Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall Break

I'm going to be taking a short break from posting and also will be pulling way back on my internet usage in general for the next little while. I'll still be doing stuff for the blog, though, namely a wear test on these babies—Sally Hansen Insta Gel Strips:

I had a coupon for Bed Bath & Beyond and just decided to go for it. I waited so long to try the regular strips and found I really liked those when I eventually did take the plunge, so I'm getting in early on these. Surely a sign how strip crazy I am that I've not really been super tempted by gel polish until it showed up in this form.

I plan to be back on November 7th. In the meantime, if you really need to get in touch with me, e-mail the.karend @

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pixi Polish from Target

Even though it's Wednesday, there will be no nail wheel, because I've got so many swatches backlogged it's a little crazy. (I have plenty of wheels backlogged, too, but will deal with that another time.) What I've got today are three Pixi colors that arrived in a box of review samples from Target: Amazing Amethyst, Classy Cocoa, and Evening Emerald (I'm not sure why this last one didn't get the adjective-color naming treatment—Elegant Emerald would have worked).

I have seen Pixi at Target and not bought any because of the the price: $8 for .25 ounces. Sure, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure and Essie and Nicole by OPI are similarly priced, but their bottles are twice the size. So I went into this swatching session very skeptical about these.

I started with Amazing Amethyst, which is a cool-toned medium purple shimmer. Two coats gave plenty of coverage. I didn't use topcoat, and you can see that it dried slightly matte.

Classy Cocoa is up next. This one's a cool-toned brown with golden shimmer, and like the purple, two coats was plenty.

That brings us to Evening Emerald, a dark slightly greenish blue shimmer, also a two-coater. What sets this one apart from the other two is the shimmer, which is packed with flecks of a brighter blue that gives this polish a lot of depth. It was my favorite of the trio. I bet it would look even better with topcoat.

Low light didn't do much for the other two polishes (you can see a photo of Classy Cocoa in the shade on The PolishAholic), but Evening Emerald took to it quite nicely.

My verdict on these: they're pretty, but I'm not sure they're all $32 an ounce pretty. Evening Emerald might be; I'll have to think on whether I want to buy that one, since these samples are jetting off to join Lucy's Stash.

In the box with the polishes, Target sent some remover and cotton rounds from the Up & Up brand. The non-acetone remover was fine, though I prefer my acetone-based one because it's faster (I use non-acetone on nail wheels once in a while if I really mess up a tip). The cotton rounds were "exfoliating cotton rounds", which meant that on one side they have a bumpy layer fused to the surface. This might be great for skincare, but for nail polish removal it didn't seem ideal; the bumpy layer got slippery when saturated with polish remover, so I ended up just pulling it off when using these (it does come off quite easily as it's only fused at the very edges).

I'm not sure if Pixi ever goes on sale, but I'll be keeping an eye out now that I know I like the formula on these.

The products shown in this entry were provided free for review purposes. The content of the entry was not dictated by the provider.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CrowsToes Halloween Glitters

Today I've got four of the six polishes from the CrowsToes 2012 Halloween release. Why only four? Because when I got inspired to swatch them, the Revlon Sweetly Sinister polishes were sitting close at hand, calling to me that they wanted to be used as bases, and there are only four of them. Repeat a base color you say? Yeah, I could have, but then the ones that only got used once would feel bad. (Or maybe I was just being lazy; that's always a possibility.)

Let's kick things off with Bone Daddy, a light grey jelly with white hex glitters in various sizes from tiny to mega, long white bar glitter, and iridescent "disco glitter" that flashes blue violet (and sometimes looks yellow, especially through a camera lens). I used 3 coats of the white Revlon Spooky Skull as my base (could have done two, I think), followed by two coats of Bone Daddy and then topcoat.

Much as I love glitter, I'm not quite comfortable with this one—the largest hexes and long bars trip my "too random" alarm. But hey, there was a point where I wasn't a fan of black glitter of any size and now I'm fine with it, so who knows—next year this may be my favorite sort of thing.

