člixir (Two Ways)

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After I had bought and swatched this one, I knew I wanted to get it worn and over with. I'll be straight and let you know right now, it's not a winner for me. But I wore it, it had a chance, and now I can add it to the purge pile. This is Sally Hansen Sugar Coat in #230 Pink Sprinkle. It's from the Summer 2013 "Sugar Rush" collection, the second release of SH's textured polishes. Their first release included all opaque, flat-style texture polishes, which I'm not a big fan of - I'm more intrigued, of course, by the textures with SPARKLE! So, Pink Sprinkle looked promising. But it's sheer. Definitely not as sheer as #210 Royal Icing from this same collection, but sheer enough that the texture particles show through. The color is pretty; the flakies are pretty; the texture particles look like a skin infection. I made it shiny on the second day and didn't like the effect any better, sorry to say. 

On my swatch stick it took 4 coats to get Pink Sprinkle semi-opaque. I layered it on top of Chanel in #589 √Člixir, which is not the exact same color as Pink Sprinkle but close enough for me to see whether it would be a keeper. Pink Sprinkle is a warm fuchsia jelly texture polish with a moderate amount of gold flakies (they're colored more pink/red from the base).

The formula was fine, I used 2 thin coats. Textures do take longer to dry fully - they'll feel dry to the touch, but give them a couple hours before you do any serious business with your hands. 

Worn August 15 - 17, 2013. 

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Chanel in #589 √Člixir + Comparisons

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I realized that it's been a long time since I've had Chanel up on the blog, and the last Chanel swatches in my backlog (#571 Fracas) are not color-accurate enough for my liking, so yesterday I slapped on Chanel in √Člixir. I'm in an accelerated polish rotation state right now because the end of summer is pressing in on me, and I still haven't worn a neon - I own like 50 neons! - I still haven't worn my white cremes - those need to be worn with a tan! So I've got to get some more colors on my fingers more frequently. At least now I have Chanel's fall collection completed. √Člixir is part of the Fall 2013 "Superstition" collection, but its a nice year-round color.

Chanel describes √Člixir as a "milky pink." I'd call it a watermelon creme that has a bit of dustiness to it. Really pretty, and I don't have anything like it in my collection. This is another silly reason I like to collect Chanel - it gives me lots of work-appropriate colors that I would never have taken a second glance at if they were part of the Essie lineup. With the job hunt holding steady and stagnant right now, though, I'm unfortunately gonna really have to start being thoughtful about collecting every single Chanel polish. I'll probably be passing on the September "Moir√©" collection in anticipation of "Nuit Magique." The very definition of first-world problems, I know!

√Člixir had a similar formula to #647 Lilis, good not great with a tendency to bald spots when I used thin coats. I did 1 thin coat and 1 medium coat to even things out, and didn't have to do any cleanup, but it's still not the best Chanel has to offer in terms of formula.

Worn August 14 - 15, 2013.

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Marc Jacobs in #140 Petra + Comparisons

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Well, I said I would be checking out Marc Jacobs products, and I did! Today I'm wearing Marc Jacobs in #140 Petra. This color is so so gorgeous! Just find whichever of these pictures that you like best, and then imagine it being 10 times better-looking in real life. My nail polish collection at this point is way too large for my comfort, so when I go check out a new line, I rarely expect to be wowed. And if you've been in Sephora you'll know that the lighting in there does nothing and nobody any favors. To be honest, when I scanned through the Marc Jacobs polishes, there were many I was intrigued by, but nothing took my breath away. I picked up Petra (which looked like a silvery purple) in the store, and thought, maybe this is unique, looks like it could be cool. And then I went home and tried it on, and it just smashed my expectations. Even though NB was 50-50 on it, I'm planning to go back and swatch all the Marc Jacobs polishes on a nail wheel so I can be sure not to miss out on another amazing polish. Sephora really needs to figure out their lighting (the Nail Bar in particular is horrific). This is the polish I would wear to the Met Costume Gala (called the Oscars of fashion) with this dress:

Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2010

It's a showstopping polish. Petra is described as a "shimmering brown." Sabrina from The Beauty Look Book just swatched Petra, and it's odd how different it looks on us since we have similar skintones! On me, Petra is a deep, glowing, mahogany with a bit of plum. It has a purple jelly base, but is packed with  silver, gold, and copper/bronze/red flakie shimmers. From time to time, it turns a little cool purple/silver/taupe on me like it looks on Sabrina, but it mostly reads warm, so I think the color's going to vary from person-to-person. Even though the color does look fall-y, I think it's really an all-season polish (for those of you that follow those guidelines). The makeup of the polish is similar to polishes like Chanel in #529 Graphite.

However, unlike Graphite, which needs 3 coats, Petra is extremely pigmented. Sabrina seemed to have a little bit of difficulty with this formula, but it was really great for me. I used 2 thin coats, and I hardly needed the second - those of you who do thicker coats will really only need one. Before I put top coat on, I was impressed, but when I put Seche Vite on, Petra seriously went to a whole 'nother level. I really don't feel like I'm exaggerating in my obnoxious levels of praise for this polish.

Worn August 11 - 13, 2013.

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