Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Essence - Colour3

I hoped to finally get to finish the book reviews I’ve been trying to write, but I need some more energy for those, so instead, I present you more polish reviews.

I recently bought two of the double polish sets from the new Essence colour3 line and I want to show you the first today.
The new line includes 6 sets with two polishes each, one base and one topper, so in effect it’s 12 different polishes. At 4ml, they are really tiny, presumably because they'd be too heavy to handle otherwise. For testing purposes I got nos. 01 Midnight Date and 04 A Walk In The Park and this is the one I’m reviewing. I was waiting for some sunlight to make better pictures, but it looks like it won’t be forthcoming anytime soon – or at least not before I take the polish off again – so I’m just going to post what I have.

The naming is a bit confusing on these. Each of the two polishes of a set has a name. Additionally, each set also has a name - which is the same as that of the base colour. I think that was a bit of an unfortunate choice, because you can use them separately from each other and then it's difficult to tell if you're talking about the individual colour or the double set, but there you are.

The duos: 04 A Walk in the Park/ 01 Midnight Date
The two colours I'm showing today: A Walk in the Park / Stop for an Ice Cream
A Walk in the Park is a darker green with a hint of blue. I'd call it pine green, but it's not quite blue enough for that. It contains very fine green shimmer which is hardly visible on the nail however. Mostly it looks like a creme.
Stop for an Ice Cream is a transparent (might be very, very light blue) base packed with fine blue shimmer, some multi-colour shimmer and slightly larger transparent, silvery flecks.

1 coat of A Walk in the Park
1 coat of A Walk in the Park
1 coat of Stop for an Ice Cream

Price & availability: I got mine for 2,75€ in DM. That's for 8ml = 4ml per colour. Colour3 is part of the new permanent Essence display.

Formula & application:
A Walk in the Park is a bit thicker than ideal but still very usable. One generous coat is enough for full opacity and even coverage. If you do very thin coats like I tend to on my dominant hand, you'll need two coats. Unfortunately, it stains the cuticles somewhat, so plan in some extra time for clean-up - which I didn't do here.
Stop for an Ice Cream is a topper so you'll never achieve any sort of opacity with it. One coat is enough for a good, even effect over a base colour. The shimmer is pretty densely packed, but surprisingly, the formula isn't thick at all. Me likey. Drying time seems to be unremarkable on both. I was worried that the brush would be too heavy (what with another polish attached to the cap), but it's actually quite comfortable since you can hold it like a pen.
Together the two look almost like a dark teal from a distance. I'm not entirely sure about the strange flecks, I think they make the green base look kind of dusty, which didn't translate well to pictures. It seems to me that such a dark colour is not an ideal choice for this topper. I can imagine it working much better with something lighter, where the flecks will blend in more.  On the whole it's quite nice, but I think I'm going to use them both separately - Walk in the Park as a one-coat solo artist and Ice Cream as a pretty topper for lighter greens & blues.

Wear & tear: Two days and no sign of tipwear so far. No chipping either. I'm impressed.

On the whole, I think it's a clever concept. The 04 A Walk in the Park colour combination doesn't convince me entirely, but the individual polishes are great, both in colour and quality-wise. If you like green and can buy Essence, have a look at these!

Now, if I were to look for something to complain about it would be the height of these things. They're just... too tall. If laid down flat they take up too much space and if they stand, rumour has it they don't fit into a Helmer (which I have seen in many a stash post, so it seems worth mentioning). Luckily, there is a solution! Just pull the white cap off and you end up with two pretty little mini bottles of polishes. Since the remaining cap it rather too small to hold onto when polishing, I recommend keeping the white connector thingy and just pop it onto whichever you're using. This wasn't my idea, btw, I saw it on a forum. Credit where credit is due and so forth.

And coming soon:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Swatches

I really need to bring some structure into this blog, but I don't really like the random Fridays and Week Reviews posts or whatever is floating out there. I always scroll past those myself. Instead, I want to actually post some useful new material, and what is better suited than some pretty polish eye candy?

