Saturday, July 30, 2011

CND Claret

Monday, I went to an important meeting with my boss. Since I'd never met the folks we were meeting with, I wanted to do a nice, classic nail color. It turns out that one of the people we met with is a budding nail polish fanatic as well, so we got to have a nice chit-chat about that.

Creative Nail Design Claret is a true dark red shimmer. It's really just a leeetle darker than I'd call "red" instead of "dark red," and it's very balanced between the blue and yellow undertones. Color-wise, I think it's something a lot of people would be able to wear well.

I should mention at this point that Claret is an older polish. I don't remember when or where I got it, but this is one of the polishes that was hanging around in my "collection" before there was a collection. As far as I can tell, CND stopped using this bottle design about 2008, so it's at least older than that. It's now discontinued, but still seems to be readily available online for about $6. I was pleasantly surprised with the application given the age of the polish. It wasn't thick at all and flowed on very smoothly. It has a very thin brush, which I find I have a harder time using, but that's a matter of preference.

The real problem though was the dry time. Even with a layer of Out the Door fast drying topcoat, it seemed to take about an hour to feel dry. Then, I woke up with sheet marks, even though I went to bed at least two to three hours after doing my nails. Even after 24 hours, I could press one nail lightly on another an make a dent.

I assume the drying problem is a result of its age and there's nothing I can do about it, which is a bummer because it's a pretty (if not all that unique) color. Does anyone have any suggestions for me on how I could wear this without belonging in the dented can aisle?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Revlon Blue Lagoon

Surprisingly enough, I have another (mostly) unadorned polish look to share with you today. I did these nails while still recovering from the jet lag of returning from the west coast to the east coast, so I was looking for something easy and uplifting.

Revlon  Blue Lagoon is a sky blue creme base with super tiny particles of silver shimmer. I totally love this color, especially for summer. It looks like a beautiful sky, and I couldn't stop looking at my nails while I was wearing it. Unfortunately, the shimmer is only really apparent in bright, outdoor light, but when you do see it, it's gorgeous as well. This felt like such a light, cheery mani, I finished it up with a flower-shaped clear/silver rhinestone on my ring fingers.

I can't give a review of the application on this because I used a new base with it. Specifically, I used Seche Base Ridge Filling Base Coat. One of my nails was peeling a little, so I decided to use this to fill in and even things out. It worked fine for that purpose, but it seemed like it also stuck like glue to my polish, making it hard to get even coverage. I also got some bubbling that appeared 12 to 24 hours after I did my nails (you can see it a little on my middle finger). I have no way of knowing where to place the blame for that, so I'll have to wait until next time I wear this to find out. I really hope it's the base rather than the polish because I really love this color!

EDIT: Fortunately, I've since read on All Laquered Up that Blue Lagoon didn't bubble when ALU's Michelle tried it. I'm guessing that means I can officially blame the bubbling I got on the base coat. You can read the ALU review here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stamping Geography Lesson

As I mentioned in my last post, I did a manicure for the first few days of my trip to Seattle that I can't show you because my camera didn't give up the pictures. However, I still want to mention one thing about it. For my Seattle trip mani, I stamped my ring finger nails with this image, which I thought was the Space Needle, from Bundle Monster plate BM15.

 However, now that I've seen it in person, I'm pretty sure this is not the Space Needle. Based on a little research on the internets, I think it is more likely Macau Tower in China.

I believe the Bundle Monster plates are made in China, so this actually makes quite a lot more sense than having a random image of the Space Needle on this plate. It turns out there are actually quite a few sort of similar towers in the world, but the China link makes this the most likely contender in my opinion.

Monday, July 25, 2011

KleanColor Holo Chrome

I recently presented at a professional conference in Seattle, which is about as far as you can get from my hometown and still be in the continental U.S. I did my nails the night before I left, but my camera ate the pictures of that mani (boo!), so I'm skipping straight to the polish I applied while I was gone.

I didn't want to drag too much nail stuff with me on the plane, so I brought a polish I'd be happy to wear alone.

KleanColor Holo Chrome is a medium purple, translucent jelly base packed FULL of medium-sized holographic glitter particles. The glitter is large enough that you can see individual particles if you look at it, but small enough that they cover evenly and give that over all sparkle look. The application was good. It went on smoothly and wasn't too thick or gooey. I got almost opaque coverage from two thick coats.

The picture above was taken outside on a rainy day in the central Kirkland bus terminal. It was so grey that you really can't see the true amount of awesomess that this polish has to offer. So, here's a blurry picture taken in my hotel bathroom, which gives you a little better idea.

Seriously, outside in the sun, this stuff is just super glitter-tastic. I just have two caveats. First, it took two coats of Out the Door topcoat to make this feel smooth, but if you use a thicker top coat it might be fine in one. Second, Holo Chrome chipped pretty badly (you can see one chip in my pinky nail in this picture). As I said, I did use thick coats, so I wonder if doing three thinner coats would help.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sunny Petals Mani

I'm currently running behind on blogging because of getting ready for, going on, and recovering from a cross country business trip. It was a great experience, but all phases of it ate up a lot more time and energy than I expected. So, I'm going to be posting more frequently over the next few days to get caught up.

This first catch up post features some Super Nail brand flowers that I got at Sally's toward the beginning of the summer. I'd had my eye on them for a while, but once I had them, it was hard to decide exactly how to use them. They're real dried flowers (although I think they're dyed to give them consistent color). In the end, I decided to go with something simple, to keep the focus on their delicate prettiness.

