Tag Archives: nailpolish

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: ESSENCE #176

Just in time for V-Day, I’ve fallen in love– with a nail polish!essence1

 

Essence is one of the better budget brands out there when it comes to nailpolish– when it comes to most things, actually, but I’m basically blown away by this effort. It’s #176, and the title is Headphones On! I picked up this bottle in Primark, but you can probably get it in all chemists that still have some in stock– I got the last one, but there’s no indication it is a hateful limited edition, so you shouldn’t have any problems. It’s also a complete and absolute steal for a polish this gorgeous, and will cost you less than €3!

Now let’s get the toad on the table: the brush pretty grim. Basically, it’s pants. This makes me very sad, because the polish is basically perfect, but it will in no way stop me from using (and loving) this polish all the same.

What’s good about it? Basically everything else. I love how it looks– it’s incredibly unusual, for one thing… But for another, if your wardrobe tends in any way towards blacks, whites, or greys, it will go with almost any outfit. It’s a dark grey glitter with super-tiny silver glitter mixed in with slightly larger blue, black, and holo flecks. Here’s an extreme close-up:

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That makes it look like the particles are larger than they actually are, so here’s an action shot so you can see it in-situ:

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The glitter is subtle, but it gives a really beautiful effect with real depth and shimmer. I’m wearing three coats here, because it isn’t fully opaque otherwise, but once you do get to the third coat, it’s pretty much completely solid. To my surprise and delight, despite three coats and the density of the glitter, it doesn’t feel rough or textured and bumpy at all. It’s the smoothest-feeling textured polish I’ve tried in ages, and I love that so much.  Granted, my application in the photos leaves a little to be desired (which is partly owing to the bad brush– this was my first attempt, and I think I’ll get better with practice), but you can at least see the overall effect.

The problem with the brush is that it’s tapered at the edges, but also untidy; for me, this is the worst possible combination. Still, a little perseverance and care and you can do a reasonable job. It’s not something you can slap on too easily, but it doesn’t fight you every step of the way, either. The formulation is also a tiny bit on the thick side, but not so much that applying it is terrible difficult. It dries quickly, barely smells, and is reasonably long-lasting. I got three days before it started to chip– it does chip rather than fade, so if that bothers you, that’s something to be aware of. (I’m not usually a fan of chipping, but this is such a rock chick look that I don’t mind it; I think it seems kind of grungey and cool.)

Grey polish is definitely a thing for me– it suits my skintone, and my wardrobe, and my style. This is I will definitely be wearing this a lot, and I’ll be looking to buy it again. For €3 in Primark, how could you say no?

Are you a fan of Essence polish? Is this a look you’d like? Do you have another grey glitter to recommend to me? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

NAILS OF THE MOMENT

A while ago I picked up this blue glitter polish from Boots, and I’ve finally had a chance to try it out. Here’s how it looks:

 

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It has to be said, I’m not as thrilled with this one (“Blue Glitter”) as I am its green counterpart. To start with, this is far less opaque, so I had to layer something under it. Not wanting to interfere with the pretty blue colour I bought it for, I’ve used this Revlon silver underneath. What really irked me about this polish, though, wasn’t having to use a base, it was the effect it had on that base– namely, it started stripping it.

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You see the little patch on my thumb and ring finger where the polish is almost see-through? That’s one of the spots where the blue lifted the silver. For me, this is one of the most irritating things a polish can do. The effect was less strong on the second coat, but there was still some noticeable and annoying shifting.

This polish is also quite textured, which I personally don’t prefer (but I know a lot of people do enjoy). It isn’t so textured that it’s rough or will snag on your clothing, and you can smooth it out with a layer of top-coat, but if you’re looking for a quick route to a smooth polish, this isn’t it.

On the plus side, the colour is extremely pretty. A very light sky blue with teeny-tiny multi-colour micro glitter, it looks absolutely gorgeous, and is surprisingly long-lasting. It also wears off rather than chips off, which is definitely my preferred option when it comes to light-colored polish. The polish itself is easy to apply, with both formulation and brush shape being pretty much perfect.

If you can overlook the part where it tends to strip whatever base polish you’re using (or if you can go without one), this is a decent use of your €3. If, however, you want absolute opacity and a smooth surface, maybe this isn’t the one for you.

