Wednesday, February 28, 2018


This is Zoya Teigen:
I had this in with the reds but it's really more of a dark pink, with some copper sparkle. It's from the Ignite collection, which Zoya called "liquid metal" and which I believe was a big seller. (Others I have from this collection are Sansa, Remy, and India. Hmm, actually I count six of these so I may have the whole set - the two I didn't see on the first pass are Autumn and Yuna.)

Added: not that anybody really needs help looking things up on Zoya, but this is a current color.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


This is Essie Wicked:
This is a very old Essie color, but it's still current. It's Essie #249 and I think it originally came out in the (late?) 90s when Chanel Vamp/Rouge Noir was all the rage. I got my bottle from KarenD a few years ago so I don't know exactly how old it is, but this is one of the few colors that's been steadily in production all that time. Anyway, very dark & vampy and all of that - almost black in some lights, which makes it different from the rest of this wheel. (The other dark swatch at the top of the wheel in this picture is Ignite, which I talked about the other day, but it's not actually near as dark.) You can see in the bottle that Wicked has some magenta highlights but it's a creme, not a shimmer and you definitely don't see any flash like that on the nail. Essie calls it a "sinister red" which I find sort of comical but Essie always seems to be drawn to the dramatic.

Added: a piece from Byrdie with lots of info about Vamp/Rouge Noir - which dates back to 1994, originally. It seems to me that I've seen a late 90s date for Wicked but I haven't been able to find that again. Finding historical info on nail polish (and I mean, well up into the 00s, even) is often really difficult.

There are a lot of dupes for these, I believe, but the only one I have that I think is really close is Revlon Vixen. This blog post is a couple of years old, but shows several of them.

Monday, February 26, 2018


This is Illamasqua Glitterati:
You can see from my tick-marks on the wheel that two coats of this is pretty darn opaque. It's dark-red glitter with what looks like a dash of holo glitter. This was a holiday set that I bought back at the same time they were closing Sephora by OPI out. There was this and a dark green, and while these have been discontinued for ages, I would be surprised if they aren't findable, because they hung around on clearance for ages at Sephora, and when that happens some usually end up on eBay (like here). Viridian is the name of the green that goes with it, but Glitterati is really what I bought this for.

(Aha, here it is on my nails in late 2013, so I've had this one a good while. And here is the haul post for all the Sephora stuff - with pictures that you have to scroll way down for. I happened on the SOPI closeout so early that I wasn't sure it was a closeout - a lot of the prose at the top is me wondering about that!)

Sunday, February 25, 2018


Here is NailsInc Victoria (a mini):
I don't really have a lot to say about this one - it's just a dark-red creme. But it's pretty.

Added: it finally occurred to me to check - this is still a current polish. I checked Sephora because I know they carry NailsInc, but I'm sure there are other possibilities as well. (Mine came from a set I bought at Sephora, which had a full-size NailKale base-coat and several minis, but I don't think that set is around any more.)

Saturday, February 24, 2018


This is Rococo EmpoweRED:
I bought this, oh, several years ago now - my spreadsheet says 2014 - and once I knew what year to look at I found the haul entry almost immediately, because I knew it was from a bunch of stuff I bought from a 50%-off after-Christmas sale from Space.NK. This was a duo, and the other piece of it was a "toner" that was supposed to darken it. It did darken it some, four years ago, but not all that much. But I knew when I bought this that it was an experiment. I don't know anything about how it was supposed to work, technically speaking, but whatever it used to do, when I tried it again the other day, I couldn't tell that it was doing anything at all, now. (Maybe it lost potency, or something? I don't know.) So while I still have the toner, I'm giving up on trying to get it to do anything (mostly I'm just keeping it because it's a set, you know?) and I just swatched the EmpoweRED polish itself. And on that basis, it's pretty, but it's very basic-red-cream. I thought in some lights that it was slightly orange-leaning, and then here it looks like it could be slightly blue-leaning. So probably in reality it's just neutral, meaning it doesn't especially lean either way.

(I found this entry where I talk about this polish - you have to scroll down a way - and I was annoyed that I couldn't see anything the toner do anything in the swatches back then, too.)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pretty Gritty (NOTD + swatch)

Here is Rescue Beauty Lounge Pretty Gritty:
It's a grunged-up purple with gold shimmer. This is two coats plus Seche Vite. It's close to being a one-coater but I thought it wasn't quite (quite) there.

I named this my favorite polish of 2015, but I haven't worn it in over a year, I bet. It's awesome. It's not because I got tired of it that I haven't worn it, but just that I have the attention span of a gnat sometimes.
This was part of the awesome R29xRBL collection. I have two of them - this and Bubblegum Punk - and I love them both and totally wish I'd bought more. (I poked around on eBay and there are still quite a few RBL polishes available for fairly reasonable prices - $20-30, or not much more than they cost when RBL was still in business.)

