nail polish

Nail Polish of the Month: blackberry gloss

I’ve been dithering about with my nail polish pick this month, trying to decide which of my (many) new shades said “November” the loudest. Well, after swatching my Julep Maven polishes for the month, I knew I had found the one: Julep Trina, a deep blackberry creme.

(I wanted a manicure shot, but the lighting has been so poor for the past two days that I gave up and re-used the pedicure pic.)

This is a deep blackberry gloss that looks almost black in some lights. I think it looks a bit more purple on my fingers than on my toes. Two coats gives the richest, loveliest color, and I feel like it’s so perfect for this month: rich and deep, but still a bit warm, and not altogether “Christmas” holiday in nature. (Sorry, I’m not ready for Christmas until Thanksgiving ends!)

What are you wearing on your nails right now?

Unboxing: November Julep Maven Maven’s Choice box!

Happy Monday everyone! I received my first official Julep Maven box last week but haven’t had time to post it yet. I hope a few nail polish shots makes your Monday more bearable!

One of the perks of the Julep Maven program is that you’re not bound to your style profile each month–you can switch it up or skip a month at any time! This month, Julep opened up a voting window on their Facebook page so Mavens could vote for their favorite new nail polish to be included in a special Maven’s Choice box. Out of all the polishes rolling out for the month of November, my favorite actually won–so I elected to receive the Maven’s Choice box!

But, oh no! Due to glitches involved with switching to a new website, many Mavens couldn’t log in and make their selections this month! Not to worry–the ever-lovely and capable customer service team at Julep not only manually placed my order, PLUS an add-on–they shipped out my entire order free of charge to apologize for the inconvenience. Yep, you read that right.This is a company that really cares about their customers.

Anyway, enough with the glowing and rambling–I promised you pictures. (I’m going to apologize in advance for the odd mix of lighting, since some of the photos were taken indoors, some had flash, and some were taken outdoors the next day in natural light.)

Everything comes so beautifully packaged, don’t you think? I have to add that under that pretty paper and ribbon wrapping is some serious bubble wrap. Nothing makes me happier than seriously bubble wrapped nail polish!

There were little cards in the box introducing the November box and highlighting some items from the holiday 2012 collection, along with a discount code for holiday purchases. The actual polishes I received were “Trina”, which is a blackberry  gloss, and the Julep Matte Top Coat. My add-on for the month was a new Julep “suede” matte polish in a rust shade, called “Minka”.

I actually expected Trina to be a matte polish for some reason, but I’m kind of glad it isn’t–I wasn’t sure what I would think of the matte polishes. 

Along with Trina and the matte top coat, the Maven’s Choice box featured this lovely body scrub and towel set:

The pink grapefruit scrub has sugar and shea butter to buff and moisturize, and I believe it is vegan. I actually haven’t unsealed this yet; I’m not sure if I’d like to give it to someone as a Christmas present, and as the website is (to my knowledge) still glitchy, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to order a second one before the holidays. So, for now, this item is sitting to the side of my desk. It looks delightful, though!

Every month Julep includes a little “extra”, and this month it was a trio of nail polish remover pads. To be honest, I’ve never used nail polish remover pads before, so these will be fun to try.

Okay, now for the nail polish swatches. First up is Trina; I used one coat of base, two coats of color, and two coats of glossy top coat for maximum shine. This polish is very dark and looks almost black in most lights; I do wish it were a teensy bit less black, but it is a nice color and one I will probably wear a lot. The blackberry shade is very nice for this time of year, especially if (like me) you want to “winter-ify” your pedicure.

I should add that this polish seemed much more “runny” than my other Julep polishes, so it required care around the cuticles and a lot of clean-up afterward. Not a dealbreaker, but something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of buying it.

I used Minka on my fingers. I honestly expected this to look more dull, when in fact it has a lot of shimmer in it. It is a very pretty shade and looked as beautiful on my fingers as it did online; it also dries in mere seconds–seriously, by the time I finish my tenth finger, the first one is ready for another coat!

There’s just one problem: it chipped like crazy after one day! That’s with a coat of base, two coats of color, and two coats of the matte top coat. I have never had this problem with other Julep polishes or with glossy polishes in general, so I’m assuming it has something to do with the matte formula. The texture and finish were very interesting and a nice change for autumn, but I’m not sure I’d wear this finish on a regular basis–I’m pretty in love with the glossy finish. I might try Minka later with a glossy top coat to see how she wears.

So there is my November Julep Maven box! Are you a Julep Maven? If so, what box did you get this month? I’m very happy with this service so far and I can’t wait to see what they roll out for December!

Some new Zoya polishes to show you…

Just wanted to show you the three Zoya polishes I picked up when I was at ULTA on Sunday. I got Daul, Fei Fei, and Evvie.

