Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas Mani

I am not particularly festive, mostly cause this year I have to be away from my family during the holidays and won't celebrate much. I decided to do a Christmas themed mani though, just to make use of the themed designs on my nail plates. One thing I have to say is that this many lasted a long long time-more than I had intended to keep it. The pictures I took were on the fourth day of the mani and there's only a bit of tipwear, no cracks. That's Seche Vite top coat for you.

The breakdown:
China Glaze - Jolly Holly
Stargazer - 237 (gold)
Creative - House of Rebels

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Aromatic Navy Blue

Barry M - Navy is a rich true navy blue with super fine blue shimmer that makes it very special. It looks sophisticated and very grown up, but there is a major disadvantage to it; it stains big time. In the two years I've had it I've only worn it five times (this being the fifth), four of which within the first month after I got it. My nails by the end of that month were yellow and horrible which is something I had never had before. And yes, I was wearing a base coat under it. I often like to have my nails bare and back then I simply couldn't because they looked disgusting! 

I had really missed it, however, and I have yet to find a navy blue as vibrant and cool so I decided I would only wear it for 2 days and I would use an extra coat of a sheer polish over my top coat to keep my nails doubly protected. Here it is!

Fluorescent light

Then the next day I noticed an uncanny similarity between my polish and the lid of my Guerlain Shalimar perfume. The fine shimmer makes the polish look like a metallic sheet on your nails, and it is a couple of tones more cool than Shalimar. They are unquestionably pretty together though!

Natural light (cloudy)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Comparison: Dirty Greens

Since I have a few colours that seem to belong roughly in the same dirty turquoisy/greeny group I thought people might find a comparison useful. The polishes I compared are:

  • O.P.I - Mermaid's Tears
  • China Glaze  - For Audrey
  • Etude House - V.V.I.P.Green
  • Misa - Dirty, Sexy, Money
Bottle pictures

Fluorescent light
Natural Light


I have been looking for a polish that would look opalescent, which in my mind means that it should be

  • sheer, but buildable
  • not too peachy, not too pink, not too yellow
  • leaning towards white, but not too stark/contrasting to my skin colour 
and after a lot of disappointments I finally found what I was looking for in Color Club - Oh my Versailles! and how I adore it! I was drawn to it cause of the name since the Palace of Versailles is one of my favourite places to be, and I was so happy it was exactly what I was hoping it would be.

This is four layers of it with the flaky beauty of Nubar - 2010 on top.
Natural light

Fluorescent light

Along came my darling Manglaze - Matte-Astrophe to make everything perfect!!

And here's a couple of pictures from my visit in Versailles. One from behind the Belvedere and the statue of Eros in the garden near the Trianon.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The reason I stopped buying red nail polish...

...is that I always end up with the same blue-based red colour! I love it and I am always drawn to it and in fact I have another two that are exactly this colour, but they are much older so I didn't include them in the comparison. Instead I thought that a comparison between these two Essie colours would be much more useful to you my dear reader.

The first one is Essie - Fishnet Stockings. I think it's from their standard line and it's as classic as a classic red can get. I think it's most famous for being one of Dita Von Teese's favourite polishes and it's no wonder as it is gorgeous and so flattering. It's a creamy polish and very pigmented; with careful application you can even get away with only one coat and in spite of the pigmentation, it's not too much of a nightmare to remove. One of the most stricking things about this polish is that in lower light settings it looks a lot darker than any of this type of reds, so much so that I felt complelled to swatch it next to Ciaté - Dangerous Affair, but they are not as similar as I thought. 

The second one is Essie - Limited Addiction. LA is Fishnet Stockings' almost jelly sister. It's the same colour as you'll see, a gorgeous bold red that demands to be called "feminine", only it has more depth due to its almost jellish nature. It was part of the Fall 2010 collection, it needs about 3 coats for a good coverage, but it does make a good mess when removed so be very careful with it.

Enough with the chit-chat, on to the pictures!

One coat - Fluorescent light
Two coats - Fluorescent light
Fishnet Stockings 2 coats/Limited Addiction 3 coats - Natural Light
Bottle pictures - Natural Light

As I mentioned earlier, I thought it would be a good idea to add swatches of them next to more reds and I picked Creative Nail Design (CND) - House of Rebels and Ciaté - Dangerous Affair. One is lighter and the other is darker. Excuse the sloppy application. I was really tired and had already swatched a lot of polishes that day. Look at my poor cuticles, so dry from the acetone.
Fluorescent Light
Bottle Shots - Fluorescent Light

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Kim Hyun Joong's Shirt

My dear friend, who for all intents and purposes shall be called Patrick Starfish, was bombarding me with images of Korean guys yesterday. Many of my friends have that as a hobby it seems. Aside for the fact that they are all gorgeous, they also wear gorgeous clothes. Everything can provide me with inspiration and in this case it was Kim Hyun Joong's shirt. This one is for you Patrick Starfish!

