Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Swatch and Review of A England: St. George

So sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've certainly missed it! I have another longer comparison post in the works right now, so that is what I've been up to. Right now, I have something I am very excited about. This has got to be my favorite nail polish of all time! That is saying something. I don't know if I could actually pick an all time favorite, but this is currently at the top of the list. A England is a brand I have never seen in stores, it is a smaller England based company. I'm not sure on all the details about the company, but I do know that I am already head over heels in love with the brand. The first swatches I saw online were of St. George. I have never seen anything quite like it. Of course, there are many similar colors, but none quite as amazing and stunning. St. George is an emerald green polish with tons of tiny holographic glitters. The glitter is very fine, so it isn't like a typical glitter, it reminds me more of a foil. Without further adieu:

Macro bottle shot


Direct sunlight

I only wish I could do this polish justice in these photos. I love it so much I can't bear to take it off! I have wanted St George for so long, I am so thrilled that I have it now. It took me a bit of searching to track this amazing polish. Since it isn't sold in stores I searched on their website for US distributors. Yes, I was that intent on finding it.  I bought mine from Llarowe, which offers a great deal on shipping. The polish was $10 and shipping was $2.07, not a bad deal. Usually shipping makes buying nail polish cost prohibitive. Llarowe is a great site to find indie brands, and if A England is considered and indie brand, this is my first indie polish! 

Once I got this polish in my hands, I knew I was going to love it. All photos above are one coat! I have no idea how they got all that beautiful, rich color and holo in there with one coat. It is amazing. The formula was flawless, I have absolutely no complaints about this polish. It really is stunning. I need more A England in my life, that is for sure. Check out the brand and you'll be hooked too. The only miniscule downfall to this polish is that it comes in a smaller quantity of .39 fl oz, but when you only have to use one coat, it makes up the difference. I can't say I love this enough. Love. Seriously, buy it. Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Battle Royale: Cheap Matte Top Coat Comparison

Battle Royale will be my title for any post that is a comparison. I like how epic it sounds! This time around it is a battle of cheap matte top coats! I don't know how you all feel about matte finish polish, but I've noticed a lot of people are on the fence about it. A while ago I wanted to try out a nail design that required a matte top coat. The problem was that I didn't want to spend $8 or more on a polish I wasn't sure I would love. Turns out there are cheap ones on the market! I first found Sinful Colors Matte Finish Top Coat for $1.99 at Rite Aid. More recently I found NYC Matte Me Crazy Top Coat for the same price, $1.99 also from Rite Aid. The only major differences that you can see from the bottles are that Sinful Colors has .5 fl oz whereas NYC has .33 fl oz and SC clearly has a different color tone. Unfortunately neither are fast drying top coats, but in researching it seems there aren't any fast drying matte top coats. I recycled my half moon manicure so I could show you a comparison over colors. Here are the contenders:

The color difference here is color accurate.

The NYC Matte Me Crazy has a flattened but narrow brush, which makes application a breeze. The Sinful Colors Matte Finish has the usual Sinful Colors brush which is thick and rounded.

I staggered the different matte top coats, hoping I could see the difference more clearly. Honestly, I don't see much of a difference. All of my nails feel the same, and they seem to have the same level matte finish. However, I did notice an ever so slight color difference between the two. Can you see it? I think the SC makes the color look slightly lighter.  

Here is another view, can you see the difference?

The difference aesthetically isn't enough for me to fret over. The application difference is something that can help determine which to buy. I found that the Sinful Colors took a long time to dry and had a tendency to apply thick. NYC seemed pretty quick drying and was a great consistency: thin but not runny. I like the flat brush that the NYC polish came with instead of the Sinful Colors brush. Overall, I would say that the NYC Matte Me Crazy is the winner here, though I wish it came with .5 fl oz instead of the .33 fl oz. Would you all like to see matte designs that inspired me in my next post? I hope that you will at least try out the matte trend! For $2, it's not a bad deal! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tutorial: Half Moon Nail Art

Tutorial time! What do you think about a tutorial every month? I actually kind of like doing these pictorial tutorials. Let me know if you like them too! As requested by a friend, I have a half moon manicure to share today! I think there are tons of half moon manicure tutorials, but this is mine. I think with this one patience is the key. These are the polishes I used:

Left to right: Orly Bonder, Color Club Antiquated, OPI Can't Find My Czechbook, Seche Vite Top Coat.

