Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Rimmel Lycra Pro : Ultra Violet

I have an unusual colour for you today : Rimmel Lycra Pro, in Ultra Violet.

This bright violet shade was released as part of Rimmel's summer collection in 2011 and I haven't seen many others like this (especially not amongst the drugstore brands) so it definitely stands out on the shelves! It occupies a bright and cheerful niche between neon and pastel and got several compliments from my co-workers when I wore this the other day.

Since it's a Lycra Pro polish, it comes with Rimmel's excellent wide brush that makes application a doddle. The formula itself is well pigmented and very creamy in texture so it applies beautifully and is opaque in two coats over a base coat. Interestingly, in these pictures, my middle finger has bald spots, and that finger does not have a base coat (because I smudged it on first application and re-applied in a hurry). So if you're not going to use a base coat, and you want a perfect application, you might need to use three layers of the Ultra Violet. (Although in real life the bald spots aren't as visible as they are here so it's not that big a deal).

Drying time isn't the greatest - it touch dries fairly quickly but stays tacky and dentable for a while, though this isn't surprising as most polishes with this kind of thick and creamy formula tend to behave the same. I added a layer of quick drying topcoat and the problem was solved :)

Wear was average. The bottle claims that it should last up to ten days, and in general I find Lycra Pro polishes to wear very well (not quite ten days, but at least two or three). This one, however, had tip wear after the first day and chipped (though only slightly) on the second. Again something I've found tends to happen with creamy polishes like this, so not really that surprising.

Overall, a really pretty polish that applies beautifully, needs a little patience (or a quick dry topcoat) for drying and attracts a lot of compliments when worn. I was especially pleased to find that it looks nice against my skin tone, too - normally, any sort of lilac/lavender/paler purple tones look dreadful on me!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Avon Nailwear Pro : Ruby Slippers

Introducing Ruby Slippers, from Avon. Not to be confused with the China Glaze polish of the same name, this little gem is a lovely, cheerful, bright red polish with silver glitter and it's one of my go-to red shades, especially for toes. In some lights it's a knock your eye out scarlet, in others it takes on more of a cherry tone, and in all lights it makes me smile!

The silver glitter is quite prominent in the bottle, but on the nail it disappears into the red jelly finish and looks more like a red shimmer. This isn't a bad thing though, as it's still very pretty! (Please excuse the strange red patches on my fingers; I had a slight accident with some hair dye...)

Since it's a jelly it's a little sheer - pictured are two coats (with one of topcoat) and it's more or less opaque, though there is still a little VNL - this would most likely disappear if you added a third coat. Application is really easy - the brush is just a standard style, no frills one, and the square bottle lid makes it a little awkward to hold, but the polish itself applies beautifully, dries reasonably fast, and doesn't try to run into your cuticles.
Wear is okay - it chipped on the second day but that was after several hours of rearranging the spare room and general housework. 

Avon polishes used to be rather hit and miss, but they've definitely improved in recent times - and since they're so often on half price special offer, you can usually pick them up for as little as £3. No wonder I have  so many!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Rimmel 60 Seconds : Green with Envy

Today's polish has driven me insane for two days now. It's almost impossible to get a good, colour accurate picture of it - I thought it was my camera at first, but looking at other swatches online, I see that everyone else has the same problem. So... you might have to bear with me here. I've managed to get the colour more or less right, but only with some pretty unusual settings and lighting ('antique warm' effect with daylight white balance settings under fluorescent lighting in the ladies' loo, anyone?), so these pictures are a little odd looking!

Green with Envy is one of Rimmel's fast dry polishes from their 60 second range. It's a very pretty, vivid metallic jewel toned green that leans towards the turquoise/aqua end of the spectrum. Whenever you try to photograph it, it comes out as a strongly blue toned turquoise with almost no green whatsoever.

This is the most colour accurate picture I could get. Please excuse the horrible lobster red fingers and the way that the picture makes my cuticles look like a rat chewed them; it's a side effect of the bizarre settings I had to use just to make this polish look green. (And it's still not quite right: in real life the green is a little stronger).

Application is a pain. The brush is nice (it's one of those slightly wider ones that make application easier), but the polish itself is a little too thick, and it's prone to brush marks and bubbling (see that huge bubble on my index finger there?). I think this is probably because the bottle claims it's a one coater, hence the thicker formula to try and get away with one coat, but really you need two - one coat on its own wasn't anywhere near bottle colour and had visible streaking.

Drying time is a lot longer than the 60 seconds they claim, but it's nothing a coat of quick drying top coat can't cure (I used Orly Sec 'N' Dry), and once dry, wear is actually quite good. The bottle shots in this review were taken after 48 hours and a lot of typing, and as you can see there is just a little tip wear and no chipping.

Overall, I like this polish a lot, despite the fact it's a bit tricky to apply. The colour is really pretty and I haven't seen too many like this in other brands. I'll definitely wear it again (unless I can find a less tricky dupe elsewhere!)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Miss Sporty : Clubbing Colours 328 (Blueberry?)

