Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tonic Huckleberry Sparkle

A major lemming for every purple polish lover that doesn't have it is Cirque's Coronation, and I am certainly no exception.  One day, I should line up all the purples I've bought to try and put this lemming to bed.  One of the more recent contenders is Tonic's Huckleberry Sparkle.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Tonic blew onto the indie polish scene a few months ago with an incredibly well put-together inaugural collection, including this luscious purple crelly.  Huckleberry is sprinkled with little holo microglitters, and overlaid with a gorgeous coppery contrasting shimmer.

outdoor, late afternoon daylight
Look at that glow, YASSSSSSSSS.

outdoor, shady daylight
HS is a bit thicker than ideal (I'll likely be thinning just a smidge before wearing again), a little sticky in the way that overworking one spot drags it up a bit, and is opaque in 2 coats.  It's the kind of devastating color that gets you compliments from strangers at stores.

outdoor, late afternoon sunlight
outdoor, bright sunlight
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars.  The formula was a little persnickety, but the color is soooo worth it.

Where to buy:  direct from Tonic.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Quick comparison: Sinful Colors Kreme de la Kreme VS Cirque Halcyon

The moment I found Kreme de la Kreme, confirmed by the moment I put it on, I knew comparing it to the sold-out and sought-after Cirque Halcyon was necessary.  Turns out they're not exact dupes, but Kreme might help a whole lot if you're pining for Halcyon.  For all pics below, Halcyon is on the right.

indoor, bright CF lighting
indoor, less intense CF lighting from more diffuse source
First things first:  the color isn't identical in these 2, with Halcyon being a little more rosy, though both look ROSE gold and not simply gold when worn.

The shimmer particles are the major difference, with Halcyon being made up of metallic microflakes and Kreme a much finer metallic shimmer.  Halcyon gets the advantage here, with a blinding hammered-metal shine in the sun.

Kreme de la Kreme is completely opaque in one coat, while Halcyon needs 2, giving Kreme the advantage in nail art if layering thickness is of concern.

They're genuinely close enough that I don't need both, but a $2 backup for a sold-out 5 star polish isn't leaving my hands any time soon.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Topcoat battle! HK Girl VS Pro-FX quick dry!

I'm sure that every polish geek has a half a handful (or plenty more) topcoats - I myself have my go-to quick dry, a thicker one for chunky or unsmooth finishes, some back-up "lesser" quick drys, and a matte.  Having that many, though, honestly means we're all still looking for MORE!

For a couple of years now, my holy grail TC has been HK Girl.  I'd been pretty happy with INM Out the Door for a year or so, but HKG dries much faster to a harder (aka more chip-resistant) finish, so I made that switch around the time we started blogging here.  I've never had the love affair with Seche that plenty do - it seems more stinky to me and I get shrinkage often enough to have never bought more after my first 99 cent mini of it.  I've seen a few blog posts mentioned some behemoth from WalMart, and remembered to pick up a bottle when driven to the commercial den of iniquity by a wild goose chase for multichrome notebooks, which brings us to...

Topcoat Battle!!!!

The reigning champ - fave of many nailistas - is HK Girl!

The too-good-to-be-true contender - Pro FX quick-dry in a whopping 75ml round bottle!  Seriously folks, if this stuff works, it's $5 for the equivalent of FIVE full-size bottles, absolutely worth giving a whirl to.

The experiment - my last mani had plenty of test factors.  I used 2 extremely different polishes - one shimmer/metallic OCW and one 3-coat jelly, from 2 different makers.  All nails had the same base coat, one layer of topcoat over the base polish, one stamp in white, then a final layer of the same topcoat.  HK Girl went on my ring & index fingers, while Pro-FX was the thumb, middle, and pinky on both hands (i.e., switch every other nail).  This meant that both of the 2 different base polishes had some nails done with each topcoat.  Also, my thumb and index, the 2 "hardest working" (most likely to chip) nails, took a turn with the both topcoats.

HK Girl is of medium thickness, flows nicely and dries shiny, and dries very very fast.  It does get goopy about 2/3 of the way through the bottle, but can be thinned with regular Sally's polish thinner and continues to work at least 75% as well thereafter.  I've completely used at least a half dozen bottles of this and love it.  This experiment was done with a brand-new bottle.