Added: note this manicure picture from 2015 where it looks much brighter. I don't know if the polish has actually darkened over time, or if it's just the light.)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The stash project lives on!

Red is not necessarily red.

Here's an example:
I've been reswatching some of my reds, and several of the reds that I would have said were very traditional reds came out quite pinkish-looking - or maybe it would be more accurate to say they're magenta. Note the difference between this one - Sinful Sugar Sugar - and the fire-engine red on the swatch below that. I guess if they weren't right next to each other it wouldn't be so obvious, but still, it's a very significant difference..

Over two years ago now, when I started my big stash-photographing project, I started out with a post about red glitters, and then one called "Red is red" where I said that while all reds aren't necessarily the same, a lot of people never notice the differences. I was deliberately oversimplifying at the time but I don't think I was truly wrong about that. A lot of people will never notice the subtleties of nail polish, of any color, but do we nail junkies really care about that? For the most part, I'd say the answer is no. That's what makes us nail junkies.

(The chattering about my stash below is probably very tl;dr but I feel compelled to write it all down anyway.)

This week's Topic Tuesday topic was, show how you organize your stash. I looked at that a week ago and went, well, mine's a mess so I'm not talking about that - but I think actually that started something percolating in my brain. Those who have followed me for a long time have seen me go through multiple stash reorganizations over the years. I can't seem to quite settle on one way to do it. We live in an apartment so putting up a lot of shelving is more trouble than it is worth. I have a big collection of deep plastic containers of various sizes that I've mostly used for nail-polish storage, but I've gone back and forth between organizing my polishes by color, by brand, and even by season. I like the concept of "by season" because to a large extent that's really how I wear polish - but organizing my stash that way has been a bust. I have enough trouble remembering where I put a particular polish even using a much simpler system and the seasonal idea just made that worse. I think by brand is probably the easiest way, as far as finding things goes, but every time I've tried that I end up going back to doing it by color. And I think I'm giving up on seasons too and just going back to colors, again. It just seems to match up with how my brain works better. (And I've outgrown the collection of boxes, for the most part, so I'm going to Helmer-type drawers instead.)

So I started re-sorting polishes - I've got some really large plastic Container Store bins that I'm using for the colors I really have a lot of - and almost as soon as I started that, I started thinking about reswatching things I'd swatched before. There were a lot of bad pictures early on and then I remembered that I had a list of what needed retaking so now I'm working on both of those things more or less simultaneously. (My husband hates tripping over bins of polish, though, so that's giving me an incentive to keep working on the reorg part rather than just leaving them in the middle of the living room indefinitely.) And I'm amassing a bunch of swatch retake pictures (somehow the one above got on that list even though I had done a swatch entry for it before) but mostly those are not repeats, so I'll probably be back to posting those several days a week for the foreseeable future.

(I think it's probably not really true that I'm giving up on the seasonal concept completely. Probably what I'll end up with is a hybrid system - like, put my little collection of pastels together and you have "spring" - same with the very dark polishes for fall/winter. Then there's the very showy glitters which mostly get reserved for the holidays, the oranges and browns for the fall, and so forth. I only stick with seasonal polishes part of the time, but there are a good many that I think of that way.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Dupes? Ignite vs Malaga Wine

Here are Formula X Ignite and OPI Malaga Wine (this one is a mini):
I really love Ignite and since Formula X is discontinued now, I'm glad to find there's something still available that's so similar. I don't think they're quite dead-dupes but they're awfully close.

Here they are separately, in case you can tell anything from these that isn't apparent in the picture above:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Ordinary

I bought a couple of products from The Ordinary: I bought hyaluronic acid from Sephora, and then, because Sephora apparently doesn't carry it, I bought squalane directly from Deciem (which I guess is The Ordinary's parent company).
If you don't know about The Ordinary already, the idea is that they sell the things that are ingredients in all the expensive beauty products, and they sell them quite cheaply. The 100% Plant-Derived Squalane was $7.90 (US) from Deciem, and the one from Sephora was less than $7.
As far as I can tell, both products work well, but I stumbled on a Canadian website that has reservations about the Hyaluronic Acid - something about the size of the molecules that I don't entirely understand, but it sounds rather ominous. I decided because of that I am sort of going to hedge my bets - I'm not going to throw it away or anything but I'm going to maybe use it less often than I would have otherwise. Once a week, say, unless I see any issues.

