Monday, April 9, 2012

Supermodel by DL


This gorgeous manicure was featured in my Engagement Pictures Round 1 (Round 1 because my fiance and I are awkward and spazy in front of the camera). I was inspired by the classic red half moon manicures sported by Keira Knightly and friends while I was watching Atonement. I swiped on a coat of OPI's Samoan Sand, which I'd venture to say is the perfect nude, and then used DL's Supermodel instead of a simple red. Not only is it one of my personal best executions of the half moon look, but this color could not possible be more stunning. The polish appears transparent in the bottle, but it only needed to coats to achieve this brilliant opacity. It's a mix between fire and blood orange that I just can't find the words to describe. This picture does show a top coat, useful for smoothing out multilayer looks, but the DL polish had a brilliant shine all on it's one. I didn't experience chipping or tip wear during the entirety of the manicure. Once again, DL has absolutely blown me away with the quality and beauty of their product. 

Rating: A+++

Warm and Fozzie by OPI

Though this manicure would have been perfectly suited for October or November, that didn't stop me from loving it. Continuing through the OPI Muppets Collection brought me to Warm and Fozzie; I think this may actually be my favorite from the entire bunch. I accented it with OPI's DS Extravagance, and it was absolutely the perfect compliment to Warm and Fozzie's gorgeous depth. Both colors stand alone as perfect shades, but the barley there glitter adds a layer of complication that plays perfectly with the light. As is par for the course with any OPI color, application was a breeze and chipping was nowhere to be seen. I can't wait to break this one out again in the Fall!

Rating: B+

Fresh Frog of Bel Air by OPI and Midnight by Love and Beauty

This was my Engagement Pictures Round 2 manicure. My wedding colors are eggplant, emerald, and sapphire, so when I dreamt up this combo I couldn't get over how perfect it was. This picture shows three coats each of the glitters covered by "Matte About You" by Essie. I used this matte top coat in order to tone down the flash a little bit so my nails wouldn't steal the show. I love the final product. This was also my first experience with the Love & Beauty brand (purchased at Forever 21), and I was pleased with the quality. The glitter matched OPI's in color, shape, size, and durability, and it was a fourth of the price! Overall, both colors dazzled me and added a fun pop to the engagement pictures (seen below!). 

Ballet Slippers by Essie

Let's start with, excuse how sloppy this manicure is. Now that we've taken care of that, I just need to say that this color lived up to my very high expectations. I've always heard that Ballet Slippers is one of those classic barely there colors that everyone needs in their arsenal. It's also widely known as one of the top bridal manicure picks. Since I'm currently planning my wedding I figured this was an appropriate time to finally take the plunge, and I'm so glad I did. You all know I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Essie polishes, and this was no different. The color went on easily and was completely opaque in just two coats. This is incredible, because so often these pale colors don't really become full bodied until three of four coats in. I experienced no chipping or tip wear the entire time I wore it, and I received numerous compliments. If you're ever looking for a subtle, feminine color to complete your look, this should definitely be one of your top picks.

Rating: A

Frenzy by Sinful Colors

This honestly might be one of my top manicures ever. I began with a base of Xpress Nails "Black Out" and DL "Between the Sheets," and topped them both with the gorgeous sparkle blend from Sinful Colors. I used two coats of the glitter to really make it pop. I love manicures like this because the accent nail adds diversity, but the glitter provides unity to the look. I don't have much experience with the Sinful Colors brand, but this polish held up for a week and a half--I loved it so much that I just couldn't bring myself to take it off. I'm excited to play around with other combos for this color, and even try it solo. 

Rating: A+++++

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tart Deco by Essie

I know, it's on the first week of February and I'm already dipping into my Spring colors. It's just that when I come across colors this gorgeous, I can't help myself. I bought this gem amidst an armful of purples and glitters, but I just loved it so much. In the bottle it's almost a genuine orange, but on the nail it's much closer to coral. I'd describe it as coral-tangerine. It was hard to catch the true complexity of the polish with a picture. The application was a breeze, and only required two coats. I know Spring collections are being released by the truckload, but if you're on the hunt for the perfect Spring color, Tart Deco should definitely be in the running. 