And thus, I bring you: Saturday Swatches.
Every Saturday I will post pictures of manis that I took throughout the preceding week that for one reason or another didn't warrant a post of their own, like old polishes, no longer available polishes, too messy polishes, frankenpolishes etc. It might also include swatches of polishes that I do plan to review, but it won't be for some time.
And so, without further ado, this week’s Saturday Swatches:

Models Own - Pinky Brown. Two coats over previous mani.

Franken - Periwinkle At Night. Two coats.
Catrice Mona Lisa is staring back + Manhattan Lotus Effect 65W + Catrice Snow Motion + Color Club Blue-topia

And planned for tomorrow: The Sunday Review

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Essence - Iced Strawberry Cream Ranty Review

As I mentioned yesterday, I removed Misslyn before it's expiration date - aka before I could pull an entire nail-worth of polish off, like I usually do. Yes, it's a bad habit, I know. But there's just something very satisfying about it.

I really needed to shorten my nails (2 mm shorter and suddenly my life quality improves. Yay!) and I also wanted to try one of the new Essence Nuge Glam polishes. I'm not really big on the typical beige nude colours, but I like the ones that have some pink in them and luckily the Nude Glam line includes two shades like that: 02 Iced Strawberry Cream and 04 Iced Latte. This morning I went for the strawberries:

Iced Strawberry Cream is a beige-pink filled with very fine silver shimmer that adds a touch of frost to the finish and also so-fine-it's-barely-there coral/salmon coloured particles. It's a very lovely, elegant colour with the fine shimmer keeping it from being a blunt, boring nude (I really kinda dislike nudes...). It's also very glossy on it's own and has a mirror-like finish with the appropriate topcoat. The pretty colour notwithstanding, this polish drove me to distraction today and I might just take it all off in a bit out of sheer spite.
But before we get to that, first the eye candy:

1 Coat P2 Basecoat
2 Coats Essence - 02 Iced Strawberry Cream
1 Coat Essie - Good to Go TC

Isn't it pretty? I think it's pretty.

Price & availability: I got mine for 1,25€ for 5ml in DM. I don't know if this part of the Essence line will be available in all stores selling Essence or not.

Formula & application: First the good news: this polish is mostly opaque in two coats, unless you make them really, really thin. Formula is fine, kinda runny but not unmanageable and the brush is the same as the Colour&Go brush. First coat is a bit streaky, but it mostly looks fine after two. There are some light brushstrokes however.
And now the bad: this stuff takes aaaages to dry. No, really. I usually wait until the first coat is mostly dry before applying the second, which normally doesn't take longer than 5-7 minutes and here it was still pretty sticky after 20 minutes. The whole mani with Essie's Good to Go (which so far has significantly shortened the drying time of absolutely every polish I tried it with) took over an hour to dry sufficiently for me to do stuff and I still managed to get some smudges in. In fact, I had to redo one of my thumbs entirely and after the first re-paint crinkled badly from the pressure of holding an apple (yes, really) I redid it a third time - almost two and a half hours ago by now - and with a bit of pressure I can still mark it. Also, there were bubbles on some nails. Lots and lots of them.

Wear & tear: No idea. I'm so frustrated, I might just take it all off again. I'll edit this if I decide to keep it on (and if it survives the big cleaning planned for the next hours).
EDIT: The mani survived my cleaning endeavours and lasted for almost two days without visible wear, so durability seems to be fine.

It's a pretty shade and maybe I just happened on a bad bottle, but bubbles and long drying time don't make me want to get more of these.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Misslyn - Atlantis Review

Today I'd like to show you another Misslyn polish - after the great first impression of Blue Planet the reluctance to pay 5 Euro was suddenly that much lower.. whoops... and I got a more subdued winterly colour: no. 620 Antlantis.

Here it is:
Atlantis is an odd mix between purple and blue, but so subdued it's almost grey. It's also packed with very fine shimmer that I'm hard-pressed to describe. Most of it is a bright blue, but there's also something that looks like teeny tiny silver flakies and if you look at the polish under a direct light source, the shimmer seems to be very much multi-coloured. On the nail the predominant effect is of a shimmery purplish grey that flashes blue or a deeper purple. Sounds gorgeous, doesn't it? Well, it does to me.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good picture of it for the life of me. My camera insisted on adding more blue, more purple, not enough purple, too much shimmer, the wrong shimmer... I don't even know. I think I took over 100 pictures in four different light conditions and not a single satisfactory one. My camera sucks. *sulks* The reality is somewhere between all of these, minus the annoying blur and plus tiny silver flakies.

