Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Illamasqua I'm Perfection Mottle. Is Perfection.

Mottle is making the blog rounds and though I wore this weeks ago, right after receiving it from Illamasqua (via Belgium...the Royal Mail's issues with nail polish not standing in Illamasqua's way!) I didn't get it blogged until now so I'm a little late to the party. I have posts of the other colors coming up soon. As usual, the internet usage is at a premium so I have to do what I can. ((Shakes fist at ISP and it's stupid usage caps))

The I'm Perfection collection is inspired by our very natural need to accept ourselves as we are, flaws and all, and to acknowledge the fact that human imperfection is, in fact, beautiful. If you've ever seen those visual experiments where they make a human face perfectly symmetrical using something like photoshop, you'll understand this even more fully. Perfect symmetry in another human face is...weird! We are not used to it. I have plenty of flaws and like a lot of women they are what I see when I look in the mirror,  but also...I do acknowledge that it is my own unique heritage that make me look as I do. Red hair from my Irish grandmother, high cheek bones and grey eyes from my American Indian grandfather (who I also don't really thank for my very high forehead), steadiness and strength from the German and Scots on my father's side and my steely temper from his Welsh roots. Maybe those are stereotypes, but I don't mean any of them to be insulting. More admiring. The American Indian looks I cannot completely hide behind the German-Irish-Scotch and Welsh white skin adds a touch of the exotic. Even I will acknowledge this. While I'm not exactly pretty, I am somewhat exotic. And I somehow manage to look like 3 of 4 grandparents. And Ingrid Bergman, if you believe my mother which...you really probably shouldn't.

The moral of my ramblings is that imperfection is actually perfect. And this collection of nail lacquers perfectly captures that beauty. Plus the formula and application are nothing short of freaking perfect. Not sure how they did it, but they did.

Mottle is the green of the set of five. This was taken of fresh polish by electric lighting. I have some sunlight pics coming up. This is very true to color, I'm pleased. You can see that there are varying sizes of black glitter here with the larger being hexagonal in shape, which always adds interest.

Little blurry of the nail, but the label is the thing, it has little speckles on it! I know I'm a dork but these kinds of details turn my crank. It's attention to the little things, it's indicative that Illamasqua understands it's client base and how we operate. Love it. It's also this kind of attention that suggests you're getting quality for your money, which you certainly are. Illamasqua is one of my favorite beauty brands hands down.
Here's the wear. This is about 7 days, I think. I'll explain what I did at the end, as usual. I had to take this off because the right hand was wearing much worse than the left, I'll show you here in a sec.
The amazing thing about this polish is that it applies so beautifully, it's miraculous. The glitter perfectly balances in the lacquer, there is no maneuvering this around, it just glides on. It's meant to be random and it applies that way. Somehow they built a perfectly opaque polish that doesn't overwhelm the glitter, but instead enhances it. It's magical.

In other words, rather than spending a lot of time jockeying your glitter around you just paint this on like a standard lacquer. It does all the work. Maybe I was just fortunate, but I didn't have to use an orange stick to push any particles back on, either.

Here's the right hand, massive chip and some cuticle lifting up there. It was just time go, but it lasted a solid week.

The other wear isn't bad. I caught the pointer nail on my sweater and this pulled off. I was kinda irritated, but it let me try a new brand after so...it's all good! That'll be coming up.

The parting shot. It still looks pretty good.

This is attention getting. People will ask you about it. One of the girls at work that I rarely speak to stopped me to look at it. People at the grocery store looked at me oddly...which I like. Some thought it was nail art of some odd design. It's very pretty.

Something about Mottle draws you to it. It's not the prettiest shade in the collection, I don't think, but it's magnetic. Not in that you maneuver it around with a magnet, but that you are drawn to it. Dang, but you have to be specific these days!

Here's what I did:

1 coat Growth Spurt
2 coats Mottle, though it didn't really need it. A thick coat will do ya, but I think it adds depth.
2 coats Gelous
1 coat Seche Vite

If you're interested in this at all, I'd pick it up when you find it. I always get mine from Illamasqua.com if I can manage it at all, and they have it in stock, but do what you're most comfortable with.