I bought this from Sephora after I decided I wanted to use some of my Sephora points on some cologne for Rob's birthday, back in January. He liked this D&G stuff that I got but boy, it's a really tiny bottle for 250 points - or to think of it another way, it's a freebie for having spent $250. It's considerably bigger than one of those little spray vials, but still awfully small - 4.5ml. (Here's the smallest retail bottle, 50ml for $68.)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Red Red

This is WildShine Red Red (very imaginative name there):
This is a slightly pink-leaning red. I like it more than I thought I would looking at it in the bottle. It also seems to be basically a one-coater.

As I think I mentioned last week, my husband and I made kind of a pact a while back not to go overboard on Valentine's Day any more - particularly not on flowers. (I like roses but when I get a bouquet of them nowadays all I see is that big chunk of money going down the drain.) I guess he realized that I meant it because what I got this year came from Dollar Tree, I think - but honestly, I'm fine with that.
He got me Turtles and 99-cent nail polish and a fancy card, I got him a giant heart-shaped peanut butter cup. When you've been married for 30 years, I guess you know what each other like, (I don't actually need any more red nail polish but I didn't tell him that. Even with the fancy card, I probably spent more than he did. The peanut butter cup was all of $10.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines NOTD: Dream Dust over Wishbone

Better than a Valentine, for me: pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training today!
(Sorry, couldn't resist. If I feel I MUST put in an Astros gif after this I promise to at least put it at the bottom.)

(And just for the record, I assume I'll get a gift of some sort later on - possibly nail polish. We agreed a couple of years ago to ban flowers for V-day. Is that un-American? It almost seems like it.)

I decided late Monday night - I'm not entirely sure why - that this was a good day to try out Wishbone. I think partly because it wasn't Valentine's Day yet and I didn't want to do a Mardi Gras mani just for one day. So here is that:
This is just one coat. It looks really ridgy here but it didn't show up that much in real life. Every time I wear something like this I remind myself that I need to put a ridge-filler underneath - but on the other hand I never really intended to wear it by itself. I knew that there was approximately a 99.5% chance that I would not wear this without a layer of something else other than Seche Vite. I liked it more than I thought I would, really, but still, I considered wearing it alone for about 30 seconds before I started contemplating what shiny thing to put on top of it. This is probably one of the most flattering nudes I've ever found on me, but nudes are just not my thing.

So I added one of the Sparkle Like A Unicorn polishes from Nails Inc - this one is Dream Dust.
It looks pink or gold depending on how the light hits it. I made kind of a mess of getting it on, because I was in a hurry, but it's pretty.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Topic Tuesday (a week late)

I didn't know until last night that #topictues was a thing - apparently it's been going on on Instagram for a month or two now. I always say I should look at Instagram more but then I forget to actually do that. I've had an account for years and years but I hardly ever think to post anything, either. (I am @mellificent on IG but I've posted like 4 pictures in the last year, none of which are nail polish. Go figure.)

This week's topic: "sentimental polishes" - I'm pretty sure I have some of these but I'm going to have to think it over some more.

But meanwhile, I thought I'd look at last week's question, which was, what brand do you have the most of? and you're supposed to pick five favorites from each. I have most of this information fairly close at hand because I did favorites for a lot of brands last year. All I have to do is add the new ones I've acquired since then and see if I need to adjust things.

When I did this last year the top brands were:
  • Zoya - about 75 (links for this are below)
  • Sally Hansen - 40 (but that's all the sub-brands together, and the more I think about that the less I think it's a valid way to count, since Insta-Dri and Miracle Gel and Xtreme Wear aren't much like one another, really)
  • OPI - 30 (about 11 of those are minis, but I guess that still counts)
  • China Glaze - 24

plus several more right around the 20-bottle mark - Sinful, Square Hue, Pretty Serious, and Revlon

When I look at what I bought since then, it seems that all of the numbers for last year's top four brands are holding pretty steady - I bought some of each, but I also did some selective destashing. In the meantime, I bought more Square Hue and Pretty Serious than I got rid of by far, probably enough to bump China Glaze down the list, for sure, and maybe OPI too. I'm not as interested in looking at those two again anyway, or Sally H., either, so I'm going to go with Zoya, SquareHue, and Pretty Serious for this purpose. (I put the links above for what I said about the brands I bumped off.)

Square Hue
Several of these are the same favorites I picked for Square Hue last year, which is here:
I bought 9 new SquareHues last year, and I think at least a couple of them deserve consideration as favorites. I think that Parizska, Vogue, and Lake Louise still belong solidly in my favorites. Y2K is a nice polish but I don't love it enough that I think it needs to be in the top 5. I added one that I slighted before instead, which is Victorian End, a deep purple, and then to make a fifth added a new one: Akamai. (Runner-up from the new ones was Limeña, a nice coppery-red.)