The detail:
1 coat of Nailtek base
2 coats of China Glaze - Aqua baby
1 coat of INM Out the Door topcoat
Konad plate m60
Le Chat CM Nail Art Polish  - 4 Brown

1 coat of INM Out the Door topcoat

I didn't really do a great job in this and I managed to ruin the design a bit when I was doing the clean up. This top coat is starting to bug me as well because whatever I do, it drags the design. Oh well! Disce ut semper victurus!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Bronze Green Perfection

I was looking for a green polish that has the quality of oxidized bronze/copper. I have always found that green-blue mix of colours captivating and fascinating. In fact I want an enormous garden with baroque bronze statues that I can run around and be happy forever. These colours will add to the beauty of the garden!

Trying to find that quality in a nail polish is hard, but at least I managed to find the right green. Here it is next to a bronze necklace I bought from asos.  This is two coats of Mavala 155 Bronze Green stamped with that beige/yellow/gold polish I mentioned here and a design from konad plate m15 and Seche Vite top coat.

Mavala polishes are of great quality, however I find that most people (including myself) are discouraged by the current price they are asked to pay in most shops for the quantity (£4.10 for 5ml). I was so lucky to find these in beautybay for just £3. I hope they don't change the price any time soon. 

Friday, 25 November 2011

November blues

I couldn't decide which winter colour to wear when I was looking at my pretty bottles and I was drawn by something that doesn't scream 'winter' i.e.dark and warm. If you think about the beautiful Christmas decorations that are almost everywhere right now, it sort of is. Icy blue fairy lights look so magical! I don't like multicoloured lights, but clear and icy blue are so beautiful!

As I don't like colours with too much white or too light on my skin I chose Periwinkle blue; it is cool enough to be icy and not sky blue. Here it is then, China Glaze - Peri-wink-le stamped with a design from bundle monster plate BM07 using Nubar - Dark Castle (the near black) and Barry M - Navy (the dark blue).

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Illusive Puce Couleur

I hadn't realized I have a favourite winter colour until I noticed that in my wardrobe the ruling colours(other than black) are all variations of the colour puce. In essence it means that they are too red to be plum, too purple/brown to be burgundy and when they are lighter, they are too cool and brown to be dusty pink. Puce(the French word for flea) is an illusive colour that ranges from dirty rose (belly of the flea) to reddish brown with a bit of purple(back of the flea). If you click on the pretty image, you'll get to read some interesting things about the colour that was the height of fashion in the 18th century!
Not many puce coloured polishes are around at the moment since taupes and lilacs is more in fashion. There are "dirty" roses around, but they lean too much towards mauve. I do have two little jems in my collection though that are "puce" enough to make me happy. The first one is Nubar - Mystic Romance;it is a very light dirty rose with the finest lilac sheen. In the bottle you can also see a little green and a little gold, but those colours don't translate on the nail. On the nail it looks like a flattering dirty pink that has a light glow, sort of like the elves in Lord of the Rings. I know it sounds weird, but it is beautiful and the fluorescent lamp on my desk doesn't do it justice.

Excuse the burn mark on my index. Morning porridge accident. 

The next day I decided to stamp it with an arabesque design from the Bundle Monster plate BM20 and I used a medium puce colour, CND - Muddy Rose. Actually 'muddy rose' could be an alternative name to puce and it sounds a lot better that 'well fed flea colour'. Here it is

And to end this rather baroque post, some music!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Purple Nails: Mononoke's Kusuri Uri

It's geeky time! Following a discussion I had earlier with some friends I was reminded of one of my favourite characters from an animation horror series, Mononoke(モノノ怪)'s Kusuri Uri (薬売り), the Medicine Seller. He is a sort of mysterious psychic detective and amongst other things that add up to make this character amazing, he also sports purple nails and I haven't done purple nails in quite a while so ...

I didn't want to do plain purple though so I did an accent nail where I tried to paint freehand a pattern from his kimono. Here it is: 

The breakdown
OPI - Parlez-vous OPI?
The greenish background is a custom mix of equal parts of Misa - Dirty, Sexy, Money and OPI - Mermaid's tears.
H&M - Moody model (the teal)
Etude House - yellow
The red was a custom mix of Ciate - 138 Snatch and a bit of white. Green cancels red sο it really needed something to make it stand out and a little bit of white was just it. I also picked an orange-based red becuase I didn't want the addition of white to make it look pinkish.  

