Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Femme Fatale A Fortune Teller's Charm

After things warmed up quite a bit around here (flip flop time already?! Yes please!) we had another cold snap.  Since my nails were nice and long and there were no traitorous chippers, definitely thermal weather!

indoor, bright CF lighting
Femme Fatale A Fortune Teller's Charm is a beautiful sea-green sort of teal when cold, and a pale yellowy sandy nude when warm.

bright afternoon sunlight
The teal darkens (I think) just a hair more than what's in the bottle when it's really cold, and the pale sand of the warm color is warmed up even more by a red/copper/gold shimmer overlay that's visible in most all lighting.

early morning sunlight, fully cold state
This was just 2 absolutely perfect coats to complete opacity - kind of unusual for a thermal that's so pale on the warm side, but of course appreciated.  This dries a little satin less than most thermals do, but a layer of topcoat is always necessary IMHO anyway.
outdoor, bright sunlight
I have a long-standing theory that to really look great, thermals have to be pretty in all their possible colors from fully cold to fully warm - I've tried a few with very bold contrasts between the two colors, like Fortune Teller here, where the in-between color was dirty or just plain weird looking.  Nope, the coppery shimmer makes this look like various intensities of verdigris at any time.

window-filtered shady daylight
Though this is fairly glitter-heavy, the glitters laid quite smoothly on the nail, and a single layer of topcoat was sufficient to get this fantastic glassy shine.  There's a possibility that at least one of the two sizes of these gold glitters is holographic, but there's really no holo bling anywhere other than in macro pics.

bright afternoon sunlight
I've seen a whole lot of gorgeous stamping with thermals in general and this one in particular, so my own attempt was most definitely in order.  My birthday is coming right on up, so I reached for the MoYou Zodiac plate 02 (Pisces of course), and used SuperChic Rum-Billie over MYL Electric Teal to double-stamp some curving waves with a starfish.

window-filtered overcast daylight
Rum-Billie absolutely lives up to claims that it's a great stamping polish, and covered quite opaquely with no troubles at all.  The gorgeous whiskey-bronze color is pretty unique in my stash to boot.

bright afternoon sunlight
Rating:  a flawless 5 out of 5 stars.  Perfect formula, beautiful verdigris shadings, wore like iron, and I'm of course a sucker for both contrast shimmers and thermals.  I don't even care that the warm tone of A Fortune Teller's Charm is way too yellowy for me, this is a delightful day on the beach or a glimmer from a desert caravan on my nails.

Where to buy:  check Femme Fatale's list of stockists.

~Michelle

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Comparison: Starlight Polish Phoenix Feathers and Ninja Polish Divinity

Starlight Polish Phoenix Feathers is utterly gorgeous... and from the first glance absolutely begged for a comparison to the impossible-to-find Ninja Polish Divinity.  Older discontinued Clarins 230-type polishes are going for staggeringly high prices now, and I honestly haven't seen any of Ninja's 230 offerings sold anywhere lately, so this offers a shot at a real fave for a lot of people that missed it.  Additionally, while I love Divinity, the formula has been tragically chippy both times I've worn it, so a wear test was a required part of my comparison.  When I first put Phoenix Feathers on this week, Divinity went on the ring finger of my right hand, and has been there the whole time.  I ended up taking so many pics of the comparison in-progress that it needed to be its own separate post.

indoor, bright CF lighting
A round bottle of course gives Divinity a more shifty appearance as compared to Phoenix Feathers' square one, but nope, there's still those glints of green and blue in the corners.  In comparing the two colors, the bottle shot gives away the spoiler here - the base color is not identical, meaning that Phoenix Feathers isn't a true 100% samesies dupe of Divinity.  But I still have this post tagged as a dupe because in most cases, I genuinely don't think the difference matters.

Again, for all swatch pics below, Divinity is on my ring finger while the rest are all Phoenix Feathers.

one coat, no topcoat or cleanup.
At one coat, the difference in the 2 polishes is small but there.  Divinity has the better formula, covering more evenly and opaquely, and gliding across the nail more smoothly.

two coats
But by 2 coats, the differences in formulae are pretty well evened out.  Divinity really only needs 3 coats to be wearable versus Phoenix Feathers' required 4, but I went ahead and did 4 for both polishes.  Divinity dries maybe a touch more glossy, but both dry down just a touch satin and really do need topcoat to maximize the shine and let the shimmer sparkle.

indoor, CF lighting
At 4 coats + topcoat, in most lighting, there's absolutely no difference visually in these 2 polishes.  Both of them hit that lovely emerald shift at the same time and to about the same degree.

outdoor, bright direct sunlight
In shade, typical office light, and anything but super bright sunlight, they're the same.  People at my office could not identify at all which nail was a different polish.

