So, hi. I skipped out on nearly two years of blogging in the name of going back to school and learning to sew. I just completed my first official year as a student in the Apparel Design & Development program at Seattle Central College and I must tell you, it really ate my life. It was great! But I have not gotten rid of my polish and perfume collections or reduced my collecting habits, in fact they have grown monstrous, like goldfish with a large habitat and unending food supply. I joined SquareHue for a while, and that was fun; I expanded my horizons regarding jellies and have grown less addicted to matte-ifying everything I touch; I obsessively bought textures for a while, then kind of got over them, then relapsed, then un-relapsed. ….Good times. Anyhow, I’ve got a little time free right now and I just passed my two-year blogiversary, so I’m going to post some swatches and reviews and general mischief. This will continue through the summer and then I’ll probably lapse again once school starts. We’ll see. I have a LOT of polish to talk about, not to mention bath & body goodies and perfumes. Whee!
Let’s start with this cheap shot: What I’m wearing today!
That grey might look familiar, and it should, because Nails Inc. Covent Garden Ballet, which I posted about in August 2012, has finally gotten an official US release in the Ballet Sheers collection that has just turned up at Ulta. (It also showed up in one of the mini sets at Sephora — Winter 13, maybe? — as ‘Kensington Place’. Same polish, different name, oh, Nails Inc. Oh you and your shenanigans.) The pale pink from the same set is Hamilton Mews and is — surprise! — a pale pink matte with green and blue shimmer. It’s not marked as such anywhere on the bottle or display. It looks very nice with a glossy topcoat and is a much nicer accent with Covent Garden Ballet that way. I haven’t taken any pictures of it as such because I’m a lazy butt and my cuticles are laughable. ^_^
The formula on Covent Garden seems a little more sheer than the original release, but not dramatically so. It’s still smooth and shiny and stunning, absolutely one of my favorite grey polishes. This is two coats over Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator (I’ve been using this in hopes of making my nails quit flaking. It seems to be working, but then, I also didn’t really polish them for the last three weeks of classes, so that may have had something to do with it as well). Hamilton Mews was kind of thick and dried almost too quickly to work with, that quick snap was one coat, and two is more optimal. It’s not bad, and application would have been better had I been expecting a matte rather than a sheer shimmer. ^_^;
Overall, I’m happy to have a backup bottle of Covent Garden Ballet, and I am not sad to have a pretty pale pink matte shimmer. As a side note, the white shimmer from the Ballet Sheers collection, Mayfair, also showed up in A-Listers collection from two years ago.
I bought both of these at Ulta, though they aren’t on the website yet, and presumably you’ll eventually be able to order them from the Nails Inc. website — they’re not up on the US site, but Google tells me they’re available on the UK site.
So I was poking about peeping at things a little while ago and stumbled across this post on Pandora’s Nails, and was hit with a severe “lemming”, a.k.a. a desperate need to own something that you’ve seen swatches of and/or missed buying or whatever. It may translate somewhat to “WAAANT NAOOOOOOWWWW”.
Nails Inc. Covent Garden Ballet. This first photo is it entirely on its own, two coats. I did get some bubbling from my basecoat, which I had just thinned and thoughtlessly failed to wait for the bubbles to dissipate. Not the fault of the polish!
You should by now have realized that I am a gray polish fiend. Light grays slightly more than dark grays, but not by much. I just love gray. I also have a deep and abiding love of subtle shimmer. This polish hit all my buttons. The shimmer is gold or pink or both. Rose-gold? Whatever. It floats there under the surface looking magical.
I was curious and thought it would coordinate well, so on the ring fingers as an accent nail, I added a layer of Lilacquer Kitsune. It looked lovely, and I contemplated doing a full hand, but the greenish flash that Kitsune shows did distract sufficiently from the effect I wanted, so I decided to leave it at just the one nail on each hand.