Have you tried this polish? Do polishes that strip their bases drive you nuts? What’s your polish pet peeve? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

NAILS OF THE MOMENT

One of my recent January sales purchases was this fab Color Carnival polish from Boots’ Seventeen range. I am not ashamed to say I tried it out almost immediately after I got it home, and I was not at all disappointed. Look how gorgeous this is:

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Okay, yes, my nails themselves are basically hideous right now on account of the fact that I had an Unfortunate Incident with a chopping knife (frankly, I was lucky I lost only a nail and not a finger, so let that be a lesson to you, folks: pay attention when using sharp implements!) very recently. How gorgeous is that polish, though? It has amazing depth. In dim light, it has a pretty shimmer, and in intense light you can see the tiny gold flecks in the polish.

I’m always on the lookout for nice green nail polishes. For some reason, it’s the hardest colour to get… But it also happens to be my favourite colour to wear. I am so thrilled with this one, and in my opinion, it’s also a pretty good dupe for China Glaze’s “Running in Circles”. From the pictures, I thought it looked like my Holy Grail Green, so I was disheartened to discover I couldn’t get it in Ireland.

This one is a more than adequate alternative, though. I also believe it rivals any of the super fancy indie polishes that cost €30– except this baby will set you back a mere tenth of that. For that price, I didn’t expect the polish to have much staying power, but I was astonished to find it was still going strong, chip-free, on day three. That’s including three days of heavy daily typing– and even one instance of fixing a toilet with a broken flush. How’s that for a marvel bargain?

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The shade is #57 Green Gold Shimmer, and you can see the bottle above. (I haven’t tried out the blue in that picture – I suspect it’s less full coverage and more translucent than the green, but if it is anything like the green one, it’ll still be brilliant.) I suspect Seventeen is going to be my new go-to brand for budget polish now, especially after recent disappointments with other budget polishes because of their applicators.

The brush on this one was medium-sized, which is just what I like, and isn’t tapered, so it has none of that “one stroke” gimmicky nonsense that some other brands try to push. Yes, this is basic: but it’s effective, and allows for precise application. Doing your polish neatly when your nails are this short is a real pain in the backside, but I managed it with this applicator with relative ease. That’s no testament to my skills, and speaks mainly to the ease of application when you have a slim brush with a uniform width.

I’m super impressed by this stuff, from application to appearance to how hard-wearing it is. If you’re into nail polish and you can hunt out €3 from the sparse January coffers, this is definitely worth your time and attention.

What nail polish bargains have you discovered recently? Have you tried Seveneen nail polish before? What other great green polishes can you suggest? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

RECENT PURCHASES: JANUARY SALES

I did eventually manage to hit the January sales– better late than never, I say, and definitely also better when not grossly overcrowded and crazy. Here’s what I picked up:

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These gorgeous nail polishes are from Boots’ Seventeen range. They’re just €3, which I think is astonishing for such gorgeous colours. I’ve got #49 Blue Glitter and #57 Green Gold Shimmer here, which I’m looking forward to trying out– even if I suspect I am going to need bucketloads of nail polish remover for taking them off since they’re pretty intensely glittery. (Whoever can invent something which takes off glitter polish without an hour’s worth of scrubbing is going to be one rich person, let me tell you.)

 

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I’ve been wanting to add some new eye shadow brushes to my collection for a while now, and unfortunately the only website on which I could find Sigma brushes had none in stock. Consequently, I gave up on web shopping and hied myself to the Mac counter in BT2– I was hoping to save myself a few quid by not buying the MAC ones, but in the end, I decided to just save myself the headache.

It’s not really so terrible; online shopping is a pain in my backside, if I’m honest. I always prefer a bricks-and-mortar retailer wherever possible, since that way I get to bring the goodies home in my hot little hands and not spend a week obsessively tracking my package to try to determine what day it might arrive. Even if you can figure out what day it might come, that means a whole day spent shivering with the living room door open so you’re sure to hear the doorbell, watching your hideously expensive heating flowing into the hall while you rock back and forth from a combination of chill and the inability to take a bathroom break in case the doorbell rings while you’re in there and you can’t scramble out in time to catch the postman before he leaves. (I really don’t handle waiting for deliveries well, okay?)

Since this was a regular retailer, I got to bring home my goodies from the MAC counter as well as two others I picked up in in M&S in their sale for €4 (from their own Autograph range) and €8 (from Pur Brushes). The MAC ones were not on sale, and were about €20 each (ouch). I picked up #217 (I didn’t have one, if you can believe that) and #224. I’ll be excited to compare them to the Real Techniques ones I use daily and the M&S ones you can see here.

