This is my first purchase of a duochromatic nail polish, and I'm not unhappy with this one, but I have to note that the "duo" part of it is not that impressive. If I'm not in just the right light, there's little or no duochrome effect at all. This is meant to be a dominant purple with a deep greenish-gold secondary colour, but I mostly just see the purple, and when the gold is visible, it's not that striking. That being said, the polish is pretty good, and I do like it. The dominant purple is bright, metallic, and cool-toned (very flattering to my pale, cool skin), and very pretty. The secondary goldish colour is deep and on the greenish side, and not very bright or yellowy. Once the polish has a chance to dry after the second coat, there are few to no brush strokes, a plus for any metallic type polish, and the formula is pretty good. Polish is opaque in two coats and self-levels very nicely. I probably won't be buying this again, but I must say, for my first duochrome, it was a pretty good choice. I like purple and wear it frequently, and the added occasional flashes of the gold are an interesting change from the bright metallic purple. I do wish the secondary colour was more visible, but it's probably just that I spend most of my time in indirect or muted lighting. If I was in a different lighting environment, I'd probably be seeing the gold a lot more.
First, this is misnamed. It really should be called "Hematite", because it looks exactly like polished hematite, and nothing like black diamonds. It's a very deep grey which is nearly but not quite black, and has a silvery sheen. As I said, exactly like hematite. This polish has a really tricky formula, with very unpredictable viscosity. I made a big mess of my cuticles when I first applied this, because getting the right amount on the brush was tricky, and there were sudden, unexpected droplets of polish that would suddenly appear from the neck of the brush, but at the same time, if I swiped it too much, I couldn't get enough polish on the brush. Frustrating, to say the least. First coat is really streaky and almost sheer. It did sort itself out by the second coat, and it self-levels very nicely. The finish is extremely pretty, though, and if you like the look of hematite (which I do; I have quite a lot of hematite jewellery), you'll love this. I love dark polishes and wear them frequently, and this will make an excellent addition to my polish wardrobe. Well, that is, assuming I ever come to grips with the tricky formula...
I am a big fan of glitters in general, and of China Glaze glitters, specifically. This polish is certainly up to my expectations. This is a kind of odd glitter. The primary colour is a rosy lilac with a sort of silvery undertone, but there are also flecks of pink, green, and blue. Overall, it's cool-toned, with no warm colours at all. Sounds odd, and it is, but it's pretty, and it's different. Normally, I have to keep well away from pink because of my very pale, cool complexion, but this works pretty well for me. It looks better, though, on my daughter, who has medium-fair, warm-toned skin. No complaints about the formula, which was opaque in two coats, or the quality, which is very high as I would expect from China Glaze.
Holy moly, I think I may have found my Holy Grail cuticle product. I have a lifelong problem with dry, raggedy cuticles. It doesn't help that when they're ragged, I tend to pick at them (or bite them, which is even worse). In the past few months, I've been on a quest to find a routine that really, really works to keep my cuticles healthy and free of hangnails and other cuticle problems. I am astounded by how well and how quickly this has worked. The packaging suggests improvement in a week, but saw real improvement in just a couple of days, using the product twice a day (I will eventually move to once a day, I suspect). I had been doing some work with my hands that was extremely hard on my cuticles and a couple were actually torn, but within a few days, that was all but healed and my cuticles were looking much healthier in general. In a couple of weeks, I expect my cuticles will be in the best condition they've ever been in, and I'm not exaggerating that. I will continue to use hand lotions and other creams for general moisturising (I love Lush Lemony Flutter, but it's hard to carry with me and it tends to melt in the heat, so I usually have Sally Hansen Cuticle Eraser + Balm in my bag for quick touchups), but I am so impressed with the Poshe Cuticle Care that it is definitely looking like the answer to my quest (finally!). Only problem with this is that I can't find it locally (I live in Melbourne, Australia), so I have to order it online, but as I do that a few times a year (place a big order to justify the shipping), I can just get a few of these to have on hand. I must say, though, a little goes a long way with this, and the packaging is very clever so you only get the amount you need, and I expect it to last for some time (so there's no hurry on re-ordering, yay). I will update this review if I revise my opinion, of course, but for now, all I can say is, "Wow, colour me impressed!"
