Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Raspberry pinks

I found a whole wheel's worth of really bright pinks - some of them almost read as red, and most of these have at least a hint of purple tones as well.
I don't have pictures of all of these available right this minute, but I'm going to talk about some of them and I'll hopefully be able to track down the pictures of the rest later on.

I took pictures of the bottles next to the swatches, to hopefully make them easier to sort out.
Here we have OPI Peru-B-Ruby (which is some years old, I assume from a South American themed collection), Zoya Riley, and Miracle Gel Mad Women. In the light I'm in now, these all look a bit purpler, getting somewhat pinker as you go down the line - which is to say, Peru-B-Ruby is the most purple of the three. Peru-B-Ruby has a lot of shimmer but these other two are cremes. I bought two bottles of Peru-B-Ruby back in the day, I loved it so much. I like Mad Women a lot, too. Riley is the darkest of the three, and for some reason I just never loved Riley as much as I expected to. (Maybe my expectations were just too high!) I think it's probably going in the destash box, not because there's anything wrong with it but just because I don't ever wear it, and I have so many other things that are similar.

(Also, here's Peru-B-Ruby compared to Chanel Tentation.)

Here we have a couple of glitterbombs in a similar color range, Jade Vestido de Gala and Studio M Slammin' Red:
Vestido de Gala is more purple-leaning; Slammin' Red is more pinkish. I would not call it a true red, though. Both of these are very heavy glitters.

(added) More from this wheel:

Juicy, Flirt, Peonies Gone Wild

Shopping Frenzy, Lilith

Friday, February 19, 2016

Valentine's mani & gifts

We keep Valentine's gifts very small at our house, and I think this was a nice choice. (Not that I really need another red polish, as I've discussed recently. But at least it's a good red.)
The card almost made me cry.
The polish is Revlon Red, and the little heart is a mirror compact. Revlon Red is a nice middle-of-the-road red, maybe the slightest bit blue-leaning.

I don't have a picture of my actual Valentine's manicure, which went in a couple of stages, anyway. I wanted to try out Nails Inc Alexa Lace, and I wanted it over something neutral, so I tried out Square Hue Desert Storm, which was (naturally) in the 1990s collection. As you might also guess, it's sand-colored. And I actually liked it - I am not a neutrals person, generally. But it's a cool tan, which is kind of hard to find, sometimes, and it looked pretty good on me. It's not light enough to be called "mani hands" on me, but it's pretty close.

So I put Alexa Lace on top of that - and I dunno, I just haven't quite got the hang of applying this one yet, maybe. Two coats didn't seem like quite enough, and three coats was maybe too much. Maybe I just need to play with it some more. But it didn't look bad, so I wore that for a day or so, and then I went the red jelly route again, and put Jolly Lolly over it. And then later I put Revlon Red on top of that just because I wanted to try it out. Interestingly, the time I thought it really looked most like lace was when I tried to take it off:
Man, it was on there like glue - or more like concrete, maybe. The red started to come off, as you can see, and Desert Storm melted right away from underneath, but the glitter wasn't going anywhere. I kind of liked it this way, actually. Which is lucky, as it happens. I did eventually get it off with the Dip-It and some cautious scraping once it was loosened.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Playing with polish: Jolly Lolly over...

Starry-Eyed For Dear Daniel is very pretty, but after a couple of days it started chipping, so of course I started thinking about patching it up and layering something over it rather than starting over completely. And Friday was "wear pink or red" day at work (we're always having themed Fridays when there's a holiday to theme things to) - I was thinking I would wear red, so I decided to just do red jelly. And the only plain red jelly I have is L'Oreal Jolly Lolly, so that was an easy decision. One coat got it a bit darker, so I did two. It was honestly still pretty pink at two - but then I ended up wearing pink instead of red anyway, so I was color-coordinated in spite of myself. It was very bright out today and this looks very pink in the sunshine. But it's definitely much darker than Dear Daniel was by itself.
This hand looks fine, but I washed my hair and my right hand is already chipping again, so you may see something else by the end of the weekend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NOTD: Starry-Eyed For Dear Daniel (semi-matte)

Maybe "sparkle-tastic" is just what a Hello Kitty polish ought to look like, come to think of it, but I felt like this one was a bit over the top for my taste. I dealt with that by using good old Sally Girl matte top-coat on it. (I only have the one tiny bottle of that stuff that I think I inherited from Karen; when it finally runs out I'm going to be very sad if it turns out it's not replaceable. It's a nice middle-of-the-road satin, really, but it seems very often to be just the finish I want.)