Happy Talons!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's St Pat's! And other various musings

As a redhead with a diabolically Irish name, St. Pat's has a special place in me heart.. Even a middle name composed of a suitably Irish Catholic saint and no, I won't tell you which one, I hate it. I was convinced for years my mother had concocted it from her imagination just to torture me. And an Irish grandmother of whom I have only vague memories except she bought me a set of bone china which I loved because it quote had horses on it end quote, and that she smoked like a chimney. I love Irish cooking, mainly because it boasts the advantages of things like cabbage and scones, dream of visiting the place, and rarely bother with green on the special snake free day because, let's face it, I'm a redhead with an Irish name. I never feel I need to prove a thing. But for some reason this year, possibly because I am so completely unhappy a lot of the time because of my job and other things, I have embraced the holiday with open arms. I have green toes, green nails and a corned beef in the fridge just waiting to be paired with some cabbage. Yes, I still eat meat. I struggle with being at the top of the food chain, but also feel I have to accept the working of Mother Nature, but that does not mean I think animals are here to be tortured so I can sparkle and shine. That's just silly to me. Trust me, the meat thing is a struggle more than you know, but I live with omnivores and vegetarianism isn't a viable option. Regardless...I have a very pretty and I think perfect green for the holiday to show you. Then I'm going to go watch movies like Intermission and Boondock Saints. And that one about the matchmakers...maybe it's called that, I don't remember, it's hiding the massive DVD library I've built over the years, but I'll find it! It's set in Ireland! Everything is green and gorgeous and given that winter here has decided to hold on like grim death, green and gorgeous is what I need to see.

So, I give you Swinger from butterLondon!
This is a lovely grass green jelly base with a very dense glitter. The glitter is green, sporting some larger green particles of glitter, and with some gold thrown in for good measure. This is the leprechaun, the pot, the gold and the amazing shimmer all in one little glass bottle.

This took awhile to get where I was thrilled with it as far as coverage. It's dense, but I had VNL until three coats, which is what this is. It's so sparkly and pretty and I think the perfect green for St. Pat's.

All of these were taken in natural sunlight through the window. It's a bit overcast, but bright enough the flash never tried to go off. I let the autoedit thing on Picasa fix just this one picture. It's darker than the real thing, but it shows the glitter so nicely I left it. This really is more like the other shots in true color. As you can see, I had no trouble controlling this, it went on nicely and wanted to build up. I wanted thinner coats to help suspend the glitter and it worked well. Two coats may have been just fine, but I'm glad I did three. Look at the depth, here! The gold in it really is what adds that special feel, without it, it wouldn't have nearly as much dimension, I don't think.

I was trying to get you a close up of the glitter, which sort of succeeds here. You can see some of the larger pieces and the gold.
So pretty!

I dread removing this, but hopefully that's a week away. Here's the mechanics:

1 coat Nailtiques 2 Extra (I am fighting a peeling problem right now)
1 coat Growth Spurt base coat from the fine people who bring us Gelous. I'm liking this base coat a lot. Like the price even more.
3 coats butterLondon Swinger
2 coats Gelous top coat, Swinger was a top coat eater
1 coat Seche Vite to dry it all up

That is probably my one complaint about Swinger, it ate top coat. However, Gelous is perfect in those situations and I am finding that if I put on two coats of Gelous and one coat of Seche to force it to fdry (Gelous doesn't like to dry, lads. Doesn't like it a'tall.) then I can get 7-8 days of wear. The last manicure I did, which was Models Own Zest A Peal, which I didn't swatch for some reason, I will some time, I promise cause it's pretty! lasted approximately 7 solid days. I had to take it off to go to my manicure and it had just chipped. I actually got tired of it.

So I'd like o thank all of you other bloggers out there who introduced me to this little $5 wonder and to Kell who found out they're bunny safe.

Swinger, the St. Patrick's Day for your nails!

Or whenever, really...but I found it perfect for my Irish roots.

