Saturday, May 31, 2014

Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her

Maximillian Strasse-Her was released by Essie as part of the Madison Ave-Hue collection for spring 2013. Essie describes it as a cool grey green and I agree. This is a pale smooth mortar grey with a sage green tone to it and possibly a few drops of blue in there too, as this polish can take on a blue hue in certain situations, like under incandescent lighting.

Application was ok. The consistency of Maximillian Strasse-Her is fluid, creamy and dense, easy to manipulate and with good flow over the nail. This polish separates with time sooner than any other polish I've seen, so be sure to give it a good shake before using and let it stand for five or ten minutes before beginning to polish to give any bubbles time to dissipate. Pigmentation is very good with completely opaque coverage in two coats. I thought it could have been a bit more self-leveling as my ridges were still quite apparent after two coats. I went on to apply a third, which provided a bit more ridge camo but there are definitely better self-levelers out there. Like many other whitened polishes, this one will ghost around the edges if you don't align your coats exactly. Maximillian Strasse-Her dries naturally in good time to a smooth glossy finish.

Photos show three coats of Maximillian Strasse-Her over treatment and basecoat with a topcoat of Seche Vite.


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her


Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her

I love this sleek, demure color and wish it provided a bit more ridge camo, but I could probably remedy that and the third coat of polish by using two layers of my favorite basecoat, Butter London Nail Foundation, underneath. 

By the way, I hate that they felt the need to fluff up some of the names of the polishes in this collection with such weirdly hyphenated double entendre gimmicks. Ave-Hue, Hip-Anema, (and silliest of all) Strasse-Her. Why not just call it Maximillian Strasse and be done with it? It would have been much classier. Sigh.  

After snapping off the corner of two different nails recently I decided to try a more rounded, squoval shape. It's not as tidy to me as a squared nail, but I think perhaps it suits my fingers better and hopefully I won't be snapping off chunks of my nails when I go to open the car door, pull out a drawer from a filing cabinet or remove a sliding top from a container. I have several nails that torque and some with tighter c-curves than others that give the illusion of being more curved at the free edge than they actually are, so I had to make some judgment calls to get them all looking similar enough to each other. It was kind of nerve-wracking, actually, and I kinda feel like I want to file them all off straight across again just because of how easy the square shape has been to maintain. 

We'll just see how it goes.

love,
Liz

Friday, May 30, 2014

Zoya Portia

Portia is described by Zoya as a "soft milky pale rose with cool lavender undertones." I have to applaud the descriptor writers at Zoya for this one, it's attractive and accurate. Portia is a desaturated pale pink creme with a touch of lavender that leans slightly to the cool side of the spectrum and shows its lavender side in the shade especially. It finishes up with a beautiful almost silvery sheen, really quite lovely and I adore the color, which has a bridal feel to it. I wish it liked me half as much!

Application was nice. The consistency is fluid, creamy and smooth, with excellent flow over the nail. The first coat is sheer but completely non-streaky, and makes for an excellent french or natural look manicure. Subsequent coats build the color, with three being my optimum for opaque coverage. Portia self-levels well, unusual for a whitened color like this, and did not bubble or drag but did ghost a bit around the edges when I didn't apply it perfectly aligned with the previous coat. Cleanup is easy and straightforward, although this color matched my skin tone well enough that I had trouble seeing swipage when it occurred. Portia dries naturally in good time to a glossy finish.

Photos show three medium coats of Portia over treatment and basecoat with a topcoat of Seche Vite.


Zoya Portia


Zoya Portia


Zoya Portia


Zoya Portia


Zoya Portia


Zoya Portia


Zoya Portia


Zoya Portia


Zoya Portia


Zoya Portia

I was hoping for a mannequin hands manicure with Portia but it's a little too cool and maybe too pale for my skin. Even though I love this delicate, natural, sea shell pink, I think it gives my fingers kind of a grimy look in comparison and the gap between the polish and my cuticle is distractingly dark. Can't win 'em all! My search for the perfect mannequin hands neutral continues.

love,
Liz

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro

Indigo Punk was released by Butter London as part of the Rock Your Colour collection for fall 2013. Described by Butter London as a full coverage indigo purple glitter, it's actually appears as more of an indigo blue with a violet cast in certain lights. It has a deep violet tinted suspension base carrying superabundant dark blue microglittters, a true glitter bomb.

