An Introduction to Marc Jacobs Beauty: #118 Oui! + Comparisons

I am so excited today to show you a new polish from the Marc Jacobs Beauty line. Marc Jacobs Beauty is launching online and at brick-and-mortar stores on August 9. Marc Jacobs is my favorite designer, so I'm thrilled to have my hands on this. I've honestly been waiting for the day Marc would decide to come out with his own cosmetics line since he released his first perfume in 2001, so this has been a longtime beauty wish fulfilled for me!

DISCLOSURE: #118 Oui! is a press sample sent to me for my honest review.

Sneak peek from @marcjacobsintl's Instagram

I'm going to give you some information on Marc Jacobs Beauty, review #118 Oui!, and then I want to talk to you about why I love Marc Jacobs.

Marc Jacobs Beauty is going to be sold exclusively through Marc Jacobs and Sephora stores and online through Sephora, Marc Jacobs Beauty, and Marc Jacobs. According to the press materials, this line was fueled by Marc's "rule-breaking creativity," expressing "the spirit of youth, confidence and experimentation," with an aim to "push the boundaries." Marc talks about being inspired by "the spirit of 'The Girl' and her makeup ritual" and the magic of that transformative process, which he describes in WWD as "making the choices that will tell the world who you want to be that day" (Naughton 2013).  I love that way of looking at makeup! If you've followed Marc's work, these are threads that run throughout his collections - femininity and the power and endless possibilities of transformation. The beauty aspect of Marc's runway shows has involved a longstanding partnership with François Nars (they collaborated on two polishes in 2011: Manosque and Night Clubbing), and those of you familiar with Nars know the brand is about creating a look and a mood, not just a bunch of wearable colors. So, I expected nothing less from Marc, whose press release mentions "exquisite textures," "provocative shades," "unexpected color," and "daring designs."

His polish line is called Enamored Hi-Shine Lacquer and is touted to high heaven, as is the excitable wont of PR: "a superior nail polish with unprecedented shine. The plasticized, wet-look finish mirrors 30 coats of lacquer. Patented formula." From what I can see from pre-release photos, there's a nice mix of interesting and classic colors/finishes. (I have to commend the MJB team for their very accurate promo photos. You can look at the whole collection at Temptalia and PopSugar Beauty; more sneak peeks can be found at Huffington Post and Fashionista.) Marc Jacobs Beauty is launching with 24 shades of polish, which is an impressive start! I'm looking forward to seeing what this year's holiday collection will bring, as well as the expansion of the core line in spring 2014. And I will definitely be heading over to Sephora to pick up more polishes (I'm interested in #136 Desire, #142 Fluorescent Beige, #122 Ultraviolet, #132 Blue Velvet#110 Gatsby, #128 Nirvana, #112 Le Charm, #138 Jezebel, #130 Sally, #144 Evelyn, #120 Delphine, and #140 Petra) and check out additional products.

The first thing I want to talk about is the packaging. To me it is distinctly Marc with the slight curve to all the edges - just a little softer and more accessible than other high-end brands. In fact, Marc Jacobs Beauty is the only high-end nail polish line I can think of that doesn't have straight-planed bottles, although the polishes still line up neatly in a drawer. It's not a design I would pick out of a lineup as my favorite, but it is distinctive, and functionally the bottle is nicely designed: weighty, with an easy-to-remove overcap that clicks securely back into place, and a stable base. One thing about the bottle design that might be a drawback is that the bottle is wider than it is tall, so I imagine you will have to tip the bottle earlier on in its usage to get a full brush of polish than you would for taller bottles. It contains 0.43 fl. oz. of product, which is roughly standard - for reference, Chanel contains 0.4 fl. oz. and China Glaze contains 0.5 fl. oz. The label on the bottom of the bottle is transparent rather than opaque, so for darker colors it will be difficult to read, but the adhesive is strong (unlike, for example, Rescue Beauty Lounge's labels).


The brush is really nice. It's a bit wider than the standard brush but not at all moppy and with a shorter brush stem, which I always like because I feel like it gives me more control during application. Another nice feature is that when you close the cap on the bottle, you can notice it settling into its resting place, if that makes sense. It's not audible, but once you've twisted the cap completely closed, you can feel it in your fingers, like its shifted into gear. The cap is also comfortable and not hard edged or uncomfortable when you grip it (like if you have dried polish making the cap stick, and you're trying to wrench the bottle open - not that I've had to do that *ahem*). I've compared the Marc Jacobs brush with Essie's to give you a point of comparison. You can see that Essie's brush is thinner and the brush stem is longer; it also has less flexible bristles than Marc Jacobs's.


Direct sunlight

Here is Marc Jacobs in #118 Oui!. Oui! is described as "magenta," which really does not do justice to the color. I was really pleased to receive this color for review because it is not a color I would have immediately picked out, but it's really beautiful, which is the most delightful kind of discovery. It's a metallic magenta with subtle red and violet shimmer. It simply glows, and it dries without any sign of brushstrokes. The color is more toward the pink side of magenta, but it does show a bit more purple out of sunlight.

