Friday, July 29, 2011

Matte Top Coat Comparison

After looking for the Hard Candy matte top coat since last fall, I finally found it at my local Walmart. I love Essie Matte to Go, but as the Hard Candy top coat was $4 rather than $10, I was eager to try it out. I bought both bottles they had (hey, both of them together were still less than one bottle of the Essie!) and hurried home to test it out. I wanted to compare the top coats over both a matte polish and a shimmer polish, so I used NYX Silver Plum, which I was already wearing, and Orly Enchanted Forest.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Can you guess which is which? Left to right, I used Essie, Hard Candy, Essie, Hard Candy. As you can tell, especially in the first picture, Essie makes both polishes a bit more matte than the Hard Candy. In real life, though, the difference was negligible. I couldn't even tell which was more matte with my hand at arm's length from my face, and once you put on lotion a couple times, there probably wouldn't be any difference at all. And for less than half the price of Essie Matte About You? I'll go with the Hard Candy from now on if I can find it. Two bottles ought to last me a while. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pink Wednesday: Cracked Pink Dots

I know, it's a terrible post title . . . however, it's a pretty good mani, if I do say so myself. It's a pink version of a manicure I did back in April, while I was on a choir trip. This time, however, I added the crackle right away instead of wearing the dots on their own for a while. I've forgotten precisely what pinks I used (I've been really bad about writing this stuff down lately), but I think I used Essie Exotic Liras, Love My Nails Tropical Fruit, Sinful Colors Beautiful Girl, and Sinful Colors Pink Forever. I used a base of Wet 'n' Wild White Creme and added China Glaze Black Mesh on the top.

indoors, artificial light

This ended up looking a bit like pink camo, which wasn't what I intended, but it makes me want to try it with green. For that matter, I'd like to try it with just about any color combination - I imagine silver and gold dots with black crackle would look cool as well. I really like the idea of covering nail art in crackle in general, too; I think it's a good strategy for people who are new to nail art, for a quick mani refresher, or for when you want to do something that looks complicated but don't have much time. At any rate, I think Regina would approve, don't you? Have a great day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I've Gone Bananas

It's really true . . . as I'm writing this, I'm trying to juggle scheduling blog posts, making sure I have all the pieces of a scholarship to send in this afternoon, and packing for the trip (which I'll be on when you read this - woohoo!). As you can probably imagine, I'm going a bit crazy. What manicure, then, would be more appropriate than one with bananas? This is the nail art I added on top of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Green with Envy. I copied it from the "Bananarama" post on Emily's Nail Files. Though she hasn't done a tutorial, I sort of managed to pull off my own version.

outdoors, sunlight

My version isn't nearly as good as hers, of course, but I think I did pretty well. I do hate how I placed the bananas on my ring finger, though . . . I have absolutely no idea why I did that. I used Nubar nail art pens in yellow and black, and a toothpick with American Apparel Butter on it for the paler yellow. I did actually wear this out in public, as well, which a lot of people might not do. What can I say? I will wear all sorts of crazy nail art without blinking an eye - though perhaps not for a job interview. ;) Would you wear something this "bananas" out in public?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Repost: China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise

China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise is not only my first China Glaze polish, but one of the earlier polishes I showed on my blog, as well as my first neon. Though it well deserves all of those "firsts," it definitely deserves a better blog post than I gave it the last time around. I'm not linking to the first one, but you can find it at your own peril - I really had no clue what I was doing back then. I used three coats.

outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Probably because it's a neon, I couldn't get my camera to accurately capture the color of Turned Up Turquoise - it's more of a greenish teal in real life. However, it truly is a gorgeous color, and I love the finish. I only have two neon shimmers for some reason, but I definitely need to get more. After wearing Turned Up Turquoise for a little while, I added a coat of Nubar 2010 and Essie Matte About You. Funnily enough, this actually made the color of Turned Up Turquoise show up a tiny bit more accurately in the photos.

 outdoors, cloudy
outdoors, cloudy

I would definitely do this combination again . . . I love cool colors with warm-colored glitter or flakie top coats. What do you think?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Let's Shatter Breast Cancer!