Anyway, here's the results:
I like it. It's just shiny enough. It still looks like a foil, but not quite so sparkle-tastic as the non-matte version. (It's also a bit darker in real life than it looks here.)

The details:
1 coat Instant Artificials
1 coat Bridge The Ridge
2 coats OPI Starry-Eyed For Dear Daniel
1 coat Glitter Food
1 coat Sally Girl Matte Top Coat

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Red is red.

Most reds look pretty much alike, at least at a glance.

Oh, there are differences. There are cremes and foils and glitters; there are orange-reds and blue-reds and neutral reds. But the fact is that when they're on your fingers, 99% of people who notice your nails at all will think (or say), "Red fingernails" - and not look beyond that.

This is not so true with clothing as it is with fingernails. Red is unequivocally my best color, where shirts and dresses are concerned, enough so that people usually comment on it when I wear red. And on the much larger scale involved with a shirt or a dress, then I think the exact color of it matters more. For me, that's blue-leaning reds rather than orange-reds, particularly. I'm not saying these things don't matter at all with nails. Blue-reds look better than orange-reds on my nails, too. I'm just saying the impact is a lot more limited.


Anyway, the fact is that I have way more reds than I need, no matter how you look at it - especially since I don't seem to actually wear red nails that much these days - and it seems like a good idea to look at the various red polishes and decide which ones I like best rather than just start indiscriminately getting rid of them. I talked about red glitters a couple of weeks ago, and there are a few more here, although these are more of the top-coat kind. In fact, let's start with those.

Some of this set give the lie a bit to my all-reds-are-alike, theory, because they are more varied. I think I would be inclined to put a red base-coat under at least some of these, anyway, and that would pull them back to red a bit, anyway.
L-R: Sparkling Fire (LASplash), Ruby Queen (NYC Crystal Couture), Alexa Lace (NailsInc), Poppy Fields (Serum No5)

Ruby Queen and Poppy Fields both have red jelly bases, which is what makes them look alike here. The glitter mixes are not the same, though. Ruby Queen has red and purple glitter, in various sizes; Poppy Fields has red, gold, and some scattered small dark pieces that look black. (Ooh, scroll down to the bottom of this entry for Poppy Fields over Chanel Taboo, which is awesome. I may have to try that over something dark, to see if I can get a similar effect.)

Sparkling Fire is a small glitter in a clear base that goes on pretty thick. The entry I'm about to link to is in Spanish, but shows it layered over red, and it looks gorgeous. I'm really tempted to try that idea this coming week.

Alexa Lace is part of an Alexa Chung series meant to look like various fabrics. This is mixed-shaped matte bits, and over a pale base, it really can look like lace. I think maybe it needs to be applied somewhat more sparsely than I've done here to get the full effect, though.

Cremes part 1:
These are out of nail wheel order (because the OPI bottle was rolling around and so I put Chinoise on the end to stop it), but since you really can't tell any difference there, I don't guess it much matters, does it? The nail wheel order is, L-R, Bird Fling and Via Della Spiga (both Square Hue), Chinoise (RBL), Challenge Red-y (Nicole by OPI), and then Big Apple Red (OPI mini). I don't think it's visible in the picture, but looking at the wheel in person, the two Square Hues and Chinoise are distinctly more pinky-looking on the first coat. I take that to mean they have a little more of a violet undertone. Big Apple Red maybe has the tiniest bit of that going on as well, But Challenge Red-y just looks completely neutral as far as I can tell.

added: better picture of Via Della Spiga here

Then you go into the slightly more orange-leaning ones, which are the first couple here, especially:
The picture just doesn't pick this up, but I think the first three of those all lean just slightly toward the orange. L-R, this is China Flower (Revlon Parfumerie), Sooki (Zoya), EmpoweRED and its toner (Rococo), and Jolly Lolly (L'Oreal).

added: better picture of China Flower, better picture of Sooki

I put the toner next to the EmpoweRED bottle because I don't know where else to put it - it's not a regular polish at all. It's supposed to blacken the red - which is why I bought it, because I have a thing about blackened reds - but it doesn't actually do a very good job of it that I've ever been able to tell. Jolly Lolly isn't actually a creme at all; it's a full-on jelly, from the Miss Candy collection a couple of years ago. Except for Jolly Lolly, these are the obvious de-stash candidates because I don't think the orange-reds are good colors for me, as I said. Although I'm most likely to hang onto the Rococo pair as a curiosity. But China Flower and Sooki are not for me, for sure. I might bring myself to part with one of the two near-identical Square Hues, too. (I don't think they're actually dupes, though - Via Della Spiga looks maybe a hair brighter.)


