Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Illamasqua - Unnatural

Illamasqua Unnatural was one of those colors that lingered on my lemming list for a long time before I finally added it to an order. I believe I got it half price from Illamasqua.com during their big New Year's sale. It's a dark wine plum red that I had seen somewhere, probably another blog, and liked. I don't wear a lot of reds, they're just kind meh to me with all the other colors of the rainbow being available and it takes something different for a red to catch my eye.

This is one coat. Streaky icky mess, and I got it all over me.

Two coats. With a good base coat under it this is probably fine. Three coats would not have hurt it, though. The application was easy and no problems. I believe I nearly spilled the bottle, which is why I got it all over me. It's been awhile since I swatched this. I got distracted by the Spring butterLONDON's and a bunch of swatches fell off into the middle. I'm revisiting those!

There is a lot of blue in this red and you can see, it's roughly the color of a really ripe red plum. I like these kinds of colors. They're classy, complex and there is something indefinably dangerous about it.

The label, and a bit different lighting. See all that shine? Nice. And of the polish. There is no top coat on this at all.

Different angle, slightly different lighting....It's very vampy! Rowerr!

So pretty. But you can see there on the index and middle nails that a third coat is desirable. Probably not necessary with a good semi-opaque base coat, but definitely...I think I would. I'm surprised I didn't. This will never be mistaken for black. The color is very prominent and it's highly pigmented. I suspect this would stain so definitely do a base coat of some kind. You should always anyways.

Last one! The shine is like a mirror. That's the window I was getting my natural light from!

Lovely vampy dark red. If you like reds and are looking for something that screams 40s movie icon, this might be the one.

Happy Talons!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Chanel Black Pearl - No Jack Sparrow

Chanel Black Pearl had the potential to be one of those legendary polishes. It's so gorgeous in the bottle and while I was a little hesitant about the green flash (I'm not a big fan of green. It's OK.) I took forever to finally wear it. I'm not a huge fan of Chanel polishes. They're over-priced, I rarely get good wear out of them...the thing is, they are right up there on originality of color. Chanel will probably generate the next big thing and being a polish hound...I buy into it almost every time. Almost.

I know there are some that just love this polish. I've read a couple other blog reviews and they are loving it. I felt it did not live up to the hype the bottle generates.

Sorry about the glare. This does show the metallic particles in the polish, which does redeem it for me somewhat. I did think it was an accurate portrayal of a black pearl. If you've never seen one, they do have a greenish cast at times. They're quite beautiful, really. I suppose this is, too. I wasn't in love with it, though. It was meh.

My desk! Best swatch lighting IN THE WORLD! OK, so this shows both the metallic feel on the nails and the green in the bottle. See what's happening in the bottle? A lovely wonderful world of green and black and ooo. On the nail? Pencil lead. That's what I kept thinking as I looked at it. It looks like pencil lead. Blah. I had quite a few compliments on it and I might wear it again just to see if I like it better, but....not what I wanted it to be!

Here you can see hints of the green. This doesn't apply streaky and I have to admit, for a Chanel it wore well. No major tip wear or anything. It's rather thick, which I personally like, I think it's easier to control, and it went on nicely. This is two coats.

I don't own anything quite like this, it is very original, I just didn't love it. I wanted to be ecstatic about it and I'm not. I'm not even moderately amused.
Pencil Lead.

So this was mechanically:

1 coat Seche base coat
1 coat Nailtiques 2
2 coats Fiberglass Network (Because my rebuild is about dead and my nails are showing it's lack. Broke 2 yesterday.)
2 coats Chanel Black Pearl
1 coat Poshe Top Coat

I don't know. What do you guys think? Am I just being too particular? Did I have my hopes set too high?

Happy Talons. **grumble, grumble**

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cult Nails - Time Traveler

Time Traveler. Oooo. Now. Time Traveler is blue. I don't mean just plain Jane blue. I mean...BLUE. It's in your face, royal bright blue. Check it out.