Oui!'s formula was perfect - no cleanup necessary. I used 2 thin coats. Then I dinged a nail on my left hand, which I had already top coated, necessitating another layer of polish, so the final tally was 2 thin coats + 1 coat Seche Vite + 1 thin coat + Seche Vite. Below the jump I have a comparison of my left hand (2 coats of Oui!) and my right hand (3 coats of Oui!), and although it is opaque at 2 coats, a third does add some depth. I will say that the claims of extreme shine are exaggerated for this particular color, which dried to a normal finish (not dull but not glossy); I suspect the cremes will be a better test of that aspect of the marketing copy. Wear was great, but I usually don't have problems with chipping.

For those of you interested in the inspiration behind the name Oui (French for "yes"), some Marc trivia: the Marc Jacobs "Oui" bag circa 2008 and Oui, a now defunct French pin-up magazine that Marc has tattooed on his arm. Now you know! 

Worn July 24 - 30, 2013.

Indirect natural light 

Rescue Beauty Lounge in Aqua Lily

Direct sunlight

This week I've been wearing Rescue Beauty Lounge in Aqua Lily. Aqua Lily was released with the Spring 2012 "Fan" collection, inspired by Kay-Di Kat's mom and the Maldives waters: "the turquoise water is a crystal-clear sea green" and reflects "a shimmery-pink hue from the shedding scales of the colorful, vivid, and exotic tropical fish."

Aqua Lily is a green-leaning turquoise creme with violet-pink shimmer. The shimmer is visible in most lights, but it's not really wham! bam! pow! in-your-face even in sunlight. It would definitely be more flattering on me if I had a bit more of a tan, but it's a beautiful color nevertheless. I tried quite a few combinations to achieve a similar color but didn't manage to get something satisfyingly similar. The closest base colors in my collection are China Glaze in Custom Kicks and L.A. Girl Flare in Nirvana (TURQUOISE), but neither were perfect; from what I've read, China Glaze in Aquadelic comes closest. I tried the following toppers to achieve the right shimmer: Chanel in #91 Électra, CND in #564 Amethyst Sparkle, OPI in Mamma Mia, OPI in Movin' Out, OPI in Rent, and OPI in Thoroughly Modern Millie. OPI in Movin' Out had the right color shimmer but the base is too pigmented. Chanel in #91 Électra was the closest in overall appearance, but the shimmer is too pink. I suspect Essie in Kisses and Bisses is pretty close to Électra for comparison purposes. I would guess that CND in Violet Shimmer or Crimson Shimmer might give the right color shimmer. But the shimmer in Aqua Lily comes from within the polish, not the top, so to get the true effect you would have to franken, not just layer (I tried a few combos adding OPI in Don't Touch My Tutu! over to try to achieve this effect, but they weren't perfect.). The link I included above does have a dupe formula, but is vague about how to find the right pigment.

The formula on Aqua Lily was a bit thick, causing some balding. I used 3 thin coats. The third coat came after I thinned the bottle, which made application perfect. I did experience moderate staining despite using my normal CND Stickey underneath, so I would recommend you double up on base coat.

Worn July 18 - 23, 2013.

Indirect natural light

Nars in Night Flight + Comparisons

Direct flash

Here's the oldest mani in my backlog. It's Nars in Night Flight. Night Flight was released with the Fall 2011 "Night Series" collection, modeled after the apparently famous Nars eyshadow. It's still available on the Nars website, even though they list it as limited-edition.

Nars describes Night Flight as a "black with cobalt blue pearls." It's a blackened blue with blue, teal, purple, and violet shimmers. Now, I really love blackened polishes, but I was disappointed with this one. The multidimensional shimmer that you see in the bottle is a bit more apparent than my pictures sometimes capture, but it is also only visible in strong direct light. That's not usually a problem for me, but I don't know, I just didn't appreciate it in this polish. Maybe this disappointment came from the fact that this polish dries really dull. These pictures show Night Flight with Seche Vite on top, but there's just a flatness to the polish. In my comparison pictures below you can get a better idea of this; even with more blackened polishes, there is a sparkle when the shimmer hits the light, but Night Flight's shimmer is kind of deadened.

The formula is awesome - opaque in 1 coat and the perfect consistency. I did 2 coats because I wanted to make sure I had brought out the full extent of the shimmer. For those of you that aren't familiar with Nars polishes, the big square cap is not an overcap, so you can't remove it. However, I don't find it problematic to use.

Worn January 11 - 15, 2013.

Direct sunlight

Chanel in #601 Mysterious + Comparisons

Direct sunlight

Now, this is a fall polish I am happy to be wearing even in summer! This is Chanel in #601 Mysterious. Mysterious is from the Fall 2013 "Superstition" collection and is currently a core color. I love vampies, and this is just my kind of vampy.