Another lovely glitter polish from China Glaze. This one is a tawny, orangey-gold, much more in the orange range than the yellow-gold range of the colour wheel. Predominant glitter shades are gold, copper, and pale bronze, with some multi-hued holographic glitter throughout, providing flashes of green and occasionally red or blue, but only in the right lighting situation. Two coats and it's pretty much opaque. Surface is a little gritty, but a decent top coat will eliminate most of that, though the surface will still be a little on the not-smooth side (if you were really concerned, a thick top coat or a clear coat followed by a top coat would probably eliminate most of the uneven texture, but I find that the slightly irregular surface adds to the look, so I don't bother with all that and just use a single top coat). Formula is acceptable, though slightly tricky as glitter polishes can be, and it's easy to flood the cuticles if you're not careful. This wears surprisingly well with a top coat and base coat. No sign of chipping and the tip wear is barely visible after several days. Nice polish, appropriately blingy but not too over the top in terms of colour or shine. Works well with my pale, cool skin, mostly because it's not too yellowy and is most definitely in the coppery-warm range.
Disclosure: I am a huge fan of glitter nail polish, and of red, and this is a red glitter. I'm disappointed that I don't like this more. I really, truly expected to love it, and I just don't. This is a very blingy polish of mostly fine, red glitter (in the true red to warm range), and slightly larger silver glitter flecks. It looks utterly gorgeous in the bottle, but on my hands, it's actually kind of gaudy (and for me, a lover of blingy polishes, that's saying quite a lot!). Application is a little tricky, I found, and if you try to put on a second coat before the first is dry (at least, I think that's what was happening), the polish simply will not set, even with a quick-drying top coat. I ended up having to redo several nails, and one of them had to be redone twice. I've never had this issue before, so I don't know what caused it, and it wasn't even every nail, so the only thing I can think of is that I didn't let it totally dry between the coats. This is definitely opaque, and foil-like when dry. You can get full opacity in one coat, but you need to be careful in applying, because the formula is such that it will drag and push the polish/glitter that has already been laid down if you're not careful. This is not a horrible polish by any means, but I can't see myself wearing it regularly (and I do wear full on glitter polish quite regularly!). It would be a nice Christmas touch, I think, or maybe some special evening out where ultra-bling is the order of the day, but other than that, this is going to sit in my collection mostly unused, I'm sorry to say, and that surprises me, given my deep love of both glitter and of red...
This is a most unusual glitter polish, because it's both subtle and dazzling at the same time. I know, right? The subtle comes in with the colour, which is a pale champagne, not too yellowy, but more of a quite pale bronze. On my skin (pale, cool), it's almost a neutral colour. In some light, the glitter is very, very subdued, and with the subdued colour, it's quite "polite". Get this in the right light, though, and the glitter goes wild and sparkles like mad, and the multi-colour holographic microglitter becomes visible, but only in little flashes. The formula is a bit on the runny side, and I made a mess of my cuticles with this because the viscosity was somewhat lower than I expected, and the cleanup from that was a bit of a pain (scraping off glitter with an orangewood cuticle stick dipped in polish remover), but the end result was worth it, and if I'm just somewhat more careful, I should be able to adjust tot he formula. Polish is effectively opaque in two coats, but one coat is very subtle and shimmery, and with a clear coat (or two) plus a top coat, it would be quite wearable with just one coat, so long as it's applied evenly and with a steady hand. Also note that the surface is pretty gritty when it dries, which is not unusual for a glitter polish, but it's quite noticeable with this one. I used a clear base coat, two coats of Champagne Kisses, a coat of basic (not quick dry) clear top coat, and then a quick-drying top coat on that, and it didn't make the surface smooth, but it made it smooth enough that it wasn't snagging or bothering me at all. Also good to know that this particular combination of layers made this polish pretty much entirely chip-proof. I rarely wear a polish more than four or five days because I get bored with it and want to try something else. As I write this, though, I'm on day five and have no intention of taking this off any time soon. There are no chips showing, and I love this one so much I might just keep it on indefinitely (until there are visible chips or until the nails grow out enough that removal is necessary, whichever comes first). Me keeping a nail polish on indefinitely is pretty rare. That's how much I love this polish. EDITED to add: I just ordered two more bottles of this to keep as a backup and in case the polish is discontinued. Love, love, love this one.