That is one coat. If you look at the ring finger, you can see a little sheerness there. The middle finger...that one shows you how Cult picks up it's own color. I probably went over that one an extra time and so you have that intensity of color. They all seem to do it. It's OK, you just need to be a little careful.

Could it get bluer? This is cobalt. It's the color of your granny's cobalt glasses, if yours had those.

OK. Two coats.
This is a shade of blue that I absolutely love. I like blue well enough, but cobalt. Cobalt fascinates me. It fascinates me like a Valkyrie likes baubles. It's hypnotic. (Valkyrie like baubles and jewels, if you're not familiar with your Norse myths. Or at least the trashy version of them I love to read, anyways. I just couldn't think of another simile.)

I want to stare at this color.

Note where I messed up and tried to fix it. Beware of that. This is a color that stains. Just wear a good base coat or two and you'll be all good. It's a sign that this is hyper pigmented and it's a good thing, generally. Just don't get it all over you as I did. Fixing it is not so easy. I wound up soaking this off with acetone. Yep, lots o pigment.

I don't know what else to say about it. This is the end all be all of cobalts in my book. This is it. Look no further. All other cobalt blues will pale in comparison.

Probably literally.

Last one, unfortunately. I had two others but they were almost identical to this and I figured if you'd got this far you probably deserved not to listen to me rant in fan girl silliness over this color any longer. It's creamy, it's rich, it's highly highly pigmented...it's amazing. I love it.

Ok, Last of the fangirliness.

Happy Talons!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cult Nails - Mind Control

Mind Control is a strange polish. It's a purple jelly, but it's a dirty purple. It has a lot of glitter in it but it looks almost gun metal once you layer it. I love it, don't get me wrong, but figuring out exactly how I would describe it is a bit challenging.

I think I'll just let you see it for yourselves.

One coat. OK...I'm remembering this wrong because this is not a purple jelly. It's a dark charcoal jelly with purple glitter, wouldn't you say? Regardless. This is a streaky sheer mess at one coat. But as we know and I've shown before, one coat is nothing more than a curiousity. If you really want to see it, try another.

Which I would say I didn't do here! This is also one coat, but from another angle.

OK, now here's two coats. Still on the sheer side, but we can see what we're working with. This is dark, but it's very wearable. If you're into the seasonal thing, this is a good winter color.

This shows more of the purple here. See what I mean, though? I wasn't totally off the mark. It comes off almost gun metal with a little purple sparkly thing happening. It's a Beretta with style! It's rather spectacular, really.

Lots going on here. You could layer this over a black, I suppose, but I'm not sure I would. Two coats got you this far. I think I might do three if I were really wearing it instead of just swatching.

Nice clean cuticle lines. I don't clean these up with a stick unless I've completely flooded the cuticle. This is all polish formula and how easy it is to use. This one was very easy.

Last one! And it's a goodie! Check that out. Bling! Loves. I love this kind of color. Dark and foreboding but then you see the sparkle and realize it's not a book you can judge by it's cover. Love love love.

I'd pick this up!

Happy Talons!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cult Nails - Power Thief

I showed you awhile ago the packing and whatnot that this collection came in and how fun it was, and ecologically safe. I like that! Now we're getting down to the swatching! Except Clairvoyant. Sorry. That one is sold out and not even listed on the website any longer, not that I found.

However, Power Thief still is and it's really gorgeous!

This is one coat and as you can see, it's a bit uneven. It layers like no one's business which is both nice and tricky. See how sheer it is on the pinky while right next to it the ring finger is so much darker? It takes it's own polish really well, but this can become difficult to even out if you're not careful.

Here are two coats. These are without flash so you aren't getting the full impact of the amazing silver micro glitter. I have some flash shots for you, though. They're coming up. I have a lot of swatches of this one.

This is a very taupey brown. It would be boring except for the sliver microglitter. That gives it fire!

The camera is giving it a bit more of a honey color than it actually has. I would say this was ashier than it appears here, but this is close.

