Thursday, January 30, 2014

Matte Topcoat Comparisons, Part 7

It's been a couple months, so I am overdue for a matte topcoat post. Today I've got three I've picked up recently, along with a previous favorite for comparison's sake. There's Fresh Paint Matte Topcoat from Five Below (I wish I'd noticed the label on this bottle has some rubbed off bits), OPI Matte Top Coat (seen recently on my Top 20 for 2013 post), CK One Matte Top Coat from Ulta, and Wet 'n' Wild Wild Shine Matte Top Coat from Walgreens (though I expect it will show up more places soon if it hasn't already).

Here they are on the nail over a black creme; same order as the bottles above:

And at a different angle:

Unlike happens sometimes with my matte comparisons, there are no satin or wax finishes here; they're all matte. The Fresh Paint is perhaps just the tiniest bit less matte than the others, but if I saw it all by itself I'd never have noticed anything other than matteness. The OPI is as usual flawless. The CK One is something of a disappointment. It's matte, yes, but I had trouble getting it to lay down evenly. Sure, it was my first time using this brand, so maybe some of that was operator error due to lack, but for $14 a bottle, I feel like I should not have to struggle. The Wet 'n' Wild is the big winner in this group: to my eye, it's indistinguishable from the OPI, my standard for a good matte, and it's only 99 cents a bottle. 99 cents, and it's pretty much a full size bottle at 12.7 ml, more than three times bigger than the Sally Girl ones I was so excited about when they were around last year. Just look at this wonderful finish:

Look for Part 8 before too long, as my friend Trish just sent me even more matte topcoats I hadn't yet found on my own.

For reference, here are links to this series so far:

Part 1: OPI, Barielle, China Glaze, Sinful Colors, Butter London, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Part 2: Revlon, NYC, Essie, Claire's
Part 3: OPI, Essie, GOSH, Cult Nails, Icing, Ulta, Fing'rs
Part 4: Orly, Salon Perfect, OPI, Sally Girl
Part 5: OPI, elf, L'Oreal
Part 6: Nicole by OPI, OPI, Sally Hansen, Formula X for Sephora, Deborah Lippmann, Dolce & Gabbana, Nails Inc., Nina Ultra Pro, Illamasqua


Moving on to non-nail topics, I know some of you also like talking clothes, so if that's you, I've got a post up on my journal site about trying to decide which Igigi garments to put in my short list for a review I'll be doing for them next month. Right now these are my top three, but I'm still pondering. If you want to ponder, too, go here.

clothes by Igigi

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wheel L6: Glitters from Pop, Cult Nails, Piggy Polish, and Accessorize

(all have one layer of topcoat over the glitter coats noted below; some could use more topcoat, or at least a thicker topcoat)

1. Pop Beauty Gold Glitz (4 coats)
2. Pop Beauty Aquatic Glitz (3)
3. Pop Beauty Lavender Glitz (4) [I wish this had the holo glitter like the first two]
4. Pop Beauty Violet Glitz (3)
5. Pop Beauty Twinkle (2)
6. Pop Beauty Pink Glitz (2) [not that pink; I had to double check that I hadn't mixed up the names of 5 and 6]
7. Pop Beauty Xmas (1) [with a name like Xmas, I'd expect some green in here, but at least they didn't do the obvious and call it Ruby Slippers]
8. Cult Nails Captivated (2)
9. Cult Nails Living Water (2)
10. Cult Nails Hypnotize Me (2)
11. Cult Nails Always Winning (2) [shimmer and glitter don't usually work together as well as they do here]
12. Piggy Polish Teal It Like It Is (2)
13. Piggy Polish Among the Stars (3)
14. Piggy Polish Confetti (2)
15. Piggy Polish Beach Break (2)
16. Piggy Polish Just Called to Sleigh Hello (3)
17. Accessorize 33 Crystal Shimmer (2)
18. Accessorize unknown mini (2)
19. Accessorize unknown mini (2) [in the bottle, it seemed more like a microglitter; out of it, it seems like it belongs on a shimmer wheel]
20. Accessorize unknown mini (2) [I'd buy a full size of this one]

Bottles 1 through 4:

5 through 7:

8 through 11:

12 through 16:

17 through 20:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top 20 for 2013

I know most nail bloggers did their Top X lists weeks ago, and I really intended to do mine then, too, but you know how plans work out sometimes. As it got later and later, I thought maybe I'd skip it entirely, but I've done a Top 20 every year I've had this blog and I'd hate to break that streak. Thus, here I am, quite belatedly, with my 20 favorite polishes that I had on my nails in 2013. To compile the list, I reviewed all my nail photos for 2013 and made notes about which polishes I'd especially enjoyed wearing and looking at. That gave me a Top 48, which got whittled down to 20 by grouping them by finish and asking myself which would be the last to go if I had to throw bottles overboard to lighten the load on a ship that was taking me to an island where there was no nail polish. (I did not ask myself what scenario would lead to me being on a boat with my top 48 polishes for 2013.)