A very frustrating colour for you today! I've been wearing Miss Sporty 328 for a couple of days now, and it's such a stunning colour but my camera just won't capture it properly, the way it looks on my nails! I can't wait until Christmas when I will be the proud owner of a brand new and much better camera, hopefully I won't have to spend so much time muttering and taking yet another shot of a lovely polish that looks completely different when converted to image form!

Please excuse the blurred picture, but this is literally the one and only shot that I could get where the colour looks true, and even then it's just the colour you see in the bottle. When on the nails, it looks darker in pictures than it does in real life. le sigh.

Anyway. Miss Sporty Polishes are all rather boringly named with numbers, unless you go searching around on the website, whereupon you find out that 328 is actually called Blueberry. I think I've moaned about this already so I'll avoid the rant and just roll my eyes before moving swiftly on (though I have to say, I've never seen a blueberry this colour, but never mind eh?).

(A less blurry, but not quite as colour true bottle shot. It's not as dark as this in real life).

Blueberry is a gorgeous indigo creme - essentially, it's blue, but a very vivid blue that has strong purple leanings. In some lights it looks navy, in others a purplish inky colour. It applies beautifully, with its nice, wide, short brush that reminds me of a smaller version of Rimmel's new style Lycra Pro brush, and the formula is very workable - not too thick, not too runny, dries fast (to be expected, since it's a quick dry polish), and very little clean up required. Pictured are three coats over one of Nail Envy - it was opaque after two, but I added a third because like a total klutz, after the second coat, I managed to squish one against my jeans before it dried and gave myself sheet marks. Yeah. Only I could manage that with a quick drying polish, right?

(The most colour true 'on the nail' shot I could get. See how it's a little purple as well as blue? So pretty!)

Wear is average. I got slight chipping after a few hours, but that was after building an art straw bridge with some kids, and I had a lot of sticky tape sticking to my nails the whole time I was working. I think any polish would have chipped a bit in the face of that treatment! Some of the nails that survived 'BridgeGate' went on to chip by the morning of the second day, so I'd say this isn't the longest lasting polish ever, but it's alright considering it's a super cheap and cheerful drugstore brand, and so long as you don't go picking any fights with sticky tape bridges, you'll get a good day out of it at least!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Color Club : Sugar Plum Yum

A festival of glitter for you today: Color Club Sugar Plum Yum, from the Scent-Suous holiday collection 2011. This collection is exclusive to Sally Beauty Supply and took a lot of people by surprise, mostly because it just kind of appeared one day with next to no fanfare and very little promotion at all. The whole collection is Christmas themed and scented, with three chunky glitters and three foils, and when I saw swatches online I knew I had to try and get them all!

Sugar Plum Yum is a fun combination of hexagon glitters: green (small pieces) and purple (various larger sizes) that smells like fruity candy (I assume it's meant to be sugar plums but I don't know what those actually smell like in real life!). It's also a tease: I took a million pictures of this polish and never quite managed to capture how insanely sparkly and pretty it is in real life. My camera was so overwhelmed by the glitter that it simply refused to focus properly!

Application is.... interesting (though with glitter this chunky, it was never going to be that straightforward!). You can apply it like a regular polish if all you want is a few decorative hexagons over the top of another colour, but if you want a full on glitter mani like this, you're going to have to adopt the 'blob' approach. Scoop out a blob of glitter, plonk it on the centre of the nail, then use the brush to  spread it around a little like you're icing a cake. Luckily, the glitter in this polish is very dense, so this approach is opaque in two coats if you're careful (though you might have to go back and fill in a couple of bare patches here and there).

You may well recoil in horror at the thought of two thick layers of goopy glitter on your nails, visions of an 8 hour drying time flashing before your eyes, but actually it's not that bad. Drying time was impressively fast and the whole thing was dry in about the same amount of time as you'd wait for three coats of regular polish (though not a fast drying variety). Once it's dry, you're left with a very rough surface; the larger hexagons tend to be rather curly and don't lie completely flat on the nail. This wouldn't bother me that much (I'm prepared to forgive a lack of smoothness for the awesome sparkle!) except the glitter kept catching on my hair, so I added two thick coats of Orly Sec 'N' Dry as top coat and the surface was significantly smoothed - still a little bumpy, but I think another coat of Sec 'N' Dry would actually have sorted that out and it'd have been almost as smooth as a non glitter manicure. Interestingly, the top coat seemed to make the glitter sparkle even more!

(Picture taken in different lighting to try and show the sparkle: you can see the purple much better here).

I was a little nervous about these being scented polishes: I've had ones in the past that you could smell three rooms away and which gave me a headache, but happily the scent on Sugar Plum Yum is much more subtle than that and you only really smell it if you put your nails near your face: not so weak that you wonder what the point in bothering with the scent was, but not so strong as to be invasive. Conversely, I could still smell it after those two layers of top coat and the strength was only slightly diminished. My son was most excited about the polish being scented and kept wanting to sniff my nails!