OPI Announces New Pink Shatter: Pink of Hearts Nail Lacquer to Support
Susan G. Komen for the Cure®

OPI launches the limited edition Pink Shatter: Pink of Hearts Nail Lacquer to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure® in its promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever.  The 2011 Pink of Hearts edition will follow in the footsteps of its namesake 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Nail Lacquers in raising awareness of breast cancer for the fifth year in a row, during the months of September and October (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month).  Unlike previous shade incarnations, this year’s Pink of Hearts Nail Lacquer marks the debut of fan-favorite Shatter coat in OPI’s first pink shade. 

“We are continuing to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the hopes of increasing breast cancer awareness, while inspiring and empowering women.  The organization’s dedication to this cause is unwavering,” remarks Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI Executive VP & Artistic Director.  “OPI is proud to join with Susan G. Komen for the fifth consecutive year to offer Pink Shatter: Pink of Hearts.  By launching our first-ever Pink Shatter coat, we hope this exciting new textured hue will generate lots of awareness for this cause.”

Each bottle of Pink Shatter: Pink of Hearts has a special pink-ribbon tag and pink cap wrap to call attention to breast cancer awareness.  OPI will also be making its annual donation of $25,000 to Komen for the Cure. Pink Shatter coat contains no DBP, Toluene, or Formaldehyde, and it also features OPI’s exclusive ProWide™ Brush for the ultimate in application.

The limited edition Pink Shatter: Pink of Hearts will be available throughout the months of September and October 2011 at Professional Salons, including Beauty Brands, Beauty First, Chatters, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Pure Beauty, Regis, Trade Secret, and ULTA, for $8.50 ($10.95 CAN) suggested retail for each Nail Lacquer. 

For more information, please call 800-341-9999 or visit Follow OPI on Twitter @OPI_PRODUCTS and become a Facebook fan!


About Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is now the world’s largest breast cancer organization and the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer with more than $1.9 billion invested to date. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pink Wednesday: NYX Silver Plum

NYX Silver Plum is another polish that I got in a giveaway and let sit in my untried box for far too long. It's more of a pink plum than a purple plum, but it's quite pretty. Unlike yesterday's sour grape, Milani Breezy, I had no trouble with the formula of this one. I used three coats.

outdoors, sunlight

I took a picture in the shade as well, but didn't realize it was blurry until I'd already taken Silver Plum off. I don't have much else to say about Silver Plum . . . it's a pretty color, but not really my type, so I've added it to my swap list on MUA. It's only been used this once, so if you're interested, let me know!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Milani Breezy

Milani Breezy is a nail polish that I've had in my untried bucket for quite a while. I got it in a giveaway (I can't remember whose, sorry) and sort of forgot about it - or, when I saw it in my untrieds, there was always something I wanted to try more. I'm determined to cut down my untried polishes significantly before I move to college, though, so I finally went for it yesterday evening.

First of all, you should know that Breezy is very sheer and dries slowly. I used five coats with top coat, letting each coat dry most of the way before adding the next (which took forever), then went to bed (because it was so darn late by the time I got done waiting for the coats to dry). I was very careful with where I put my hands when I laid down, but when I woke up in the morning, terrible sheet prints were on every nail. In some cases, the polish had even been pushed to one side of the nail. Because I didn't have time to redo a full manicure, I buffed the bumpiness down, then added another coat of Breezy and top coat. Since it's a sheer shimmer, though, you can still see where some of the sheet prints were. Oh, and guess what? Six coats, and still not completely opaque.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

It's a pretty color on the nail, and I like it better than I thought I would in the bottle. However, this one is just too much trouble for me. Maybe if I had all day to paint my nails it would be worth it, but I don't, and it's not. There are plenty of blue shimmers out there that aren't such a pain, so I'd recommend spending your money on one of those. That said, if you are interested in owning a bottle of Breezy, I've listed it for swapping on MakeupAlley - my username's neverunpolished.

I'm leaving on Thursday for Greece thanks to Make-a-Wish, and I won't be back home until next Saturday or Sunday (probably Sunday). I'll be scheduling posts in the meantime, and I might even post a picture or two of Greece from my phone if I get a chance. However, I won't probably have posts scheduled for every day - I do still have to pack, after all!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Neon Splatter

Hello, there! Today's post is about the first splatter mani I ever tried. I'd wanted to try one for a while, because although the method is nearly as messy as water marbling, it's also a lot easier. I'm not going to do a tutorial because there are a lot of good ones out there, and I'm sure you can find one that will work for you. I used a base of't-remember-the-name-of-and-I-didn't-put-it-on-my-spreadsheet (I'll edit to add the name when I get home) over Wet n Wild White Creme, then added the splatter in Icing Electric Feeling and China Glaze Kiwi Cool-ada.

 outdoors, sunlight
 outdoors, shade
indoors, artificial light

I was very happy with the way this turned out. It's a good thing I did the green before the blue, because Kiwi Cool-ada is a bit thinner than Electric Feeling, which, as you can see, made it splatter in a less defined pattern on some nails. I should note that Electric Feeling is a neon blue, and is much brighter than the pictures show - I think the vibrance of the yellow jumped out at the camera so much that it sort of overpowered the blue.