Pretty Serious
(Lots of blues, I'm not sure why. But they're all different.)

Here's my previous top 5, but several of those are discontinued. I haven't bought any of the "new" Pretty Serious polishes since they redid the labels and the website, but I bought a bunch of stuff while they had the closeout sale going on for the old bottles. (If you aren't on their mailing list, you may not know that they're in the process of discontinuing some more stuff. They are not going to have as large of a back-catalog as they have traditionally had.) However, since I don't have much that's current, it's hard for me to kick all the discontinueds off my list - there won't be much left and I really don't think there's much in more recent hauls that I would want to add, really. I'm going to go with a variation on the old top 5. I kicked off Kashmir and Swatch & Learn, because I'm not feeling them so much right now, and added a couple of different ones.

  • Alice (periwinkle Pixie Dust)
  • Carter (purple Pixie Dust)
  • Dream (indigo scattered holo)
  • Leia (shimmery top-coat)
  • Zuza (turquoise-green shimmer)
For Zoya, I picked a top 10 last year, so I needed to look at that plus the new arrivals since then and pick 5 out of that new pool. Here are the new arrivals. Here is the old top 10. (In fact here is the whole kit and caboodle, should you care to look.). I also realized that I had a couple in my 2016 favorites that weren't here and should be.

I had trouble getting this down to five - the ones it pained me especially to cut were a couple of the new ones - Destiny and Mimi, and then Jem and Carly off the old list. But I didn't have Leia on the old list and it's become my total go-to layering polish, so it needs to be in the top five for sure.

Here's Mimi, for the record:
It's a glass-fleck and I adore those in general, that's probably why I'm attached to it in particular. But it's also a really beautiful color. But I also have Carter already in there, and it's purple, and Alice is a lighter purple, so three purples seems like overkill. I put in poor unappreciated Zuza instead. (I've just remembered lately how much I love Zuza.)

Friday, February 9, 2018

NOTD: Leia over Maki Me Happy

I tried out Maki Me Happy and I wasn't in love with it. It comes out looking dark red and while that's okay, two coats of it weren't fully opaque at all. I just didn't have time to do a third coat and so I slapped Seche Vite on it and wore it one full day as it was. I doubt that anybody else noticed that it wasn't perfect. It was pretty, and every once in a while when the light hit it just right I kind of went, "ooh." But I didn't see that often. (It was a very gloomy day. Maybe some sun would have helped.)

So last night I went, "What can I do to improve this?" and eventually I added a coat of Zoya Leia to it. Here's a picture, although it doesn't come close to doing it justice:
Leia turns Maki Me Happy into a really dark, shimmery berry/fuchsia color. Unfortunately my iPhone completely didn't pick up how pretty it was. (I think what's happening here is you're seeing more of Maki Me Happy and less of Leia, due to some quirk of the light.)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Maki Me Happy

Here's Essie Maki Me Happy:
It's jelly-ish, with pink undertones that don't seem to show up much on the swatch. I haven't worn it yet so I don't have much of an opinion on this yet. I think I need to remember to wear this in the next week or so while I'm still in pink/red mode.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Holo At Ya Girl!

Here is China Glaze Holo At Ya Girl!
This is silver and blue and I keep thinking I've seen green in it, but I think maybe that's just my imagination or the way the light is hitting it. The only thing I have that's anything like it is Sinful Ice Dream, but that's more of a top-coat, and this is really not (although you could wear it that way.)  It's not a holo, despite the name. This is on two swatches: over black - that's the charcoal-looking one - and by itself above that. I've worn this, and I liked it, but it's hard to get a decent picture of.

I seem to be gradually collecting all of the polishes from the this collection - which was Rebel, in fall 2016. I'm wasn't doing it deliberately, but I keep collecting more of them. I still don't have that many of them, and I'm sure I'll never have them all, but I think since I keep liking them so much I should probably get some more while they're still around - this one was marked down, which says to me that they're not necessarily going to become anything permanent. In case you're wondering, I have Purple Fiction, Teen Spirit, Pearl Jammin' and now this one. So actually only four, but there are still more that I'm interested in - like Combat Blue-ts - actually I probably would like to have all of them, except the pale pink and the red-orange.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

NOTD: Pumped Up Pink

I kind of made a mess of this, but it doesn't look bad. (The other hand looks worse; it didn't dry quite as fast as I expected.)
Anyway, it's a pretty rose-pink with a lot of shimmer. It's not a one-coat wonder like many Insta-Dri polishes are; it takes two coats unless you manage to get your coats much thicker than I did.