Sunday, 22 April 2012

Nails Inc : Victoria & Albert

My new lighting is here! I was so excited to try it out that I didn't stop to paint my nails first, I just took pictures of whatever I was wearing at the time: Nails Inc, in Victoria & Albert. Please excuse the sheet marks, I didn't think I'd be photographing this manicure when I painted my nails, but the pictures turned out so nicely I just wanted to put them up anyway.

Victoria & Albert is a classic warm red jelly. It's a little sheer (jellies generally are, so this isn't a big deal) but it's opaque in two to three coats depending on how picky you are about visible nail line. (In these pictures, you see three coats over Nail Envy and a layer of Orly Sec 'N' Dry topcoat. Once dry, (and drying time is average on this polish - not unbearably slow, but slow enough I still got sheet marks after an hour of not touching anything), you're left with the kind of bright red that you'd expect to see on a 50s Hollywood movie star, most likely teamed with matching red lips and a slick of perfect black eyeliner. It's very glamorous!

I haven't been that impressed with the formula of the other Nails Inc polishes I've tried in the past, since they cost about £11 a bottle depending on where you buy them from, yet don't seem to wear very well on me. This one is actually the best I've tried so far: I still had significant tipwear within a few hours, but not as bad as the other ones I've tried. Interestingly, although tipwear appeared quickly, it stabilised and didn't seem to get much worse on the second day than they had been on the first. Oh, and it's been two days now and there are no chips anywhere.

Application was a little bit of a pain. Since it's a jelly, it's a bit runny. This would be less of a problem if it was teamed with a nice wide brush, but Nails Inc polishes come with a skinny one that tends to hold an excessive amount of polish compared to the small area of nail it covers. It's not very easy to get a nice even cuticle line without flooding your cuticle completely - and since cuticle cleanup with this kind of red usually stains your cuticles pink, I'd rather it just applied nicely in the first place, thanks.

Things I like about this polish:
It's a gorgeous colour with bags of Marilyn Monroe type Hollywood Glamour appeal. My husband actually proclaimed it a 'nice colour' without being asked for his opinion - considering he couldn't care less about nail polish 99% of the time, this is actually high praise indeed.
It matches my hair colour pretty closely (which is why I was wearing it in the first place).
If you're prepared to spend time on the application, and faff around cleaning up afterwards, it can look pretty great.

Things I don't like about this polish:
Tipwear : too much, too soon.
Application: too runny, and the brush is too narrow. It reminds me of a cheapy drugstore polish brush from when I was about 14 and they hadn't invented decent brushes yet.
Price: if I'm going to spend £11 on a polish, I want a better formula than this. I can spend £2 on Collection 2000 and get something that goes on easier and lasts longer.
Would I wear it again?
Yes, but only until I find something else that's the same colour but lasts longer and isn't such a pain to apply.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Collection 2000 Hot Looks : Electric Dream

I almost didn't go through with today's post as it's been nothing but an exercise in frustration! For one thing, my cuticles just don't want to behave at the moment. They laugh in the face of cuticle remover and shrug off the attentions of cuticle creams and oils. I knew I shouldn't have done so much housework this weekend! And then to make matters worse, I chose this colour to wear.

Introducing Electric Dream, from Collection 2000. It's an absolutely gorgeous turquoise/teal creme. And herein lies the problem. See this picture, where it looks blue? It doesn't look like that at all. It's a lot more green in real life. I took about a million pictures on more than one camera, and every time it came out blue. For some reason, the green in this polish just doesn't want to be here's something else that will hopefully give you all a better idea.

Imagine this colour in both of my photos here instead of that blue, and you'll be picturing what my nails actually look like! Colour accuracy frustrations aside, here's what I actually thought of the polish itself.