Have you tried a splatter mani yet? Personally, I can't wait to do it again. As soon as I get a neon orange polish, I'll be doing a warm-colored version of this with yellow, orange, and pink.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Learned and Lacquered: Biotin

Personally, I avoid taking vitamins. I take enough prescription medications already, so I'm not too keen to add any more in if I don't really need them. However, there are several different vitamins and nutrients that have been shown - though there are have only been a few studies, so it's not by any means guaranteed - to help nail health and growth. Zinc, vitamin E, silicon, iron, and L-cysteine have all been reported to help nail health, but today I'm going to focus on biotin.
Biotin, probably the most well-known "nail health pill," is actually vitamin H. It's part of the B complex group of vitamins, which is necessary for healthy skin, hair, nails, eyes, and liver. Because biotin is water-soluble, it is not stored in the body - that means that you have to have a constant source of biotin for it to make a long-term difference.

Fortunately, there are several different sources for biotin. Some foods are sources of biotin: brewer's yeast (I like it on popcorn!), cooked eggs and egg yolks, sardines, nuts, soybeans, beans, black-eyed peas, whole grains, cauliflower, bananas, and mushrooms all contain biotin. However, it's important to remember that food processing techniques often destroy biotin, so that's yet another reason to eat more naturally grown and unprocessed foods.

Biotin is also available as a supplement, both on its own and as part of multivitamins. One issue that often comes up with taking supplements is toxicity. However, with biotin, you don't have to worry about that. Biotin has not been shown to have any side effects, even with high doses, and is considered non-toxic.

So, who should take biotin? Though biotin deficiency can occur, it is very rare, and is seen most often in people from Saudi Arabia. However, even if you don't have abnormally low levels of biotin, it can still help strengthen your nails. You may particularly want to take biotin if you are on long-term antibiotics, as those can destroy intestinal bacteria that make biotin, or if you take anticonvulsant medications.

Here's the summary:
  • Biotin, which is actually vitamin H, can help nails grow stronger and healthier.
  • Biotin can be consumed both in some foods and in over-the-counter supplements.
  • Biotin has not been shown to have any side effects, even in high doses.
  • Long-term antibiotic or anticonvulsant medication use can reduce the body's levels of biotin, in which case a supplement may be particularly advisable.
I hope you found this post both enjoyable and informative!

Friday, July 15, 2011

End of an Era

For me, the Harry Potter series ended when the last book came out. The movies have never been a huge deal for me, mostly because while it's wonderful to see the story on-screen, I get really mad at what they change and leave out. But with the last movie out, it's really over, and when I see it tonight, that particular landmark will have passed. However, I'm looking forward to Pottermore (hopefully I can get in on the beta!) much more than the last film, so I still don't really see the last movie as an end.

Anyway, today's mani is the one I had specifically planned on wearing the night I saw the movie. Though it's not the last Harry Potter mani you'll be seeing - far from it - I thought it would be particularly appropriate. The first picture shows my left hand, and the second shows my right.

indoors, artificial light
indoors, artificial light

I used Finger Paints Curator's Crimson, Orly Luxe, Nina Ultra Pro Like Butta, Orly Enchanted Forest with Nina Ultra Pro Salsa on top, China Glaze First Mate with two coats of Icing Electric Feeling on top, Nina Ultra Pro Brassi Bronze, Wet n Wild Black Creme, and Nubar nail art pens in black and white. I also used Nailene toe tip guides to tape off the stripes.

All in all, I'm quite happy with this manicure. It could've been much neater, as the macro setting on my camera clearly reveals, but the mistakes are much less obvious in person. I will say, though, I thought it was going to take me forever to get that "P" right, even with the book propped up in front of me!

If you've seen Deathly Hallows Part 2, what did you think? No spoilers, please!

