Monday, March 31, 2014

Sally Girl Mint Chip swatch

A little too dark in the blue
Sally Girl Mint Chip
A milky "mint" base, leaning towards robin's egg blue, with black speckle glitter. Without doing a comparison swatch, the base looks very, very similar to Essie Mint Candy Apple. 3 coats on most nails. The trick seems to be to glob it on without wiping excess from the brush. Such a small size for, iirc, $2 would normally seem like a rip-off, but for something novelty like this, it's the perfect amount.(Edit: It was under $1! Yes, that seems appropriate.)

My mani-pedi combo right now is full on spring pastel, and how appropriate, because it snowed today! It was completely by surprise. That was only after following the hail, which also came by surprise. Thanks, weather!

(EDIT) The Dupe:
$20?! Good lord. Yes, I recommend getting the Sally Girl version for $1 instead.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Essie Cute as a Button / Zoya Hudson swatches



Essie Cute as a Button
I think the second photo is more color-accurate. A pink-coral, darker than China Glaze Sugar High. Most nails needed three coats, particularly the stained ones. This was a lemming for me for a long, long time, probably because of the adorable name, and because I love pink-corals. It definitely felt more "mature" to me compared to my numerous others, and is maybe more orange. In the sun, it's very bright and cheery. So far, I do prefer Wet n Wild Tropicalia, which also takes only 1-2 easy coats.

Zoya Hudson
Oh, you can't imagine how anxiously I waited for the blogger swatches of Zoya Awaken to come out. Not only because I was giddy for spring colors, but because the Zoya store coupon for the collection expired only a week or two after the promotional bottles were finally received. I ended up using the code to get Hudson and the blue (plus the free Monet). Hudson in the sunlight is indeed a very pretty blue-leaning purple with gold-ish shimmer. Under indoor lighting, it takes a warmer mauve-y tone, which I'm not into. To me, it's a like a combination of Zoya Danni and Zara. I used 3 coats; it mostly looked good with 2, but I don't know, man, something told me to use 3.

Hey, I think I see some snow in the background of the Hudson pics. When Cute as a Button was worn, I think it reached the mid-70s.

I'm reaching the end of week 3 of a no-buy that's unofficially tied to Lent; all I "needed" was 2 weeks, but if I make it through all 5, I'm giving myself a hearty pat on the back. The shopping habit was getting out of control, and I had a "moment" over it coincidentally on Ash Wednesday and decided to go for it. So far it's going pretty swell and has given me a feeling of relief. Less money spent, less storage being taken up, and fewer feelings of being overwhelmed by new options when I have to pick out something to wear. It helps that I'm pretty set spring-wise. When the summer collections come out, that might not last.

The one exception I'm allowing myself, of course, is a exact dupe/replacement for Essie Lilacism.

Friday, March 21, 2014

China Glaze Sugar High, Four Leaf Clover, Medallion / Zoya Darcy swatches

China Glaze Sugar High
 In bright light it's a bright coral pink; in the shade it actually looks cool-toned, like a Barbie pink. I have a lot of medium pinks, and I don't have anything quite like it. I remember the formula being a huge pain in the past, and I'm thinking I thinned it. This time I had no trouble applying whatsoever, but it still looked patchy after the third coat. A layer of topcoat evened it all out. I don't know if it's something unique you, the reader, need to look for, but it was within that first order of China Glazes I got from Head2ToeBeauty years back, so it has ~sentimental value~ to me.

China Glaze Four Leaf Clover with China Glaze Medallion accent
Four Leaf Clover is notoriously hard to photograph, but I think this is pretty color-accurate. Maye it's making it slightly bluer? Maybe. If it's looking blue, then it is, because it's definitely green in person. FLC reminds me of the Junior Girl Scout uniform, the box for Thin Mints, and Crayola crayons, and maybe artificial green food coloring. What's weird is that on the nails with Medallion (cool gold glitter with holo bits), the green actually looked more yellow-toned. You can see it in the photo. I don't THINK Medallion's base has gone yellow... When I removed the polish, those same nails also had a nasty teal stain! Only the ones with glitter! I've worn this color/glitter combo before in the past, and I don't remember that happening.

