Monday, June 30, 2014

10k Collab for Autumn

Today I have a recreation of one of my favorite nail girls' previous manis, Autumn aka @justagirlandhernails!

To celebrate Autumn hitting 10k followers on Instagram, two of her besties, Amanda and Christina, pulled together 20 fabulous nail ladies to recreate some of her amazing nail art. I was so honored to be invited to be included in this talented group!

I chose to recreate this lovely floral design over a polka dot and sheer base. How do you think I did?!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Save Pacific Blue Collab Pictures!

I am so proud of the huge response Rei and I got for our "save Pacific Blue" collab! It's pretty incredible to me how one simple, $3 drugstore polish brought so many polish lovers together. Some of the people who participated have hundreds of polishes in the collection; others have only a handful--Pacific Blue is important and special to all of them. Obviously, they are all pretty upset.

My issue with Sally Hansen isn't in the fact that they discontinued or reformulated a beloved polish. It sucks, but that happens all the time. What's irritating to me, and many others, is that they quietly made these changes and packaged it as the same product as if no one would notice. Additionally, Sally Hansen's PR has handled the outraged masses poorly. A large part of that is likely the result of them feeling overwhelmed. I know I'm glad to not be in that PR director's shoes right now.

My hope is that this will get their attention, and get them to listen to us, or at least honestly acknowledge the situation in a direct manner. In the age of social media, people crave interaction with the brands they care about, and like to feel that their voice means something. All we're asking for is to be heard!

Here is a larger version of the photo:

And here's the mani I submitted. Can you find it in there?

Finally, I really enjoyed reading through all the emails everyone sent. My favorite message came from a mom who uses the color annually to support Autism awareness and her son that has the disorder. As silly as this controversy make seem to some, this matters to a lot of people. Obviously we're not curing cancer here, but the right polish can brighten even the cloudiest day! Anyway, here is a word cloud I created with the email messages I received:

Thanks again for participating, everyone! Please repost these images to all of your social media to spread the word!
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Save Sally Hansen Pacific Blue!

Most of you probably already saw this on my Instagram, but I wanted to post it here, too, just in case you missed it!

There has been an uproar in the nail community this week over the changes in formula to some cult favorites in the Sally Hansen Extreme Wear line--most notably, Pacific Blue. What was once a perfect, creamy dulled cobalt blue one-coater is now a shimmery, sheer, gloopy mess. It appears that changes have also been made to Mellow Yellow, and there is talk of changes to Coral Reef and other favorites in the collection. Polish addicts have posted many comments and questions to Sally Hansen's account looking for answers, and all have received a standard, formulaic response. Needless to say, the hive has been rattled, and people are getting angry.

In an attempt to get Sally Hansen's attention and to show our solidarity as a community, my friend Rei of Reinovate Nails and I have teamed up for a "save Pacific Blue" collab! As the photo below states, please send ANY manicure photos you have using the flawless original formula of this polish to by next Friday, June 27th. It can be a swatch or nail art, and can be a recent or older picture. We want to show Sally Hansen that this is important to us! There is strength in numbers, so join in and tell your friends! You can find the original posts on mine and Rei's Instagram pages, or at the beginning of the tag #savepacificbluecollab

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Picture Polish Inspired Colorblocking

Hi everyone! Today I have this edgy color blocked mani inspired by the Picture Polish Urban Shades. If you're not familiar with Picture Polish, it's a renowned indie brand made in Australia. They're famous for their flawless formula, unique shades, and collaboration with and support of nail bloggers. When I first saw their recent Urban Shades, I was immediately in love. Unfortunately, I'm American, which makes these elusive shades much more difficult to come by and, more notably, extremely pricey!

I simply couldn't justify splurging for the entire collection...but I was lucky enough to find half of the collection through a destash sale! Chillax is a bright aquamarine cream that applied beautifully. Swagger is a cool, periwinkle blue with a similarly flawless formulation. 

Chillax was definitely my favorite in the collection, so I was especially thrilled to have found this one!

Since I had found the first half of the collection for such a reasonable price, I considered taking the plunge and picking up the other two for full price. Then I happened upon some *possible* dupes for the rest of the collection with a much more affordable price tag. What do you think?

Photos property of Picture Polish; swatches by Lacquertude.

