Hits Speciallità in Ares over Orgasm Cosmetics in In Your Dreams + Comparisons

Direct sunlight

Sorry for the lack of posts last week, but I was seeing to some very important business: the completion of my final projects, culminating in my graduation! I'm not even going to couch it - my feelings are an emphatic, HELL yes! I was hearing the Dazed and Confused soundtrack in my head all weekend:

My graduation mani was actually pretty disappointing (Chanel in #517 Mistral), but here's what I wore to ring in the New Year. I chose red because the Chinese New Year celebrates red as a lucky color. I'm not Chinese, but with my graduation 2013 is marking a significant new chapter in my life, and I'd like all the good fortune I can get. I wore Hits Speciallità in Ares over Orgasm Cosmetics in In Your Dreams. This mani looks a lot deeper out of direct light, which you'll see from my pictures.

Ares was released with the Winter 2011 "No Olimpo" collection, which was a collection of vividly colored linear holographic polishes. This was one of the first of the more recent collections to bring holographic polishes back to the forefront of the polish world, and I love the theme and selection of colors. A true red holographic polish is still a fairly elusive thing, even though there are a handful of currently available options. (I'm still searching for OPI in Mica My Day Red!) Since this collection, polishes with stronger holographic effect have been released (the holographic nature of Ares isn't highly visible out of direct light), but I like the versatility of Hits' formula. Ares is buildable, but the Hits bottles are small (6 mL/~ 0.2 fl. oz.), so I decided to layer. I used 1 coat of Ares. The formula is very easy to apply (not like traditional holographic formulas). Used alone, Ares is a warm red, but layered over deep colors, it takes on a matching tone with whatever base is used.

For my base, I used Orgasm Cosmetics in In Your Dreams. So, let's briefly talk about the brand. I bought three polishes from Orgasm Cosmetics based on Scrangie's swatches when I was still fairly new to collecting. The names of the polishes are all sexual, which is a bit cringe-worthy. They were reasonably priced, and I didn't have any problems with ordering. However, I can't speak to the brand now and would urge you to research before purchasing from their website. I ordered when it was an emerging brand, and a look at their website indicates that there haven't been many updates recently (although the copyright says 2012). Honestly, I wouldn't buy polishes from them again - not because of the names - but because I don't think the colors are really unique; the two I own are dupes for other, more readily-available polishes. In Your Dreams is a cool-toned red jelly. The formula is lovely - I used 2 thin coats (I might have added a third if I weren't layering over it).

Worn December 31, 2012 - January 8, 2013.

Indirect natural light
Indirect natural light - indoors

I hate my hair in this picture! I could not get my cap to stay on my head, so by the end of the ceremony, my hair was looking terribly disheveled. I cropped out my professor and her hilarious expression to preserve her privacy (but it was awesome and makes me smile just thinking of it). To toot my own horn a little bit, I graduated with honors. I had actually forgotten some of my accomplishments until I looked at the program! I didn't end up with Latin honors (I ended up failing a class last semester because I didn't do the final paper, and things got too crazy for me to file to take an incomplete - this is when my best friend's life was kind of going to shit), but I graduated as part of Delta Phi Lambda writing honor society and Lambda Pi Eta communication honor society, was the Jo Lynn Terry Memorial Prize for Creative Writing recipient (which is kind of hilarious since the piece my professor submitted was nonfiction - but she categorized it as Creative Nonfiction, so, go semantics!), and was a Dean's List student for 3 of my 4 years. It took me longer than I wanted, for a variety of reasons, but I came out of school having learned more than I could have imagined, with great friends and unparalleled mentors - I can't regret anything because I ended up gaining so much. I'm resting up and celebrating until the end of the day today, and then it's on to the next big adventure!

Chanel in #657 Azuré Comparisons

Direct sunlight
Left to right: Illamasqua in Strike, Chanel in #657 Azuré, China Glaze in Deviantly Daring, Chanel in #657 Azuré
I've done some comparisons of Chanel in #657 Azuré for those of you who are curious. On my nails, I compared Illamasqua in Strike and China Glaze in Deviantly Daring. I also took pictures of additional similar swatch sticks: Barielle in Decadence, Wet n Wild in Caribbean Frost, Orly in Bailamos, Finger Paints in Turquoise Tile, and Rimmel in #340 Marine Blue. The only other duochrome in these comparisons is Deviantly Daring. At the bottom of the post I have links to comparisons with Dior in Samba, Essie in Trophy Wife, and Sephora by OPI in Mermaid to Order.

My fingers are wearing Chanel in #657 Azuré on index and ring finger, China Glaze in Deviantly Daring on middle finger, and Illamasqua in Strike on pinky. Deviantly Daring is the closest of the polishes I own. It has a shimmer finish rather than a metallic finish and it is darker with less duochrome - Azuré shows sky blue, indigo and at times at the very edges, violet, whereas Deviantly Daring really only shows indigo and less strongly and frequently. However, this is a fairly good alternative if you don't mind it not being a dupe. Illamasqua in Strike looks close at times, but since it is not a duochrome at other times it looks very different. It's a turquoise (rather than teal like Azuré and Deviantly Daring) metallic with gold shimmer. This is 3 coats of each polish, and I didn't have application problems with any of them. 