FLC has great formula. I think I've thinned Medallion a lot, so it's definitely easier to apply than in the past, though you still have to be careful not to overload your nail with glitter.

Both of these were also part of my very first H2Toe package (before I realized there was a Sally's Beauty Supply near my house...), inspired by this post.

Zoya Darcy
Egg yolk yellow. There's shimmer, but you're not going to see it on your nail unless you stick it an inch from your eye. I don't think it's as intensely bright as it looks here.I think the photo actually makes it look better, because some of my nails were quite shite-y looking. The ones that were stained from the green + glitter combo actually TINTED the yellow a bit lemony rather than the warm color it is. After three coats! This also makes the streaks more apparent close-up. Thankfully, I don't think anyone besides myself has noticed...

I have more yellow polishes than a normal person should own, including Zoya Pippa and China Glaze Lemon Fizz, Happy Go Lucky, and Solar Power. LF is much lighter and Darcy actually looks orange in comparison to Pippa and HGL. You heard right, Darcy and Pippa aren't close to being dupes. I haven't compared Darcy to Solar Power, but it is a darker warm yellow like SP. SP is filled with thick, almost frosty shimmer, in contrast. Pippa and HGL are actually pretty close, except Pippa is more "buttery".

Out of all of these, I chose to wear Darcy because it matches the crocus in my front yard!

I'm currently waiting for it to re-bloom, that is, if the 7 1/2 inches of snow Monday didn't traumatize it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Zoya Julie swatch

Zoya Julie
A light lavender with pearly white shimmer. 3 coats for pigmentation. I wondered at first if it looked too grey, but right now I'm satisfied.

A long story:: I had been picking up and putting back down this color at Ulta since it came out. Since the summer, there has always been two lonesome bottles of it just sitting there. My friend got it in a monthly gift set last year and loved it, and it looked pretty at her, but I have enough lavenders, right?

Then my beloved mini-bottle of Essie Lilacism became half-empty. I picked up a full bottle at Target, and a month later I realized it did NOT match the mini. It looks kind of like a faded, muted version. The pigment in Lilacism is so unstable, I have literally seen 3 different variations of it in one display. But I thought I was safe because it matched all the other ones in the display at Target. Alas!

I took my mini bottle to Ulta a few days ago looking for a replacement, and the display for Lilacism was empty! The same was at Target. What's going on with that?! The closest color I could find was in fact one of those lonesome bottles of Zoya Julie. The shimmer makes it obviously different, but the base is very, very close.

I'm still open for a replacement (unless I can get a matching bottle of Lilacism). OPI Rumple's Wiggin' is often compared to it, but it's noticeably pinker. Back when the two colors came out, I definitely preferred Lilacism. But I'll give it another try... that and the million other light purples in my collection.

Also, I took these photos while wearing a t-shirt, comfortably. I love you, Spring.

Also also:

Friday, March 7, 2014

China Glaze Flip-Flop Fantasy comparison: Old vs New

Old, New
China Glaze Flip-Flop Fantasy
Hmm, ya think there's a difference? Old is a neon coral, and newer is much lighter, and looks peachy (I haven't tried it yet). Both are bright! FFF seems like it suddenly got a huge uptick in popularity when the new one came out, but that just might be because it then became part of the core retail displays, and thus was much more easily available.

China Glaze Thistle Be the Day (also untried) seems VERY similar to the old FFF, but pinker. I loved FFF when it leaned pink, and not so much when it leaned orange, so who knows, Thistle Be the Day might replace it in my heart. Which would be good, since it's halfway gone.

The new China Glaze Pool Party (the old was a neon pink; I'm not sure if the new one even counts as pink, or what color to call it to begin with) also seems kind of close to the old FFF, like old FFF is the middle point between new Pool Party and Thistle.

Swatch: China Glaze At Vase Value, Spring in My Step, and Techno

Instead of a snowy backdrop, you get mud.

China Glaze At Vase Value, with an accent of China Glaze Spring in My Step and China Glaze Techno
I always forget how radioactively bright At Vase Value is. Spring in My Step is a peachy pink; the closet thing I have is Zoya Bela, which is like a jelly version and less stark. Essie Van D'Go is much darker when I paint them side to side on an index card, though the "spoon sample" I have of it (ie I painted in a blank Zoya one) looked identical to SiMS on my nail. Spring in My Step is bright, but would be an interview-appropriate color on me! It suited my skintone very well.