A pretty, light-to-medium blue creme, with no warm highlights or edges. Definitely a completely cool blue (and I do refer to "cool" in the sense of the colour tone, though I find this polish cool in other ways, as well). The formula is not that exciting, a little streaky at first (as pretty much every pastel or near-pastel creme on the planet is), but evening out on the second coat, by which time it's opaque. The nice, wide OPI brush is helpful with the application, of course. I like to wear this as a base for doing clouds, using white polish and a dotting tool and a bit of silver for the "lining" (clouds have silver linings, after all). For that, it is the most perfect sky background I've ever tried. This colour worked very well on my pale, cool-toned skin, but I found that it really brought out the visible blue veins in my hands! I wasn't too bothered by it (hey, the visible veins just run in the family and are part and parcel of being exceptionally fair-skinned, nothing to be done about it), but it was slightly disturbing. I mention this in case any other ladies of a certain age or skin tone (or both) are considering this polish. It's a very pretty blue, but if you're bothered by visible veins, maybe try something darker, because this will pick it right up.
I first tried this some years ago, before they changed the formula to omit the palm oil, and I didn't like it then. I can't remember what I disliked about it, I do seem to recall that I didn't like the smell then (the lemon was just too sharp), but whatever it was about it, I didn't use up the tub I bought then and didn't buy it again for years. Recently, I thought I'd give this a try again, and with the new formula, I am loving it! I have very problematic cuticles, with a lifetime of hangnails, tears, soreness, bleeding, you name it. Add to that the fact that if I have little bits of cuticle sticking out or catching on stuff, I tend to pick at it or (worse!) bite it. When my cuticles are healthy and not tearing, etc., I don't pick at them (nothing to pick!), so I've been on a quest to find a really good cuticle cream, oil, butter, etc. that works and doesn't cost a bomb. I know some reviewers consider this product to be expensive, but you get a LOT of product for the price, so it's pretty good bang for the buck, especially since a little of this goes a long way. The expiry date is around fourteen months after the manufacture, and this is such a rich cream that you may not even use it all up in that time. I also note that some reviewers don't like the scent, and that's fair enough, especially if you're not a fan of lemon. I, however, love this, and I find it to be a nice, bright creamy lemon fragrance with no trace of any unpleasantness. I'm guessing that when they changed the formula to omit the palm oil, they also made some subtle changes to the fragrance, because I remember this as being a very sharp, almost obnoxious lemon scent before, whereas now, I find it really delicious. The fragrance reminds me of lemon custard. As for how well it works, I'm not yet prepared to testify that this is my Holy Grail, but it's close. I use it most nights before I go to sleep, with cotton gloves on (to hold in the heat and keep the extra cream off the sheets, my hair, etc.), and when I get up, my cuticles and hands are beautifully moisturised and look healthy and happy. (Note that very damaged cuticles will probably take a while to heal, but keep at it!). The primary ingredient in this is shea butter, which I love and which works very well with my skin. Other ingredients include a variety of vegetable/nut oils, lanolin, and beeswax, so you also get some skin protection as well as the moisturising effect from the fatty oils/butters. Frankly, I love this stuff now. It smell delicious (well, I think so, anyway), it melts beautifully into my skin, it absorbs well, although not immediately, and it does a great job with my poor old raggedy cuticles. I'm going to keep using this and see how much more benefit I get from it, and if I have anything to add, I'll update, but if I don't update, it can be assumed that it works and continues to work. At this time, I definitely see myself buying this again.