Happy Talons!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Catherine Arley - Holo Goodness

Catherine Arley polishes are inexpensive and fun. They take a good while to receive as they come from, get this, Eastern Europe. But they're Turkish. And the labels are in Cyrillic...but who cares? That's what the global economy is all about. Inexplicable acquisition of stuff from far away lands. Which is also pretty! I believe they are also cruelty free, so that falls in my area. I do the best I can. I slip...but I try.

I believe this one is 673. I wish they had names but they don't. So I choose to call this Grape Holo Goodness. Because it's grape, and holo, and good.

This swatch REALLY shows off the holo, I was so pleased with it. Look at all those little shimmery particles! Yummy.

I love the color of this, it's sort of muted but the sparkle makes it so special.

Kinda blurry but this is very much like what you would see in just normal life. But in focus. I hope. Or you need glasses. Whichever. But the holo isn't crazy in your face, it's pretty, it's an added dimension of shimmer and pop without the impossible to remove so you end up looking like a Vegas showgirl glitter.

And look at those cuticles, would ya? I'm not that good. This polish is, though.

Nice creamy application, gorgeous color, bunny safe (or so I'm given to understand from other bloggers), so what's not to love? Certainly not the price tag, which was something like $3.50 US when I bought mine? I think? It's been awhile.

I really love this. Look at the pretty jelly base coat with all those silver pink, blue, purple effects happening. Unless you're a straight up creme girl, and I know you're out there, you have to really like this. Or at least appreciate it.

The parting shot and it's a good one. These pictures were not taken in natural light, this was my desk lamp, for the record.

You can see some minimal wear. If past experience can be relied on, these wear quite well anyways, but I wore this with Gelous. I've been working with that, trying stuff out with it. The next mani I have to show you lasted a full 6 days before a glitter particle caught on my sweater and cause a chip. This wore probably 5 but I did a little different. I'm still experimenting. To all you who have gone before and suggested Gelous then a top coat I thank you. I was pretty unimpressed until I tried that and while I did try it before I read it, I was happy to have it confirmed by other nail experimentiosi that it was the way to go. I wasn't a flawless experiment but it yielded good results.

So the mechanics of this:

Growth Spurt (by Cosmetics Design Group who make Gelous, they are cruelty free, it was confirmed by Kelly at Kell's DIY Nails. Check her blog here: http://kellsdiynails.blogspot.com Where Kell talks about her email and while you're at it, read her blog, she's great!)

K, starting over because I get sidetracked easier than a sidewinder.

1 coat Growth Spurt
2 Coats Catherine Arley 673
1 Coat Gelous (Which never appears to really dry)
1 coat Seche Vite (Which does)

It wore so well. It's true. You guys have been singing the praises of Gelous and you're right. My Sally was sold out when I caved and decided to buy some but my next trip they had it and I bought two plus Growth Spurt, which I had hoped would help with my little peeling problem, that Deborah Lippmann's Coat of Arms didn't help. Not so far, but I'm sure I have some growing out to do, too. My nails do seem some stronger, though so we'll see. It takes a good while for anything to work, even vitamins, which I take for my nails pretty religiously, so time will tell.

I hope you like it! I think you can still get it. You could when I checked a little while ago, meaning a couple weeks.

Happy Talons!

Friday, March 8, 2013

butterLondon Starkers Collection - Tea and Toast

Tea and Toast is an intriguing color to me. It's described as a rich tan, which is pretty apt. It's the darkest of the collection and I think the most wearable on the most skin tones. It's dark, rich, but still under-stated and neutral without being bland.

 I really like this. It has some grey in it, which is what gives it that toned down feel, it's casual...I can see this going from jeans and a t to dinner at a fancy joint. It will go with every single thing in your wardrobe and still be flattering.

You can see the grey in it a little better here. Isn't this pretty? It reminds me a mocha.

This is really flattering on me. MDAMO wasn't so impressed, he said yeah..it's pretty. He doesn't care for neutrals. I think of them all this looks the best on me but I think it's going to work on most everyone. On more fair skin it just gives a larger contrast, obviously, but on darker complexions it should act more as a nude.