I received the Nailene tip guides for review. For more information, see my disclosure policy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cult Nails Fall 2011: Hypnotic Collection

Cult Nails - Fall 2011

Available for pre-sale now through July 31, 2011
Pre-orders will ship late August / early September 
Image 1
Fall 2011 - Hypnotic Collection
The Hypnotic Collection includes 4 new shades by Cult Nails.  'In a Trance' shifts from olive green to a muted gold and has an enchanting shimmer that brings it to life.  'Enigmatic' is a purple base with silver shimmer that draws flashes of red, blue, purple, and pink sparkle in the sunlight.  'Awakening' is a muted teal that has a rich creme finish that dries to the perfect Cult Nails shine and is perfect for any skin tone and age group.  Finally, 'Hypnotize Me' lives up to it's name as an ice green sheer jelly with vibrant blue and green glitter that is marvelous on its own or layered over any color in this collection!
Cult Nails polishes retail for $10 (USD) for each 0.5 fl oz bottle; pre-sales for this collection will cost $30 (USD) for the set of 4 (plus the cost of shipping).

It's time to get HYPNOTIZED... 
321-574-8939 |

Zoya Mirrors Swatches & Review

Hello again! I am having a major freakout over here because I just found out that my local theater is in fact showing HP at midnight, so I'm trying to figure out whether or not there are still tickets and whether or not I can go. I tell you this because I may be a little fragmented in this post due to my freaking out. Anyway, Mirrors is the non-creme half of Zoya Smoke & Mirrors. I say non-creme because not all the polishes have the same finish.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

First, we have Nimue, a "smoky rich thistle metallic." A purple-grey frost, Nimue isn't the sort of polish I would tend to pick out on my own - I'm not a huge fan of frosts, and brushstrokes tend to make my stomach curl up. However, I do quite like the base color and brushstrokes are minimal, so I can definitely see myself using this as a base for layering, if perhaps not on its own. Nimue was opaque in two coats.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Marina, the second color in Mirrors, is a "smoky steel blue metallic" that, again, is more of a frost than a metallic in my opinion. I like this one a bit better than Nimue, partly because its brushstrokes are even less visible. However, the color is not something that particularly stuns me, though that's just personal preference. I used two coats.

outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Tao, a "smoky slate gray metallic," is the last of the frosty Mirrors polishes, and my favorite out of the three. It's opaque in two coats, I can see myself wearing on its own, and I do like a good gunmetal grey. It could be just me, but I think Tao has a bit of a green tint in real life, though it doesn't show up in my pictures. However, I still think I would like the first half of Mirrors infinitely more if they were in the same sort of finish as Yara and Neeka.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Oh. My. Goodness. Yara is so effing gorgeous! Zoya calls Yara a "sparkly olive green metallic," but that doesn't really capture how amazing this polish is. I adore this finish, which reminds me of Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine H, I love olive green, and I love gold glass flecks. Put it all together, and you have one amazing polish that's opaque in two coats, though it barely needs the second. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I wear this roughly two zillion times this fall.

outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

My pictures do not do Neeka, a "sparkly amethyst purple  metallic," any sort of justice. It's a grurple (what an unattractive adjective) with gold and silver glass flecks, though it's more purple than grey, as well as more purple than it looks in my photos. I used two coats, but only to cover up one bald spot on one nail - otherwise, it would've been fine with one. I'm sure you could use one thick coat and be perfectly fine. 

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Like those of Neeka, my pictures of Jem don't quite do the polish justice. A "sparkly fandango pink metallic," Jem looks like a burgundy/gold duochrome in the bottle, but is just a burgundy shimmer with some gold shimmer thrown in (though it's not as obvious as in Zoya Zara) on the nail. It's still a very pretty color, but I do feel slightly disappointed. On the bright side, it's opaque in one coat! Also, my you can probably tell, I forgot to do cleanup on this one, and I didn't feel like reswatching it. Oops.

So, that's the end of Zoya Smoke & Mirrors! To recap, my favorite out of both collections are Jana, Dree, Yara, and Neeka, and my overall favorite is definitely Yara. What do you think? Will you be buying any of these?

These samples were provided to me by the PR company for review. However, this will never influence what I say in a review. For more information, see my disclosure policy.

We Are the D.A.