Chanel describes Mysterious as a "deep khaki," and I guess it could fit that. It reminds me of the late '90s/early '00s Gap ads, particularly this one:


God, do you remember? And if you don't, at least be kind enough not to tell me you weren't born yet! (Want to dive into a nostalgia wormhole?: Dress You UpJump, Jive, an' Wail; Khaki a-Go-Go; Lovely Day; and Just Can't Get Enough. You're welcome.)

Mysterious is a deep almost-black creme with a green base. It also has hints of brown and grey in it, and a slightly dusty quality. It dries about 2-3 shades darker than the bottle color. In each light it looks like there might be a similar polish, but what is unique about Mysterious is that it can vary so much, so no matter how familiar it looks, I don't think there is one polish that will match it in every situation.

The formula was typical of Chanel's cremes - lovely. I did this mani in a rush at about 12 A.M., so I did 1 thin and 1 medium coat. You could probably get away with 1 thick coat, but if I had done all thin coats, I would have needed 3 to get the color fully opaque. Sorry there are weird smudges on my nails in some of these pictures - I put lotion on right before (oops).

Worn July 10 - 17, 2013.

Indirect natural light
Direct sunlight

Chanel in #203 Miami Peach + Comparisons

Direct sunlight

My birthday was July 2, and I wore one of my favorite corals to celebrate: Chanel in #203 Miami Peach. From what little I can find, this was released in 2005 (I'm assuming in the spring or summer collection), but it was part of the permanent collection for at least a few years, because I don't think I picked this up until 2010.

Miami Peach is a gorgeous coral jelly with small gold flakie shimmer. It leans a bit more to the orange side of coral. It's both punchy and serene - a polish that always garners compliments and is surprisingly difficult to dupe. Like Lilis, these pictures did upload too pink again, so I color-corrected to adjust for that, which is why my skin looks a bit odd in the sunlight pictures. I wish someone could invent a camera that is always color accurate, and that there weren't disparities between monitors, systems, etc.!

The formula for Miami Peach is thin but absolutely lovely. I needed 4 thin coats to build up this level of opacity, but they were a total breeze to apply, and the polish dried quickly despite the amount of layers. If you can find this polish, I do recommend you snap it up - it's one of my favorite Chanels.

Adding yet another apology about not updating with more frequency. The job hunt is a little disheartening at the moment - cover letters are the bane of my existence!

Worn July 2 - July 9, 2013.

Indirect natural light - sunset
Indirect natural light

Chanel in #591 Alchimie + Comparisons

Direct sunlight

Today I have pictures of Chanel in #591 Alchimie. Alchimie is part of the upcoming Chanel Fall 2013 "Superstition" collection and is limited-edition. It is available now from Nordstrom.com (which is the only reason I purchased from them since I've had multiple customer service issues with them before, and they package so wastefully - this time they sent me Chanel in #589 Élixir all on its own in a package as big as a shoebox for knee-high boots). I feel like this polish might not be getting fair shift from me, but I'm going to give my review to the best of my abilities.

Chanel describes Alchimie as a "golden khaki." It is an olive metallic packed with gold shimmer and red and green subtle shimmers. It shows very minimal brushstrokes. Now, I'm not in the mood for this particular color right now in the beginning of summer, but in general I adore olive polishes. I love them so much. So I was expecting great things from Alchimie, and I confess to being a bit disappointed. On me, the color feels a bit wishy-washy. That's also what makes it unique, but to me it's a color that can't make up it's mind - it's both not gold enough (I love olive-leaning golds and black-based polishes that have gold shimmer which gives them an olive cast) and not olive enough. It also has a slightly dusty quality that I don't like - and I love dusty polishes as well! It reminds me of Zoya in Irene, which is brighter and more green, but falls in an area that doesn't appeal to me: not bright enough yet not dusty enough. I don't know what's going on with me - if it's my mood or the polish, but there you have it. I prefer it in indirect light when it goes cooler and looks more like a dusty sage. It is lighter than most of my olive polishes, which makes it unique as well.

Now the color is just my opinion, but here's where I'm feeling a bit uneasy. I did not have a good time with the formula. But at the same time, it was really humid in Minneapolis (just after those terrible thunderstorms that knocked out some people's power for 5 days) when I applied this, and I had my central AC on to combat that (it wasn't blowing directly over my polishing station), so I don't know if that affected the formula. It is definitely not a terrible formula, but it was thicker than I wanted for a metallic formula, where you really want to be able to fan out your brush and float it over the nail to minimize brushstrokes. In the other swatches I've seen this was possible, so I do think my experience with the formula has something to do with my climate. You can see slight brushstrokes in my pictures, but it's still really not that bad. If you're a bit put off by my description, I would urge you not to take my word for it but go to a counter and try applying it from the tester.

Worn June 27 - July 1, 2013.


Indirect natural light
Indirect natural light