I read that getting full coverage with Indigo Punk wasn't as easy as expected, and that it could end up looking very thick so I decided to layer Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro. One coat is all that's needed for full opaque coverage of this magnificent deep ultramarine blue creme. Eurso Euro just flat out rocks! It's an absolutely perfect base polish for Indigo Punk, they could have been made for each other.

Application of Indigo Punk was a delight. The consistency is fluid but not thin, and dense with glitters, which spread smoothly and evenly over the nail without stacking or protruding over the free edge. I used two coats for this manicure. Indigo Punk dries naturally in very good time to a flat, very slightly textured satin finish. I wish all glitter bombs were as easy to apply as this one is!

Photos show two coats of Indigo Punk over one coat of Eurso Euro over treatment and basecoat, with a coat of Gelous followed by a topcoat of Seche Vite to finish.


OPI Eurso Euro and Butter London Indigo Punk, bottle shot


Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro


Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro


Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro


Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro


Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro


Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro


Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro


Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro


Butter London Indigo Punk over OPI Eurso Euro

I absolutely love this combo. Deep blue with violet blue sparkle, so fine!

love,
Liz

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Misa Bikini with a Martini

Stepping well out of my comfort zone today, I bring you an unusual neon from Misa called Bikini with a Martini. This polish was released with Misa's Look on the Bright Side collection in August 2008, and it's a rare red neon. My first and only neon polish! I can't remember which blog I saw this on, but it wasn't too long ago and the concept of a red neon just kinda stuck with me so during my latest order for supplies from Head2Toe Beauty, I added it to my cart.

Bikini with a Martini is an orangey red, but when you look at the typical neon orange (the traffic cone sort of color) you can see that this one is much more red than orange. It actually has loads of pink in it too. In the bottle and on the nail in dim light it is a searing tomato red with hot pink overtones. On the nail in most lights it's an over the top hot red orange. The formula is outstanding for a neon. Fluid, smooth and thin, it's not the least bit chalky and in fact has a degree of translucence to it that is more like a jelly than anything. It applies beautifully, too, without any of the streakiness that often accompanies neon application. It's not the best self-leveler, but can be applied in thin coats so that's not much of a problem. Two coats are pretty sufficient for opaque coverage but I added a third just to be sure. Bikini with a Martini dries naturally in very good time to a smooth slightly rubbery-looking finish.

Photos show three coats of Bikini with a Martini over treatment and basecoat with a topcoat of Seche Vite. I went ahead and happily let my camera freak out over the intensity of the color as the results actually do justice to what this polish is like in person. This manicure isn't my best work -- there's acetone residue around my nails, a bubble or two (or three) in the topcoat and (still!) leftover glitters from Heartless. Oh well, either it's all right or it's too bad, as Fuzzy would say. 

Misa Bikini with a Martini

Misa Bikini with a Martini


Misa Bikini with a Martini


Misa Bikini with a Martini


Misa Bikini with a Martini


Misa Bikini with a Martini


Misa Bikini with a Martini


Misa Bikini with a Martini


Misa Bikini with a Martini

For a neon aficionado, I'd think this would be one for the books. Eye-searing color in an unusual shade with a great formula and easy application, huzzah! Although I don't think the color does much for me, it's still an awesome polish. Neon lovers, take note!

love,
Liz







Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nails Inc Baker Street

In nail polish culture, Baker Street by Nails Inc is an icon of sorts. It is to bright blue what China Glaze Ruby Pumps is to red. Of the many online reviews I've read of Baker Street, I've only come across one that wasn't entirely favorable and most are unapologetically effusive. So I'm thrilled to finally have my very own bottle of this blazing blue beauty and now that I've got it on my nails I can justifiably say that there is indeed substance beneath the fervor.

Baker Street is a medium-toned well-saturated electric cobalt blue. The color is rich and profoundly vivid, with a neonesque intensity. At the same time, there's a sleek creaminess to it that keeps it from being totally stark or harsh or garish. Still, it's hard to imagine a blue of this depth being any brighter than Baker Street is. Fuzzy called it "improbable." *lol* Fuzz tends to get spooked by insufficient subtlety and however wonderful this polish is, subtlety is not within the scope of its raison d'ĂȘtre.