Btw, you can click on all my pictures to see a much larger size. I thought this was self-explanatory, but just in case.

Price & availability: 4,95€ for 10ml in Kaufhof and Karstadt, similar in Müller I think. You can look for a shop that sells the brand in Germany and Austria using the shopfinder on their homepage.

Formula & application: I found the formula to be very pleasant to work with, not too thick or thin. I also like the brush (round-bound), even though it's small compared to others I know. I did a quick and dirty comparison:

From left to right: Opi, Essence, Misslyn, Essie new, Catrice old, Catrice new
As you can see, it's not only a bit shorter, but also much slimmer (Not as slim as for example Color Club however). Even so, I found application with it quick and precise.
What surprised me a bit was that, even though the first coat was very sheer, it was also perfectly even - not the kind of streaky, patchy first coat one often gets with sheer polishes. I needed two coats for full opacity, with veeery thin coats you might need three.

What I didn't like was the drying time. It felt like ages until all the coats were dried through, at least an hour. However, this may be because of my topcoat (Better than Gel Nails) which seems to have turned kind of thick... gooey, gummy... I'm not sure what the English term is. In any case, it was very nasty and I had a hell of a time applying it properly, so I'm not quite willing to blame Misslyn for this yet - but I thought I'd mention it.

Wear & tear: I have worn Atlantis for two days now. There's some minor tipwear on a few nails, but for some reason only on the left hand (I'm right handed, I type with right...). No idea what's up here. You can see it on some pictures, but it's really exaggerated - due to reflection I think. It's barely noticeable in reality.  No chips at all either. I'm sure it could last longer, if I were not eager to try out other polishes from my recent purchases - and shorten my nails! It's only 4 mm of white, but they annoy me So Much! I don't think I'm meant to have long claws. Neat and short does it.

So, on the whole - I really like Misslyn's Atlantis. The drying time is not ideal, I'll have to try another topcoat to see if it makes any difference. Colour, formula and application is top and durability is, so far as I can tell acceptable, provided the tipwear doesn't get worse. Is it worth 5 Euro? For this colour a definite YES! - for more common colours, I'd probably add a few Euros and just get Essie.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Catrice - Genius in the Bottle Review

I bought this polish because I saw so many swatches of it and got curious. After all, what's a polish collection without at least one Peridot Dupe? I did not actually expect to like it, gold is normally really not my colour... as it is, I ended up absolutely loving it and couldn't stop staring at my nails. Even my Mum, who normally only rolls her eyes at my recent polish obsession complimented it.

So here it is: the latest drugstore attempt at a dupe* for Peridot: Genius in the Bottle by Catrice.
All pictures taken in daylight, the last two in broad sunlight.

This is three coats. The base gold colour is quite dark and warm, but it's not as overpowering as I expected it and the green really is visible pretty much all the time, unless you put your nails right in front of a light source, and it offsets the warm gold quite well.

* For comparisons with Chanel's polish and two other similar ones see this great post by the Swatchaholic!

Price & availability: 2,49 € everywhere that sells Catrice polishes. I got mine either at IhrPlatz or Karstadt, I don't remember which.

Formula & application: Catrice updated their brush and unlike some other bloggers, I didn't have any problems with the new flat, wide brush. I was able to apply the (very nice) formula cleanly and precisely on all nails. What I did have problems with, was the width of the bottle neck, funnily enough. It hasn't been changed to suit the new brush and every time I dipped that in, I smeared polish all over the rim of the bottle. And we all know how annoying dirty polish bottles rims are... But that's a minor quibble. On the whole, the formula is great and the polish is opaque in two coats. I felt three made the result more striking, but really, that was probably just my imagination. There were some brush strokes, but not too pronounced.

Wear & tear:  lasted about three days with only some little tipwear. I think it could have lasted longer, but I put a matte coat over it (gorgeous results, btw, highly recommend trying that!) and I think that was just too many layers and I was able to pull it off the nail after a few hours.