It looks more putty here, that's the grey coming to bear. I love the richness of this, the feel of it.

Definitely my fave of this group.

I picked mine up at butterLondon because if you've read me for any length of time, you know I like to go straight to the source. Are you planning to pick these up?

Happy Talons!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

butterLondon Shandy...the nude for the apricot people

Shandy is listed as "opaque light apricot cream" on the butterLondon website. I don't know any opaque light apricot colored people. As a part of the Starkers collection...it seems odd to me. It's pretty, but I guess this is exactly what I meant when I said this collection isn't trying to be a nude for every nude, but is trying to capture the essence of nudes.

That all aside, it's really pretty and wearable, office appropriate, even if you're not apricot colored. I don't think it's particularly apricot, either, as apricots are orangey aren't they? I love them...especially dried. Those are just joy in a little shriveled package.

I guess if you have less red in your skin tone than I do then this might work really well on you. It kind of reminds me of a doll's coloring. You can see how light and glowy it is, I really like it, even though on me it's not the greatest.

The label shot, which is iffy, but the nails are good. This looks very lit up, it's nice.

Another label shot, less fuzzy and better lit. Pretty neutral color, lighter than the blah beiges, still office ready and kind of elegant and fun.

This doesn't give me the redness that it could have, it's kind of subdued. You can see I didn't have any application problems aside from my own messiness. This was very well behaved.

You can see it wanted to get a little thick on the ring finger. A polish this opaque has a lot of pigment in it, it takes a little care, but just pay attention. It's not difficult to work with.

Last shot, you can see the peach in nude here. Very nice. 

You like? 

Happy Talons!

Monday, March 4, 2013

butterLondon the Starkers collection - Crumpet

Pantone Universe may have declared the color of the year to be emerald but the nail polish companies weren't listening. This Spring we have a ton of pastels and a ton of nudes. Some of them are marching to their own drummer, like China Glaze with it's Glitz collection, and the gorgeous and unique Illamasqua I'Mperfection collection (coming up on this blog!) but all the same, lots of pastels and nudes.
butter's collection called "Starkers", which is just a funny word to me, is a small set of three nude like shades that I don't think try to be a true nude, but try to capture the essence without trying to satisfy every single skin tone out there. That wouldn't even be possible, despite what the foundation adverts try to convince us of. None of these are true nude on me, the closest I have ever seen to that being Deborah Lippmann's Careless Whisper, and that's not even dead on. I don't sparkle. I sometimes wish I did...but I'm just ordinary.

The first I'm going to show you is Crumpet, which is described by butter as "Opaque warm caramel cream", which is a really description.

I had some lighting problems so some of these pictures are generally dark, but I tried to make sure the polish was pretty true to color and this is, especially in the bottle there. It translated slightly lighter on me. (See where my nails were peeling? Gel Labs didn't help my nails much. I had hope, but it didn't work on me. Nothing against the system, most things don't work like they should on me.)
I kept both bottle shots because they were both accurate in their own way. You can see here, just my shifting the position of my fingers changes the look of the color slightly. It's a trick of the light, but it's not untrue to life, really. Our perception changes with the illumination, in polish as in all things!
Polish n Philosophy...one of the many services I provide. But it's truth, emmaright?

This is really pretty and very wearable no matter how conservative your office is. Surprisingly the milky cream tone of this doesn't give me lobster paws. If you are practically glow in the dark like me, this one is a nice neutral for you.

Here's the label for you, just for scuzz. It's slightly blurry...I was having all kinds of issues.

Here we go. You can see where I was being careful and not flooding the cuticle, that this was easy to apply and control. It's a little lobsterry here, but nothing bad. Plus, this was a picture I didn't let the autocorrect clean up. It was bad. It's actually...wood colored...like my desk. Weird.

Last one. this shows you that it does go opaque fully in two coats , that the color has a definite cream feel, not in the texture but the color. Ever seen the cream on raw milk? It has this feel to it, a kind of rich and thick viscosity.
I feel like I'm not making sense. I hope that makes sense.