UNF DAT SHIMMER SHIFT.
The only time the difference was obvious was when i held my hand up so that bright sunlight shone through the free ends of my nails - then the more cool blue-purple base color of Divinity was easily differentiated from the warmer red-purple of Phoenix Feathers.

Divinity on the right, Phoenix Feathers on the left 2 nails
In bright, direct sunlight, the differences in the base translated to a slightly different overall look, with Divinity being just a touch cooler and more berry-toned.

outdoor, bright direct sunlight
Final verdict:  if you don't have Divinity, Phoenix Feathers is a fantastic alternative, and should be enough to lay all but the most die-hard lemmings to rest.  I'm pretty sure if your first coat was of a purple jelly (Baroness X Doomjelly comes immediately to mind), 2 coats of Phoenix Feathers would then be dead-on for Divinity.

Oddly enough re: wear testing, both wore great.  I was steel-wool-ing the crap out of some cooking pots this week, and my right hand here is my dominant one, so that should have trashed the hell out of a notoriously chippy polish... but nope, both passed with flying colors.  Huh.  Several things could be contributing here:  I let the first and second coats dry almost completely just due to the time it took to get the pictures comparing these 2 polishes at 1 and 2 coats.  I usually wear Divinity at 2-3 coats, but there's 4 here. And finally, since I wasn't stamping, I used my cheap-o Pro-FX topcoat.  In any case, there were no differences in wear time for these polishes, either.

Good luck slaying lemmings!

~Michelle

Friday, March 3, 2017

Starlight Polish Phoenix Feathers

After my first good turn with Starlight Polish's shifty shimmer jellies, I pretty quickly moved on to the 2nd (and yes, of course I got all 3 of the colored-base polishes!).

indoor, CF lighting
All of the polishes with "Phoenix" in the name are the Clarins 230/Max Factor Fantasy Fire type red-to-green shimmer.  Phoenix Feathers is this magical shimmer in a lovely warm wine jelly base.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Like Dragon Scales, the formula is quite sheer to allow all this gorgeous sparkling fire to show through unobstructed - I needed 4 thin coats for this one too, but each coat dried quickly and the end result wasn't at all thick or chunky or easily dented like you'd expect a 4+ coat mani to be.  Final verdict = a little more effort than typical, but no major big deal, and OMFG yes it's worth it.

you KNOW how polish addicts feel about that bronze and emerald shift!
direct afternoon sunlight
that rainbow on the edge of the bottle lets you know you got the gooooood stuff.
Rating:  a luscious 4 out of 5 stars.  All the notes I have for Phoenix Feathers are identical to her green sister - 4 coats, good formula needing minimal cleanup, and better than typical wear for a jelly, with minor, even edgewear but no chips after several days of being tough on my hands (cleaning house, scrubbing pots out, etc).

Where to buy:  Starlight & Sparkles etsy store.

~Michelle

Monday, February 27, 2017

2017 Oscars!

For the 2nd year now, I've dressed up for a friend's oscar party by getting each best picture nominee on a nail in one way or another.  I've used a crazy assortment of stamping plates, a little bit of freehand, and about 20 polishes, so it's all too much to call out individually, but here you go!

And the nominees are...