In the end, I'm very pleased with having bought it and had I just a wee bit more money, I'd be very tempted by the real thing, aka Péridot. The cooler gold tone would probably suit me even better. As it is... I'm not yet so far gone that I'm willing to put 23 € on the table for a nail polish. Yet...

I am however, rather temped by two Artdeco polishes from the new Magic Shine collection. (Preview + some swatches on Dani's blog) that seem to hail from the same colour family. I actually found them in Kaufhof today but I had already paid and didn't feel like going back to the checkout.

[NOTD] Nailart Quickie

I finally managed something vaguely resembling acceptable water marbling on the nail. Yay! Unfortunately it's marred by bubbles. Boo :(

Still, it's the best so far. Another 5 tries and I might get there! I took the pictures now, with artificial light and flash, because I'm not sure how long the mani will survive. I'm tempted do add glitter. That may or may not prove a mistake. Sorry for the mess, I haven't finished cleaning up yet. Water marble is a really messy business.

But the results are quite worth it. Minus the bubbles.

I used two P2 polishes over a white base.
P2 color victim - 541 night out (dark, greyish jeans blue)
P2 last forever - 031 love letter (peachy pink)

Blogspot seems to have problems with loading images right now. I hope these work.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

BeYu and Misslyn swatches

I woke up to gorgeous sunshine yesterday and immediately used the opportunity to swatch some of the polishes I posted about here.

This post will be very picture heavy as all of them as really lovely and I couldn't limit myself to only one picture. The three I was most eager to see are:

From left to right:
Misslyn - 595 Blue Planet
BeYu - 330
BeYu - 209 Brilliant Shiraz

I didn't bother cleaning up, so forgive me the occasional mess. All pictures taken in daylight, the more yellow ones in direct sunlight.

Logging Books: short reviews

So far I've read only two books this month:

7. Stalking Darkness by Lynn Flewelling. Part 2 of Nightrunner. I'm very glad I kept reading after the mediocre offering of Luck in the Shadows, because this book is so much better! The writing flows better and the plot moves faster. Admittedly, it's still standard fantasy fare, with a quest (or two), not that this is such a bad thing. What I really liked is that Flewelling manages to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion that does not necessary require a sequel. The secondary plot around the events in the larger world keeps going on, but the main plot is wrapped up. I wish more fantasy authors would manage that in the scope of two not overly long novels.
There are a few things I did not like - so for example the barrage of misogynistic language whenever insults were needed. It always suprises me a bit when authors try to create a society that has definite aspects of gender equality and is more open about sexuality and sex... and then proceed to use gendered, slut shaming insults when strong language is required. You'd think that such an inclusive society would not have developed these concepts and as consequence would not have this kind of language? I wish more authors would realise the correlation between language and society.

8. Traitor's Moon by Lynn Flewelling. Part 3 of Nightrunner. It just gets better. This is more a less a standalone book. The events are clearly tied to the overarching plot of the preceding novels - the war is still in full swing and drives the development of the main plot, a diplomatic mission to establish trade agreements, but stylistically this one stood out. This is mainly Seregil's story in that in explores his past and how he copes with it when being thrown right in the middle of it again. It's also a fairly straightforward whodunit mystery, and a fairly complex political tug o'war between several parties. All three elements are nicely interwoven and are again satisfyingly resolved at the end of the novel, while still leaving the door open for a sequel. There were of course some elements I'm not too happy with, but on the the whole this book was even more up my alley than then second.
I heard that the following books that were published not long ago after a pretty long hiatus from the author are not as good, so I'm in no hurry to pick them up. Maybe one day.

And reading now:

" 'The red cartridge ran out last week,' said Tommo. 'We expect the yellow to dry out any day now, and you know what that means.'
'Right,' I said, seeing the problem instantly, 'blue grass. That's rotten - no village should be without a Colour Garden.' "

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Thursday, February 9, 2012

[NOTD] - Irreplaceable

I was eager to try this Essence polish because it's being discontinued and I wanted to know if I'll need a backup. As it turns out... I can't quite make up my mind. On the one hand I think it's perfectly gorgeous. On the other, I feel like the colour doesn't suit me at all. I did get a backup bottle in the end because I feel like it sometimes needs 3 (thin) coats to full opacity, which would empty these tiny colour&go bottles very quickly.