Don't forget to click on the jump to see comparisons with the other polishes!

Indirect natural light

Chanel in #657 Azuré

Indirect natural light

I have too many pictures of this polish to share with you! It is Chanel in #657 Azuré. Azuré is part of the Summer 2013 "L'Été Papillon de Chanel" collection. "Papillon" is French for butterfly, and Azuré and the other colors in this collection encapsulate that theme in gorgeous fashion. It is still available, but is limited-edition, so grab it while you can. 

Chanel describes Azuré as "metallic blue green," which is accurate, but not very descriptive. It is a foil metallic duochrome with a light-medium teal green base. It shifts to sky blue, indigo, and at times at the very edges, violet. In contrast to holographic polishes, the duochrome of Azuré is really at its fullest when out of full sunlight. The shift in this is not as strong as say, the Sally Hansen Nail Prisms, but it is a strong shift - it is stronger than China Glaze in Deviantly Daring (which is close, but not a dupe - I will have a comparison post up later this week). 

The formula is great - flows nicely, goes where placed, and spreads easily. I used 3 thin coats to build up depth. It does show some brushstrokes, but I don't really mind that with these foil metallic polishes, whereas I don't like it with pearly or frosty polishes. My mani doesn't have brushstrokes, because I used the sponge technique on my last coat to see if it would intensify the duochrome (I don't think it did). I also tried Azuré layered over 4 thin coats of Nars in Zulu (an almost-black forest green jelly) to see if that would make the shift more prominent; it did make the polish a little deeper and possibly gave it slightly more indigo shift, but I don't think it was very noticeable. So, in conclusion to that experimentation, I would say that you really don't need to fuss with Azuré at all to get the full effect of the duochrome - apply as is, and you should be good to go! You really don't have to play around to see the shift, but it is hard to capture fully in pictures, which is why some pictures are at weird angles. I did distance pictures with my dog Henry to give you a good indication of how the shift presents in real life. Also check out my comparison post (linked above) for additional pictures of the impressive shift.

Worn May 11 - 16, 2012.

Also! An update on my leg: I tore the gastrocnemius (calf) muscle. :( I am on crutches but walking supporting about 90% of my weight on that leg, and I'm starting physical therapy next week. It already feels significantly better, and my physician says that I should be recovered in three to four weeks. Although this is a pain, it's seriously way better than I imagined - I was hearing all kinds of horror stories from people. I will also say that I found people cannot stop themselves from commenting thoughtlessly when you have an injury! It made me relate to all the pregnant women horror stories you hear, with the endless opinions and touching. I had to go in to work (my second job is at a fast-casual restaurant), and one of my co-workers kept telling me I was lucky that I got to sit in a chair at the cash register (which was very uncomfortable, as my calf and quad where unsupported, so gravity was pulling down on the tear). I had about five people tell me that I must have overstretched (two of these people are extremely obese, and I'm sorry to jump to conclusions, but I doubt their expert knowledge in regards to exercise). One of our regular customers, who comes to the counter to get refills at least three times-a-day (and who really likes me), told me I needed to sack up and get on my feet. People just had to tell me to take ibuprofen and ice it, and that I should wrap it or get a brace or just push through it. Dudes, thank you for your concern, but please believe I am doing what I can to make this feel better. Trust. But, no more shooting pains, so I am truly grateful!

Direct sunlight
Indirect natural light

China Glaze in Party Hearty over Essie in Pure Pearlfection over OPI in Don't Touch My Tutu!

Indirect natural light

We are finally done with holiday manis! For Christmas, I chose to wear a glitter gradient with China Glaze in Party Hearty over Essie in Pure Pearlfection over OPI in Don't Touch My Tutu! This mani was inspired by these two designs: a MUA post and The Nail Network picture, and you can see my version is infinitely inferior, although I was still fairly happy with it (I like how the original design has the glitter kept closer to the cuticles). 

Party Hearty was released with the Holiday 2010 "'Tis the Season to Be Naughty and Nice" collection. I have to say, I prefer the simplicity of this mix to Lynnderella's more complex versions. Pure Pearlfection was released with the Holiday 2011 "Luxeffects" collection. Don't Touch My Tutu was released with the Spring 2012 "NYC Ballet" Soft Shades collection.

Since I was using a sheerer polish as my base color, I used Nail Tek Foundation II, which is a ridge-filling base coat that dries matte and gives a slight milkiness over the nail. I used 4 thin coats of Don't Touch My Tutu! This is a sheer formula, but it's not streaky, and it builds well with no cuticle-pull - much nicer than Essie in Marshmallow (the Pro-Wide brush helps with this as well). It's a soft not stark white. 