Rating: B

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bumster by Butter London

Today's color is very dear to my heart, because it is actually my first attempt at yellow. As we all know yellows can be scary and sometimes impossible to pull off. Unless you've been blessed with a perfect yellow-friendly skin tone, finding the right shade can be a nightmare. So as you can imagine, when I found this warm golden hue I was nearly ecstatic. Butter has never led my astray before, and this was no exception to the rule. 

The color itself can be seen on my pinkie, ring finger, and thumb. My index finger is sporting OPI's You Don't Know Jacques, and my middle finger features many layers of my custom copper glitter which I layered on top of the other colors as well. The application was hassle free, and I achieved total opacity with just two coats. Not too dark, not too light, and not a single streak in sight--is this the perfect yellow, or what??

Rating: A+

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lo by Zoya

After falling so deeply in love with China Glaze's Kiwi Coolada , I knew I had to get my hands on some more neon. I'd had such a great experience with my first Zoya polish that when I came across this gorgeous color I knew I couldn't go wrong. Lo is a neon candy pink that adds an electric pop without looking cheap. The application was a piece of cake, it only required two coats and I didn't encounter any streakiness, and it wore really well. The polish as a gel quality that I love in my pinks--it gives them a great depth without being too harsh. I can already tell that there will be so much more neon and Zoya in my future. 

Rating: B+

Crushed Candy Crackle by China Glaze

I have experimented with crackles before, and I've consistently found them hard to use. This time around I determined to figure out the secret to crackle success, and I DID! Now, first things first for any crackle beginners--you can't brush over any portion of the nail that you've already put crackle polish on. This is not a multi-coat friendly nail effect. The second thing to know is that it's best to be generous. Often times if you put the polish on too thinly the crackling won't really be dramatic enough. So, you only have one chance to get the perfect amount of polish onto the nail. I've always tried to accomplish this with one broad swipe with the brush on the center of my nail. THAT IS NOT THE BEST WAY. When using the China Glaze crackle I figured out that I should start from one side of my nail and work my way across! This allowed me to completely cover the nail with two or three side by side stripes of color. This method was so much less stressful, and I LOVED the result. 

Now that we've covered method, let's talk color. This polish is very similar to China Glaze's For Audrey (which we will get to at some point in this journey). I paired it with Essie's Fall 2011 gem Powder Clutch (which we will also discuss in further detail down the road), and I adore how the two colors contrasted with one another. A huge benefit of crackle is not having to wear about tipwear or chipping, because it looks like it was intentional. That being said, I was still impressed with how well this manicure held up. I wore it for an entire week and it looked just as good on day 6 as it did on day 1. 

Rating: A+

Kiwi Coolada by China Glaze

As evidenced by the SS'12 collections we've been seeing on the runway, neon is finding popularity that it hasn't know since the acid wash days of the '80s. I love this trend for so many reasons. Neon can definitely be overwhelming, but the right pop in the right place can do wonders for any outfit. That's why I was so excited to get this incredibly vibrant neon green polish. Even though it's probably more suited to be worn poolside than in the middle of January, the break from shimmers and "fall" colors was definitely welcome. The polish itself was a little hard to work with. This picture shows three coats, because after my ideal two coats the finish was still streaky. After getting past the streakiness, it wore like a dream. I fell so in love with the color that I wore it for almost an entire week, and I didn't have to battle any tipwear. On a side note, I feel like this color is an amazing candidate for being worn matte. As soon as I try it out you guys will be the first to know what I think of the result. 

Rating: A-

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

No More Waity, Katie by Butter London

I loved by first Butter London experience so much that I knew I needed more. After perusing the website for almost an hour, agonizing over each gorgeous shade, I found this beauty. Inspired by KATE MIDDLETON herself, it certainly lives up to its name. The base color is a deep lilac, and the silver glitter is incredibly fine. The coverage was outstanding, and the manicure lasted a full week before I had to force myself to move onto the next color. Really though, between the brand and the namesake, how could you go wrong??

Rating: A+

Excuse Moi! and Pepe's Purple Passion by OPI

Two add to my family of Muppets polishes, I received these two impossibly sparkly colors as Christmas gifts. Excuse Moi! is a deep pink based glitter with flecks of purple and silver. The overall effect has a lot of depth; this is something that can sometimes be missing from polishes made entirely of sparkle. Pepe's Purple Passion is equally unique in that it appears purple, but it has flecks of pink glitter throughout. They had hardly been seen in the picture, but in the sunlight they appear to be almost the same shade that is found in Excuse Moi!. These colors were perfect together, and made for a nice change from all the Christmas-themed hues. 