So here it is: Essence colour & go - 50 Irreplaceable. Currently selling at 0,95€. Greyish beige (more beige than grey though) filled with tons of very fine silver glitter that flashes gold & lime green. It was very overcast today, so no pretty sunlight reflection - a direct light source tends to bring the greenish gold out better. You can see the effect in the bottle very well however.

Unfortunately, yesterday's Black Ruby stained my nails somewhat after staying on over-night. I only wanted to swatch it and didn't use a base coat. I shall know better next time. As for Irreplaceable, I'm satisfied with the quality in terms of formula and application. My only quibble is the glitter - I thought it would be shimmer or glassflecks because of how fine it is, but no, it's most definitely glitter. This stuff gets everywhere and it sticks to skin like the devil and it being so fine makes it very, very hard to remove. I bet I'll have it all over the next polish still.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rubies are a girl's best friends.

I popped into a DM today, to reward myself after my last exam and found myself standing in front of the L'Oréal rack. I don't really like L'Oreal (to expensive for a drugstore brand) and until today I didn't own any of their products, but I just couldn't resist the twinkle of little red sale tags. And, oh wonder, the nail polish section had not yet been plucked clean. And, ladies and gentlemen, I found my new love. All it took was one glance to know that we shall be inseparable.

This new love of mine is called L'Oréal Resist & Shine Titanium 734 Black Ruby. A mouthful, but he deserves it. Quick & dirty swatches under lamplight with flash:

This beauty is fully opaque in one coat (two makes the colour a bit darker but is not necessary at all) and it applies smooth as butter. It's a deep dark blackened red with red shimmer. I'm a sucker for the kind of colour.
The original price was somewhere around 8-9€, they are now being sold at 3,75€ in DM shops. I don't think I'd have even looked at it at the original price, so I'm really glad to have lucked out on the sale - it's been going for a couple months and most shops have only uninteresting leftovers now.

Tomorrow I'll swatch the rest of my recent purchases. I just couldn't wait with this one.

*stares at nails*

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shopping mania

I got my measly pay recently I went out to satisfy some very urgent cravings. I think I wanted to stop buying polishes and save up for an online order. Good intentions and all that.

I totally do not regret it at all however, because I got some real beauties that I've been ogling for a while.
From left ro right:
Misslyn - 595 Blue Planet. My first misslyn polish. I actually wanted to get the 646 (as seen here on Tine's blog) but couldn't find it anywhere. Blue Planet is absolutely gorgeous in it's own right however. It's a blue-purple duochrome which is not really visible in the picture. Misslyn has a bunch of very beautiful polishes that are supposed to be fairly good quality. In Germany they can be found in Karstadt, Kaufhof, Müller and some Douglas shops. The colour polishes are 4.95 for 10ml.
BeYu - 330 (I don't think it has a name). I don't really like BeYu - at 5.95 for 8ml it's way too expensive and I haven't been very happy with the only other polish I have of the brand. Unfortunately, I got really hooked by this colour. It's a grey-green with blue-purple glassflecks. A very interesting colour that I haven't seen on many blogs yet. This italian blog has excellent swatches.
BeYu - 209. I'm pretty sure that this is not best version of the lovely unicorn pee polish that can be found on a bunch of blogs. It does say INCI 31 on the label, but... I really have to twist and turn the bottle to get even a tiny glimpse of the multicolour effect of the shimmer :( But since it's apparently no longer available, I took it anyway. Maybe I'll find a better version in a larger Douglas.
Essence colour&go - 50 irreplaceable and 62 reach peach. These are being discontinued and I got them at the 0.95€ discount price. I could smack myself about irreplaceable - it's a lovely beige with gorgeous silver-gold-green glass flecks and for some reason I never paid it any attention before. I'll swatch it over the next days and if I like it I might have to get a second bottle.

I couldn't wait to see what 209 looks like and swatched it over a random black. This is in lamplight. The green does come out, but only if the light comes in at very flat angles. In the last two pictures I held the nail tip almost parallel to the lamp.

[NOTD] - the essence of snowwomen.