Like it? Have you checked these out? I don't know that they've advertised them much. I got an email because I'm a "Bezzie Mate" which just means I'm signed up for their promotions, and it's on their home page, but I haven't seen these around much.

Thought or observations?

Happy Talons!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Illamasqua - Prosperity

I had to throw in something completely off the last 9 months of posts. An Illamasqua is always good for shaking things up.

Prosperity is a gorgeous deep amethyst purple from the rubber finish collection. I really liked these, the finish was fun, a bit more gloss than the standard matte, and the colors were super saturated.

I took a lot of shots of this, including solitary bottle shots. I don't know why, really...to show you the cap? Instead of the classic glossy black cap these had matte rubber feel caps, which was kind of nice as they gave you some grip to pull them off.

Here's the label side. I love these bottles. There is something monolithic about them. I've read some criticism of the Illamasqua packaging, but I like it.

About a year ago? Don't quote me. Illamasqua started doing this kind of lovely thing where the label sticker on the top of the box is in a color similar to the polish itself, probably in recognition of how we hoarders store our stuff in drawers of one kind of another, and how they're kind of packed in there. Mine tend to be really tidy and often I know exactly what they are by the names, but this is still nice. Saves us from having to pull out each bottle.

I also really appreciate the little view window in the box. While I appreciate that Lippmanns are in a clear box, those stupid clear boxes are manicure and nail killers, ironically. Considering Lippmann is a brand that should be good for your nails, the boxes will tear right through them. BMWWU uses her dental tool/cuticle pusher to open them. I often use an orange stick. I appreciate the classic card stock paper box. Rescue Beauty still uses those, Illamasqua, obviously...butters, if you buy them from butter and get several polishes will come packed three to a box in a little light weight cardboard box.
Why am I babbling about boxes? No idea.

As you can see, this is several days of wear. This is natural sunlight through the window and is exceptionally true to color. I had put a top coat on these, I was experimenting. I will put my old mechanics at the bottom of this post. This is the actual finish of the polish, though.
Some tip wear, nothing I couldn't have repaired, but as we know I have the attention span of a carrot, particularly with things like nail polish and sometimes I don't repair just because I'm ready for something new. It's interesting that this was also chipping on the cuticle side. I wonder what I did wrong there.

This is such a pretty color. I love these deep amethysts. There is a hint of the cobalt in this. It's highly pigmented and because of the finish it's rather thick, but not difficult to manage. It goes on really nicely.

A little close up. It shows the rubber finish nicely. The rubber finish does successfully look like shiny PVC or something of that nature. It's slightly soft and has a neat feel to it once it's dry. It doesn't catch on softer fabrics like it's name sake would so it's not uncomfortable to wear or anything, but it does have a softer feel than the hardness of a regular polish.

I get really nervous and pick at my fingers. It's a bad habit. I also need to get more lotion on! Yikes! But the color is the important thing! So lovely. It looks like you could dive into it. As you can see, this is my right hand. Similar wear on both.

The wear on the right is a little less and a little more even, interestingly. Not so much on the cuticle side. Odd.

The mechanics of this were:

1 coat Deborah Lippmann Coat of Arms Gel Labs base coat
2 coats Illamasqua prosperity
1 coat Deborah Lippmann Shining Armor Gel Labs top coat

Which didn't wear well at all. Maybe that's what is happening on those cuticles. It didn't work. They didn't play well together, I suspect because of that rubber finish. It wanted to peel right off. I repaired and then did a coat of Seche Vite over this. Then another coat of Prosperity to put the finish back. That wore for several days, maybe five? I'm thinking?

The Gel Labs products are nice, but I don't find they behave a lot differently from a standard base and top coat and my nails started peeling again badly under it. Not while I was wearing it...but when I would remove the polish, which does come off really nicely if you follow Miss Lipp's instructions, my nails would want to peel then. I've stopped using it for now. I really suspect some of the issues I had with this were the rubber finish not liking that Shining Armor. Once I sealed it all together with Seche, it worked out OK.

In a nut shell, great color, fun finish and decent wear. What's not to love?

Happy Talons!