Obviously I’ve seen tons of swatches of Fei Fei and heard tons of buzz about this color, so I had to try it. It’s a blue-gold shimmer polish. Daul looks like a lovely purple-gold duchrome, so that should be interesting. And Evvie changes from slate grey to ivy green depending on the light, so of course I had to buy her, too. There were too many good colors to pick from, honestly, but I’m pretty happy with these three!

How-to: kitty cat manicure

After seeing a really cute kitty cat manicure in the Lulu’s fashion blog, I decided I wanted to recreate this nail art myself! Obviously I love cats, but since it’s October, a black cat manicure is also a cool piece of festive nail art. Here’s your step-by-step how-to:

1. Start with two coats of base color. You can use any color you like; orange would be great for Halloween, but I used bubblegum pink because it’s one of my favorite nail polish colors.

2. Apply black nail polish in a half-circle shape at the tip of each nail. This forms the kitty cat head. You don’t have to use black; white, grey, or brown would be cool, too. Why not use a color to match your own pet kitty cat?

3. Use a dotting tool and a dab of pale pink polish to create the nose. I used an eyeliner brush.

4. Use your dotting tool and gold paint to create two little dots for the eyes. You could use green, blue, or another color of paint; I picked gold because both of my cats have gold eyes.

5. Now that your face is done, move on to ears and a tail. Use your eyeliner brush and the black paint to draw two little triangles above the head; this forms the ears. Then draw a curvy line that floats above the head and down to the side to connect to the body; this forms the tail.

6. Once you’re done, add a couple of coats of top coat to protect your manicure and lock in plenty of glossy shine.

7. Now you’ve got a handful of adorable kitty cats!

Prefer to see this tutorial in video form? No problem–I’ve got a video tutorial on my YouTube page.

Swatches: Butter London Bluey, Wallis, and Knackered

Well, a week after my Butter London polishes arrived from Coterie, I finally got around to swatching them. Before I show you the pics, though, I wanted to update you on something else: their Leaping Bunny status.

You might remember that when the polishes first arrived, I noted that the bottles had the Leaping Bunny logo on them and wondered what this meant, since I couldn’t find Butter London listed on the “safe” companies list online. I immediately e-mailed Leaping Bunny and Butter London to ask what was going on!

On Monday, I got this reply from Leaping Bunny:

…a few months ago, we became aware that Butter London was using the Leaping Bunny logo without permission. The good news is, we have been in touch with them and they are in the process of getting certified. Unfortunately, it’s taking a bit of time, but please feel free to check back to see if they have been added to the list. We hope to get them approved as soon as possible. We feel this will be the best result. Even though they have been using our logo without permission, it is always good for consumers and animals when another cruelty-free company is added to the list.

Needless to say, I haven’t yet received a reply from Butter London. This is part of the reason it took me so long to get around to swatching these colors: I’m pretty steamed about their blatant misappropriation of the logo and I do not like being lied to, ever. I’m happy that they’ll soon be joining the Leaping Bunny ranks, and I do think their polishes are lovely, but I’ve just been stewing a bit over this news.

Okay, I’m done griping. On to the swatches!

I got three polishes: Bluey, Wallis, and Knackered. Bluey is a peacock blue with a hint of shimmer, and as you can see after two coats it’s still rather light. I think this would be better with three or even four coats for full opacity.

Bluey, outside, direct sunlight
Bluey, inside, indirect natural light

Next I have Wallis, a green-gold with shimmer. Like Bluey, it would be best with three coats rather than merely two. This is a very pretty and different color and it would be great if you wanted something a little different for the weekend.

Wallis, outside, direct sunlight

Wallis, inside, indirect natural light

Earlier this month I wondered if my drugstore score of L.A. Colors Color Craze nail polish in Cactus could possibly be a dupe for Wallis; now that I’ve tried the two, I think they’re very close. Wallis seems to have more of a gold base while Cactus has a blue base, so while Wallis has more of a green-gold warm shimmer Cactus is a cooler, more muted olive.

Cactus, outside, overcast natural light

Finally, there’s Knackered. This is a holographic polish with a silver-purple-blue-green shifting tint that really changes depending on the lighting. It also has subtle glitter in it. It’s very sheer and needs at least three coats for opacity.

Knackered, indoors, indirect natural light

This polish really looks lavender and slightly metallic, and then when the sun hits it the silver comes out. I don’t see much of the green or blue but maybe it’s just the lighting. I like this color because it’s a little bit different but still very feminine, and since the glitter is so small it doesn’t make me feel like a little girl when I wear it.

Knackered, indoors, direct sunlight
Knackered, indoors, direct sunlight

You know who I could honestly picture wearing Knackered on her nails? A winter bride. You know, with the full winter wonderland theme, complete with matching white faux fur muffs for all the bridesmaids. It’s such a chic and unexpected alternative to the usual pink/nude lineup that brides tend to pick, and this color just seems so very winter/holiday to me. I think it’d be perfect!

