Monday, January 3, 2011

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips

Happy New Year, y'all! I'm back, even if temporarily. But these Sally Hansen nail strips are so super duper exciting that I felt compelled to post.

OMG Leopard!
Let me start by saying that I'm heading off to Chicago on Tuesday and I had this moment of sheer panic when I realized that I probably won't be able to do my nails in the five days that I'm there. Oh. My. God. True I'm sure the BF and his family couldn't care less if I had raggedy, chipped, or even worse - bare nails, but the thought simply horrified me. And then, as if a moment of divine intervention, there in the beauty aisle of Walgreens, Sally Hansen and her beacon of light shined down on me: THE NAIL STRIPS. 

I'd read about these before on other blogs but had yet to find them. The $9.99 price tag was awful steep, but when I bought them they were BOGO 50% off and they had a tear pad for $1 off, so I paid about $14 for two of these. However they claim to last 10 days plus they're a Minx knockoff and it certainly beats the $40 salon price for a real Minx. Since they were BOGO I bought Kitty Kitty, which is the leopard, and Misbehaved, which is a shimmery light gold with a fishnet pattern on top.

Basically they're like glorified nail stickers, you put 'em on and file the excess off and then you have a really sweet manicure. The kit comes with a cuticle stick, a little file which has a buffing side and two different fine grit files, and 14 strips. 

Even my eczema cuticles are slain by this stuff
Super important with these is to push back your cuticle and really take care of those little suckers. You want to place the sticker pretty close to your cuticle, especially to accommodate grow-out. I prepped my nails with this Sally Hansen gel cuticle remover with kiwi, which I think was around $5 at Rite Aid. It worked really nicely, I just let it set and then pushed it back and I really don't think my cuticles have ever looked this good before. 

Since the sticker adheres directly to your nail, buffing your nails is imperative. Although I liked the provided file, I also used my own file since my nails are quite ridged naturally. After all of this the directions recommend swiping your nails with remover one last time, which I did. 

Then comes the tricky part, which is the actual application. First, the kit comes with 16 stickers - really, Sally? Really? I'm sure polydactyls the world over will be thrilled that they too can have beautiful nails, but the number to me was odd. Why not just add in another 4 so that theoretically I could get two manicures out of this instead of just one? What am I supposed to do with the extras? SUPER COOL FACE TATTOOS!! I guess it gives room for screw ups so you can throw another one on, but I kind of wish she'd just made it 22 or 24. OH, SALLY! You're so silly. 

The stickers are double ended with slightly different shapes to fit different cuticles. I was impressed by how well these fit my nails, I always thought I had mutant nail beds but apparently they're pretty standard. The stickers have a little give so you can stretch them to fit a wider nail bed, or if you messed up on applying the sticker. They're pretty easy to apply, and they're super long so that you can fold the excess over and file it off. You want to file them off in one direction so as to avoid raggedy edges, and obviously you want to have filed nails to begin with to ensure a clean, even edge. 

Look at those cuticles!
I'd say overall the process was pretty pain free, though it did take me about an episode or two of Boardwalk Empire, or approximately an hour and a half in real people time. Even though there wasn't any dry time with these I'd say it took about just as long as a regular manicure because of the precision needed. 

Overall I think they provide a really neat effect and I can't stop looking at how fly my nails are. However they're not as shiny as I'd like, and although not required I added a top coat of my own. I think it did add a tiny bit of bubbling, but hopefully this will also help with the wear of it, particularly on the edge of my nail. 

Final Ruling - Special occasion use only. The price point makes them a little steep for more frequent usage, and they do require a lot of patience. Their extended wear time makes them a good option for traveling, and I'll let you know how they wear. There are some pretty neat designs that would be difficult to recreate freehand (houndstooth, animal prints, fishnet), and if you can find them on sale, they're worth it. Apparently Broadway Nails also has a cheaper version of them which Nouveau Cheap reviewed here, which I have yet to spot. 

As to what to do with those extras - I suppose they'd make really cool accent nails with a black polish or something. Or you know, face tattoos. 

Sally's really stepped up her game this year and there are a lot of cool new releases for 2011, including these, another mint polish part of the Xtreme wear line, treatment gels, and a whole new line of implements. Oh, Sally! Ruv you, girrl!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Essie Stash and Pink Parka

Despite the absence from blogging I've still been painting my nails. I've also been taking photos of my stash.

I tried to take a photo of all of my Essie's, but somehow it didn't quite happen.

Here's Pink Parka, the very first polish in the row.

This polish is BRIGHT. Eye-burning, tacky tacky bright. I love it, even if it only seems appropriate to pair it with some platinum teased hair and fake eyelashes. 