Hot Looks is Collection 2000's fast drying range, and while it's not so fast that I'd attempt a full manicure with it when I only had 15 minutes spare, it's certainly not slow either. It comes with a pretty decent formula that applies nicely (I particularly like the brush on these, it's a nice texture, flat and has a rounded end that makes for nice tidy cuticles) and is opaque in two to three coats - I used two and it looked opaque to the naked eye, but when I took pictures you could still see faint visible nail line. Honestly it would have been fine to leave it but I came over all perfectionist and added a third, which also slightly deepened the colour towards the green end of the spectrum (not that my camera wanted you to see that, grr). It also added a bubble to my middle finger, but really that was my fault for being in a hurry and not being careful, not through any problems with the formula.

Wear was average to good - there was a little tip wear at the end of the day but nothing terrible, and I did have my hands in water quite a lot. I also didn't use any top coat for this polish so you'd expect a slightly shorter wear time than if I'd armoured it up with a layer of the glossy stuff. After two days the tip wear was maybe a little worse but there were no chips at all.

Considering that this polish is a startlingly cheap £1.79 for 8ml (and right now they're 2 for £3 in Superdrug), I think this polish is pretty awesome and certainly rivals a lot of more expensive brands. It goes on nicely, lasts a respectable amount of time, and looks really pretty (the range has all sorts of bright and cheerful colours available). I'd definitely recommend picking a few up to try!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Rimmel 60 Seconds : Camouflage

Happy Easter everyone!
Having got all creative with the lighting in my last couple of reviews, of course my lamp went and broke on me today so you're all going to have to endure some rather naff natural lighting pics (naff because it's really gloomy outside today) that don't really show the true beauty of what I'm photographing. Sorry about that.
But in more exciting news, I've ordered a light tent and some new lamps!! I'm looking forward to playing with them and hopefully taking lots of lovely bright pictures once they arrive. Anyway, on to the polish!

Today I'd like to share another Rimmel offering (I promise I'll run out of steam with Rimmel eventually!) : Camouflage, from the 60 seconds fast drying range.

In the bottle it's a pretty emerald/leaf green frost with noticeable gold shimmer - a bit like GOSH Golden Dragon or maybe one of the various green/gold duochromes that're around at the moment (though this is not actually a duochrome). I thought it was really beautiful, (though nothing like any camouflage I've seen, since that tends to be more murky greens, but never mind eh) but once I got it on my nails I was surprised to find it's even nicer thean it is in the bottle (a nice change, actually, since so many polishes are the other way round!).

On the nail, the colour shifts slightly. The gold shimmer is less prominent but the green becomes a LOT more vivid and jewel toned. Instead of green with gold shimmer in it, it appears more of an intense, almost metallic green with gold/yellow tones. It changes according to the light; sometimes darker, sometimes lighter, different shades of green from leaf to emerald to that sort of green that makes you think of Christmas. It's really very eye catching, especially when the sunlight hits it directly and you get this glowing effect:

(Sorry it's blurry - this was the only close up shot I could get that was colour accurate as well as showing the inner glow). This is also one of those polishes that looks a lot better with topcoat than it does without. The topcoat seems to bring out the glow and the depth of the colour and gives it more of that 'wow' factor.

Application and formula are surprisingly good. I was actually dreading it a little since the other 60 Second polishes I've tried have tended to be reaaaaallly slow drying, thick and gloopy (since they try and be opaque in one coat, but aren't, and then you have to use two and the drying time becomes a nightmare). But happily, Camouflage seems to be exempt from this trend: it's a little thick, but not gloopy, and it's definitely not what I'd call fast drying (especially not if you consider their 60 second claim, which couldn't be further from the truth). But it's alright... it's not overly slow drying either; just 'normal'. The second coat dries quicker if you wait for the first one to be completely dry first. 

 It has that nice wide, round ended 'pro' type brush that reminds me of OPI and Rimmel's Lycra Pro range, which splays out nicely and covers the nail in a good, even coat of not-too-thick polish that dries without leaving brush marks. The rounded bristles and thicker formula make it easy to apply without flooding cuticles - all these pictures are without any cleanup (since I was in a hurry!).