Bonkers is a burgundy creme, and Totes is a pastel orange that reminds me of creamsicles. 

Rimmel London - Simply Sizzling is a vibrant magenta shade that echoes Bonkers--somewhat. It's not as dark, and definitely warmer in tone. Rimmel London - Reggae Splash, however, looks like an almost exact dupe for Totes. I think these two polishes work well with the Picture Polish shades, and fills the void (sort of) that was left by only picking up half of the collection. I have to say that I was impressed with the formula of the Rimmel polishes; I had never used them before. 

I accented this funky design with a metallic gold pinky using Sally Hansen Color Foil - Liquid Gold. The formula was somewhat tricky to work with, but I love the metallic look. I have to restrain myself from picking up the rest of this collection.

For the design, I started with a single coat of Essie - BlancI then applied a thin layer of Seche Vite to speed the dry time. While I waiting for the base to dry completely, I applied two generous coats of Liquid Gold to my accent nails (pinky on right hand, index and middle finger on my left). I used striping tape from the Born Pretty Store to create the color blocks, and my medium sized liner brush from the Winstonia store to fill them in using all four shades reviewed above. Then, using a Bundlemonster dotting tool and my Winstonia detail brush, I added polka dots and zig zags to a few of the blocks using Blanc. I topped everything off with a coat of HK Girl Topcoat.

What do you think? Am I kidding myself with these "dupes?" 
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

NOTD: Neverland Lacquers - Sunkissed

Today's nail of the day is this awesomely unique thermal polish from Neverland Lacquers (formerly Popculture Cosmetics--I think. Her Instagram has changed to Neverland Lacquers, and the polishes were labeled as such, so that's what I'm going with). It took me a while to get into thermal polishes; for some reason I just didn't get the appeal. Once I finally tried one, I was hooked, and have been trying to expand my collection ever since. This one stole my heart the second I saw this glorious transition!

Sunkissed is a sheer, jelly thermal polish packed with gold, iridescent flakies. These photos show four thin coats topped with Seche Vite. The formula was excellent. It was on the thinner side, which is good, since the polish is quite sheer and I imagine most people would want to apply at least three coats. Also, the flakies were plentiful, and spread evenly across the nail. The sheerness allowed for a fabulous, multi-dimensional shimmer.

In its warm state, Sunkissed is a nude/rose gold. It's definitely sheer, so there's a bit of visible nail line. I love jellies though, so that didn't bother me. You could probably get away with adding a fifth coat, which would make the polish more opaque in its warm state.

The photo above shows a macro of Sunkissed in its warm state, and the photo below shows it in transition. Again, I just love these gold flakies so much!

In it's cold state, Sunkissed is a surprisingly vibrant and fully opaque tangerine shade. And you can still see that gold shimmer!

And here's the macro! I was really pleasantly surprised by this polish. The transition was much more dramatic than I expected, and again, the formula was flawless. This polish is available at the Pop Culture Cosmetics website!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Winstonia Nail Art Brush Review

The last couple of weeks have been really great for me as far as nail art. Some of that is being out of school, giving me more time for designs, and some of it is the change in the season, which has inspired me to mirror the brightness and sunshine outside on my nails. However, a big part of my recent success is that I've been using Winstonia Professional Nail Art Brushes for most of my designs. An artist is only as strong as her tools, so I was thrilled when Winstonia contacted me about reviewing this brush set. I opted to use the brushes over a few weeks to develop a full opinion on them, which I've described in the post below!

Brushes provided for review. All polishes purchased by me.

Photo property of Winstonia. Text/arrows added by me!
I added the labels to the photo above so you'd know what I'm talking about throughout the post in reference to which brushes I use for each technique.

Since the first photo was taken from the Winstonia website, I included this photo of my actual brushes to show what they looked like upon arrival. The bristles were also encased in a plastic cover for protection.

After using these brushes multiple times over the past couple weeks, I am very impressed with their durability. I do all of my designs with polish, (mostly because I'm stubborn about using acrylic paint) so the brushes have to be cleaned in pure acetone. They have maintained their shape nicely, and don't seem to have been immediately deteriorated by the acetone.