The orange Revlon Haunted Heart made a great foundation for CrowsToes Hell Hath No Fury, a mix of orange and red and pink/purple iridescent glitters in a transparent shimmery base. There are square and bar glitters in here among the more usual hex shapes. Swatches are two coats of orange plus two coats of glitter plus topcoat.

CrowsToes Frogs' Breath has a variety of green and gold hex glitters, including some holo ones, in a clear base. I used two coats on top of the green Revlon Wicked Star and then added topcoat.

The holographic glitters in this one are so pretty that I couldn't narrow down my detail shots to only one; this is the same nail in both shots below, just at slightly different angles.

Revlon Black Magic served as the base for CrowsToes Last Call at the CrowBar, which is pewter and black glitter with a medley of other colors added. According to CrowToes herself on her blog, The Polished Crow, no bottle of this will be exactly like another because one of the ingredients is "whatever random heebiejeebie mix of glitter that ends up on the crowbar after each day of mixing". Of course this tempts me to buy another one just to see what I might get next time. This time, I got something so fabulously blingly that my camera had trouble focusing.

CrowsToes are available at Llarow and Overall Beauty.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Contrary Polish Fall 2012 Limited Edition Duo

I swatched the inaugural collection from Contrary Polish a couple months back; today I have the two limited edition colors she put out for Fall 2012, Hayride and Bonfire.

Hayride is a light warm brown with copper, gold, and brown microglitter/shimmer. I used three coats plus topcoat for these swatches. I could have probably stopped at two coats of color but wanted more sparklies on my nails.

Hayride has a nice glow in low light, too:

Bonfire is an orange-leaning red with microglitter/shimmer in brown and red (or maybe it's orange or possibly pink or possibly some mix—I thought I saw all those shades at one point). Like Hayride, I used three coats plus topcoat but could have done two coats.

Also like Hayride, Bonfire glows in lower light:

These two were sold out at Llarowe last I looked, but according to the Contrary Polish blog, it seems that a restock could happen later this fall, and mini bottles of these were on the list of ones available direct from the blog as of the last update there.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Revlon Sweetly Sinister plus Contest Winners

I thought I'd best swatch the four polishes in the Revlon Halloween collection before they disappear from stores. Left to right: Spooky Skull, Haunted Heart, Wicked Star, Black Magic.

Spooky Skull is a white shimmer on the sheer end of the spectrum. I used three coats for these swatches, no topcoat. It's just a tiny bit streaky, but not so much that it really bothered me. I could see wearing this alone for a clean, delicate look.

Haunted Heart is an orange shimmer. I used two coats, no topcoat. This is ever so slightly brushstrokey, but not too hard to manage if you just pay attention (which I sort of failed to do on my ring finger).

Haunted Heart really glows in some lights; here it is out of the lightbox:

Wicked Star is a green shimmer. Again, two coats, no topcoat.

Also again, it glows out of the lightbox:

Black Magic is a black creme. I used one coat, no topcoat. Another coat, or using basecoat, would have helped it look more even on my ridges, which is what I would have done if I were wearing it alone for a full mani. I can't recall the last time I wore an unembellished black creme mani, though.

I was surprised at how much I liked the shimmers; they're not crazy unusual colors (at least for a nail polish person) but the finishes are nice and the orange and green do glow so nicely. I couldn't tell any difference between the black creme and my go to Wet 'n' Wild at one-fourth the price, but I can see why Revlon needed to put it in this collection.


And now for the 2012 Halloween Giveaway summary and results. The most popular 1st choice prize was the Fantasy Makers Tombstones, followed by the Sally Hansen Salon Effects and the Nightmare Before Christmas set. The most popular 2nd choice prize was Claw Polish Set #2, followed by a tie between Claw Polish Set #1 and the Fantasy Makers Tombstones. For 3rd choice, Pumpkins Set #6 came in on top, with a three way tie behind them among Claw Polish Set #2, Pumpkins Set #3, and Pumpkins Set #6. Even though the Pumpkins weren't at the top of most people's lists, they aren't unloved; 92% said "yes, please" to being entered in the consolation draw for pumpkin polishes.