Pro-FX feels a bit thinner than HK Girl, about the same thickness as INM Out The Door or Sally Hansen Insta-dri in the red bottle.  Though the wand is super long to reach the bottom of that huge bottle, I didn't have any trouble at all with product dripping down the wand onto my nails, and had no awkwardness controlling what should have felt like a weirdly huge brush.  Bonus: it's a noticeably very low-odor product, with minimal nail polish chemical smell.

L-to-R:  HK Girl, Pro-FX, HK Girl, Pro-FX
Both topcoats when used over the base polish were dry to touch in less than one minute, and fine for stamping over within 5 minutes.  The major difference in performance was smearing of the white stamping: if I used a heavier bead to "float" over the design in a single pass without the brush touching the nail, the smearing was minor and visible in macro pics (see above) but not at arm's length.  With any touching of the brush to the design or ANY re-working of the same site, though, it was super smeary (see below).

this right here is Pro-FX's major fail
I had absolutely no difference in wear or chipping - both of these wore like iron for more than 4 days.  The only other difference I did discover is for those of you sensitive to certain chemicals.  "5 free" polishes do not contain formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, or camphor.  HG girl is 3 Free (no formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin and no toluene), but it does have DBP and camphor.  Pro FX is labeled as DBP and toluene free, and formaldehyde/resin and camphor are not listed in the ingredients, so this is actually 5-free.

Winner:  HK Girl remains the champ if you're doing any nail art.  The crazy-cheap and quick drying Pro-FX is going to be used a lot around here under stamping or for plain manis, though, and I'll update this if my opinion changes after more use.

Where to buy:  HK Girl is sold directly and stocked by plenty of shops internationally, with Color 4 Nails being my usual supplier.  Pro-FX is sadly a Walmart Exclusive, though some other of their products are sold on Amazon, so hopefully that will be an alternate source in the future.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sinful Colors Kreme de la Kreme + Illyrian Awaken Your Magic

Illyrian is blowing things up lately, and several of the shiny new things that just arrived at my house immediately clamored to jump to the head of the queue.  The gorgeous copper shimmer in Awaken Your Magic just happened to match the metallic rose gold of another new arrival, Sinful Colors Kreme de la Kreme, so the 2 got paired up tout suite.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Awaken Your Magic is a sheer lavender jelly with a rich coppery contrasting shimmer overlay and a sprinkling of silver holo microglitters.  It needed 3 coats for level of opacity seen here, which still shows some VNL, but in an even non-streaky way i'm fond of.  Each coat was perfectly self-leveling, so you could easily use this as a topper at one coat.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Kreme de la Kreme is an easy one coat wonder.  Though it's a bit thicker than ideal, that's likely to suspend all the metallic shimmer it's packed with.  Cleanup is rather tricky, since the shimmer dissolves into the acetone and floats everywhere in the cuticle zone, so scrubbing wayward shimmer particles off later is going to be a key part of making this look nice.

indoor, bright CF lighting
To tie this fairytale princess look together, I stamped a scrolling swirl & line pattern from BP-01 (which is a christmas plate - goes to show that picking one part of  a design can really give a different look than another part!) and El Corazon Kaleidoscope white stamping polish.

window-filtered daylight
I loved how the coppery shimmer shone through the white whorls, and the peeks of holo sparkle were charming as well.

late afternoon sunlight
I had to have a minor hand surgery this week, which meant I ended up wearing this mani longer than usual.  As an unexpected bonus, both of these absolutely wore like iron.

outdoor, direct sunlight
Rating:  5 of 5 stars for Awaken Your Magic, and 4 for Kreme (grrrr the wonky Kylie names), both huge winners.  Kreme likely would have been 5 stars if it wasn't a sliiiiiightly less shiny version of the amazing Cirque Halcyon - comparison post coming right up!

Where to buy:  Illyrian's web store for Magic, and plenty of drug stores for Sinful Colors.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sayuri HHC Pick Your Poison

There's a whole lot of grey/pewter/black/charcoal untrieds lying around here, so I stuck with my 2nd black-with-a-twist for this week.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Pick Your Poison was an April offering of Hella Holo Customs from new-to-me Aussie brand Sayuri.   It's a mass of small aqua-to-purple duochromatic flakies in a dark charcoal base, along with a smattering of very fine silvery shimmer.

outdoor, overcast daylight
 The overall effect is subtly shifty in low light, then a charcoal with dark blue or aqua sparkle in bright light (oddly very similar to Morticia from earlier this week though the two really have nothing in common finish-wise).

indoor, CF lighting
Now, for all that this is a Hella holo, I gotta be real and say there's approximately no holo to be found here.  Yeah, in the macro you can see a couple of rainbow sparks, so there's some quantity of very fine holo dust in the mix, but it genuinely doesn't translate to the nail at all.

outdoor, overcast daylight
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars.  The formula, brush, and bottle were all nice, but I did get some edgewear and a minor chip within just 2 days.  I probably would have liked it more if I wasn't expecting it to be holo and I hadn't worn it back-to-back with such a similar color.