OK, now the flash shot! See that silver in there? It makes this so much more than it would be without it. Without it, it's pretty but drab. With it...it's a whole new world! I love this. It's so pretty.

You can see that I was able to even out the layers here and make this uniform, pretty much. It's nice that it grabs its own layers, but it takes a little more vigilance. You can't just slap this on and call it a day. You'll have a mess. Pay attention and all will be well.

See how the index finger darkens because it's not in the direct flash. Nice. That is very true to color there on the index finger. It's a good color on me but I think it would be great on many different skin tones.

Last one, I think.

This went on well, a little thick, if I'm remembering correctly, but there is nothing wrong with that. Better a little thicker than watery. I can't stand watery. The glitter in this is dense and prominent but not crazy, and it's very work appropriate. It's about the color of a nice smoky quartz. Yes. Good way to describe it.

I hope you like it! Cult Nails polishes are available at Cult Nails and also now at overallbeauty.com!

Happy Talons!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

butter LONDON - Knackered

butter LONDON Knackered. It's the rock star of the collection, especially since Disco Biscuit turned up in a white polyester leisure suit mimicking Travolta badly. Wow was that one bad. When Knackered's turn came for a full manicure I was now hesitating. Frankly, of the two, I expected Knackered to be the sheer one.


I am so happy I was wrong. I loved this right out of the box and I didn't want it to let me down.

First though, I thought you would like to see what I have, what my pallet looks like before I start a real manicure. Or rather, what I have before I start the real color.

This one was pretty normal for me. Sometimes it's Orly Nail Armor, which has a more flesh tone color to it, sometimes it's Seche Rebuild, which is also milky white and this is Fiberglass Network. I do not know if Fiberglass Network is cruelty free or not. I am not buying any more of it and am using up the last bottles I have. That's the only reason I'm posting it at all. I know Orly and Seche are cruelty free. Salon Sciences, who make FN, I can't even find a website for them. It's sold at Sally and it does work well. I can tell you that much. Until I confirm we aren't torturing bunnies over there, I won't spend more money on it, though. The other two work just fine as well, though I think Rebuild repairs more easily.

The mechanics you don't see are:

1 coat Seche Base Coat
1 coat Nailtiques 2

Then 2 coats Fiberglass Network

So here is the blank slate: 

 It's a little coverage but nothing to interfere with the color. I have actually just worn this. It's nude, it's understated and your nails have some protection. When it wears it is not pretty, though. But it makes a very nice base coat. Rebuild looks a lot like this. 

One coat. Oh my. How pretty is this. It's not silver, it's described on the website as oyster, which I had pshawed at until I saw this. It really is oyster. The purple doesn't even play into it except to give it a lovely duochrome feel. 

Two coats. Still sheer, not what I would want it to be yet. Note the pinky purpley feel on the pinky nail, though. There's that duochrome. And the sparkle particles, those are HOLO. Oh yes. Duochrome and holo. The butter Gods have blessed us little nail hounds. 

Three coats. Now we're talking. Note the purple on the pinky! It's kind of out of the light a little, it's at a different angle from it's friends and it's showing a whole other side to this polish. I love this. I psychotically love this. I want to buy every bottle so I never have to live without this. 

And as a result, you're getting about 97 pictures of this. 

Partial label shot, but really, look at that thumb nail. OMG. This is a polish that is done right. 

Yeah, another label shot. I usually take a couple to allow for glare and whatnot, but this gives you different angles on that thumb and they're worth seeing. 

OOOOO. Sparkly!!

It's pearly, it's holo-y, it's duo-y....what is not to love. 

OK, and check the cuticle test. Good, good. This went on beautifully. It was a trifle on the thin side, but the holo particles are not rough at all. It's almost like holo powder or something. There may have been some very slight texture but the shine. Check this out. It's just beautiful.

You can see a little of the purple here. 

I know of nothing else like this. I certainly can't dupe it from my own collection. 