Application was dreamy. The consistency is fluid, smooth, creamy and dense. It has just the right balance between fluidity and viscosity to make for a very satisfying, easily controlled application experience. I had wondered whether the cap, which is relatively wide, would be awkward to hold, but surprisingly I adapted to it almost instantly. The formula is so outstanding you could probably hold a can of beans with a wand attached and manage a fine looking manicure no problem. Pigmentation is excellent with near opaque coverage in one medium coat and complete opacity in two. I experienced no streaking or patching of any kind. Cleanup is easy and straightforward with no staining of cuticles or nail environs left behind. Baker Street dries naturally in good time to a smooth, slightly rubbery-looking finish that loves a nice topcoat to make the most of the sublime blue color.

Photos show two coats of Baker Street over Seche Rebuild treatment and Butter London Nail Foundation basecoat with a topcoat of HK Girl. Mortifications du jour: acetone residue left after cleanup and, yes, those glitters you see lodged in my cuticles and elsewhere are mementos of yesterday's CrowsToes Heartless manicure. My apologies!


Nails Inc Baker Street


Nails Inc Baker Street


Nails Inc Baker Street


Nails Inc Baker Street


Nails Inc Baker Street


Nails Inc Baker Street


Nails Inc Baker Street


Nails Inc Baker Street


Nails Inc Baker Street


Nails Inc Baker Street

One of the nicest things about Baker Street besides the spectacular color is how beautifully it finishes up. The silky smooth, perfectly even, inscrutable depth of color is just so satisfying to the eye and makes for a truly impressive manicure. I can see this as a refreshing pop of color with charcoals, greys, browns, black or white as well as a happy companion to bright prints and similarly bold vibrant colors. 

It's also one of those polishes that as good as it looks in the bottle, it is infinitely more magnificent on the nail. Baker Street is my first experience with Nails Inc. If this is an indication of the general quality of their offerings, count me in for more of them!

love,
Liz

Monday, May 26, 2014

CrowsToes Heartless over Butter London Snog

Heartless was released by indie polish maker CrowsToes as part of the ValenCrows collection in February 2013. This is a true glitter bomb, it's got a pink-tinted transparent suspension base carrying a superabundance of various analogous berry-colored microglitters, some of them holographic: pink, fuchsia, magenta, purple, red. In direct light, this puppy lights up better than a firework display!

I chose to layer Heartless over a quick one coat manicure of Butter London Snog, a deep saturated intense hot pink. Heartless applies fairly easily for such a glitter-packed polish. The consistency is thick but fluid, and dense with glitters. The first coat actually flows pretty smoothly over the nail. The glitter payoff is excellent and the spread is evenly random. Things got a little dicey with the second coat with some tumbling of the glitters and protrusions over the free edge. I took care to wrap the tips and that helped push back protruding pieces, but it ended up being a very thick coat. Heartless dries naturally in very good time to a textured finish. I applied a smooth coat of Gelous to even out the surface and then added a topcoat of Seche Vite for a glitter under glass look.

Photos show two coats of Heartless over one coat of Butter London Snog over treatment and basecoat, followed by a coat of Gelous and a topcoat of Seche Vite.


CrowsToes Heartless over Butter London Snog


CrowsToes Heartless over Butter London Snog


CrowsToes Heartless over Butter London Snog


CrowsToes Heartless over Butter London Snog


CrowsToes Heartless over Butter London Snog


CrowsToes Heartless over Butter London Snog


CrowsToes Heartless over Butter London Snog

This is an amazing polish! It's impossible to capture its true nature in a still photo, it's got the kind of bling that has to be experienced in person to comprehend the dynamic interplay of color and light. The richly colored mix of microglitter has it's own reflective sparkles -- add holographic glitter on top of that and you've got yourself some seriously blingtastic eye candy. In dim light and shade, though, Heartless is pretty stealthy. It's not until you get it in some direct light that the show begins. 

I love the name of this polish almost as much as the polish itself. Back in the '90s when I used to hang out at the Mr. Cranky movie review website, my username was hb, for heartless b*tch, so Heartless is kind of a touchstone to a past internet life. Fortunately, it's an absolutely gorgeous lacquer!

I lucked into my bottle via an ebay auction but it's available at Llarowe for $13 USD.

love,
Liz