 

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While picking up my brushes, I also quite naughtily found my way into the downstairs of BT2. Oops? That said, I got two great bargains– this lovely little Whistles parka was 50% off at €100. It’s insanely warm, and fills the White-Coat-shaped gap in my wardrobe quite nicely. The shoes were something of a random buy– like my red runners, they’re actually for a costume event I’m going to later in the year (I’ll be doing, among other things, a casual version of Princess Anna from Frozen), but I’m actually rather taken with them. They were €60, down from €95, and the embroidery is gorgeous. I bought them in a size up in the hopes of being able to wear them with a heel insert to protect my irritatingly vulnerable Achilles tendon, so we shall see how that goes. (And if it doesn’t work, I’ll just have to… Let it go?)

 

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Lastly, I stopped by M&S to see what was available in their sale. In addition to the two brushes I already mentioned, I picked up two body scrubs– they were only €4 each, and they were also on a “Buy One Get One Half Price” offer, which means I got the two of them for the princely sum of €6! I’m a big fan of body scrubs, so hopefully these will work out for me. Neither Lemon nor Cocoa Butter is really my favourite scent, but they’re nice enough and at that price you really can’t argue.

I also picked up a lighted mirror on half price in Boots… And something else which I suspect deserves its own post which I’ll be talking about soon. My sale shopping was quite restrained this year, but considering the bumper Christmas and Birthday I had, I can hardly complain! I’m not exactly hurting for clothes or makeup, and I’m hoping to spend less and shop my closet more in 2015. I have so much lovely stuff that hasn’t been worn nearly enough, after all.

Did you get anything nice in the sales? Are you holding out for prices to drop even further? Or are you on a shop-your-closet-in-2015 kick, too? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

NEZZY DOES DUNDRUM

I have successfully completed all my Christmas shopping! Forget everything I said before about Christmas being a pain in the backside (at least until I have to go back to Dundrum in the last week or so before Christmas). Today, I am awash with the holiday spirit and full of Christmas cheer!

I’ll be doing a write up of my gifts another day, but today I’m doing to talk about the little treats I bought for myself. I got:

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Carmex Lip Balm
Essie polishes in #293 Peak of Chic, and #88 Licorice
A Tangle Teezer
Eyelure Brow Palette in Blonde
Tweezerman Slant Tweezers

The Carmex is an old staple for me, but the other products are new buys.

Since the price of GOSH polishes have gone up to €8.50 (eight fifty!), I thought it was worth kicking in the extra €2 to upgrade to Essie– it’s one of my favourite ranges, but which I mostly avoid due to its price. (The fact that the Essence counter was out of black might also have had something to do with it.) I am excited to try out this glitter topcoat: it has a lovely holographic sheen, and the glitter pieces themselves are quite small, so it should give a nice effect. Look out for it in a NOTD post coming soon!

I couldn’t quite believe I managed to get the Eylure palette– I’m always looking for ways to improve my brows, and I’ve read good things about these palettes. I also tried to buy the Brow Ink, but there was some kind of snafu at the till and I ended up not purchasing it. Fortunately, I was able to call the shop (McCabes) after I got home and noticed it missing, and the lady put it aside for me! Very happy about that. A word of warning about these products, though: the actual item itself does not seem to bear any information about the shade you’ve chosen, so make sure you make a note of what’s on the box for future purchases before you recycle it!

Speaking of brows, I recently, um, “damaged” my old reliable tweezers while trying to glue some things together. I’m actually quite cut up about this, because I’ve had them for about fifteen years and they were bloody brilliant. RIP, old tweezers. 😦 I’m hoping their replacements will be as good and last as long, but only time will tell. I have heard good things about these, though, so I’ll let you know.

I’ve also heard great things about the Tangle Teezer, and I’m definitely looking forward to giving that a go.

We took a break from working out the credit cards to stop for lunch at the amazing Siam Thai, our favourite place to eat in Dundrum. I recommend the Garlic and Pepper chicken… Or duck, or beef, or pretty much any variety. It’s delicious!

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They have a great lunch menu of two courses for €15, and since we weren’t that hungry, we grabbed the main and dessert instead of starter and main. Although the dessert menu was delightfully fancy, what I personally fancied was ice cream. It’s not on the menu, but they do have it, and it’s very nice! Make sure to ask if you want some.

Back home now, and I’m looking forward to writing up and wrapping up my pressies. Can’t put the Christmas tree up until after my birthday, though; Mummy won’t allow it!

Have you got your Christmas shopping done? Have you been eaten anywhere tasty lately? What products have you recently purchased that you’re excited to try out? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: CATRICE METALLURE

One of the very few things about winter which I don’t absolutely hate is the trend for sparkly makeup. With Christmas coming up and recently back from holidays, I’m trying to give my wallet a gentle rest, especially considering that I might be upgrading my laptop in the near(ish) future. The perfect combination of these things?

Budget range Christmas collections!

