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

Direct sunlight

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!

Indirect natural light


Worn August 18 - 22, 2013.

Chanel in #571 Fracas + Comparisons

Direct sunlight

Here are my new and improved pictures of Chanel in #571 Fracas. Fracas was a limited-edition polish from the Spring 2013 "Printemps Précieux 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.

Indirect natural light - indoors

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

Indirect natural light

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 Élixir, 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. 

Direct sunlight
Indirect natural light

Chanel in #589 Élixir + Comparisons

Direct sunlight

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 Élixir. 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. Élixir is part of the Fall 2013 "Superstition" collection, but its a nice year-round color.

Chanel describes Élixir 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 "Moiré" collection in anticipation of "Nuit Magique." The very definition of first-world problems, I know!

Élixir 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.

Indirect natural light
Direct sunlight

Marc Jacobs in #140 Petra + Comparisons

Direct sunlight

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.

Indirect sunlight

Sephora Formula X in Indelible + Comparisons

Direct sunlight

DISCLOSURE: Indelible is a press sample sent to me for my honest review.

Sephora Formula X in Indelible is one of the new colors in the line, which is premiering September 2013. Indelible is part of the New Classics range. It's a mid-tone purple creme that leans a bit cool. When I look at it from a normal distance, it reads pretty neutral to me, but when I compared it to other polishes it has quite a bit more blue than a neutral purple polish - I don't know if my olive skin tone has anything to do with counteracting the coolness in it. It immediately made me think of Rescue Beauty Lounge in Purple Haze, but they are actually quite different. I always wonder about how brands that don't hew closely to theme choose names - Indelible makes me think of the ink sometimes used in elections to prevent voter fraud.

Source

The bottle is just verging on bulky for me, but the overall design is a nice user experience (yup, that sounds kind of stupid, but it's the best I could come up with). There is an overcap that is easy to remove and clicks back into place, the brush handle is very comfortable, and the bottle is nicely weighted and stable. From a marketing standpoint, I don't know why they would print Sephora so small in their logo design, but what do I know? You can see pictures of all the bottles in this slideshow.

The formula on Indelible was slightly too thick for me - I could tell it was going to get sticky and have balding issues if I tried to use thin coats. I added as many drops of nail polish thinner as I could into a new bottle (probably about 5) to sort this out. If you do thick coats you could get away with 1 coat of this unthinned. I used 2 thin coats after thinning, and the formula was great - smooth-flowing and opaque, no need for cleanup. My pictures don't capture the brush as well as I'd like. The tip actually fans out more - probably to the same width as Marc Jacobs' brush, but the Sephora Formula X brush is a touch more bushy and less malleable. I tend to prefer tinier more flexible brushes, but this one wasn't problematic, just not my favorite.


Worn August 7 - 10, 2013.

Indirect natural light

DISCLOSURE: Indelible is a press sample sent to me for my honest review.

A little bit more about Sephora Formula X. This is going to be a HUGE launch of 200 polishes. You can find preview swatches here. Against my attempting-to-be-austere will, I am really tempted by a ton of these polishes - Sephora by OPI was overall not a huge hit for me, but it looks like they're going all out with this new line. There are going to be 93 Color polishes (divided into New Classics and New Neutrals), 97 Effects polishes (divided into Brilliants, Sparklers, Celestials, Superwatts, Chromes, Translucents, Holograms, Transformers, Lusters, Xplosives, Shifters, and Electrics), plus a system that seems similar to Zoya's Color Lock and nail treatments. As far as I know, Sephora Formula X is a revamp of the current Sephora X line. There seem to be some similar polishes between the two lines, but I believe the names are different. This launch does seem to continue the trend of edging Sephora brand pricing up, although if you look at price per ounce, Formula X beats X: Sephora by OPI was $9.50 for 0.5 fl. oz. ($19/oz.), Sephora X ranges from $9.50 to $11.50 for 0.33 fl. oz. ($28.79-$34.85/oz.), and Sephora Formula X will range from $10.50 to $12.50 for 0.4 fl. oz. ($26.25-$31.25/oz.). I do find the pricing to be a bit more than I would want to pay - for reference, it puts them at about Nails. Inc.-level. I know this sounds odd with my Chanel purchasing habits, but Chanel does 4 colors per collection max; Sephora Formula X is starting out with 200 and, I assume, will expand the line. Sephora Formula X is supposed to have "brilliant shine," "extraordinary staying power," "exclusive never before seen ingredients," a "specially designed brush" for "the most even and precise lacquer application," a "faster drying time that doesn't compromise finish," and "first-to-market explosive effects."

Misa in #289 Lost to the World + Comparisons

Direct sunlight

Sorry, this isn't a very exciting post. These pictures are terrible, and until I get a job it's going to be sporadic posting because I'm freaking out about life. 

This polish was a disappointment too. This is Misa in #289 Lost to the World from the Fall 2012 "Wanderlust" collection. "Wanderlust" is a great collection, and I'm a big Misa fan - I think they are a totally underrated brand. You can get them for almost as little as Sinful polishes online, the bottles look high-end and are nicely weighted, the brushes are perfect, and the formula is usually excellent (leaning more towards thick and opaque than thin and watery). And being a Chanel collector, I'm actually a fan of subtle shimmer. But, that's when I'm expecting it. I bought Lost to the World off of Kelly at Vampy Varnish's swatches, so I was surprised when I finally applied it because her picture is pretty misleading. Always try to find multiple swatch pictures people!

Okay, Misa has a tendency for long or awkward polish names, and their descriptions are no different. Here's what they have to say about Lost to the World: "Destinations are definite, but sometimes wandering is a lot more fun. Tackle your next adventure with this go-anywhere tawny mauve, a delicate hue that will have you floating through the days on cloud nine whether you're jet-setting or simply trendsetting." I hope that ad copywriter was paid overtime! I wouldn't describe Lost to the World as mauve - it's definitely taupe. It has gold and red shimmers, but they are extremely subtle. Barely visible in sunlight subtle. I was surprised in looking through my extensive taupe collection that there were no close matches. Lost to the World is very warm compared to most other taupes. It's kind of a chocolate milk shade and looks pretty different in warm vs. cool light.

I'm going off memory here, but I think the formula was pretty great. Thick but not too thick, and I'm pretty sure I used 2 thin coats with no cleanup. However, I used an old bottle of Seche Vite, so you can see I got some funky pulling away on my ring finger.

Worn January 16 - 19, 2013.

Indirect natural light