Techno is a holo silver glitter, varying big and small. It's surprisingly conservative in density, in contrast to China Glaze Medallion, which I have to wipe down before applying or it'll glop on and cover the entire nail in glitter. The clear base is of a great thin formula, though, so you can layer up the glitter as you like. And Techno is now a core product at Sally's Beauty Supply! I had wanted it since it came out with that spring collection a year or two ago, but it had sold out.

I used 3 coats for At Vase Value and Spring in My Step. If you stared really, really close at AVV, you could find some uneveness, but whatevs. Immediately after I applied the third coat of Spring in My Step, I thought it still looked patchy enough to warrant a fourth coat, but I don't know if I would bother. Maybe the glitter covered it up, but I couldn't see a problem once it was done with. We'll see how it goes whenever I use it for a full manicure.

Monday, March 3, 2014

OPI Goldeneye swatch

You needed a nice white background, right?
OPI Goldeneye
Warm, honey-gold flakes in a clear base. Very sheer. I used 3 coats, and a 4th on one nail by accident, and I could still see the tips on most of my nails. If I were to do this over again, I'd layer it over an opaque gold foil, like China Glaze Mingle with Kringle, which already has similar warm gold flecks in it. It's sheer enough that at 2 coats you could still use it as a glitter topper.

I intentionally chose an Oscar gold because I had been extremely hyped up over the Academy Awards. It ended up the way I wanted, so hurrah! If you admired the color of Lupita's dress, China Glaze At Vase Value is a match. At first I thought of Zoya Blu, but that "Nairobi blue" has a touch of green.

Also, 6-10" my butt. I had hoped we'd get 3 inches, that it was all just an overblown prediction as it so often is. We didn't even get 3"; we got 2 and a half.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

China Glaze Immortal swatch and etc

China Glaze Immortal
Cool-toned medium grey with shimmer that flashes pink and blue, exactly like those sheer shimmer top coats that do the same (Essie and Orly both have one). Sheer and a bit watery. I used 3 coats on most nails, and some could've used a fourth if I were being picky. After all these years, this is the first time I've ever worn a medium grey! China Glaze Recycle, which I own but haven't yet worn, is much warmer. Essie Cashmere Cardigan is much darker and not as shimmery. I think if you had a grey creme in a very similar color, you could duplicate this by using one of the above-mentioned shimmer topcoats.

I've purchased a ton of nail polishes, especially China Glazes. For some reason, I went nuts with their City Flourish collection. First I couldn't help but get At Vase Value at Ulta even though I hadn't read reviews yet. Then I got 3 along with 3 other China Glazes from Head2ToeBeauty, which I thought was a great deal, but evened out with shipping to be about equal to Sally's prices. Then today at Sally's, they had the entire collection (I wrongly assumed they would only sell the sea textures this spring), and they have a BOGO on China Glaze this month, so I got THREE more (plus Techno, now core!). If I had known that they'd be selling them and that they'd be BOGO, I could've saved some cash. At the same time, I got some non-cores as well from Head2Toe (including Immortal) that I had really wanted, ones I would never come across otherwise, so there ya go.

I put China Glaze Lotus Begins and Zoya Monet on my toes, and it kind of looks like a sparkly Easter egg. Don't worry, I won't put up any photos of my pedicures, because one time I was googling for swatches of this one color, and I came across a gentleman's Flickr account  that was a collection of nothing but "favorited" photos of women's pedicure swatches. I would not like one of my photos to end up on one of those accounts. No thank you.
Anyway, Lotus Begins is a bright light pink-ish purple, and the formula was an easy 2 coats for my toes. Monet was sticky and goopy, and you can tell it will be as soon as you take the brush out of the bottle. It might even make a suction sound. You have to dab it on there and work it around, and you're good. (IME glitter is also harder to control on toes.) Monet's iridescent glitter is much larger than China Glaze Snowglobe's, which is the nearest comparable thing I own, and I believe the glitter comes in orange, green, and blue (the best one) instead of all one identical iridescent shade.