Top/Base Coats -Sally Hansen - Diamond Flash Fast Dry Top Coat
bonniherself 1/21/2013 6:53:00 AM
This works, and that's all it does. It's not great, it doesn't suck, it just pretty much fulfills the absolute minimum to live up to the product claims. It dries a manicure fairly quickly (provided you follow the instructions and wait a couple of minutes for the polish to dry before adding this top coat), it doesn't cause shrinkage or bubbling that I've seen, and it provides generally adequate protection from chipping (how long I can't say; I rarely go more than five days with the same manicure because I get bored and remove it). Things I do not like about this top coat include the brush, which is scrawny and makes getting the polish on in three strokes very difficult (and I don't have particularly wide nail beds, other than my thumbs), and the bottle is completely opaque, so you have no idea how much polish might be left. Why does Sally Hansen do this? I've never been able to work it out (they've done it with other polishes, too, most notably the original "Chrome" line). Basically, I grabbed this on a discount because I wanted to compare it to my favourite quick-drying top coat, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, and I'm not too terribly disappointed or anything, but I won't be buying it again, even if I find it on sale. Sally Hansen can still have my money, just not for this product. It's okay, and has really stupid packaging, and that's about the best that can be said for it.
This could have been a Holy Grail product for me, except that it's pretty pricey, and it comes in a smaller than standard bottle (so you need to replace it more often). For those reasons alone, I took off lippies (it's a great product, it's just questionable value for money, IMHO). Works very well to dry a manicure quickly, and the finish is beautifully shiny and doesn't scuff that I've ever seen. Protects the manicure admirably. As far as I've experienced, it doesn't drag or smear polish, and I've never had any problem with shrinkage, peeling, or bubbling. I will buy this again, but I use it only for specific purposes (nail art, for example, where the fine lines and detail might be smeared), because it is pricey, I have to order it in from the UK (I live in Australia; they probably sell it here somewhere, but I've never seen it), and the smaller bottle means it doesn't last as long. For everyday use, I go with a different fast drying top coat that offers better value for money. I DO love this top coat, and if I had more disposable income to throw at my nail polish hobby, I might just use this and only this forever more, but, alas, at the time of writing this review, I just can't splash out that kind of dosh on a regular basis, even for a really brilliant top coat like this one. Someday, Mavadry, you and I will be together always....
This is a deep brown jelly-creme with a reddish undertone. The colour reminds me of chocolate syrup, and like most China Glaze jelly-creme polishes, it has great colour depth. Application is good, and it's opaque in two coats, though it could be in one if you're careful with the application. Dries relatively quickly to a gorgeous shine. In some light, this looks black, but in others, the brown is much more obvious. I like that this is dark but warm, and it's a really nice change from wearing black, maybe just a bit edgier in a "hey, that's not what I expected" sort of way. I also have used this as chocolate in a chocolate drip manicure (over a caramel-coloured base), and it worked really well for that purpose. My only complaint with this is that the tips wear rather more quickly than I'd like. This is something I've experienced with a number of China Glaze jellies, unfortunately. Right now, my nails are shorter than I normally wear them and not long enough to properly wrap the tips with polish/top coat, though, so taking those steps may help with the tip wear (I've found it useful with other polishes).
This polish is from the Sally Hansen "Gem Crush" glitter line. I'm a huge fan of glitter nail polish, and I expected to love this. Unfortunately, I don't. In the bottle, it looks like a sooty, dark-to-black glitter, but on my nails, it's a kind of bland charcoal-silverish with a definite but dark blue tone. The multi-colour holographic glitter bits are not anywhere near as interesting on the nails as they look in the bottle, unfortunately. This is not a layering polish (it is opaque in two coats), but in trying to use it so that it appealed to me, more, I tried it over black (or other dark colour) and also over navy blue, but the glitter polish just gives a weird, cloudy effect. No matter what, the colour just seems dull, and I don't mean "boring", I mean, not bright. I've worn this a couple of times trying to see if it would grow on me, but I'm pretty... meh. And that's VERY strange for a glitter polish for me. As I said, I'm a huge fan of glittery nails, but this just leaves me cold, unfortunately.