If you know what the title of this post refers to, you are pretty freaking awesome. Just saying. Anyway, for my second Harry Potter nail art of the week, I decided to do one dedicated to the D.A. - that is, Dumbledore's Army. When I think of the D.A., for some reason I always think of blue and silver, maybe because the Room of Requirement in the movie has kind of blue lighting. For whatever reason, though, those are the main colors in my D.A. mani. My thumbnail is to the right, and my other four fingernails are shown below.

Both pictures were taken indoors under artificial lighting. I used Wet n Wild White Creme for the base on the thumb and China Glaze First Mate to write "D.A.." On my other fingers, I used First Mate with two coats of Icing Electric Feeling on top for the base, and on all the fingers I used Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Celeb City for the splatter.

The writing didn't turn out nearly as well as I would've liked, but I must say that the splatter looks much better than I'd hoped. This was only my second splatter mani (you'll probably see the first sometime next week), so I was very happy with how it turned out. Since SLU's colors are blue and white, I may do something similar for Welcome Week...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zoya Smoke Swatches and Review

Zoya Smoke is one half of Zoya's Fall 2011 collection set, Smoke & Mirrors. Smoke is made up of creme polishes, and Mirrors is made up of shimmers and glass-flecked polishes. I really like the concept for this collection, and there are several that I'll be adding to my "take to college" list - which, at the rate it's going, will be far too long come August 24. And now, the polishes! I did not use top coat in any of these pictures, and as you can see, they're all very shiny without it.

outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Jana is what Zoya calls a "smoky mauve quartz cream" - frankly, I'm quite sure where the quartz part comes from, but it's a very pretty color. It's not a particularly unique color, but it stands out from all the other trendy mushroom taupes for its opacity. I used one coat on all nails except the ring finger, because I dripped acetone on that one and it dulled the polish. As you can see, there's absolutely no difference in opacity between the finger with two coats and the rest. A classy, one-coat-and-done taupe? I'm definitely taking this one to college.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Petra, a "smoky eggplant mauve cream," is a very pretty purpley, greyish, brownish, mauvey polish that's hard to define when you see it in person - and I think that's partly what I like about it. In some lights it looks mostly grey, but in different light, it takes on different tones. I did use two coats with this one, but it barely needed the second.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Look at that shine! If I didn't know this didn't have top coat, I'm not sure I'd believe it. Anyway, Codie is a "smoky brown taupe cream," though I'm not sure I agree with Zoya on the taupe part - taupe is grey tinged with brown, and if this has any grey in it, I'm missing it. This is probably the darkest brown I own, and I think I prefer them a little lighter, à la Barielle Coco Bar. I used two coats.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Zoya calls Anja a "smoky palatinate purple cream" - I call it lovely. Though it doesn't really have any relevance to the polish itself, I do like that they used "palatinate" in the description. I used one coat of Anja here, which suited me just fine. My only (slight) complaint is that I had one too-long, slightly wonky bristle in Anja's brush, but I trimmed it down and the brush works perfectly normally now.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Cynthia is a "smoky Prussian blue cream" that reminds me of a considerably more blackened American Apparel Peacock. I keep getting this one mixed up with Anja, because I feel like the one that's described as Prussian should have the Russian name. Anyway, that's irrelevant as well - Cynthia is a lovely color, and perfect for those of you who are particularly fond of vampy polishes. It's a bit too dark for my taste, but I like the touch of teal it has. Cynthia is opaque in two coats.

 outdoors, sunlight
outdoors, shade

Dree is the final polish in Smoke, and by far my favorite. A "smoky camouflage green cream," Dree is the kind of color I just can't resist - I just can't resist a good khaki green, so I'll definitely be carting this one off to SLU as well. Dree reaches opacity with two coats - I baaarely needed the second, but it is a tad sheer without it, so I do recommend two coats. Like all the others, it's uncannily glassy without top coat. I'm in love.

I planned on doing more Harry Potter nail art today, but when the Smoke & Mirrors package arrived, I ended up spending all my free time at home swatching them instead. I will still be doing the nail art I'd planned (even though it's almost 11:00...eek!), but I'm not sure I'll be able to get it up tonight.

Also, I'm planning on doing a comparison post for these polishes at some point (I'd do one for Mirrors, too, but I honestly can't think of any really similar colors in my collection), so if you have any suggestions, please put them in the comments, shoot me an email, or sent me a tweet. Thanks for reading!

These samples were provided to me by the PR company for review. However, this will never influence what I say in a review. For more information, see my disclosure policy.