Happy Valentine's Day: Organize · Resist · Protect | Tom Ford in #04 Bitter Bitch + Comparisons

So, I started with this polish as a post-election mani. I went through it all with this post. All the things. All the links. All the articles. All the yells. All the swears. All the cries. We've gone through a lot since then. And where have we landed? We're two months in. Four months since women realized that no, we are still not equal, that feminism is still a dirty word to far more than half of the electoral map. Five months since we learned that sexual assault - although we already knew it could not keep our athletes or entertainers from their careers - was no longer a hinderance to attaining the nation's highest office. It's been months. We've gotten through it. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

Acceptance? No. NO. Never. NO.

Happy Valentine's Day. Here's to all you Nasty Women. Go out and love yourself, love the people around you, love the people that truly make this country great. Do something nice for them or yourself. #Grabyourwallet, donate (suggestions can be found here, here, here, here, and here), and/or support real news by subscribing to journalism. It matters. You matter. Love has to win, right? It will in the end, right? Fuck YEAH it will if we have anything to say about it, RIGHT?!

Oh, you wanted to know about this dumb polish?

This is Tom Ford in Bitter Bitch. I bought this years ago purely for the name because I knew there would be a day when it would not suit me only partly but totally and completely. And, oh boy, did that day come. This is part of Tom Ford's initial collection launch in Winter 2011, and I can't say that there's much to recommend it except for the name. I used 3 thin coats. You could definitely do 2 thicker coats, and probably get away with 2 thinner coats but my hands were a little shaky the night I did this mani, so I had some bald spots I needed to go over. More pictures and polish comparisons after the jump.

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OPI in Madame President
Zoya in Liberty
China Glaze in Choo-Choo Choose You

It's that time again: VOTE! Get your butt to the polls, and make your voice heard. It matters. This is a right and a privilege so simple, so intrinsic to the United States - but it's one that some people still don't have. It's a right that people have died for. It's what we built this country on: our unalienable right to enact change when it is needed. Less than 100 years ago women in the U.S. did not have the right to vote. Only 51 years ago, barriers made it almost impossible for minorities in some areas of the U.S. to vote. There are deep wrongs in our country right now, deep and disturbing divides. But, we have made progress. And to continue that progress, you need to vote. Please. Vote.

Marc Jacobs in #212 Surrender Dorothy + Comparisons & a Layering Combo

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Today, let's have a look at a polish I haven't seen get much attention. This is Marc Jacobs in #212 Surrender Dorothy, released for Spring 2016. Marc Jacobs released a few polishes for the permanent collection this spring that weren't exactly grouped in with the pastels I posted earlier, and this was one of them.

Surrender Dorothy is a rosy red glitter including small hexagonal glitters and microglitters in a clear base - the same composition as Marc Jacobs in #148 Glinda. It builds up pretty well because the microglitter fills in the gaps between the slightly larger small glitter; this is 3 thin coats with 1 coat of Gelous and 1 coat of Seche Vite. The formula is good for a glitter, not thick and gloopy.

I do find this to be an odd color for a Dorothy-inspired polish - although this does make it more unique in the realm of "ruby slipper" polishes. It does better match the color the actual shoes from the movie have faded to, though.

I don't really like this color on its own, so I decided to layer it over Sinful Colors in Haute Koffee (swatched on its own here). See more after the jump.

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Sinful Colors in Haute Koffee + Comparisons

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Here's one apropos for the shift into the fall season. Today's polish is one of my favorites from the Kylie Jenner/Sinful Colors collaborations. This is Haute Koffee, a gorgeous vampy berry shimmer with a matte finish and that glow-from-within. I am a huge fan of shimmery matte polishes, and I'm a sucker for vampy colors, so this one is a home run for me. And it's only $2.99! The formula is perfect, it doesn't dry too quickly, so you don't get any ridges, and it's just the right consistency. I used 2 thin coats.

Haute Koffee was released with the Summer 2016 "Trend MATTErs - Pure Satin Mattes" collection. According to SC's website, this collection is still available at select Target and Walgreens stores. In my Target, they've been replaced by the Halloween collection. But they are still available at Walgreens.com.

More pictures and comparison swatches after the jump.

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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. ðŸ™„ 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 Chaîne Or + Comparisons

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As I mentioned in my Chanel Summer 2016 post, Chanel in #518 Chaîne 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. 

Chaîne 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 Émeraude, 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 Cavalière, #532 Canotier, #534 Espadrilles, and #536 Émeraude Swatches + Comparisons | Summer 2016 "Dans La Lumière de l'Été" 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 Lumière de l'Été" ("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.