This is metallic-ish things plus the Pixie Dust:
L-R: Razzmatazz (Orly mini), Sugar Sugar (Sinful Colors), Chyna (Zoya Pixie Dust), Karina (Zoya), Unbreakable Heart (Hard As Nails). 

Razzmatazz is technically a glitter, I guess, but it really isn't terribly glittery. It has a bit of a metallic sheen but not enough to really make it a glitter. It seems it's trying a bit too hard to be everything to everybody, really. It's pretty, though. It leans pink and has just a little bit of sparkle to it.

I should have put Sugar Sugar and Karina next to each other to compare, but they look awfully similar on the nail wheel. They both are just a hair darker than most of these, and they both have a significant amount of glitter in them but somehow come out looking more metallic than glittery. Chyna, the Pixie Dust, has more tonal glitter in it than most of its Pixie Dust siblings - they tend to be more silvery.

Unbreakable Heart belongs more with the rest of the real metallics, which are the ones below:
L-R: Knees Up (Butter London), Bet On Red (Milani), Just Be-Claws (China Glaze), An Affair In Red Square (OPI)

Knees Up is the one I am least likely to ever give away, even though I don't wear it a lot, because it's the stand-out, a full-on foil. It's really gorgeous. But the rest of these are all very pretty, too. An Affair In Red Square is a classic, of course, and it's been in OPI's core collection for years (OPI's Russia collection was the Fall 2007 release, says Scrangie.) Bet On Red is really pretty and I'm still sort of sad that Milani discontinued this line. But Just Be-Claws, from China Glaze's holiday '13 collection, is virtually a dupe, so I'm set for the foreseeable future there.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

NOTD: last week's blurples, Glitter All The Way

Regarding the last post where I was being indecisive, what I ended up wearing was Glitter All The Way by itself. Here's a quick shot I took when I was getting gas at midnight last night (doing double-duty with the nails and the price of gas!) - it does show the glitter very well.
(I've seen gas as cheap as $1.29 in the past few days, so this price doesn't even seem all that impressive at the moment.) This is two coats, believe it or not. Of course this is a pretty old bottle of polish, so that may help with the opacity issue. I managed to chip the glitter before I even got the top-coat on, but once I patched it up and top-coated it, it's holding up alright. (If it lasts til Tuesday I will be shocked, though.) Here's another picture in different light:
Most of the time it looks like a pretty bright gold, really, with the other colors mixed in. (Added: regarding the wear, it made it all the way to Monday, and I probably could have stretched it til Tuesday, really. So better than I expected!)

I don't think I ever talked about what I was wearing before this. I tried out Makeupwithdrawal (RBL), which I was a little disappointed in because the shimmer didn't seem to show as much as I'd hoped. (But it's a beautiful color!) Then after a couple of days it was a little chipped, and rather than start over I patched it up and put KBShimmer Excuse Me I Blurpled on top of it since it's a similar color. And I loved that combination SO MUCH. I've had Excuse Me I Blurpled for months and I can't believe I didn't try it until now. (And unfortunately I didn't get pictures, my brain was elsewhere last week.) I'mna have to try Excuse Me I Blurpled by itself so I can tell how much difference Makeupwithdrawal made. I suspect it made it darker, but I can't really be sure til I try it.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I bought OPI Give Me Space at the grocery store the other day. I don't really need another dark-blue but I couldn't resist. Jelly holo! (And I don't have Zoya Dream, which is said to be a not-quite-dupe, either.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mardi Gras manicure

I found my bottle of Mingle With Kringle (which is a gold foil), which had been MIA last summer when I was hunting all my polishes down, and which I eventually found under the bed - and swatching it gave me an idea for a Mardi Gras manicure:
...which is Glitter All The Way lightly over the tip of the nail over Mingle With Kringle. The problem is, Glitter All The Way, despite being Mardi Gras colors, came (I'm told) from a holiday collection a number of years ago, and so it's most likely something not terribly easy to get your hands on. (It was holiday 2012, apparently.) Apparently they meant to make a Christmas polish along the lines of what people are now calling "ugly sweater" manis - but they happened to make this one with very prominent purple and not-at-all prominent red, and it came out looking like Mardi Gras rather than like Christmas. I do really like this polish but then I like a lot of the Christmas polishes too, so make of that what you will.