1. Make sure you start with a good base coat. Here I used Orly Bonder. I usually use OPI Nail Envy, but I wanted to try Bonder out. It creates a rubberized base coat and makes the polish adhere to the nail better. After that, add a base color of your choice. I like to use metallic colors.
2. Here is where patience is a virtue. Make sure your first layer of polish is dry! Add a reinforcement sticker as a guide. These are so cheap and easy to find. I got mine at the Dollar Store. You can use any kind of sticker with a rounded edge.
3. Apply your overlay color. You can choose any color you like!
4. Very carefully peel off the sticker. You want to make sure it doesn't lift the first layer of polish. Add a top coat and you're done!

Here are some photos outdoors in direct sunlight:

 This color combination makes me happy. I think I just gravitate toward teals and blues, so this shade is definitely my cup of tea! Let me know if you try this out! I would love to see it. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Nail Art: Flower Chevron Tips

Chevron tips!! I can't get enough! Chevrons are so easy and fun. It is pretty much instant gratification. Since the design is so simple, I decided to complicate it a little. I created a multilayer chevron tip manicure. As a base, I started with OPI Bubble Bath which is a pretty sheer nude. It just smooths and creates a nice layer to start with. On top of that I have OPI Can't Find My Czechbook. It is a nice aqua infused sky blue. I added a layer of black as a base for a floral design. I used Wet 'n Wild Black Creme. The flower design didn't turn out as awesome as I envisioned, so I added another layer of black to bring it all together. Photos are outdoors in the shade:

In direct sunlight:

I wanted to do these nails for a contest on Instagram (@HandtasticIntentions). I saw the contest and wanted to enter, but mostly just wanted to try out this design. I think it is pretty fun and I enjoyed doing it. Hope you like it! Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nail Art: Neon Summer Nail Gradient

Hello friends! Last night some of my co-worker friends and I got together for a nail polish party! Don't you just love having girl time with your friends? We've started doing a nail polish night about once a month and it is pretty stress relieving, I highly recommend it! I decided I wanted to do something a little crazy and bright, so I used some neon colors! I used four different colors from Color Club and created a gradient! I started with a white base color (Sally Hansen White On) then added a few layers of my gradient. I added Essie Pure Pearlfection from the Luxeffects collection as a shimmer coat, then some polka dots! It took a while, but I love how it turned out. It looks like a somewhat Rastafarian inspired look. All photos below are taken outdoors in natural lighting.

The colors are as follows: pink- Warhol; orange- Wham! Pow!; yellow- Almost Famous; green- Feelin' Groovy.

Everything except for the green is from the Color Club Poptastic Collection. Not sure which collection the green is from, but I got it for $1.25 on clearance from Rite Aid. I didn't even know that Rite Aid sold Color Club. This summer looks feels really great and bright! I don't know if I have ever had such a bright look on my nails, but it is kind of amazing! Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Swatch and Review of Sephora by OPI: I Only Shop Vintage

I have a Sephora by OPI polish for you today! This one is called I Only Shop Vintage. This name fits the color so well! I don't know what it is about this color, but it definitely looks vintage doesn't it? It is really a gold with a creamy base, which makes it really unique. Usually gold looks really metallic, but this is really more of a toned down color. All of the photos below were taken outdoors with natural lighting.

