Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Illamasqua Nomad

Hi everybody!

My last mani was Illamasqua Nomad.  According to Illamasqua, Nomad is a bright jade with a glossy finish.  I am a junky for minty turquoisey greens (as well as sky blues), so I threw this into my cart using the recent 15% discount at Sephora.  Here's the pics!

Illamasqua Nomad sunlight
Illamasqua Nomad in direct sunlight

Illamasqua Nomad shade
Illamasqua Nomad in the shade
I've posted about Illamasqua's formulas before.  I have always found them a bit tricky as they seem to go on a bit streaky and dry a little more slowly between coats than other polishes.  If it weren't for a good cleanup brush (a First Kiss New York one that I picked up in Japan), it would be a lost cause.  Like I've said in the past, though, the colors tend to be so creative and unique that I'm willing to overlook the formula/application issues.  I'd say this one lasted a good four days without a chip.

Thanks for looking!

*Illamasqua is cruelty free.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Emily de Molly: Speckled Pig, Milky Way, When Planets Collide, and A Black and White Love Affair

Hi everybody!  My last mani is still going strong but did sustain a chip today, so off with its head tomorrow.  But for now, here's a throwback to my 2012 Emily de Molly haul.  At that time, I purchased from Etsy, and Ms Hayley sent me the polish via seamail.  It took four months, but I am all about doing things legally (she is located in Australia, and it is not permitted to ship hazmat via airmail from there).  Plus it was definitely worth the wait for some fun polishes.  I looked at her Etsy shop tonight, and it appears that she only ships within Australia now, but her polishes can be found through other retailers around the web.  Links will follow at the end of this post if you're interested in purchasing some.

First, Speckled Pig described by Hayley as a black glitter in a pink base.  Please pardon the poor little bottle.  It sustained some damage on its journey over the sea to Japan, and I hadn't cleaned it up when I took the pic (I was just excited to get it on my nails!).  I contacted Hayley about it just as a heads up for her to modify her packaging if she saw fit, and she offered to replace the bottle.  In my opinion, that wasn't necessary, but it is a testament to good customer service.  Formula was nice.  Three coats here that went on without any problem.  As you can see here, there is some squishy VNL goodness.

Emily de Molly Speckled Pig

Next up, Milky Way, described as a pink and green glitter in a grey jelly base.  This one is very, very sheer, so I sandwiched it with China Glaze Elephant Walk to give it some opacity.  Again, no problems with the formula.  If you want to wear this quite sheer, you could definitely wear it on its own.

Emily de Molly Milky Way over China Glaze Elephant Walk

Third, we've got When Planets Collide, a "bright blue glitter in black jelly base."  As you can see, though, there is also red glitter and another holographic type glitter that seems to reflect mostly green.  I wanted to wear this one on its own, but next time, I think I will try it out over an opaque black.  You can see how sheer it is after four coats. Sorry for the shrinkage.  This one did not play nice with my Sally Hansen Insta-Dri.

Emily de Molly When Planets Collide

And finally, here's A Black and White Love Affair, described as a black and white glitter.  This to me is a clear dupe for Lynnderella Sticks and Stones which was so crazy popular a few years back.  I layered it over a pink to get myself festive for a baby shower.  No problems with the formula.  This color is probably quite easily duped these days, but the long bar and square glitter adds a little punch.  I think next time, I will make a nice jelly sandwich with this one.

Emily de Molly A Black and White Love Affair

Emily de Molly polishes are 5 free and cruelty free.  Outside of Australia, you can find them at:

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

OPI Sheer Tints Color Tinted Topcoats

Hooray!  These finally came in the mail.  I order a set of the minis although I know many prefer full size.  I figure I have enough polish to last me for the rest of my life.  I've only ever used whole bottles of base coat and regular old top coat.  The size doesn't bother me either especially after living in Japan.  Standard bottle sizes are pretty close to what we call minis.  Anyway, on the the polish!  Here's the description from OPI:

Take nail color to new dimensions with Sheer Tints Color-Tinted Top Coat.