For myself, I’ll probably use Knackered primarily as a topcoat over different creme polishes to experiment with the duo-chrome/holographic effect. Earlier this month I swatched this over Julep Toni, a griege lavender, for a more full-bodied effect. The result was pretty lovely, and now I’m eager to see what effects I’ll get layering it over black, blue, green, and silver.

Knackered over Toni, indoors, indirect natural light
Knackered over Toni, indoors, direct sunlight

Nail Polish of the Month: October 2012

I’m going to try to get these NPOTM posts up earlier in the month from now on! I know I’ve really been slacking lately.

This month I went with this gorgeous shimmery olive green. It’s L.A. Colors Color Craze nail polish in Cactus ($2). I love this color and would almost consider it a lovely fall neutral–it’s so very wearable and chic.

This color definitely requires 2-3 coats for proper wear. From a distance it looks like it could be brown or gray. It actually has a really blue base, which is odd, but once you add another coat or two it becomes a lovely olive green.

(Apologies for the rough cuticles, it was a bad night at work.)

I actually bought this hoping it might be a bit of a dupe for Butter London’s “Wallis” lacquer, but as it so happens I now have that very lacquer sitting on my desk, waiting to be swatched! So I guess at some point I’ll have to do a post comparing the two.

Swatch: Butter London Knackered over Julep Toni

I wanted to try swatching my new Butter London Knackered polish over my existing purple-gray manicure of Julep Toni.

One coat of Knackered deposits the subtle holographic purple-green color and finely flecked multi-colored glitter. It really enhances the purple base coat and looks very pretty. From what I’m told Knackered solo is quite sheer, so if you’re looking for an opaque holographic polish, I would really recommend layering it like this. I think it looks quite lovely.

For reference, here’s a pic of the original manicure with Toni (outdoors, daylight):

Here’s Toni + Knackered indoors, with daylight…

And here’s Toni + Knackered indoors with direct sunlight:

My Coterie order (Butter London) finally arrived!

Well, it seems like it took forever, but my Coterie order arrived yesterday!

As you might remember, a couple of weeks ago I told you about the new members-only flash sale site Coterie, which features beauty deals on top brands like Butter London and Stila. At the time they were featuring a deal on Butter London polishes, plus a massive intro promo code, so I had to place an order. Seriously, I got these polishes for about $4 a pop, even with the shipping thrown in–compare that to $14 apiece at a store like ULTA.

Anyway, I’ve been impatiently waiting for my order to arrive, and it finally showed up, so I wanted to tell you what I thought about it!

First, I wasn’t impressed with the packaging. I’m a bit of a shipping/packaging snob, and I prefer that any breakable beauty items like nail polish be padded to the max. My polishes were loosely wrapped in a single sheet of bubble wrap and were rattling around in the package–not good. I wasn’t pleased, but none of them were damaged, so I guess I’ll let it slide…for now.

Second, I think they could have been a bit more timely. I did hear that shipping was backed up due to the high volume of orders, and that packages might not ship out for five to ten days–but I heard this secondhand from another blogger, not from Coterie itself. I got an e-mail to confirm that my order had been placed, but I didn’t get any of those nice little e-mail reminders telling you that your order has been delayed, that your order has been shipped, etc. etc., which I found annoying.

I suppose I’m just nitpicky! On a side note I placed orders with Urban Decay and Julep Maven at the same time as my Coterie order and both shipped quite quickly, so it seemed a bit laggy of Coterie to ship soooooo slowly.

Third, the packaging was all-around no-frills: no special boxes, no colored paper, just a single fancy greeting card welcoming me to Coterie and an order sheet (shown). I can’t really find fault with the presentation, and on the bright side, the order sheet does include a helpful full set of return instructions and a pre-printed return label.

Fourth: my Butter London polish bottles have the Leaping Bunny logo on them! At first I thought my eyes deceived me, because they aren’t listed on LB’s company list online. (They are PETA-listed.) I sent an e-mail to Leaping Bunny to clarify the matter and will share their response (if any) here on the blog when (if?) I get it. When I stopped into ULTA today I saw that none of their Butter London polishes had this logo, so I’m a bit confused as to why my Coterie bottles would feature it and not the regular stock at a beauty supply store. If this is an add-on by Coterie you can be sure they’re going to hear about it! Stay tuned…

Now, the polishes: I ordered Bluey, Knackered, and Wallis, along with the P. D. Hardwear Quick Dry Top Coat (not shown).

I’m really excited to try out these polishes and will definitely post swatches as soon as I can! I’m thinking of swatching Knackered over my current manicure in Julep Toni to see what it looks like, and then moving on to straight swatches from there.