One last attempt to show the glitter, which shows up much better when the image is extremely blurred! This polish really is insanely sparkly and earned me a million compliments. I kept staring at my nails just to see them twinkling ^-^

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Rimmel Crack Your Colour Crazy Top Coat : Silver Clash

This mani is a little different to my others: it doesn't have a proper bottle shot. There's a good reason for this: my sister in law took one look at my nails, hooted, then pounced on the bottle and carried it away triumphantly before I got chance to take a photograph. I guess that's a good advertisment for this polish: Rimmel Crack Your Colour Crazy Top Coat, in Silver Clash.

In lieu of a proper bottle shot, here's a promo image from Rimmel.

Now, I'm the first to admit I'm a little bored of crackle polishes: they were cool and exciting when they first popped up, then every brand and his dog brought out their own version, and they got a bit overexposed. However, this one is silver - actual, sparkly, light reflective silver, so it caught my attention anyway. What can I say... I'm a sucker for metallic/shiny/sparkly polishes!

On to the mani. I layered one coat of Silver Clash over one coat of 2True Shade 39, a basic black creme, and two coats of Nail Envy. I also added a top coat of Orly Sec'n Dry, because when crackle polishes dry, they have a slightly odd rough texture that sets my teeth on edge (I'm the same with terracotta). For the record, it already looked nice and shiny before the topcoat - I just prefer not to wince every time I touch my nails!

Application is a piece of cake. The brush is one of those wide ones so you can cover the whole nail in one or two swipes. If you want chunky crackles like these, you use a thick coat. A thin coat will give you dainty, spidery crackles. Either way, it dries super fast! The crackles take longer to appear than the Barry M polish I already reviewed, and the crack pattern is not quite the same, but it's still attractive (some crackles seem to give a very odd pattern that I don't find as appealing; more of a blobbed-on look).

You can see that Silver Clash is definitely sparkly - I've seen some silver crackles that were more like a slightly silvery grey, but not so here. It's not glitter though, it's just very shimmery silver that catches the light easily because of the uneven texture. I got a ton of compliments on this manicure!

I only wore this mani for 36 hours as I have work in the morning and have to go to a meeting where silver sparkle nails aren't the best idea - but in those 36 hours my nails went through three showers, hardcore housework, laundry and lots of typing as well as many hand washes and a ton of hand cream (the cuticle first aid mission continues!) Despite all this, there was no tip wear, chipping or any other sign of wear whatsoever. 

Another keeper!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

SpaRitual Emerald City

Firstly, a warning. This swatch was done with my right hand... the Hand You Never See. Mainly because I broke a nail on my swatching hand, right down to the quick, and it's going to be a while before I can inflict the sight of it upon the world. It's beyond nubbin territory into 'wow, I didn't realise you bit your nails, Opalline'. So for now, it's Right Hand Swatching all the way. Now, I have a skin condition known as Psoriasis, which, as a side effect, makes my nails grow very fast, but with pitting. It doesn't really affect my swatching hand, but it does affect the other one. See the ring finger, there? See how it looks like I dented the polish about 20 times? And that dent in the middle finger? Ignore those. It's not the polish's fault :(

Also, I am still nursing my cuticles. You wouldn't think that these fingers have been lavished daily with all sorts of nourishing treatments, because they still don't look that great, but believe me this is a big improvement to two weeks ago. This hand was much worse than my swatching hand as it took the brunt of the chemical abuse I put my hands through. You can still see on my index finger where it was so bad it drew blood! My poor little cuticles!

Anyway, on to the swatching. Hopefully you won't be too traumatised!

I think I've said before that I love SpaRitual polishes in general, with their eco/vegan/natural vibe and their choice of beautiful colours (this is one of the first brands I reach for when I want something pretty yet muted).

This is one of the many shades I own, Emerald City.

I feel this polish is rather oddly named (I don't know about you, but 'Emerald' in a name makes me think of a darker, richer green, or at least something more jewel toned), but we'll let it off because it's a really pretty colour anyway. In some lights it looks a little teal, in others a little turquoise, but it's not really either - if I had to pin it right down, I'd say it was a slightly minty Spring Green, too vivid to be a pastel and too pale to be a jewel shade. It occupies a niche somewhere in between that's happily not too overpopulated by other brands - I haven't seen many others like this.

Although the bottle states that it's a creme, it's more like a jelly, and the first coat is disturbingly sheer (plus has the effect of giving you rather impressive zombie/swamp/alien nails). This sheerness makes it a three or even four coater: the pictures here show three coats over one of Nail Envy (no topcoat), it's pretty much opaque at three but there's still just enough visible nail line that it could really have done with a fourth. However, this aside, it applies nicely enough and dries reasonably quickly and is nice and glossy once dry.

Bottle shot: this was taken two days after the first. For some reason the VNL is more visible in this picture: it wasn't quite that obvious in real life). You can also see that there is a little tip wear but no real chipping.

Overall this is a lovely polish. The formula could be a little better (less sheer would be nice) but the colour is gorgeous, the finish is nice and the wear is good. Definitely a keeper!