For this design, I used four of the five of the Winstonia brushes:
Striper ~ Black and silver stripes on middle finger (done using Sinful Colors - Black on Black & a-england - Excalibur)
Medium liner ~ Outline of chevron on middle finger, (done using OPI - Jinx) silver and orange outline of teardrop on index finger, outline of iris (done using OPI - Fly) and pupil in eyeball
Thin liner ~ Outline of eyeball, eyelashes, and small chevrons on index finger
Thick liner ~ used to fill in silver portion, iris, and pupil of eyeball, chevron on middle finger, and teardrop on index finger

The glitter that inspired this whole look is Milani - Sugar Rim. I was surprised to find such a wonderfully unique glitter mix at the drugstore! It includes small teal hexes, tiny yellow, black, and coral hexes, and mid-sized silver shards. All photos show two dabbed coats; on my index and pinky nail, Sugar Rim is dabbed over OPI - Fly, and on my thumb (macro above) it is over a-england - Excalibur.

The lovely Milani glitter mix reminded me of this cool bracelet I had, which was the other inspiration for this mani.

I've seen lots of people doing "evil eye" manis lately, and unfortunately, I think mine turned out a little more creepy than trendy. I love how the entire look came together, though!

Here are four other manis that I used the Winstonia brush set for over the past few weeks. Like I said, it's been a fantastic couple of weeks for me, and I definitely credit these great brushes for a lot of it! I want to mention that I used the thick liner brush to paint the orange studs on the top right mani. If you've ever tried to paint studs, you know what a pain it is to use a regular sized polish brush!

Here are the close ups. For the outline of the "V" in the top left, the light pink portion of the roses in the bottom left, and the outline, horn detail, and mane of the unicorn design in the bottom right, I used the fine detail brush. I've previously had to trim brushes to achieve such fine detail, and I loved having a brush that arrived read to complete these more detailed designs!

Overall, I was very impressed with this set. The brushes held up much better than others I've used in the past despite exposure to polish and acetone. I found the brushes easy to manipulate, and love that the bristles held their shape. Finally, I liked the variety in length and thickness, and loved that I didn't feel the need to trim the fine detail brush. 

The 5 piece Winstonia brush set, which you can get (along with lots of other beauty products) at their Website. You can also follow them on Instagram for info about promotions and giveaways!
Monday, June 9, 2014

Color Club Halo Hues Series - Cherubic & Angel Kiss

I recently picked up my very first Color Club holo in a blog sale, and was instantly entranced by the utter amazingness of Cherubic. Somewhat impulsively and irresponsibly, I immediately ordered ALL of the Color Club Halo Hues, and have decided to share them with you all in an ongoing series of posts. These will be limited in word count, because these polishes really speak for themselves. Also, most polish lovers are already pretty familiar with the collection, so I'm just adding to the global gallery and giving you holo porn to gaze at all night long.

And so, without further ado...

Cherubic is described as an "angelic pink" linear holographic polish. I think it leans more neutral/nude than pink, especially when you put it next to some of the other similar shades in the collection. Photos show two coats with topcoat, taken in direct sunlight.

I don't have as many pictures of this one, as I intended for it to be a quick mani that I wasn't planning on blogging about. Don't worry, I'll make up for this oversight with the others :)

Angel Kiss is a blue-green linear holographic polish. Photos show three thin coats with top coat. Two would have been enough, but my beloved HK Girl Topcoat shrunk this polish, (!!! first time that's ever happened) so another coat was necessary to even out the ridges that appeared as the top coat dried. You can still see some evidence of shrinkage at the tips, but I'm hoping this is just a fluke. Either way, it hardly takes away from the beauty of this shade!

I hope you're as excited about this series as I am! These polishes are so breathtaking in person, and I hope I can approximate their impact in photos as much as possible. These polishes are available through the Color Club website, or if you're cheap like me, you can pick them up with the older labels from this seller on Amazon. I give her five stars for price, quick shipping, and safe packaging!
Thursday, June 5, 2014

Daphine Polish - His Dark Materials Collection, part 2

Hi, everyone! Today I have the second half of the His Dark Materials collection by Daphine Polish. As with part one, I'm including Joanne's descriptions of how these polishes connect to the books, with text written by her denoted with underlined text.

(PS...If you haven't seen part one, check it out here!)

Polish provided for review.