Excuse Moi!: B+
Pepe's Purple Passion: B 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Double Feature: Trina by Julep and Tutu Cute by Ulta

Since I had gotten sidetracked while working through both my ULTA and Julep polishes I decided to hit two birds with one manicure (and how convenient that they were both shades of purple!). On the nail Trina is a deep, almost black, purple that really comes alive in the sun. Tutu Cute is a creamy lavender that served as a perfect contrast. Per usual of ULTA polishes Tutu Cute went on smoothly and achieved perfect coverage in just one coat. The color alone is not one that I'm crazy about, but it has endless combination possibilities. Trina also went on easily and only required one coat for solid coverage. This is a color that is more up my ally, but I think it also shines in the world of combinations. 

Trina Rating: B+
Tutu Cute Rating: C
Combination Rating: A+

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wallis by Butter

As you already know, I bought this incredible color specifically for New Year's, and let me tell you that it did not disappoint. First, the butter bottle is petite and gorgeous, the square top pops off to reveal a round top for easy gripping, and the brush itself is thin and firm which provides perfect precision. Now, onto the color. In the bottle it appears to be an almost brown-gold, but on the nail it has a certain green-gold quality to it. It's a bold and unusual take on traditional gold polish, and I couldn't have asked for a better manicure to kick of the new year. The polish held up for the near week that I wore it, and the complexity of the color seemed to change constantly.

Rating: A

Holly by Zoya

Though my next color should have been Trina by Julep, I skipped ahead on my color wheel as a special Christmas treat to myself. My first experience with Zoya polish, Holly was a metallic green with breathtaking depth, and I could not have asked for a more perfect Christmas color. The Zoya brush was thin and easy to use, the polish went on thick enough for full coverage but not so thick that it would be difficult to apply, and this manicure stayed chip free for its entire duration. In order to really get into the holiday spirit I used a half moon manicure combining Holly with Glitzerland by OPI. This combination turned out to be one of my all-time favorites, and I was so sad to see this manicure go.

Rating: A+

Christina by Julep

Continuing on down the road of Julep, we have this complex metallic blood orange beauty. Though in the bottle it looks like a simple shimmery red, when painted on the nail Christina transformed into a color I just could not define. In some lights it was red, in others it was orange, and in the sunlight it truly came alive. Even though this manicure was rushed and thus a bit sloppy, I could countless compliments while sporting this on my nails. For being a color that came in a pre-grouped box, this one certainly managed to make me fall in love. 

Rating: A+

Kim by Julep

As you guys might remember, I recently enrolled in the Julep Maven program. When my first order finally arrived I was so excited to try out the colors, and Kim was first up to bat. On the nail the color becomes a dark silver, almost charcoal, metallic. This was perfect for me. I can't get enough metallic, but the classic silver metallic can sometimes appear juvenile and more often than not looks cheap. Julep's take on the color successfully avoided both pitfalls. My only complaint is that the brush is on the thicker side and therefore proved a bit unruly. Since I'd grown a little tired of just one color being on my nails I decided to spice this manicure up with a stripe of OPI's DS Magic across the top of my nail. This is a color I adore, but we'll get to that full review down the road. 

Rating: B-

Between the Sheets by Deborah Lippman

This was my first DL experience, and it could not have been more perfect. Let me start off buy saying this bottle shape and contoured top are visually incredible and my favorite by far. The brush itself is thin and easy to work with; overall the actual act of painting as refreshingly hassle free. The polish was thin but not opaque, and it remained chipped free for the entire manicure. I loved the color while I was wearing it and I'm loving it more every time I look at this picture. As you can probably tell, I am now a die-hard DL lover. 

Rating: A+

Custom Glitter Franken

Another one of my spur of the moment glitter concoctions, this combination of black, silver, and copper glitter turned out better then I'd hoped. I initially feared that the overwhelming black glitter would be too harsh, but I love the finished product. This picture shows three coats of the polish in direct sunlight. It reminds me a bit of OPI's Metallic 4 Life in the newest Nicki Manaj collection, but the glitter in mine is much more fine. 

Rating: B+