The winners, as chosen with the help of, are—

Prize #1: Sally Hansen Salon Effects went to the woman behind Beauty and Fashion on a College Budget. She still needs to send me her address, though.

Prize #2: Fantasy Makers Tombstones went to the mysterious Gato Negro, who also still needs to send me her address. Check your spam folder please!

Prize #3: Claw Polish Set #1 are heading to Canada to join Nkasi's stash.

Prize #4: Claw Polish Set #2 will be heading to join Erica, whom I actually know from a forum I've been on for ages, just not well enough to have an address for her.

Prize #5: Pumpkins Set #1 are destined for Carolyn of Notes and Nails. Who—you guessed it—still needs to send me her address.

Prize #6: Pumpkins Set #2 was won by Sarah Butler, whose spam folder has perhaps eaten my mail to her.

Prize #7: Pumpkins Set #3 is on its way to Tabitha in Florida.

Prize #8: Pumpkins Set #4 is heading to Michele in Maine.

Prize #9: Pumpkins Set #5 will be joining Ali in Ohio.

Prize #10: Pumpkins Set #6 is going to live with Stephanie in North Carolina.

Prize #11: Nightmare Before Christmas set is on its way to Toni of Nail Polish in My Eyes.

For the bonus pumpkins, I decided to give out pairs of them rather than trios so more people could win. The e-mails that drew belonged to Alison in Florida, Becky in California, Tami in Washington, Marianne in Denmark, Trish in California, Lauren in Kentucky, and Tamarah in New Mexico. I've heard back from all of them, except Trish, and I know where to find her (nothing creepy, we're just on a lot of the same places online).

People I haven't heard from, please let me know where you are by Monday so I can try to get your goodies to you before the holiday.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Piggy Polish Halloween Collection Swatches

A B2G1 sale is all it took to get me to pick up all three colors from the Piggy Polish Eat Drink and Be Scary display: Easy Come Easy Glow, Lightmare, and Nocturne-Nail.

For swatching purposes, I alternated Nocturne-Nail and Easy Come Easy Glow, using three coats of each. Nocturne-Nail is quite sheer; if I use it again, it'll be as a layering polish over something else. What I'm not quite sure, as I suspect it would look sort of milky over a dark base. Easy Come Easy Glow, the orange, could be worn on its own if you don't mind a bit of visible nail line. It's got a sort of fluffy quality to it; it dries smooth but looking closely at it it reminds me of a milkshake. Maybe I was just high on polish fumes—or hungry—at that point.

Both Nocturne-Nail and Easy Come Easy Glow glow in the dark. Here they are in my bathroom after being charged up under the overhead light for a minute or two:

I was surprised to see that Easy Come Easy Glow glowed brighter than Nocturne-Nail, since I think of Nocturne-Nail's light milky lime color as the original glow in the dark shade. I don't think either one of them is a must have. If you don't have any glow in the dark polish and want some, there are cheaper alternatives to be found (Piggy Polish is around $7.50).

The third polish in the trio, Lightmare, is a glitter with orange hexes scattered in a base of silvery charcoal small glitters. I put two coats of it over a base of Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme and then added topcoat.

I quite liked Lightmare. It's on the sophisticated end of the Halloween glitter polish spectrum. It's definitely festive but not as loud as some Halloween glitters I've seen (and worn, because loud is not necessarily a bad thing). Lightmare can be worn on its own at three coats, though not everyone who wore it that way whose blog posts I've read was happy with it. Libby's Pink Vanity thinks it's a trick rather than a treat. For my part, I'm keeping it, as I have nothing else like it that I can think of.

In other Halloween news, yesterday I got a nail polish ring I'd ordered from my friend's etsy shop, 'Nise's Pieces. Why is this Halloween news? Because the ring has a handpainted sugar skull design in it:

I think it's super cool—I put it on the minute I opened the package and spent the rest of the day quite entertained by looking at it whenever I needed a mini break from work or a distraction while sitting at a stoplight. I've gotten earrings and a bracelet from her, too, and even the ones that don't have pictures painted on them have a complexity and depth to them that makes them very interesting to look at. The only downside is that I can't see the earrings while I am wearing them—which is why I ended up getting a ring this time.