Cloud Pine is a taupe-light brown shimmery crelly with blue, green, and purple iridescent glitters. Photos show two flawless coats with topcoat. I love the cool, subtle shimmer in this one. It's a very unique color in my collection.

This polish is inspired by Serafina Pekkala, the queen of the witch clan. Cloud pine is a type of magical tree used by witches to fly. Once the lover of gyptian Farder Coram, Serafina Pekkala allies her clan with the gyptians on their mission to rescue the children from Bolvangar. She rescues Lyra and Roger from the fight at Bolvangar and carries them to safety in Lee Scoresby’s balloon.

“Up! Into midair Lyra and Roger were caught and swept, and found themselves clinging with weakening fingers to a cloud-pine branch, where a young witch was sitting tense with balanced grace…” 
The Golden Compass

Dust is a soft yellow-gold shimmer crelly with a subtle scattered holographic effect. Photos show two coats with top coat. As with the other lighter crellies in this collection, I was very impressed by the formula, and surprised that third coat was not required to achieve full opacity.

Dust is a metaphysical particle invisible to the human eye. Many of the adult characters in His Dark Materials have spent their lives researching and chasing Dust, trying to learn more about this mysterious particle, whether it be to harness its power or destroy it.

“‘What is this Dust?’
‘It comes from the sky. Some say it has always been there, some say it is newly falling. What is certain is that when people become aware of it, a great fear comes over them, and they’ll stop at nothing to discover what it is.’”
The Golden Compass

The holographic shimmer is somewhat more evident in this macro, but it was even more pronounced in real life. 

Texas Aeronaut is a red-leaning orange with strong gold micro-flakie shimmer. Photos show two thin coats with top coat. This polish was probably the biggest surprise for me in the collection; it didn't immediately grab me in the bottle, but it is truly gorgeous on the nail. I can honestly say I don't have another color anything like this in my collection, from the lovely peachy shade to the strong shimmer. 

Texas Aeronaut is inspired by Lee Scoresby, a new Dane from the country of Texas hired by the gyptians to rescue the children kidnapped by the Gobblers. He becomes fiercely loyal to Lyra, continuing in her cause even after they are separated on Svalbard.

“[Lyra] looked at this newcomer with surprise. He was a tall, lean man with a thin black moustache and narrow blue eyes, and a perpetual expression of distant and sardonic amusement. She felt strongly about him at once, but she wasn’t sure whether it was liking she felt, or dislike. His dæmon was a shabby hare as thin and tough-looking as he was.”
The Golden Compass

Knife Bearer is a blackened olive green jelly with strong red shimmer and a touch of scattered holographic effect. Photos show two thin coats with topcoat. The green tint in the base was camera shy, but much more apparent in person. Formula was excellent.

This polish is inspired by Will Parry. He is first introduced in the second book of the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, a quiet and serious twelve year old boy who has learned over the years how to make himself unnoticeable in order to take care of his mentally ill mother. He discovers a window into another world, Cittàgazze’s world, and there meets Lyra and becomes the bearer of the subtle knife.

“‘Now,’ said Giacomo Paradisi, ‘here you are, take the knife, it is yours.’
‘I don’t want it,’ said Will. ‘I don’t want anything to do with it.’
‘You haven’t got the choice,’ said the old man. ‘You are the bearer now.’”
The Subtle Knife

Final Thoughts
Despite not knowing this trilogy, I really love this entire collection, and I imagine it would be even more special for someone who has the same passion for this series as Joanne! My top picks are definitely Citagazze, Gyptian Longboat, and Texas Aeronaut. All of these polishes had a great formula. Many of them we sheer after one coat, but built to surprisingly full coverage with a second. Also, on a somewhat unrelated note, the mini bottles from Daphine Polish have full-sized brush handles, making application a breeze! I often end up avoiding minis due to the difficulty of application with a tiny little brush, which also means I'm able to sample fewer colors from a lot of collections. I love that the brushes are full sized in these minis! Overall, I would highly recommend this collection, and am glad to have had the opportunity to try out this indie line.

This collection will be available in the Daphine Polish Etsy shop this Friday, June 6th. Be sure to check out Daphine Polish at the links below for details and updates, and don't forget to take a look at the other four polishes in the collection reviewed in part 1.