I've had to edit this review. I just threw out a bottle of this, despite the bottle being about 75% full. I was okay with the smell of this at first, but after a while, I grew to really hate it, and I couldn't stand it any more. It's a real shame, because the product works very well. I got this to use on my fingers/hands after reading a recommendation to use an alpha hydroxy moisturiser to help tame difficult cuticles and moisturise the nail bed (edit: I have since moved on to Poshe Cuticle Care AHA Cuticle Revitalizer, which works like a dream and doesn't have a horrible smell). I used the Palmer's a couple of times a week at night, rubbed in well and with cotton gloves on top, both to keep the lotion from getting everywhere in my bed and to help retain the moisture and heat. In those circumstances, the product works very well to moisturise dry skin and cuticles, and I was impressed with its performance in that regard. But, okay, yes, the smell. As so many reviewers have commented, this has an extraordinarily strong scent, and it's not one I find pleasant. It's hard to describe, but "cheap cologne" was mentioned and that's not far off. Some people like the scent, and I'm happy for them, but I found it distracting and far too strong. (In fact, almost all Palmer's products have very strong perfumes; I guess they think nobody wants to wear any actual perfume, or that they enjoy having a conflict between their body lotion and their perfume?). Because I only used this at night, and with cotton gloves, I wasn't too bothered by the smell, but, over time it just got to where I couldn't stand it any more and I had to stop using it. Basically, this product works well to get rid of dry, rough skin. If only they'd release this in an unscented form, it would be utterly and totally Holy Grail for me and, I suspect, many others... As it is, I won't be buying it again nor even using up the bottle I do have. It's a real shame that such a good product has such a wretched, strong, lingering smell that so many people find unappealing.
Polishes -China Glaze - Stone Cold - Capitol Colours Hunger Games Collection
bonniherself 1/9/2013 11:20:00 PM
Wow, what an interesting nail polish. This is a dark grey with silvery microglitter, and it dries to a matte finish. I've never seen anything quite like it, though I've seen plenty of metallic greys and mattes. It really does look for all the world like graphite, although it might also be described as gunmetal grey. Application is very good, quite smooth, and I found I could get full opacity and coverage in just one coat (though I did two, because I think the manicure lasts longer that way). You can finish this with a shiny top coat if you like (it looks good shiny; the glossy top coat brings out the silvery glitter, I think), or use a matte top coat just for extra protection. After reading all the reviews on here that say it chips super easily, I tried an experiment. I used a basic, clear base coat (Poshe Quick Drying Base Coat), let that dry completely, then put on two layers of Stone Cold, and no top coat at all. I kept the polish on for four days, and in that time there was normal tip wear (the tips wore to an interesting silvery colour, actually, it was very pretty) and one nail had a surface scratch that could only be seen in certain light and if you were really looking, but there was no significant or even especially noticeable chipping. I do not baby my hands (I type constantly, do dishes, cook, etc. etc.). Admittedly, I wasn't making pottery or digging in the garden (I use gloves when I do gardening, anyway) or using my nails to scratch wallpaper off the wall or open things, etc., but I certainly was leading my normal life as a student and mum, and not worrying about my nail polish. In fact, I was kind of hoping it would chip or something, just for interest's sake, but it didn't. Another thing I've noticed about this polish is that as you wear it longer, it becomes slightly less matte and more satiny, or perhaps it's just that the dark grey pigment slowly erodes leaving more of the silver microglitter visible. It's interesting to watch it evolve, I think. Basically, wear this polish with a decent base coat, use two coats of polish, and see how it goes for you. If you're genuinely in need of a longer lasting manicure, a good matte top coat should help you out with that (I rarely wear a manicure more than four or five days because I get bored with them in that time, so I can't say exactly how long this will last, but it held up perfectly well for four days for me, and that was with no top coat at all!). Really novel polish, definitely in the "well, that's different" category. Love it.