Now unless you live in New Orleans, where they start the Mardi Gras parades the minute the bowl games are over in early January, the window to get a Mardi Gras manicure in is kind of narrow. Since the date of Mardi Gras varies and it's tied to Lent and ultimately to Easter, it can fall anywhere from early February to early March. I prefer it when it's later, myself, but I don't suppose the liturgical calendar is going to magically rearrange itself just because I say so. (But in support of my argument, let me point out that Easter being later lengthens the window in which you can buy Cadbury's Creme Eggs.)

So I lived for many years in Galveston, which celebrates Mardi Gras but in their own way. They have almost only weekend parades (because nearly everything in Galveston is based on the convenience of day-trippers from Houston, see) and this year, Easter being in late March, the first weekend of Mardi Gras was actually in January, i.e., this past weekend, and the big Momus parade is this coming weekend. (It's on the 6th, to be exact.) So I have to decide if I want a Mardi Gras manicure next, or if I want to do a Valentine's manicure. Mostly I've only been doing one manicure a week, lately, so a week from today - it's Tuesday as I write this - is actually Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, and there's no point after that. I'm not sure which way I'm going to swing, just yet. (Note that it's not like I am actually going to go to Mardi Gras. I don't do crowds. It's just a question of entering into the spirit of the thing.)

Anyway, whether I use this mani myself or not is immaterial to the idea of it. Here we're zooming in on the picture above:
If you look really close, you can see a bit of the red in the glitter mix there - I thought it was more noticeable on the nail here than in the bottle - but you do have to look close. Since not many people (presumably) have Glitter All The Way, I think you could substitute some other glitters, maybe - like, if you had a sparse purple glitter and a sparse green glitter, that would come out looking about the same over gold. Actually I don't suppose many people have Mingle With Kringle, either, but there's an obvious and available dupe for that one, Zoya Ziv. (You could also do a different base-color, and do a purple base with green and gold glitter, for instance - I can think of a couple of green-and-gold combinations, or you could improvise your own by layering.)

I'll have more to say about Valentine's manicures, and what I've actually worn, later on.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mally "Barely There Beauty" set

I mentioned a while back that I bought this from QVC one night in a weak moment, but I took pictures and never did post them. Better pictures are still to be had on QVC's website at the moment, but I don't trust those to stay there for any length of time.

Here's the box, with its own picture of the set. Of course it came inside another bigger box. This box was a little scuffed up but the contents were fine. (The color of my set is Fair, the palest one, so the foundation is a good bit paler than this one. I didn't think to swatch anything when I took these pictures - I routinely do that for polish but I tend to forget for makeup!)

Here's the contents:

  • Poreless Perfection Foundation (comes with sponge)
  • Evercolor Shadow Stick Extra in Timeless Taupe
  • Volumizing Mascara in Black
  • Barely Bloomed Lip Crayon
  • Foundation brush
  • Makeup bag

The bag is a pretty roomy one, more like a travel size than a purse size. (It'd be fine in a tote bag or any kind of larger bag like that. But if you carry a smaller bag, this one is probably too big to fit easily.)


I've tried most of this out - I wasn't sure how I'd like the powder foundation but it feels pretty nice. That's mainly why I let myself be tempted by this, I'd been wanting to try one. And the colors of everything else are very neutral and "barely-there" as the package says. That seems to be the thing in makeup this year anyway - not surprising, really, given the over-contoured look that's been so in for several years now. "Barely-there" is much more my natural style.
I played around with both the sponge and the brush that's included - I think I will end up using both, really. It went on easily with the brush, but the sponge is better for near the eyes. (Bear in mind that I don't wear mascara these days so I didn't try that. I'll pass it along to somebody else to try out!)