On my left hand:

  • Thumb is the google earth image that played a key part in Lion
  • Index is the baseball hanging from a tree branch in Fences
  • Middle is a rocket ship on top of numbers & equation symbols for Hidden Figures
  • Ring is a face on aqua, wine, and purple as a nod to the poster for Moonlight
  • Pinky is a couple embracing after singing in the rain a la La La Land

And on my right:
  • Thumb is some strips of film (only 9 best pics this year)
  • Index is the front of a boat sailing through the ocean for Manchester by the Sea
  • Middle is some of the Heptapod language from Arrival (my clear fave for both movie and how this nail turned out!)
  • Ring is a gun-toting cowboy skull, summing up the death, guns, and Texas of Hell or High Water
  • Pinky is a red cross over camo for the army medic of Hacksaw Ridge.
~Michelle

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Cirque Paraiba

I absolutely love Paraiba Tourmaline - that electric tropical paradise color is simply amazing - so of Cirque's recent collection based on gemstones, Paraiba was my immediate must-have.

indoor, bright CF lighing
Paraiba is exactly what it should be: a gorgeously bright, caribbean ocean water aqua jelly, packed with absolutely tons of fine holographic silver flake.

outdoor, direct bright sunlight
The formula was absolute perfection, with the ideal thickness that stays just where you put it and building to perfectly wearable opacity in 2 coats.  This is the kind of green pigment that likes to cling to dry cuticle skin, so the need for minimal clean-up was appreciated indeed.  The flakies lie down completely smooth, giving Paraiba a gorgeous, encapsulated-in-glass look after a single layer of topcoat (necessary, since it dries just a little satin).

shady morning daylight.  UNF DAT SHINE.
This type of holo flake reminds me a lot of the finish of some of a England's classic gems, such as Saint George, where the subtle suggestion of a rainbow gives a whole lot of depth, but there's no true HOLO flame going on.

bright direct sunlight just barely catches some rainbow sparkle
Though I look a little pink in some pics, there was never any suggestion of lobster hands IRL.  Just a gorgeous, rich color that's perfect for poolside or for cheering me up in the last dregs of winter.

window-filtered daylight
Rating:  an utterly flawless 5 out of 5 stars.  Excellent formula, gorgeous color, and Paraiba wore like iron despite its jelly base.  More of the Facets Collection are on their way to me right now.

Where to buy:  direct from Cirque, or add some to your next Amazon order.

~Michelle

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Starlight Polish Dragon Scales & Mardi Gras

One of my FB nail polish groups alerted me to the Starlight & Sparkles Etsy store, where plenty of shifting shimmer offerings are to be had (including, yes, the Clarins 230-type).  She's selling in 3 different types of shimmer, each offered in 3 bases: clear base for use as a topper, jelly tinted base to either wear solo or as a topper, and tinted jelly with linear holo.  All 3 of the colored base polishes came home with me ASAP.

indoor, bright CF lighting
Dragon Scales is a very teal-leaning green jelly absolutely packed with a sparkly shimmer that's bright metallic gold dead-on that shifts up to bronze then emerald then blue.

outdoor, bright sunlight
When the shimmer is in its golden phase, the overall look of the polish is much warmer, sometimes approaching mossy green:

bright sunlight for both

And when it's in the green phase, it's a cooler, jewel-toned brilliant emerald:

bright sunlight
And then that blue shift, YASSSS:

more with the bright sunlight
Yes, all the good pics are in full sunlight, but fear not, Dragon Scales is still glowy and lovely without the sun to spark it:

window-filtered morning daylight
I'm wearing 4 coats (yes, 4!) to get to the opacity you see here.  The jelly is nicely pigmented, but remains utterly translucent for all this shimmer to shine through.  The first coat was a little streaky like jellies most typically are, but it looked good by the 2nd and pretty great by the 3rd.  With every coat, the color became richer, deeper, and more saturated, and I absolutely wanted the golden embers in murky green promised by the bottle, so 4 coats it was.

bright sunlight
A coworker hosted a Mardi Gras party this weekend, and Dragon Scales was the perfect festive green to top with purple & gold streamers from SBS-04 to get my NOLA party look.

Rating:  a glorious 4 out of 5 stars.  Yeah, nobody likes 4 coats of anything, but each coat applied thinly, self-leveled nicely, then dried quickly, so it was very much worth it to get this color.  This wore better for me than jellies typically do, with minor edgewear but no chipping after several days.

Where to buy:  direct from Starlight.

~Michelle

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Candy Hearts

A super quick holiday post:  I was struck a couple of days ago for the undeniable need for some adorableness (maybe it was the goth black & skulls previously??), and lit on the idea of candy hearts on my nails.


The red background is of course the ever-flawless a England Perceval, the hearts are freehand, and the utterly authentic conversation heart sayings are from Bundle Monster 425.  <3

~Michelle