Overall, this is a really stunning polish which has to be seen in real life to really appreciate how vivid it looks - it's especially gorgeous in sunlight (which of course was in scarce supply when I was trying to take pictures). Application is pretty good, not one of the best I've tried but definitely not the worst either. If I had to pick on one thing to complain about it would be the wear - two coats over Nail Envy, with one coat of top coat (Orly Sec 'N' Dry, which normally wears like iron) showed quite noticeable tip wear after 24 hours. It didn't chip though, so I added one more coat and it lasted me easily though the second day before the tipwear reappeared. Considering what a gorgeous colour this is, it's definitely worth putting up with the less than perfect wear and I will be putting this one in the 'keep' pile!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Ebalay : Purple Gold Dust

Happy Spring, everyone!
I had this plan to do a cute Easter manicure with pastels and stuff, but I haven't had two minutes to rub together and I've only painted my nails once in about a week now. But it's OK because the colour I have to show you today is gorgeous and spring-like anyway, so I still win :-p

Let me introduce you to the second of the two colours sent to me by KKCenterHK: Purple Gold Dust, by Ebalay. (Click HERE or the banner below to check out their website).

(Halogen light)

Like Olive Gold Dust (reviewed here), Purple Gold Dust is actually just given a number (#011) by Ebalay, however on the KKCenterHK website, it's described as Purple Gold Dust, so that's what I'll call it here.

(Halogen light)
Like Olive Gold Dust, Purple Gold Dust has a coloured base (though in this case the olive green has been replaced with a really pretty lavender purple) and it's absolutely jam packed with fine glitter, although this time the glitter is silver instead of gold. In certain lights, if you squint a bit, it kind of looks a bit golden in the bottle, but once it's on the nail, it's 100% silver and that's that.

(Halogen light)

The glitter in this polish is absolutely gorgeous - it's actually a bit more sparkly than the glitter in Olive Gold Dust, but still subtle enough to wear anywhere and any time. Unfortunately I couldn't get any natural sunlight while taking these pictures so you'll have to picture everything a bit more twinkly than it seems here.

(Halogen light)

 The formula is almost exactly the same as Olive Gold Dust : quite thick, possibly a bit thicker in fact, but it goes on smoothly and evenly and dries in a reasonably fast time considering how thick it is. It's pigmented enough/glittery enough that you could get away with one coat, though it looks much better with two.

(Natural light)

Since Olive Gold Dust lasted for such a long time without chipping (5 days before even tipwear!) I decided to put Purple Gold Dust to the test: I skipped topcoat completely (all pictures show two coats over two of Nail Envy) and STILL it refused to die! Without topcoat, I had a little bit of tipwear after 4 days, but quite honestly I still have this stuff on my nails today and 6 days after painting them, there's still no chips at all on my left hand. My right hand has only one coat - I wanted to see how it would wear that way - and although there's chipping, it's about the amount I'd normally expect to see after 3 or 4 days of a two coat manicure of your average polish. This stuff LASTS, people.
(Natural light)

From some angles/in some lights, it looks more silvery than purple. It's one of those polishes that changes colour, like a chameleon.

Close up bottle shot. Check out that sparkle!

Overall, I love this polish every bit as much as I did Olive Gold Dust. It applies well, lasts ages, costs little and looks stunning. It also removes easily, despite the glitter. Just like before, the only improvements I'd made would be to reduce the thickness of the formula a little and give it a slightly more interesting name.

KKCenterhk have kindly offered any readers of Glitter Mountain a 10% discount on all their products until the 31st of January 2013. Just use the code glitter-mountain at the checkout! (please note, use of this code does not benefit me in any way)

This is a PR sample sent to me for review by KKCenterhk. The opinions I have given are my own, honest and unbiased and I was not paid to carry out this review.