I started with a base of Finger Paints Tangerine Tint. This polish is a medium orange creme with just a little pink. While it's nowhere near a coral, that little hint of pink keeps this shade looking spring/summery instead of creeping into fall or Halloween territory. I had no complaints with the application or pigmentation. The texture of the polish was a little thick and gooey, but despite that, it flowed on very smoothly and was opaque in two medium coats. The dry time on it's own seemed to promise to be very slow. I had no trouble at all doing all my painting, then applying the flowers and pressing them into plenty wet polish. However, once I added a layer of Out the Door, it dried and set in a reasonable 30 minutes or so.

Unfortunately, I don't think Tangerine Tint is really a very flattering color on me. It's beautiful in it's own right, but it brings out the wrong elements of my skin tone. Ultimately, I'm going to be looking for an orange creme with a cooler or browner base. Any suggestions?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wonder Woman Manicure

This week, Sammy of Nailasaurus has been doing her nails with various fangirl themes for her Week of Geek. I seriously love this idea and all her designs. The first of her designs was based on Marvel comics characters. While I am nowhere near as good as she is at painting freehand designs, these really made me want to do comics nails of my own. Being more of a DC Comics girl, I decided to go with a Wonder Woman theme.

For my first three fingers, I started with a base of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Red Carpet. It didn't photograph well, but this polish is a cherry red jelly with lots of red glitter in it. It's sparkly, but since the glitter is suspended in the base, it's a subtle shimmer. The texture is a little thick for a jelly, which means it stays put and made for an easy application in two medium coats. For the tips, I used french manicure guides and Sally Hansen Color Quick Gold Chrome. This is a nice polish, but I did run into a problem with these tips. Since this polish is in a pen-shaped applicator, it starts out at the base of the brush. This made it a little tricky to get it spread evenly over a small tip and resulted in my tips being, well, lumpy. They're fine at a normal distance though.

For my ring finger and pinky, I started with China Glaze Frostbite, I've reviewed this polish before, so I'll just reiterate that it is great in terms of both texture and pigmentation. For this, I used three thin coats to get maximum color, but two would really be plenty. On top of Frostbite, I stamped stars from Bundle Monster plate BM20 with Konad Special Stamping Pearl White. Of the three Konad stamping polishes I have, this is the only one that really works the way I hoped it would. It stamped nice crisp images. Any blurring was the result of me using too much pressure.

As luck would have it, this was also the manicure I wore for the 4th of July, and it worked well for that as well. I'm currently thinking about some ideas for doing my own Week of Geek (really, it will probably my Geek Every Now and Then, Spaced Out by Other Things). I want to do designs based on Pokemon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Swamp Thing, a few other comic book characters, and the Princess Bride. I'm not really sure what I'll do for that last one, but it's been one of my favorite movies since I was 10, so it should be represented. I'm also adding a tag for "geek" which I'll apply to all the manicures that I do based on my fan obsessions.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Glitter Sandwich Trial Run

I've been seeing and hearing a lot about the "glitter sandwich" manicure online and in my little circle of crazy nail ladies. For this mani, you put a layer of a glitter polish better layers of a jelly polish that will let the glitter show through. I finally did my own, and I'm frankly not that crazy about the results. I consider this my first draft with more to come.

I started with two coats of Revlon Mystical from the Just Tinted collection. The whole point of this polish collection is that they are lightly pigmented, translucent jellies, so they seem perfect for the glitter sandwich. I expected the polish to be runny, but it was actually pretty thick. I didn't have any major problems with the application. It was oddly hard to clean up though (which explains the overworked look of my fingers).

Next, I added Nicole by OPI Step 2 the Beat of My Heart. This polish was a pretty big disappointment. It has a basically clear base, with plenty of tiny holo glitter and some large heart-shaped silver, pink, and purple glitter. There were plenty of hearts in the bottle, but it was almost impossible to get them out and onto the nail. I've had this problem with other large glitters, but I'd hoped this would be better since it's a higher end brand.

I finished with one more coat of Mystical. I actually really liked how the small glitter in this polish looked under Mystical, there just wasn't enough of it. I'll definitely be trying this again with a more glitter-packed polish.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nailasaurus Giveaway

Nailasaurus's 800 Follower Giveaway end's on July 10, so there's just a week left to enter. Check it out here.

Peaceful Purple Mani

Some time back, I got two of the Sally Hansen Color Quick polishes that come in a pen shaped dispenser with a built-in brush on clearance at CVS. I used Gold Chrome for stamping, and it worked really well, so I've been excited to try Purple Chrome for stamping as well.

I started with a base of China Glaze Virtual Violet from the Tronica collection. I was really excited when Tronica came out and grabbed several of them a few months ago. For some reason, Virtual Violet has been hanging around untried.  

Virtual Violet is a dark purple, which leans more toward blue than red, with tons of very small holo particles. The formula on this polish was great (just like the other Tronicas). It has just the right consistency to flow on smoothly but stay put, so application is very easy. It is well pigmented as well and was smooth and opaque in two thin coats. It also dried very, very quickly (one hand was dry by the time I finished painting the other).

This close-up shows the sparkly holo-ness a little better. I do think the holo effect showed up less in this one than in some of the other Tronicas; perhaps it's a side effect of the darker base. On top of Virtual Violet, I stamped peace signs from my Bundle Monster BM07 plate using Sally Hansen Color Quick Purple Chrome. Like Gold Chrome this polish was a dream for stamping. It seems a little thin when you're putting it on the plate, but it stamps crisp, opaque images every time. It does dry quickly, so you have to keep moving. I would definitely like to get this polish in a few more colors for stamping when I can.

The only problem I had with this mani is that the tips chipped pretty quickly (I took it off after two days, where I usually go three to four). I suspect that a third coat, or maybe even two thicker coats, of Virtual Violet might help with that. In conclusion, here's a picture of the peace signs right-side-up, just because.