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These offerings are from Catrice, one of the few budget brands I really love. (The other, for reference, is Essence. And NYC and Claire’s do great nailpolish, even if I find their actual makeup lacking.) What I picked up here was the LE Metallure nailpolish in Metalfusion, and the LE Metallure shadows in Metallight (left) and Metalfusion (right). You can read Beaut.ie’s review of the full collection here— unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my hands on half the range (and I really wanted the nude-ish lippy, too), because apparently this stuff sells out fast.

However, here are my thoughts on what I did pick up:

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NAILS OF THE MOMENT

Sporting summer spots today! I’ve done these on both my fingers and my toes for maximum dotty delight.


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I’m quite pleased with how this turned out– but of course, as ever, my right hand isn’t quite as good as my left. Such is the curse of being nearly ambidextrous…!

I’ve used Rimmel 60 Seconds in “White Hot Love” as the base, and before you ask: yes, I had to use several coats. This is actually four, though you could possibly get away with three if you’re not obsessed with having a fully opaque look.

The black spots were created using a slim-tip nail art pen. This was a gift from my lovely friend Regan, and you can find them here. If you’ve got a steady hand, the slim-tip ones are better than than the thicker tips, I find, because you can do both skinny and thick dots or lines depending on how much you squeeze the bottle.

A dot-drawing tip: start with a line of dots diagonally across the middle of your nail from tip to cuticle. Then dot in the line above, positioning each dot in the middle between the dots on the previous line. Continue to the tip, then do the same to the lower half of the nail– or don’t; a half-and-half look works amazingly on longer nails. If you’re really brave, and possess both long nails and a steady hand, a halftone pattern looks ridiculously fantastic.

Are you dotty for nail art? Do you prefer the classic single-colour look? Do you have an application tip for me? Drop me a line and let me know!
-A-

NAILS OF THE MOMENT

 

 

I’ve been a dirty lazy slacker recently, and not painting my nails at all! Granted, that was mostly because I’d trimmed them down to stubs a while ago owing to a terrible disaster involving a door and a lot of screaming, but now they’re growing back, and it would be a shame not to dip into my beautiful nailpolish collection and do something interesting with them! This is what I’m rocking right now:

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This one was achieved with Claire’s Accessories “Grey Day” (getting grey polish is a lot harder than you might imagine) with Barry M Black & White graffiti over the top. I’m a big fan of budget polishes, because unlike with skincare and makeup, I find there’s no real difference in quality between the higher-end polishes and the cheaper ones. Maybe I’m just too hard on my hands (I wash my hands a lot, I’m a tapper, and I type thousands of words daily), but I find that no matter what I pay for polish, it starts chipping and flaking within a day or two– sometimes even before the end of the day I apply it! So, I go for the budget option, because I like having lots of colour and texture choices, and I’d bankrupt myself trying to have them in the more expensive ranges.

Claire’s actually do a great range of colours, and their quality is surprisingly impressive. Likewise, Barry M (which you can find in most Boots) have a superb range, and their textures and toppers are hard to beat for the price. I love this look, because it’s so neutral that I can wear just about anything with it, which is always my concern with nailpolish– I hate when it clashes with my clothes!

Are you a colour clasher? Do you prefer high-end polishes, or budget offerings? What do you think of the glitter or graffiti topcoat? Drop me a line and let me know!
-A-

BACK IN BLACK.

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No matter what else I try, I always end up going back to black nailpolish.

Here I’m wearing Sally Hansen “Midnight in NY”, which is one of my favorite black polishes because it has beautiful depth. There’s an extremely fine glitter in the polish –too fine for individual pieces to be obvious,  but the the shimmer is a sort of subtle burgundy with hints of dark blue. Getting it on is a bit of a challenge, though.

PROS:
The colour of this polish is beautiful
The formula is wonderfully quick-drying
CONS:
It’s not very long-wearing
The tapered brush makes application difficult

 

I’m very torn on this polish. Although I love the colour and how quickly you can build up coats, the fact that I need to remove and reapply within a day or two, even with a top-coat, drives me nuts. The combination of how quickly it dries and the oddly pointed brush means that I found it prone to streaking and missing spots on application– and once it did streak, repairing the problem within the same coat was nearly impossible. That said, it was pretty easy to apply a second coat to correct the problem without messing up the first. In terms of lasting power, I find it sadly lacking, but there is one positive in this area: rather than chipping, it seems to sort of fade at the tips. This means that although the manicure won’t be perfect for a long time, it doesn’t go from perfect to chipped mess in minutes.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this polish because of the colour– but only if you’re prepared to reapply it or top it up within a day or two.

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