Too bad the top coat dragged the design a bit! I hope you like it!

Things to Avoid on Evilbay: Nail Art Pens and Pump Dispensers

I do a lot of my polish shopping online and a few times I've given in to buying the ridiculously cheap stuff on ebay to try them out. I think these two have been my greatest disappointments that I can remember and I would strongly discourage anybody from buying them. They are a total waste of money. Both usually have to be sent from Hong Kong/China, but recently I have seen sellers base in the UK, USA and Germany sell them. 

Nail Art Pens
Honestly, they are the most f o u l smelling things you could ever get. I seriously doubt they are safe for your health and -no surprizes there- there is no list of ingredients to check. When I say foul, I don't just mean non 3-free nail polish smell. I mean the smelliest gas pump mixed with industrial strength glue with a bit of exhaust allure. I couldn't even stay in the room when I opened one for the first time, I could feel whatever I inhaled when I opened it for quite a few minutes after. I considere my health far too precious and I am not an asphyxiation enthousiast so I thew them away and -frankly- I feel a bit guilty for having thus poluted the earth. 

Their quantity (they come in lotsof 12/24/60) and their cheap price might make you think that they are a bargain, but they are most definitely not. Your health is far more precious than cheap polish. 

Pump Nail Polish Remover Dispensers
They don't work. Not much to add there, really. I got two and neither worked. On one the pump wasn't working and on the other the remover was ending up anywhere but where it should be. The lids didn't sit properly on the bottle, too, which meant that it all evaporated pretty quickly. A major fail. I will just have to look around Sally's next time for something better.

I hope you've learned from my mistakes! Buy some glitter, throw it around and pretend you are dancing with  Jareth instead! 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Cool Dark Green: Nails Inc - Foubert's Place

Back in winterland now I wanted something greyish, but not grey (is it making any sense? haha). Along comes Nails Inc - 470 Foubert's Place to satisfy my craving. It is a very greyed out dirty khaki cream and it dries greyer on the nail than it looks in the bottle. Compared to my other greens and khakis, it looks brownish grey. I think it is the green version of $OPI's Metro Chic. FP is as greenish as MC is purplish and both seem so dirty-pretty. As one would expect, it's very difficult to photograph it. I did my best though!

The application was dreamy and the brush is excellent! In this picture I haven't done a clean up around my nails and I am not usually that good at not making a mess of my cuticles!

Of course this called for a stamping session. I wanted to continue the mediaeval theme and picked a luxurious looking golden stamping polish that I have from Konad. In the bottle it's camel/beige with pretty little yellow to light green shimmer particles. I used Bundle Monster plate BM203 for this one. 

Close up of the shimmer in the bottle. It wasn't too apparent when I stamped it, but as soon as I put on a top coat it came to life! It's brilliant!

Grecian Inspiration: Etude House WH202 & China Glaze - First Mate

Before I made this blog, I used to take pictures of my nails and make up to show to my friends whenever I did something out of the ordinary or when a friend wanted me to swatch and compare some things I have. Scheming through some old pictures I found these pictures taken right before I went to Greece for my holidays. I never wear white polish as I find it too stark, but with a blue stamp covering most of it I loved it! The inspiration for this combination was taken from the designs of the metallic bars in balconies in Greece. I find them so fascinating. Almost no two are the same. 
I miss the summer! 

I used Etude House as a base and China Glaze - First Mate for stamping.

Monday, 7 November 2011

The End of Autumn: Ciaté - Strictly Legal

Ciaté's Strictly Legal is as gorgeous as burgundy colours can get. I don't know why they describe it as a purple on the sight, it looks burgundy to me. The only time you can see hues of purple is when you aply the first layer, but then it changes to this dark beauty. It has tiny golden shimmer particles which you can clearly see in the bottle. On the nail they are much more discreet and sparse and look from slightly pinkish to golden.

Pairing it with gold for stamping was a no-brainer really and they look amazing together. I only wish I could take better pictures to show exactly how pretty they look. It looks like a  mediaeval embroidery piece to me and I always turn to the mediaeval style when it gets chilly!

I also love this Bundle Monster design for this sort of half nail stamping. You'll probably see it often!

A comparison between this and China Glaze's Side Saddle here.