Now...wear. This is brand new here. I did put a coat of Poshe top coat on this after these swatches. It wore pretty well. These nails did a lot of cleaning and dishes. As you can see below, the left hand wore well. 

Still so beautiful, it didn't fade or dull. There is some minor tip wear. I wouldn't redo it or even repair it based on this. 

The right hand, however, didn't fare as well. Probably because my nubbin was getting worn down to nothin' doing dishes like Cinderella pre glass slipper.

Believe it or not, that caught on my comforter and that's what tore this off. It might have been repairable if not for that. It just took a big ole chunk right off it. The middle finger was weakening, pic to follow, but I could have repaired that. 

You can see where it's bent and cracked and a little has come off. That's repairable. The index finger...maybe, but it wouldn't be stable. Best to redo. I've since done dinner dishes and the middle finger has given up the ghost so I'll be taking this off tonight. (It's Sunday.)

Thumb is still in great shape. Note the holo particles in these swatches! Natural light, lads. Natural light. Ah is this ever love. I am telling you. Back up worthy and you know I never say that. Well, next to never. 

Just another shot of the loveliness in natural light. So glad I had some sun today!

The other thumb to show lack of wear. I think if I hadn't been doing so much as far as dishes and general cleaning this mani would have gone another couple of days with just some babying. As it is, it wore 4. Not bad at all. 

OK. Last one. 

I hope you like this one as much as I do. I will definitely be wearing this again. It's so elegant but edgy, understated but not...you just have to look a little harder. If you just glanced at this you'd see a pearly grey or silver. It bears closer inspection. 

Happy Happy Talons!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

butter LONDON - Disco Biscuit - ARG!!!

I mentioned a disappointment, didn't I? Yeah. Pretty sure I did. This is it. I'm so sorry to say it because the bottle of polish is stunning and I mean jaw dropping, drooling in your shoes stunning. What we get instead is...a mess. It has potential, but not the potential I'd hoped. Let's go to the map!

OK. That takes sheer to a whole new level. I am not a huge fan of sheers. I simply don't really like them. This reminds me of an old Avon sheer I wore all the time as a kid because Moms felt that little girls shouldn't wear real polish, but sheers were ladylike enough for a little girl.

What does two coats do?
Ummmm, not a lot. And note the texture of this. Rough to say the least, and note the weird lack of shine. What is up with this? OK, a top coat can fix rough and rubberized finish, which....should something with glitter/holo particles ever be less than shiny? Yeah, OK, ManGlaze does it well, but that's for men. This is not.

Three coats annnnnnd, we don't appear to be making much progress. **blows bangs out of eyes** In the immortal words of the Germans: "Scheisse".

Well, we're going in the wrong direction. Maybe this is meant to be a top coat. What can I layer it over....hmmm.....

Queen Vic. It's close. I thought Snog but this is too purple. I went with Queen Vic. And Nail Foundation, just for a comparison.

The before shot. Index finger is two coats Nail Foundation, middle finger is two coats butter LONDON Queen Vic.

Hm. Queen Vic by a landslide. On Nail Foundation Disco Biscuit still looks sheer and icky. On Queen Vic, though, now we're talking. Do I have a better picture? I hope.

Meh. You can see the similarity of color here, and you can see some of the potential. Maybe two coats of Disco Biscuit would have been better, but I didn't do it. How about Queen Vic there, though. Pretty!

OK. So...lots of potential lost. This looks like it wasn't even tested. Seriously? I could see where you might have a lot of fun layering this, but it's really a mess. The bottle doesn't translate to the nail at all. I was so disappointed. So now I have a top coat for other things, that will require a clear top coat. Dang. I had really high hopes for this.

Just so you can see what you do actually get by way of sparkle in this I snapped the pad I used to remove it.

There is quite a lot happening there. Pink, blue, purple...it just gets buried under that hot pink jelly lacquer. You can see some of it, but it's not like this.

Tomorrow we will see if we have a similar let down with Knackered.

Happier Talons!