Used alone, Sheer Tints creates a wash of transparent color on nails for an understated but playful look; over lacquer, it creates a color shift from subtle to dramatic.

Teal over green becomes swimming pool cool; amber over red becomes golden sunset blaze.

Progressive depth of color can be achieved with single or multiple coats, complemented with a high-gloss finish. Dimensional nail color. Dream it, conceptualize it, and create it with Sheer Tints Color-Tinted Top Coat. 

I had fun playing with these top coats.  I do think they are pretty much that, though... top coats.  I did not put them on alone because I really think they're best layered with something else, especially due to the consistency of the polish.  They are definitely not a jelly polish that can be easily layered and layered (I'm hoping that's what the Sally Hansen Palm Beach Jellies will be, but I haven't seen them in my area yet).  I have read that these are quite thick and can be stringy coming out of the bottle; my experience was no different.  You have to work rapidly because the polishes dry up pretty quickly.  But don't put on too much or you'll get bubbles.  I find this is the case with these much more than the average polish.  It's a delicate balance!

Both looks that I tried were over Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear White On.  And by the way, I HATED working with White On.  I got a wonky brush that I had to give a haircut.  And it went on pretty streaky and required a lot of work to make it look decent.  If anyone has suggestions for a HG opaque white, please leave it in the comments!  First up as skittles (two coats of each color) over White On (two coats) and Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pixel Perfect (one coat):

OPI Sheer Tints Skittles Amberassed, Be Magentale with Me, Don't Violet Me Down, Me Sally Hansen White On

This one was pretty humdrum but does serve to show what they look like layered over your basic white base.  Now I really loved this super springy watercolor look that everybody has been using these tints for:

OPI Sheer Tints Watercolor Effect China Glaze Fairy Dust

This is topped with a layer of China Glaze Fairy Dust for good measure.  I really loved the way it came out and was really easy to achieve without bubbling.  It's a nice, soft, springy look that reminds me of dyed Easter eggs.  I will definitely repeat this mani in the future!

What do you all think of the Sheer Tints?  How would you use them?  (Oh, and any recs for that perfect opaque white polish are greatly appreciated.)

*OPI is cruelty free, but its parent company (Coty) is not. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Daiso Holographics 3 and 7

Happy Sunday, fellow nail polish aficionados!  It has been a slow week for nail polish because it's been a busy week overall.  I'm actually still wearing Jindie Nails Betty's Fetti Milkshake from the last post; didn't I tell you it wears like iron??  So here's a throwback to a couple of my Daiso holographic polishes.  In case you don't know, Daiso is Japan's version of a dollar store (and far superior to its US counterparts might I add; they recently opened some stores in CA from what I understand).  I purchased nine of the ten of these polishes in January 2011.  I actually ended up purging all but two before returning to the US because although they are quite pretty, they required many coats and just didn't make the cut for limited nail polish space in transit.  So without further delay, here are the holos!

Daiso Rainbow Holographic 3
Daiso holographic 3
Daiso Rainbow Holographic 7
Daiso holographic 7
Like I said, the formula on these is a bit thin and requires a lot of coats in order to reach the opacity I like.  But if you're willing to put in the time, they are actually a quite pretty holo!  3 seems to be more of a linear holo while 7 is more scattered.  One of my favorite things about living abroad was dabbling in their beauty brands, but the downside was not being able to read ingredients, labels, etc. to know what you're getting into.  Fortunately, a lot of packaging is still in English or at least is easy to decipher with my basic Japanese skills.  What do you guys think?

*Please note that I do not have information on whether these polishes are cruelty free.  Like I mentioned above, it's hard to find info for the more obscure Japanese products (these being one of those).  I assume that most Asian brands are probably tested on animals, but I also know that some are not.  I will note that I made these purchases before deciding to go cruelty free at the end of last year.  I definitely don't want to promote brands that make use of animal testing, but in this case, I simply don't have the info.  Given that these were limited edition in Japan several years ago, that consideration is really not in play here anyway.  But again, I just have no idea of the cruelty free status.  If anyone has this information, please leave it in the comments or message me!