You can see the contrast a little more starkly here — internal shimmer, external shimmer. Both are beautiful. It reminded me a bit of opals, and I might try this with some flakies sometime to emphasize the effect. I loved this manicure. The gray is so soft and light and easy on the eyes. It wore for two and a half days until I got something else I desperately wanted to wear. ;)
I ordered this (along with the other three polishes in the set) from the U.K., as I couldn’t find a U.S. seller that had it at what I considered a reasonable price. I paid a little less than retail at Beautybay (free international shipping!), but there are a couple of other places that I found that had it even cheaper but didn’t list it as shippable to the US. If you’re in the U.K., you might be able to pick the A Listers set up wherever Nails Inc. is usually sold, but I never saw it at a local Sephora.
Looking at a few swatches, it does look like one of the new Essence Colour & Go polishes, Grey-t to be here, is similar in color, but the Essence looks like it has larger, flaky-type glitter instead of fine shimmer. I’ll probably pick it up if I ever see it in person (gray polish fiend!), so I’ll do a quick comparison then. It is, to be fair, much, much cheaper, so I couldn’t blame you if you prefer that one.
So one of my friends is moving and decided she had a dreaded case of Too Much Nail Polish. Being awesome, she decided to share it with her peeps. My polish collection increased by two-thirds. This is awesome, but provides me with the hilarious problem of choosing what to wear next.
OH MY GOD. WHAT TO WEAR?! I could go for some vintage China Glaze, or some ridiculously amazing duochromes from Hits. Maybe a nice OPI or something from an entirely new-to-me company, like Nubar or Barielle! Too many choices! How awesome is that?
Wrelp, I picked none of those. Instead I re-attempted a manicure I’ve been trying since March with varying degrees of success. This time I got both vaguely closer to my goal and much, much further away. It’s pretty much just a hot mess, but I’m sharing anyway. Feeling penitent, perhaps?
In March, Zoya released the Peter Som New York Fashion Week collection — three colors, two sheer, one creme. The two sheers I have attempted several times to layer into a sakura-inspired sort of jelly sandwich gradient manicure with varying (mostly failures) degrees of success. Well, tonight I tried it again. This chappie was about eight layers of polish, I think? Towards the end I was just stacking things on there for the hell of it.
I did use two polishes that I didn’t have the last time I tried this: Tart With A Heart and Give Me The Chills. The latter was from my friend’s stash. Her full ‘keepers’ stash is epic and gorgeous and I am not-so-secretly hoping I can convince her to guest post someday — when she is not moving, of course!
Butter London Nail Foundation Base > Zoya Audrey (sheer petal pink) > Butter London Tart With A Heart (sparrrrkly holo-tastic glitter with a mildly pink base) > Zoya Katharine (sheer mauve-y purple) > T w/a ♥ > Audrey > T w/a ♥ > Maybelline Colorama Top Coat in ‘give me the chills’ (hilarious peachy iridescent thread top coat > nails inc. westminister bridge matte topcoat (which is not particularly matte, as you can probably see. It’s more satiny than anything else.)
Okay, nine, including base and top. It’s excessive. The color payoff is minimal. I have to take pictures of it now because it is never going to dry and I will destroy it in the night. Also, so you can have a good snicker at my attempt. On the plus side, holo sparkles!
Observe the tiny, weird, shiny hairs on my nails. As my friend said when I picked up the bottle and eyed it skeptically, it’s pretty easy to tell why this finish didn’t exactly take off. In person it ends up looking a bit like your polish has tiny, shiny fault lines, or as if sheet marks had developed a glossy sheen.
AH GAAAD. Yeah, I actually wiped this right off after taking pics. I didn’t even let it dry completely because of the glitter nightmare/heaven that is Tart With A Heart. I love it, it’s beautiful, but hurrrgh that many layers of it fully dry would take forever to remove.
The two Zoya polishes were from a limited edition box set from their site. The Butter London I got at a Nordstrom, but you can get them various places, notably at their site. I don’t really recommend the Nails Inc. matte topcoat, but I bought mine at Sephora. The Maybelline hairy topcoat was a gift, and if you want it, um. Check ebay, maybe? I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else. Bar glitter, sure, but hair glitter? Uhhh.
Please note that I will be attempting to use it again someday. Maybe then I’ll succeed in making it look good; I definitely didn’t this time.
All polishes were either purchased by me or gifts from friends. Nobody ever wants to see me do this one again, not even me.