Aug 31, 2012

NYC Sidewalkers & Kiko Steel Grey Gradient (Grey-dient?)

Grey is one of those colors that always works, in my opinion. It can make a statement without being harsh, it can look sophisticated and cozy at the same time, it's interesting on it's own and also makes a great backdrop for other colors to pop. 

Sadly, grey is a minority in my stash. Overpowered by all different shades of red and behind blue, green and even yellow, there was one lonely bottle of grey polish in my drawers. Until I brought home Steel Grey by Kiko. The two came together and formed a magnificent manicure, ready to take over the world.. I mean, my nails.

Here is a swatch of my base color, NYC Sidewalkers:

It's a light to medium grey, that might have lean a little blue in some lighting or next to some colors.  The formula was flawfree, if I'd had a steadier hand that day, I might have gotten away with only one coat. But since I'm a shaky mess and also a creature of habit - this is two coats plus topcoat under artificial light. 

Then I got out Kiko Steel Grey and sponged it about half way up my nail. I also added a little flower from the Koad m50 plate on my ring finger. It was hiding most of the time, but I liked when I got a glimpse of it.

I really like the gradient from rich rainbow sparkles to a calm cream, and also that Steel Grey is darker than Sidewalkers. It made the whole mani more interesting when I wasn't out in the sun. Now I might have to do this with all the Kiko holos, can't wait for a nude holo gradient!

*** In other news, my cuticles have a hard time getting used to swatching an switching polish often and clean ups with pure acetone. Until now I've used whatever kind of cream I had on hand (haha!) to use on my hands, but I think I have to invest in a real heavy duty hand cream. Just know that I'm aware of the sad state of my cuticles and on looking to find a solution.

Aug 29, 2012

Yes Love #44

Yes Love is a chinese brand I found at the spanish equivalent of dollar stores. These stores are magical, let me tell you. They have all the things from kitchen equipment over hardware to craft supplies, and of course nail polish. Shelves are often stacked with three tiers of different formulas and colors, all made in China and none of them free of the Big-3. 

The formula is nothing short of amazing. Like the perfect fuchsia jelly that she is, she sits where you put her, shows no sign of streaks, and layers from sheer goodness to deeply opaque in just three coats. This is two coats in the sun with a coat of inm Out the Door on top.

Yes Love polishes come in bottles of all shapes, this one obviously inspired by Deborah Lippmann. The rose gold colored cap is beautiful and adds a kitschy twist, but is a real fingerprint magnet. 

I think this is a really versatile polish and I can't wait to try a glitter sandwich with it!

Red Roses

I love stamping my nails. It's what has really gotten me into nail art again. A couple of months ago, my great future mother in law gifted me a Konad stamping kit with stamper, scraper, two image plates and three Konad stamping polishes, along with one Bundle Monster plate that she added. 

When I want some easy nail art, I just grab my stamping kit and go to town on my nails. Here I used Essie Topless & Barefoot as a base, stamped an image from the Konad m76 plate in black, and filled out the flowers with a red jelly I frankened. The topcoat I used was inm Out the Door.

The Essence Matte Black stamping polish I used shows through the red jelly, so I wasn't very concerned with my application. I just used a dotting tool for the red. 

Aug 25, 2012

Catrice Dirty Berry

I saw Dirty Berry numerous times in the store and it just did nothing for me. I thought the name was funny (there has got to be some sort of innuendo in there, right?), but a weird murky purple with silver shimmer? It didn't impress me at all under the mall lights. 

One night I happened upon a swatch of a purple scattered holo by Catrice and wondered how I'd never heard of this before. It's relatively hard to find any brand that even does holos here, especially in a drugstore. Yeah, it was this polish right there. The one that got a little giggle whenever I looked at the name, before I placed it back on the shelf. 

Needless to say, I had to go back and get it. So here we are:

Dirty Berry needs two coats for full opacity and the formula is great. It's neither thick nor runny and levels itself nicely. I do have to admit that the holo is kind of shy in this one. Bright sunlight is going to give you the best sparkles. 

These pictures are taken in direct sunlight. I love how deep this color looks and think it would work well in a galaxy mani, or paired with a nice grey for a more cozy look. 

On another note, the drugstore I like to go to is sporadically worried about people opening the packaging of cosmetics, especially the polish bottles. They then put their "little" barcode sticker on the bottle, and since those are not sticky enough (they are), wrap the whole thing in a bunch of clear tape. This is what I have to deal with after the epic fight of freeing my polish, not to mention the consequences of using my nails as tools.

I smothered this glue strip in acetone an it's still there, happily collecting dust and making my fingers sticky when I touch the bottle. How do I get rid of it?

Aug 24, 2012

Dotted Zebra Nails

I don't often plan out my manis before I start. Most of the time I just pick a color I like, and make up the rest on the way. This time I decided on Essie Cute as a Button. It's a beautiful bright, pink jelly, with a nice dash of orange in it. Three coats for full opacity.

I then put hole reinforcers on the base of my nail and stamped the zebra prints on with Essence Matte Black stamping polish. The image is off an Essence stamping plate. 

The dots along the outline of the stamp and the free edge are Sally Hansen White on and Kiko Steel Grey. I think they pull the whole thing together. 

Kiko Lavish Oriental Collection Nail Polishes

I recently picked up the four holografic polishes of the Lavish Oriental Collection by Kiko. From left to right we have: 400 Steel Grey, 401 Peacock Green, 399 Silk Taupe and 402 Jewel Pink.

The first color I swatched was 399 Silk Taupe:

It's a cool, light nude. When it wasn't firing rainbows, it was actually so cool and matte that it almost looked silver. This is two coats without topcoat. I had been wearing it for about a day when I took the picture, so there's a little chip on my pinky and also on my thumb (not shown). 

The second color ist 400 Steel Grey. The best holo of all of them, in my opinion. It didn't take much to make it sparkle in gorgeous, linear rainbows. In the shadow this looked like a matte graphite polish. Two coats without topcoat.

401 Peacock Green is a turquoise. It is quite linear, not as strong as Steel Grey, but such an interesting color even without the holo. This is two coat without topcoat.

The last of the bunch is 402 Jewel Pink. A brilliant raspberry color, this really catches fire in the sun. I love how it brings out the warm colors of the  holo rainbows. Again, two coats without topcoat.

These are my first linear holos, so I have nothing to compare them to. I read about holos before and how they need a base, are a pain to apply, chip super fast, etc. 
I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. I don't own any basecoats, so obviously, I applied them all on my bare nails. They went on like normal polish, the only difference being that they dried a lot faster. As soon as I was done with all 10 fingers, the first one was dry again. I just went over again with the second coat and any streakiness that was there disappeared. 
The formula was on the thin side, and they leveled themselves despite the quick drying time.
They did chip usually within a day, but since I swatched them, I also wore them with Essie Good to Go on top, and that definitely helped a lot. It didn't dull the holo either, which is what I was most scared of when I got them. 

I really love these polishes and I hope Kiko manages to make them permanent and maybe add a few colors. 

These are available as part of the Lavish Oriental Collection right now, I paid 4,90€ each.