Friday, June 29, 2012

Cult Nails Fairytale Collection Comparisons

Continuing our story from yesterday, in this entry I have the Cult Nails Fairytale polishes compared to things that were already in my stash.

Starting with Princess, the blue shimmer, my first thought was Sinful Cinderella. But when it came time to act on that thought, I saw from the bottles that Cinderella is lighter and brighter and decided I could come closer than that, so China Glaze Sea Spray and Butter London Lady Muck got the chance to come out and play.

Left to right below: Princess, Sea Spray, Princess, Lady Muck. All two coats, no top coat. As You can see, no matches here. Sea Spray and Lady Muck are both more grey-toned than Princess. Lady Muck comes closer on the shimmer dimension, but its shimmer is cool and silvery instead of warm.

I was pretty confident I'd find a dupe or near dupe for Charming, the purple shimmer. As most of you probably know already, I love purple; it's my favorite color. I have hundreds of purple polishes, probably more than any other color family besides pink/red (which got built up through the years when I wore only peach and pink and once in a while red because they were classic colors). Yet I could not find a match for Charming in my stash. The closest I could come were Zoya Harmonie and Wild & Crazy Fancy Dream (I bought this at a beauty supply in Detroit which I'm not sure I could find again if I tried).

Left to right below: Charming (2 coats), Harmonie (2 coats), Charming, Fancy Dream (3 coats). Harmonie is too warm-toned and frosty to be a match. Fancy Dream is closer because it's got a blue tone to its shimmer, but it's still too warm overall

The nearest things I have to the green shimmer, Feelin' Froggy, are two polishes that aren't available around here, at least not anymore: Barry M Emerald Green (which I swapped for) and Borghese Pistacchio (which was a limited edition back when Borghese was still stocked at Ulta and Rite Aid). But maybe these two are already in some of your stashes so I figured I might as well do the comparison.

Left to right below: Feelin' Froggy (3 coats), Emerald Green (2 coats), Feelin' Froggy, Pistacchio (4 coats). The base colors of all of these are pretty close. Emerald Green is a touch lighter maybe, but that could just be the effect o if having more shimmer (so much more it's flirting with frostiness). Pistacchio (their spelling) is pretty close, but it's so sheer it's better suited for layering.

I would have been amazed if I couldn't come up with something to match Evil Queen, what with the number of red cremes I have. (Some of you may remember the no buy for pinks and reds I put myself on a for a while to address that issue.) Revlon Top Speed Fire (still in stores here) and 17 Fast Finish Knockout Red (from a UK friend I've since lost touch with, sadly) were the leading candidates when I flipped through my nail wheels. I meant to include Essie Really Red as well, but I only have a mini of that so overlooked the bottle when it came time to carry things to the table to swatch.

Left to right below: Evil Queen, Fire, Evil Queen, Knockout Red. All are two coats. I didn't manage to get my fingers quite lined up right so the light isn't hitting evenly on all; that's why Evil Queen doesn't even match itself in this shot. Nonetheless, you get the idea; any of these could pass for any of the others.

Now we come to Happy Ending, the shredded glitter. It seems odd for something so unusual, but it's a twin for a polish I posted earlier this year, Icing After Party.

So we wouldn't be distracted by the base color, I swatched these glitters over Sally Hansen Insta Dri Whirlwind White (which my friend Sally appears to have discontinued; we have something of a dysfunctional relationship, I think). I used two coats of each. Left to right below: Happy Ending, After Party, Happy Ending, After Party.

So based on the above, you can see why I said yesterday that I could give up Evil Queen and Happy Ending. I obviously can't give up Princess or Charming, and Feelin' Froggy has a better formula than the Borghese green (unless you like to make frosty green jelly sandwiches, I suppose; that idea doesn't sound great but maybe I should try it just to see). So three out of five keepers for me and my huge stash; that's a good ratio. Okay, who am I kidding; I'll keep the other two also, mostly likely until the big destash which I think I might get around to sometime in the 2020s, and maybe then I'll decide to let go of the dupes and keep the Cult ones, because I do very much like the brand. You can get your own at the Cult Nails website. They're $10 per 15 ml bottle; sometimes there are sales, so sign up for the mailing list if you want notice about those. I'm not a paid spokesperson, just a fan.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cult Nails Fairytale Collection Swatches

Cult Nails is one of my favorite brands so of course when I got the e-mail at the end of May that the new collection was available for pre-order, I got in on that. And this time, I actually managed to make time to swatch them all before the next collection is released. Fairytale (or maybe it's Fairy Tale; I've seen it written both ways) is five polishes: Princess, Charming, Feelin' Froggy, Happy Ending, and Evil Queen.

Princess is a somewhat dusty light blue with an orangey pink shimmer. Two coats was plenty.

Charming is a medium purple with a subtle shimmer. This one is on the sheer side but very buildable; I used three coats here.

Feelin' Froggy is a green shimmer. It's similar to Charming in opacity but its shimmer is more pronounced. I used three coats.

Happy Ending is a shredded glitter, with irregular pieces of teal, lilac, orange, and yellow (and maybe some silver?) floating in a clear base. I used two coats of it over Charming. It wasn't nearly as bumpy as you might think; these swatches have no top coat.

Evil Queen, a classic red creme, rounds out the collection. This is two coats, no top coat.