I added 1 thin coat of Pure Pearlfection starting at the cuticle line up to about two-thirds of the nail. This is a layering polish made up of fine white/silver shimmer flakes in a clear base. There is also green and purple shimmer, but it really only shows over dark colors at certain angles. Pure Pearlfection is pretty dense, but I don't think you could ever get it to cover up visible nail line.

To top off this mani, I added 2 coats of China Glaze in Party Hearty. Party Hearty is made up of large red hexagonal glitter with more densely packed medium green hexagonal glitter and small white-gold hexagonal glitter in a clear base. The gold glitter is quite neutral - at different angles it appears silver. Party Hearty does sink in it's suspension base over time, but it's really easy to shake it up, no need to stir it or leave it upside-down. The formula is pretty thick. Because of the shimmer and smaller glitter on my nail you can't tell unless you look very closely, but Party Hearty bubbled quite badly on me. Next time, I will thin it before using it. It does require some placement of the red glitters.

I used 2 coats of Gelous and 1 coat of Seche Vite to finish this off. Surprisingly, it wasn't super thick on the nail.

Worn December 25 - 31, 2012.

I just have to vent a little as well. Last week was horrible for me. First, I spilled China Glaze in Gussied Up Green on my carpet. I got it out (a combination of Sparkle and acetone), but it took a couple days and a lot of time. Two days later, I went to get my hair cut (for graduation), and my stylist cut off about 3 extra inches even though I had brought her about 20 pictures of what I wanted and discussed it with her extensively before-hand. I am not fussy at all about my hair, so this was kind of egregious, even though the cut itself is not ugly (it's "cute," which is the one adjective I told her I didn't want!). Then, on Sunday, even though I am so busy with school, I made myself be "good" and go for a run, and afterwards, when I was stretching (and after about 5 minutes too, so it wasn't like I suddenly did something), I heard a big "pop" and pain shot through from near the top of my calf to about mid hamstring. I can put weight on the ball of my foot or my heel, but I can't bear weight on my whole foot (the arch) or I the pain comes screaming back, so I can't imagine I'll be able to run anytime soon. I'm horrible at crutches, but the last few days I've been hobbling around without them, and now my ankle and knee hurt from the odd weight distribution, so I've got to start using them. I have been running for years (through knee problems and routine shin splints), and I wasn't doing a new stretch or anything, so this was shocking, scary, and really disheartening. It's not feeling much better, but my boss won't let me take off any more work (even though my job has me running around and on my feet the whole time), so I'm back to work tomorrow. I'm going to the doctor on Friday, and hopefully I will be able to get a note to get some time off, but if you guys will wish me a speedy recovery I would really appreciate it!

From my Instagram, @jennypoo27

Direct sunlight

Deborah Lippmann in Razzle Dazzle

Direct sunlight - sunset

Right before Christmas I wore Deborah Lippmann in Razzle Dazzle. Razzle Dazzle was released with the Fall 2010 "All That Jazz" trio. Lippmann describes this color as "darkened raspberry sizzle (glitter)," which apart from the descriptive flourish is pretty accurate. It's a dark, slightly blackened berry jelly base (a bit more pink than purple) filled with small magenta glitter. Deceptively simple composition, but it's really gorgeous.

I used 3 thin coats; they are all necessary for full opacity. The formula is really nice - not too thick and spreads well. I can't remember how many coats of Gelous I used, but I think it was just 1, plus 1 coat of Seche Vite.

I graduate from college on the 25, so I have a bunch of final projects due soon. I will try to keep posting, but if I disappear it's only temporary. I've been taking pictures of Chanel in #657 Azuré and #667 Bel-Argus, including comparisons, and I will try to get those up as soon as possible!

Worn December 21 - 24, 2013.

Direct sunlight
Indirect natural light 

Lynnderella in Happy Holo-Daze! over OPI in GoldenEye

Direct sunlight

I ended up topping OPI in GoldenEye with Lynnderella in Happy Holo-Daze! Happy Holo-Daze! was released with the Holiday 2011 "Funny Money and Holiday Houseguests" collection. Lynn describes it as "a clear base with green and red squares and hexagons, red, green, silver and gold holographic microglitter." On my nails I found red and green square glitter in extra large and large sizes, holographic hexagonal glitter in extra large and large sizes, large gold, red, and green hexagonal glitter, small red and green hexagonal glitter, and red and green bar glitter, and holographic microglitter. On my ring finger there's also an extra fat red bar glitter, but I don't know if it's a weirdly cut square glitter or what. This is a very festive glitter and it's a nice option to have, but I do like the relative simplicity of China Glaze in Party Hearty better.

Haha, looking at these pictures I'm getting nostalgic for my summer cuticles - look how moisturized they are!

I can't remember whether I used 1 or 2 coats of Happy Holo-Daze! but it was pretty easy to apply as the base was thin. I did do some dabbing for placement of the larger glitters. I think I did 1 coat of Gelous and 1 coat of Seche Vite, but there could be 1 more coat of Gelous in there.

Worn December 19, 2012.

Indirect natural light
Direct sunlight - blurred to show the holo