Where to buy:  join HHC on facebook and then pick it up from someone destashing - these are one month and done offerings.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ms Andry's Bath House Morticia

I don't at all remember how I stumbled across the offerings of Ms Andry's Bath House, but in a world of hilarious nail polish names, she might win the whole internet (e.g., Bonerkiller, Aunt Flo, Feminist Killjoy).  Not so much abounds in the way of swatch pics of her stuff yet, but I had to check em out anyway.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Morticia is an inky near-black charcoal with a lovely cool slate-blue shimmer that makes it look like the iridescent flash off a raven's wing - approximately perfect for the namesake here.

window-filtered overcast daylight
Interestingly, though it actually IS a black polish, Morticia never looks plain black - that shimmer is present in all lighting other than the actual dark.  In bright light, the shimmer just gets more intense.

outdoor, bright sunlight
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars.  A fairly unique color in my stash, and so much more wearable than flat black, it's vampy without being completely goth.  The formula was a little too thick, leaving me with a lot of patchiness after the first coat and some quicker than expected chips - it'll likely benefit from a few drops of thinner before I wear it next.

Where to buy:  quite affordably, direct from Ms Andry herself.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Trust Fund Beauty Spring Detox & a quick comparison

There's always time for a good duochrome, especially one forgotten in your stash for a while, so Trust Fund Beauty's Spring Detox stepped up when I went delving for a green - spoiler alert, huge winner.

indoor, CF lighting
When I first pulled Spring Detox out of the box and saw this emerald to pink shift, I was a little disappointed, thinking I'd yet again fallen for my eleventy-bajillionth iteration of the green to purple duochromes I apparently can't say no to.

indoor, bright CF lighting
But wait!  Both of these bottle shots are utterly accurate, and while Hey Jude-type duochromes sometimes get an almost mossy look, they never get this dirty swampy green.  Huzzah, totally different!!

indoor, window-filtered daylight
Spring Detox's base is a sheer swampy brownish-green that's packed with bright, nearly chrome emerald shimmer just a little finer than what I'd call a glass fleck.  I paint under pretty bright lights, and when my hand was directly in line with them, the shimmer was bright enough to make one coat look opaque.  At angles, the sheerness was apparent, but only 2 coats were needed to get the opacity you see here.

outdoor, bright sunlight
At any angle at all (even just a little), I got an intense shift to a bright magenta/rosy pink that's just as sparkly as the emerald.

outdoor, bright sunlight
While this went pink instead of the blue/teal/purple of the Hey Jude types, the one shift it had in common was a pale pink-tinged silver, though this color shows up at a completely different angle in the shift for the 2 polishes.

indoor, window-filtered daylight
Picking a stamping color for this one was really tricky given that it had to look good with a whole lot of different colors, and that I wasn't feeling metallics.  I tested out 5 or so shades (what did we do before silicone mats?), and MYL Midnight Green was a winner.

outdoor, bright sunlight
Cheapo stamping plates from ebay or AliExpress are such a crap shoot.  I've gotten some shallowly etched junk, and some perfect designs for less than a buck.  This looping burst design is off of Blueness B-064, which I think looks like the sort of decorative flourishes on traditional tole painted items.  Funny how selecting part of an image can make it look totally different.

outdoor, overcast afternoon daylight
I had zero problems with this plate, and will in fact be checking out the rest of this brand.

late afternoon bright sunlight
Wow, a super shifty duochrome totally unique in my stash?  Love!!  But it did remind me of something else...

indoor, CF lighting, S&L on left and SD on right 
Pretty Serious Swatch and Learn has a near-identical color scheme while being utterly different in finish.  Both have the swampy green base color and a shift to rosy pink, but S&L's color changes come from lovely little microflake/glass fleck sort of shimmers, while SD is most certainly a true duochrome and is far more shifty.

indoor, CF lighting, same order
Rating:  just like S&L, Spring Detox is a smashing 5 out of 5 stars.  Great wear, nice formula, can't stop staring at the color changes, love all around.

Where to buy:  either direct from Trust Fund Beauty, or now some shades are sold on Amazon.