The formula of this polish was flawless! It was two coats, but it was like butter! I really enjoyed applying this. I didn't take a picture of the brush but it is similar to the regular OPI brushes, just a tad thinner. Sephora has a 50% off Sephora by OPI polish sale going on right now, so get on that! I think I bought this one at TJ Maxx, but it was the same price as the 50% off sale going on right now. Sale price now is $4.50! I bought a few of the SOPIs so I may do a series of swatch and reviews here soon. I enjoyed this a lot, hope you do too! Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Nail Art: Blue Mermaid Glitter Gradient

Today I have some nail art to share with you! I'm also calling this the ever evolving manicure. I started out wearing one coat of Sinful Colors Into The Blue which is a great navy, and after a day I added Sally Hansen Mermaid's Tale (yes, it is tale not tail, bottle pictured). I really loved the blues, but what prompted me to add a glitter gradient was a nail art challenge I am participating in. The challenge of the day was "simple". I didn't want to take off the Mermaid's Tale, but I wanted to keep up with the challenge. I painted the tips and went about halfway up my nail with L.A. Colors glitter BCC 582 (sorry, no color name). When that was dry I did just the tips with Sinful Colors Nail Junkie. Macro shots of the glitter polishes are at the end. All photos were taken outdoors in natural light.

Sally Hansen Mermaid's Tale- Lots of small blue pieces and larger green and blue hexagonal glitter pieces with a medium blue hued polish.The polish was pretty translucent, which is why I had a color beneath.

L.A. Colors BCC 582- Pretty uniform pieces of glitter with purple, blue, and pink and a clear polish base.

Sinful Colors Nail Junkie- Multiple sizes of glitter flecks that all seem to be green iridescent pieces in a teal green polish base.

I love this manicure so much, I wore it for much longer than I normally would. I think Mermaid's Tale really is the star of the bunch, but the effect altogether is amazing! I'm starting to really love the look of a glitter gradient, it is an easy way to add a little interest to a plain manicure. So much fun! You all should definitely give it a try, if you haven't already. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Nail Art: Flower Nails

Lately I have been seeing a TON of floral nail designs all over the internet. It seemed like a really difficult looking design, but as it turns out, it is actually really simple! I looked up a tutorial on YouTube and this one is the one that inspired me the most: Spring Floral Nail Art by Totally Cool Nails. I did end up mixing a couple of colors for the flowers. I love how this turned out, but I think next time I want to try to make it more detailed. The base here is Sinful Colors Orange Cream, for the pinks I used a mixture of OPI's Kiss Me On My Tulips, a Forever 21 pink polish with no name and OPI's Alpine Snow, and for the green I used Essie's First Timer. I really love this color combo, but this makes me want to try a lot more color combinations!




Really thought this was a great and easy design! I hope you all get a chance to try this feminine look! I have seen it with a lot of different vintage styles with mixtures of stripes and polka dots, which I think is so adorable! Let me know if you like this design and if you re-create it. I would love to see your designs. Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Swatch and Review of Sally Hansen Green with Envy

I have a love/hate relationship with Sally Hansen nail polishes. Some of them are fantastic and some are...lacking. There are several different sub-brands of Sally Hansen nail polish, and the cheapest of the bunch is Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear. I have several of the Xtreme Wear polishes and I would say I never know what kind of formula I'm going to get. After my last experience with a terrible formula, I swore off this line of polish, or so I thought. The other day I was at Rite Aid and I couldn't resist the sale. I came home with White on White and Green with Envy. Green with Envy is a great Granny Smith apple color, which I was lacking in my collection, so I was happy to take it home!


Outdoor-closest to true color.


Brush- pretty thin but easy application and not obtrusive.

The polish covered well and only needed two coats for full opacity. It wasn't the greatest formula, but it was workable. I very carefully applied this and I feel that if I was a little lazier it wouldn't have worked out as well as it did. Great colors in this line, which is what keeps pulling be back. Overall, for the price, I recommend this polish. Retails for $2.99 at drugstores. What do you think of Xtreme Wear polishes? I hope to soon collect a list of the good and the bad formulas that I have found, but I'll save that for another post! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nail Art: I Theodora Your Fishnets

Today I have a little nail art for you! I have really enjoyed getting acquainted with my nail stamping plates and have been playing around a lot. I love my Konad M57 plate, shown here in my first post: I did a little bit of a glitter sandwich with some nail stamping! I started with a base of two coats of OPI's I Theodora You. After that, I stamped the fishnet design and some flowers and coated that with OPI's Pirouette My Whistle and one more thin coat of I Theodora You. Take a look:



Outdoors- close up

I really enjoyed this soft design. It was subtle enough for work or a change of pace from a bright or bold design. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do. Thanks for reading!

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