If I were under a mandate to reduce my stash by 40%, I could let Happy Ending and Evil Queen go. If the mandate were 60%, I'd have to seriously consider going into hiding because I'd want to hold onto the last three from this group. Tomorrow I'll have some comparisons that will shed light on these hypothetical choices.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wheel Y3: Peach and Warm Brown Shimmers

If there were a contest for the wheel least representative of my current nail personality, the one featured in this week's installment of Nail Wheel Wednesday would be a serious contender. Looking at these bottles, I can't remember how or why some of these got into my stash. It's been years since I wore pale peach polish with any regularity, and I've pretty much purged warm browns from my wardrobe. But then I look at the tips on the wheel and I think "ooh, nice shimmer" and "so pretty"—that's how I ended up with so many Helmers.

1. Cover Girl Boundless Color Pink Champagne (3 coats)
2. Maybelline Express Finish unknown (3)
3. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Sand Lots (3)
4. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Sugar Babe (3)
5. Orly Gilded Coral (3)
6. Wild & Crazy Flying Kite (3) [kite? no idea]
7. Cover Girl NailSlicks Twilight Mauve (3) [mauve?]
8. Revlon Street Wear Stain (4) [did they mean Satin?]
9. Avon Nailwear Pro Rose Gold (2)
10. Sally Hansen No Chip 10 Day Constant Iris (4) [I have seen iris flowers this color; I guess someone at Sally H. did too]
11. Piggy Polish All The Glitters (3) [would make more sense if this were glittery or had strong gold shimmer]
12. Sally Hansen Nail Prisms Cinnabar Opal (4)
13. L'Oreal Wear Extraordinaire Sheer Breathless (3)
14. Revlon Iced Mauve (2) [again with the mauve; I think mauve needs way more purple in it]
15. Nicole by OPI Coral Denominator (3) [this doesn't really belong on this wheel, but apparently I needed it to fill out the set of 20 at this point]
16. CQ Rustic Dream (3)
17. OPI Chocolate Shakespeare (3)
18. L'Oreal Be Bronze (3)
19. OPI Live from New York It's OPI (3)
20. OPI Bronzed to Perfection (3) [has mini flakies]

Bottles 1 through 5:

6 through 10:

11 through 15:

16 through 20:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Orly Flash Glam FX Swatches

I think I mentioned in my last store report that I bought all of the glitters from the Orly Flash Glam FX display at Sally's. Even if I didn't, I'm sure this comes as no surprise to any of you who read my posts even just semi-regularly. Here they are (left to right): Be Brave, Can't Be Tamed, Spazmatic, Mermaid Tale, and Sashay My Way.

When I pulled these out to swatch, I noticed that they coordinated quite nicely with the Essie Bikini So Teeny collection, which I hadn't yet put away in my Helmers, so I grabbed those to serve as base colors for my swatches. I knew based on looking at the swatch cards in the store that all of these Orlys had clear or nearly clear bases and so were not the kind of thing I'd be likely to wear alone.

Be Brave is chock full of pink prismatic (or is it holographic?) string glitter (or maybe it's bar glitter; I never know how long and floppy bars need to get before they're strings).

I paired Be Brave with Essie Off the Shoulder. These swatches (like all the Essie/Orly combinations to follow) are two coats of the Essie plus two of the Orly, no top coat. The way the glitter was catching the light, I saw a lot of lilac tones in it.

Can't Be Tamed has medium purple and small gunmetal hex glitter.

This one got a base of Essie Cascade Cool.

I don't remember why didn't take an individual bottle shot of Spazmatic—could be because it looks the least interesting of the five, with glitter that's all one size (medium hex) and color (blue). On the nail, over Essie Bikini So Teeny, I finally saw the blue shimmer in the base of Spazmatic, and it's really pretty. (Bikini So Teeny does have some shimmer of its own, but it's very subtle and silvery; the blue shimmer you see here is all Spazmatic's doing. (The pinkish yellow pops of light you see aren't coming from the polish but are a reflection from a lamp; I wasn't in my usual swatching space for this session and didn't notice that until I pulled the photos off my camera.)

Mermaid Tale has medium and small hex glitter in shades of green and blue with a few holographic pieces, too.

I loved how well Mermaid Tale coordinated with Essie Mojito Madness.

Sashay My Way has golden toned holographic hex and string glitter. This is the one I thought the hardest about getting, because gold and I often don't get along but in the end of course I couldn't leave it there in the store when I brought the rest of its friends home with me.

Since I had two Essies left at this point, I used them both for a base, with Fear or Desire on most of my digits and All Tied Up as an accent nail. I ended up quite liking this combination.

I wanted to keep playing with these glitters, so I did a couple more swatches over Wet 'n' Wild Wild Shine Black Creme.

Here's black plus one coat of Spazmatic, one of Mermaid Tale, and one more of Spazmatic. Mmmm, layer-y goodness.

And here's black plus one coat of Can't Be Tamed and one of Be Brave.

Being a glitter lover, I was inclined to like this collection before I even saw it in person. Now that I have tried these first five (of twenty-two, I think it is), I really really like them. I appreciate the variety; the mix of glitter shapes and sizes is different in each one, not just the colors. I also like how smooth they are even without topcoat. I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest of these as they're released.