Illyrian Prototype 99

With the fantastic weather this week, I was feeling summery-bright, the man voted for red polish, and this beauty was sitting on my mani table having just arrived...

As far as my sleuthing around the interwebs could illuminate, Illyrian released Prototype 99 as a 2017 Black Friday LE that also ended up going to a couple stockists.  It's a super subtle duochrome of the sort that looks different in different lighting, but doesn't show any shift on the nail.

Overall, it's a cool-toned berry red, and the bottle color where it's closer to magenta is just as color accurate as the blazing scarlet in this sun shot.  There's also a light dusting of aurora pigment in there that had a sparkling lime green flash in the bottle, but again, not obvious on the nail as a shift, but as a component of the lush glow.  99 had a nicely behaved formula that was 100% opaque in 2 coats.

I stamped here with Esmaltes da Kelly Pleiades using a starburst leafy pattern from Creative Shop 77.  T…

Baroness X Wildfire Holo + non-holo comparison

~~* Press Sample *~~
I'm still all kinds of excited about the gorgeous toppers that Baroness X sent me, and today I'm sharing the holo version of Baroness X Wildfire.

And that's another resounding OH YESSSS.

As a reminder, Wildfire is described as double UP in a tinted base, with matching UP flakies.  This holo version adds a handful of super fine holographic particles, what I usually refer to as "holo dust" - this is not glitter, it's not hard to remove, and it doesn't grey out the base color of the polish you're wearing with it.  Holo dust adds a delicate rainbow sparkle, not a linear holo flame that would compete with the red-to-green shifty shimmer.

I wanted to swatch Wildfire Holo over something a little more unusual than the typical black, but also wanted to keep the dark base color to really make those Unicorn Pee shimmers *pop*.  Magnetic polishes with flakies have been cropping up all over the place, and I'm quite happy to report that the eff…

Masura Condiments & Spices

I absolutely loved my last Masura magnetic polish - it was super easy to work with, very reactive, and wore well.  I have one more super shifty Baroness X topcoat to share, and wanted to choose something a little unusual to swatch it over, and this ended up being the perfect choice

Condiments & Spices is a deep, cool, smoky brown shimmer in the bottle, and much like Mint & Basil, would be plenty pretty on its own if you didn't feel like using a magnet.  One caveat - while C&S applied perfectly smoothly, this dried in an irregularly patchy satin pattern that a single layer of topcoat smoothed right back out (in other words, topcoat is a necessity for this polish). 

I used my newest super strong neodymium magnet held in a diagonal across each nail to attract the pearly shimmer particles.  I'd bought this magnet after a recommendation that this was more powerful than my standby Dance legend flat bar magnet, and though it sticks tighter to metal surfaces, I didn't …

Fluid Nail Art Take 2: Sinful Colors Rebel Rebel

One of my FB nail groups has been blowing up lately with bright summery designs using foaming polishes for fluid nail art.  My 3 bottles of these special effects polish are underused, but despite the prodigious volume of nail polish in this house, I'm always hesitant to try out techniques that involve using huge quantities of polish or pouring it straight out of the bottle (!!). 

While the stamper technique to get the cells to form worked well for me last time, this round was all about watching a half dozen tutorials like this one where polish was dabbed, dripped, or poured onto a silicone nail art mat, the mat was folded, and POOF cells foam right on up.  That insta video is exactly how I did this one, including the use of a single thin coat of one of the base colors painted onto each nail for the decals to stick onto.

I also managed to get over my aversion to pouring out polish by using stuff that I'm otherwise not likely to.  There's a pretty aqua shimmer and a wine jel…

Baroness X Wildfire

~~* Press Sample *~~
I was all aflutter when the wizard behind Baroness X asked me to swatch her latest custom for The X Army Facebook group, and was even more aflutter when I opened the package to find this beauty (and her holo sister) inside!
Awwww yessssss.

Wildfire is described as "double UP in a tinted base with matching UP flakies," and that seems dead accurate to my eyes.  I'm wearing just one layer here over a plain slate-teal crème (Essie's Go Overboard), which was plenty to show off the shifty goodness.  I was also in love enough with the smoky sky blue bottle color to want to show how it did on its own, so my accent nail is one layer of Wildfire, then stamping an octopus motif from MoYou London's Animal 01 plate with Go Overboard, then one more coat of Wildfire.  I'm wearing a single layer of topcoat over everything.

In lower light, the flakies are super prominent and *pop* in that light-catching way that iridescent flakies do.  Lower light over t…

Femme Fatale Ruby Hare

The weather has been so weirdly variable lately, that while the sun is shining, holos are most definitely called for.

Aaaaaaahhhhh, Femme Fatale's 2013 holographic collection (you bet your butt I'm sounding like an old lady going on about "back in my day").  At the time, I only picked up 2 or three of the 10 piece set, and over the years I've realized that was wrong of me, and now I'm still hunting for a couple of them.

Ruby Hare is a raspberry pink-wine linear holographic with a metallic contrast shimmer overlay.  Ini direct light (above), you get a blinding flash of warm electric pink, while angled light (below) gives you a warmer coppery shine in the middle of the holo flame.

Just like all her sisters, Ruby Hare has a dead-perfect formula.  Nearly opaque in just one coat (2 shown here), ideal thickness, perfect brush, zero cleanup issues or cuticle staining.  This is why we fall in love with indies, people.  It just works.

Ruby Hare was one of the ones I l…

Lemming Lacquer Ghosts of the Vault + a quick comparison

I think by now most indie nail polish fiends are aware of the phenomenon that is Polish Pickup - each month, makers create an exclusive polish based on the selected theme, and the store is open only for the first weekend of that month.  For most offerings, you have time to pick what you wanted (and you need a bit of time since the current roster of participating makers is huge!), but there are always a few here and there that are "capped" to a finite number the maker selects.

Lemming Lacquer created Ghosts of the Vault for the January 2018 PPU, and it sold out tout suite.  I was lucky enough to score a bottle from someone who changed her mind, and my excitement over getting it moved it to the top of the try-me pile.

GotV is an indigo jelly, the sort of blue where you doubt your eyes and change your mind from "blue" to "purple" with every look.  It's filled with "red/copper/gold shift" aurora pigment - the shimmer wasn't billed as Clarins…