As has been mentioned in pretty much all reviews It's a Snow-woman's World from Essence's Crystalliced collection has a purple shimmer that is not really visible on the nail. Silly me, I thought there would be at least a hint of it. Well, I should have listened to the reviews, because there really is no shimmer at. all. on the nail. Pity. Still it's a nice shade of grey that suits me well enough. It's almost opaque in 1 coat if you're careful.

I was a bit bored with it so after wearing it for a few short hours I added the Love Topcoat from re-mix your style. It's pink, not purple, but that's okay. I like grey and pink. I think this provides a very vague impression of what the polish might have looked like with bigger shimmer particles that are actually visible. It's really quite pretty and much more shimmery than on the pictures.
Unfortunately something shrank. I'm not sure if it was Good to Go or if it was the Love topcoat. It's not as bad on the hand I photographed but on the other there's a clearly visible line all around the nail. Meh.

2 coats of Essence Crystalliced It's a Snow-Woman's World
1 coat of Essie Good To Go
2 Coats of Essence re-mix your style Love Topcoat Feels So Good

Coming up: Unicorn Pee shopping spree. I can't believe I just wrote that.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

[NOTD] - It's Franken Time

I don't think I've mentioned it before, but my favourite colours are variations in the black cherry, eggplant and plum spectrum. (I also love dark teal and petrol blue, but less so on nails). Shimmer & micro glitter is always a plus. Preferably shimmer that makes a colour shine from within.

As it so happens, my second ever attempt at making a Franken out of old unused polishes resulted in the ultimate polish for me that combines all of the above. The Pictures don't quite manage to capture its beauty although they come fairly close in colour for once*. There's a bit of that gorgeous sparkle and shimmer missing.

For me, this is the polish of all polishes and it reigns supreme over my collection... At least until I can find a worthy commercial substitute, because boy, that thing is a horror to apply. It's thick as syrup no matter how much thinner I pour into it, it takes ages to dry and it stains like nobody's business when I'm trying to clean up the cuticles after application. At least it doesn't streak. It says a lot about the colour that I'm still willing to go use it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Essence - Ice Crystals on my Window Review

After taking off the red I was in the mood for something light coloured and elegant and picked Ice Crystals on my Window from Essence's Crystalliced collection. It has been available since late December and can still be found here and there, sometimes discounted. I have three polishes from this collection - the delicate, slightly shimmery colours really hit a soft spot, but so far I have been somewhat disappointed in the quality.

Ice crystals is a very light cream shade with a peachy-rosé shimmer and white glass flecks. I the bottle that is. On the nail, the shimmer is rather subtle and the glass flecks only visible if you look closely. The closeup pictures look horrible and my cuticles are a mess, in reality it looked much neater and certainly adequate for everyday wear, though not at all perfect, as you cah see on the last picture. I think this shade suits me much better than a straight forward white, which makes my skin look horrible, and I rather enjoyed having the colour on my nails. I'll be on the lookout for similar polishes with a better formula in future.
The bottle shot unfortunately doesn't show the shimmer, but the overall shade is pretty close.

2 coats of Ice Crystals on my Window
1 Coat of Essence Better than Gel Nail topcoat

I'm wearing the Waking up in Vegas Dance topcoat on the ring finger here.

Price & availability: 1,75€ for 8ml. Limited, but still available in drugstores, etc. I have seen them in the sales basket for as little as 0,80€.

Formula & application: The formula was okay, slightly on the runny side. The brush seemed somewhat wider than the one on the colour&go polishes. The application was a mess unfortunately. The first coat was very streaky and while the streaks vanished, bald patches remained. The second coat was less streaky but still left bald patches. A third coat would have been needed for opacity, personally I don't mind the white of the nail showing with such colours so I left it at two. Even though I tried to apply thin coats, they ended up in a really uneven layer, forming thicker ridges here and there. The topcoat evened it out a little, but I still had a visible thick ridge where the polish began. Ugh. Not pretty. Drying time was acceptable.
To be fair, most other reviewers didn't seem to have huge problems with this one, so it may be just be my lack of skill where light colours are concerned.

Wear & tear: After one day a few tiny corners had flaked off and at the end of the second day I could pull the polish off half the nail. I didn't do anything strenuous at all those days. Rather disappointing.