I'll do these in no particular order; ranking the 20 would delay this entry even more. I'll link to the posts in which these first appeared for reference purposes (that's also where you'll see which ones I got as review samples).

Only one creme made the cut: SinfulShine Wisp. It's on the list because affordable two coat whites can be hard to find, and I've been looking for one since Sally Hansen discontinued my staple, Whirlwind White. Wisp even passed the stamping test (I myself could use some more practice in that area).

There are a few shimmers on my list. Essie Cashmere Bathrobe. If it had been just a deep grey creme, it wouldn't have held my attention, but with those flecks of shimmer, I was on board.

It's the same story with Oopsie Daisies Dionysus; I have plenty of juicy raspberry colored polishes but none amped up with coppery shimmery like this.

I do have lots of plummy purple shimmers, yet I could not resist putting Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Private I on my list. I suppose with as many colors as Sally H. puts out each year, some are gonna be winners.

I debated about OPI This Gown Needs a Crown, too. In the end, it made the cut because it's not like all my other silvers; this one is softer, with a sort of quiet blingy-ness. If I would have gone with two silvers, Zoya Seraphina would have been the second one.

Orchid Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time was in no danger of getting knocked off the list; it's purple with multicolored sparkles, so has two major points in its favor off the bat, plus its foil finish gives it a unique twist among my purple sparkly polishes.

I consider nail polish part of my entertainment budget, and Ruby Wing Electric Firefly was very entertaining, transforming from neon acid yellow indoors to tangerine in the sunshine (it's in mid-morph below).

It was such a good year for holos that I had a hard time narrowing it down to just a few colors. Dance Legend Spacecraft made the cut because I've been looking for a rich black holo since I missed the original OPI My Private Jet, and Spacecraft fit the bill quite nicely (it's second from top in the photo below).

FNUG Futuristica won its spot by being more holo than any of my other light blue holos; in the photo below it's on the left, throwing the most rainbows of any of the quartet (others are from Layla, Color Club, and China Glaze).

Smitten Polish has been doing some outstanding holos, so it was hard to pick a favorite among them. I decided on Cocoa & Cardis because brown holos aren't very easy to come by.

Of course the single biggest category on my Top 20 is glitter, with seven shades making the list. Polish Revolution F'ing Classy has so many of my favorite colors in it and is just the thing to jazz up all those purple and blue and teal and other cremes in my stash (in the photo it's livening up Alessandro Blue Nuit).

Some might say that Nail Pattern Boldness Elderberry is too similar to F'ing Classy to have both on the same list. Those people would be wrong. Elderberry would work over the same range of colors, sure, but it's got a quieter personality, which sometimes is just the thing. It's worn over Nail Pattern Boldness Tyrian Purple in the photo below.

Candie's Over the Rainbow survived the battle of the glitters to make it into the Top 20 because it's a got an interesting mix of colors: silver, gold, copper, pink, and green. Wet 'n' Wild After Party from the holiday collection is the closest thing in my stash to Over the Rainbow, but the Wet 'n' Wild's color palette is less focused.

I picked Shimmer Jennifer out of the lovely glitter mixes I tried from that brand using my "when it doubt, pick the most purple one" guideline. There's a lot going on here with color, shape, and sizebut it all works together so beautifully.

The last three glitters on the list made it because I like to wear and look at them, but also for sentimental reasons. Purple Emerald, a green and holo dominated glitter topper, reminds me of my sweet friend in Portugal whom I've never met in person but feel connected to nonetheless. I didn't know this polish even existed, so seeing it in the package from her was an extra delight. (I'm wearing it over Orchid Grass Stains in the photo below.)

The custom glitter topper from I Love NP that I commissioned for the lacquer lovers' weekend in Las Vegas will always remind me of the fun time I had hanging out and shopping and touring Sin City with mrsrexy and the other ladies.

And I won't be able to look at Candy Lacquer Mickeys and Mistletoe without recalling the trip Mr. Karen and I took to Walt Disney World when all the Christmas decor was up and we went to the party in the Magic Kingdom and a special event at the Osborne Lights and so many other fun things.

Texture was the big trend in 2013, so of course I have a couple on my list. OPI Alcatraz Rocks made it on the strength of its multi-colored glitter and the fact that it looks good both with and without topcoat. Sure, it's a dupe for a P2 texture, but most of us here in the U.S. couldn't get the P2.