Natural light (shade)

Articificial light

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Red October Flowers

"Subtle" and "red" don't usually go together, but in this case I think they do. I have been doing a lot of subtle nail art lately and nude nails which is generally unusual for me, but I've been enjoying it. This particular combination feels so good on! It reminds me of a top I used to have with a similar colour combination and design. Sadly it was ruined by a nasty black sock that found its way to my laundry and turned everything an ugly shade of grey.

The m73 is one of my favourite plates. This floral design is pretty and not too in-your-face floral. It reminds me a lot of designs I used to do freehand. Here it is:
The breakdown
*1 coat of NailTek base coat
*2 coats of Essie - Jazz
*konad plate m73
*Stamping polish: Creative Nail Design - #431House of Rebels
*1 coat of Seche Vite Top coat

Saturday, 29 October 2011

This is Halloween

Halloween is on Monday and it's fnally time to use the Halloween-themed designs on the Bundle Monster plates. I also decided to attempt a gradient nail using a sponge. I think it's ok for a first try!

The colour I used as a base was a jelly orange I made (or frankened as people tend to call these polishes) last year that I was craving for a jelly orange to match my favourite lip-gloss. It also saved me from buying O.P.I.'s Texas collection's jellies that came out a little bit later.
For sponging I used
1 layer of Oil of Olay - 680 Shimmering Sable (dark brown base with a bronze shimmer)
2 layers of Nubar  - Dark Castle (darkest grey with a metallic sheen) and 
1 layer of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

This is a picture I took with only the brown polish sponged on. 

After everything was nice and dry I used StarGazer Chrome 232 (silver) for stamping.

A few days earlier I had attempted to do another similar mani over ManGlaze's Matte is Murder, but the StarGazer Chrome 237 (gold) wasn't bright enough over black. Oh well.. It's still fantastic over other colours!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Autumnal Irony: H&M - Looks Great on You

The gloom of winter is fast approaching and I wanted to wear a rust/terracotta kind of colour. H&M's Looks Great on You was perfect for what I wanted!

Two days later I got a bit tired of it and decided to use a stamp design that is the complete opposite of the current weather: flowers (Konad plate 51). 

Mannequin Hands with Essie's Jazz

Essie's Jazz polish is a beige nude. It's a very flattering colour and I hope they never make the mistake of discontinuing it. It's really classic, beautiful and chic. 

Three coats are required for full coverage and it's a little bit runny, but I love it because it doesn't have a lot of white pigment and isn't stark. Not much else to say really, it's just perfect! 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Summer Blue : W7 - 18 Stellar

Last week in the UK we had the most unusually spectacular weather. It was so warm and beautiful; definitely much warmer than it had been all summer. Hence, I needed something summery and bright on my nails to match my outfit and my mood! 

W7 is a british budget brand that I wouldn't normally buy since their formula is not 3-free, but the colour was so pretty that I couldn't resist. Plus, it was only £2.00.

No18 Stellar is a gorgeous cerulean blue that is bright without being loud. The formula was quite a surprise! It was smooth like butter and was perfect in 2 coats. I wore it for three days and it remained perfect. No chipping and no white edges - at all! It was so smooth I am tempted to have a look at more at some point. And it didn't stain my nails!

Btw the ring is one of my creations!

 And here's a couple of beautiful autumnal pictures! I miss the heat of last week! 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Stranger Seaweeds: OPI Stranger Tides & Here today...Aragon Tomorrow

I rarely -if ever- do the same mani combination a second time. This one is different though. It's already the third time I've had it on since this summer.

OPI's Pirates of the Caribbean collection was one of  my favourites. I don't know what it is that attracted me to those colours, but I really love the ones I got. Stranger Tides is a cream light sage green that leans a tad towards yellow. I never thought I'd like such a nail colour, but I do!

OPI's Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow on the other hand is a polish I never quite made friends with. When I had seen it in store the lighting made it look like a dark creamy olive green. I was so disappointed when I took it out of the bag to discover it was an almost-black jelly green colour that I haven't used it more than a couple of times in the two years I've had it. I think now that there are olive green polishes out there and I can have the colour I want, I'll wear it and see it again for what it is and not what it isn't.

As soon as I had Stranger Tides on the idea popped into my head for this combination using konad plate m63. HTAT is the exact colour of wakame seaweed! I was very pleased with the end result since it looks like seaweed in the sea when there's a bit of wind and there's a lot of sand in the water.

And a picture to show you why you should occasionally file the rubbery part of your stamper. After a while it starts to not pick up the designs so well, but with a little bit of filing it's good as new!

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