Zoya Carter got the other textured slot on the list because it's the richest purple texture in my collection.

Matte was another 2013 trend, which I indulged in by buying every matte topcoat I came across. The winner was OPI Matte Top Coat, because it's a true matte finish but not chalky and goes on very smoothly. If the Sally Girl matte topper were part of the permanent line, that would have given OPI a run for this spot on my Top 20.

My previous lists, with links to the blog posts, are all on my Top 20 page. If you did a Top something (10, 20, 7, etc.) post for 2013, feel free to link it in the comments.

Some of the polishes shown in this entry were provided free for review purposes (you can see which ones by following the links to the individual entries). The content of this entry was not dictated by the providers.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Recent and Actual NOTD: Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails

Given how well my experiment with the Maybelline Nail Falsies went the last time my natural nails were in sad shape, I again turned to fakes during this most recent episode (as mentioned in this post. Since I am easily distracted by new and shiny things (and also because I couldn't remember where I'd put the other set of Nail Falsies I'd bought), this time I tried a set of Kiss Gel Fantasy nails that I'd bought from a new display at Rite Aid.

For my maiden voyage into Kiss nails, I chose a black design with blue and orange red glitter gradient tips. The box didn't seem to indicate the name of the design anywhere, but the Kiss website says it's called Painted Veil.

There are directions on the back of the box for both glue and adhesive tab application; unlike the Maybelline nails, these come with both the glue stickers and liquid nail glue.

Inside the box, there are 24 nails (2 each of 12 sizes), a mini wooden cuticle stick and two-sided mini emery board, 24 adhesive tabs, a tube of nail glue, and more extensive instructions.

As with the Maybelline nails, some of these had little protrusions at the ends that I needed to smooth down (good thing they included that emery board). Unlike the Maybelline nails, these were not numbered on the underside of the nails that I could see, though the directions said "nails are sized by number, noted underneath nail". This meant I had to spent time sorting them into pairs by size before I could start choosing which ones would best fit my nails.

The adhesive tabs are covered with clear unmarked plastic, which made them harder to place on my nail than the rose tinted covers with a notch at the center bottom that the Maybelline have. These had a sort of bulbous shape, too; I'm not sure what the idea was behind that. Once I'd sorted the nails and picked sizes, they went on pretty quickly. I used the second biggest for my thumb (number 1) and ranged down to the the second smallest for my pinky (number 10).

These are oval shaped, and the curve of the oval tip started much sooner than it would if these were my natural nails, at least when I put them flush with the base of my own nailbed.

The box said these were medium length; I'd call them long. They're as long as my natural nails have gotten in recent memory, anyway (though I realize some ladies do wear them longer than that).

Compared to the Maybelline nails, these Kiss ones felt thicker and less flexible. They also felt slicker and harder, and they're definitely very shiny. The glitter on the tips is very pretty; it has some holographic color shifting bits in it that I found quite entertaining to look at.

Though the directions call for putting these on clean nails, I did use a treatment base, which I think is at least partly to blame for the two nails I had pop off during the six days I wore these. (The first one to let go did it at a very inopportune time, just before I sat down for lunch with Tracey of traceyloveslacquer. If I'd brought the little bag I'd put the extra nails and glue pads in, I would have reapplied right then, but I hadn't.) I got lots of compliments on these, more than most of my manicures, for sure.

Taking the Painted Veil nails off when I was ready was just as easy as the Maybellines: drip a little acetone along the side of the nail, wait a few seconds, then gently push up and off with a cuticle stick. The surface of my nails seemed undamaged by the process.

I still had some splits in a few of my own nails, so I followed with another set of Gel Fantasy nails, a French mani look called To the Max with iridescent glitter on the white tips. These were also "medium" length, but squoval shaped rather than oval. The image on the box shows different sizes of round glitter but the nails actually had one size of hex glitter plus very small glitter.

These felt shorter than the oval nails, though still longer than my own nails have been for a while. The squarish edges took a bit of getting used to, but definitely covered my natural nails better than the ovals had. The base color was transparent enough that my half moons showed through (on the fingers where I have them), which helped them look more natural. Or would have, if it didn't also let the air pockets between the glue pads and the nail show, too. Some additional pressing and rubbing reduced those pockets but I never got them to go away entirely.

I didn't like the To the Max look nearly as well as I had Painted Veil. That thick white tip combined with the chunky shape made me feel like I was one step away from duck nails, and that's not my thing at all. These are still on my hands as I type this, but they are coming off soon even thought they're still in fine shape. The first couple days I thought I just needed time to get used to these, but this shape and length and look has not really grown on me at all.

Bottom line of my review: I didn't like these as much as the Maybelline ones, but might try them again in a shorter length/other design. The best part of these was the glitter.