NARS Orgasm

After a bit of a hiatus I'm back to show y'all NARS Orgasm. I have to admit I'm a fan of the cult favorite blush, but I've never ventured beyond the original. It's a bit excessive in my opinion, there's super orgasm blush, lipgloss, the multiple, gosh!

I have to admit though, despite the name I'm left a bit underwhelmed by this polish. Sure, it's pretty, and I liked it on Katherine (the owner of this lovely polish), but frankly this polish just didn't do it for me.

It's a really pretty coral color with a bit of sparkle like the original blush. 

Pretty sparkle! 

What a disappointment that something named after the almost unachievable for most women should leave me so underwhelmed. How....typical.

Here it is next to my pan of well-used blush, which unfortunately looks a little dirty in this photo. It's probably due to use.

Friday, July 23, 2010

odds and ends

Um, OK. 

I was SO wrong about that OPI DS Original. Being the little dum-dum that I am I didn't look at it in the natural light, and the secret to all holographic polishes is that it'll only really start to sparkle in the sun. When I did find the sun, I looked at my nails and DAMN did they sparkle. ALMOST as sparkly as Cher.  

Believe it or not, that's my thumbnail. BABY THUMBS! 
One coat of OPI DS Original over two coats of Diamond Cosmetics Drift Away

Look at that mother sparkle! Excuse the blurriness, it's the only way to capture the intense holo

How could I have been so wrong about this polish? It''s....FABULOUS. Like, Cher-worthy. No joke. Can't you just see Cher in her little Bob Mackie outfit with some holographic nail polish? droooool. The best part of this though is the fact that I took these photos after a day at work where I have to open boxes and type, which is really hard on my nails. And seriously? No chipping, whatsoever. Imagine what TWO coats of this polish is like!! My eyes will probably burn and fall out. 

Also, here's a preview of what I have coming up. These are the polishes I need to swatch:

The NARS polish I borrowed from Katherine, who's a doll and lent it to me for the weekend so I could swatch it. The two Essie neons are EYE BURNING, and I can't decide if they're so tacky they're fabulous, or so tacky they're just dreadful. I'm super stoked about the Rescue Beauty Lounge polish, it's that perfect sophisticated demure color that always makes me pee my pants in excitement. The last one is a mini bottle I got from the summer Essie collection. I really love those mini sets, it's great for a hoarder/collector like me to get my color fix, but at a reasonable price. Plus, god knows I'm never going to completely empty my bottles with everything that I have. 

One last thing for y'all, the Rescue Beauty Lounge fall collection the Real Housewives of the Tudor Dynasty. OMG. Legit DIED when I saw swatches of them. WANT. NEED. MUST. HAVE. Too bad they're $18 a pop. Seriously though I'm willing to eat ramen for a week to have these polishes. THEY WILL BE MINE. 

Siobhan over at The Nailphile has some great photos. Needless to say, I'm SUPER jealous, not just because she has those amazing polishes, but because I'm pretty sure those are the longest, strongest, meanest nails I have ever seen in my life. JEALOUS. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tacky Mauve

While I really loved that Essie taupey greige Playa del Platinum, it chipped like crazy when I was making pot stickers last night. So while watching SVU this afternoon I changed it up to this smokey purple, which I thought would be super sophisticated in the same way Playa del Platinum was. WRONG.

Two coats of Diamond Cosmetics Drift Away

This is Diamond Cosmetics Drift Away. Normally I really love their stuff because it's a nice formula with a good color range for only $2.25 a bottle(!!!!!!). But this one? Not so much. Sure, it's sophisticated, but it also makes me feel old. Like, "I'm just havin' drinks with my girlfriends after work, I'm single, in my 30's, and FABULOUS! Break me off a piece of that hunk o' man!" Like ladies night gone wrong at a male strip club. Cringe

Clearly, there's nothing wrong with being 37 or single or a working woman, but the whole image was just a bit much for me. Too much of a Lifetime Sex and the City knockoff that just ends up being really, really bleak. Let me just piss on your grave, Betty Friedan, this is what you fought for and it is BLEAK. 

So obviously I did the most logical (and feminist) thing and added some holographic glitter. Nothing says young, self-actualized, assertive (but not bitchy) 21st-century woman like glitter. (I'm sure somewhere in college towns across America women's studies majors are crying out in horror, while the comparative sociology majors would argue that as a self-actualized woman I should have the right to wear whatever I choose, because it's my choice, damnit. But I digress.) 

One coat of OPI Designer Series Original over Drift Away

I've never used the OPI Designer Series before, it's $12 as opposed to $8 and claims to have real diamond dust in it, to which I say pish-posh. Frankly I had high hopes for this, and while it is nice and sparkly, it's just not quite right. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for it, perhaps I did need something taupier, more neutral and sophisticated. Instead I got "OH HI I'M 12 AND ALL OF THSE NAIL POLISH FUMES HAVE GOTTEN TO ME." Which isn't exactly far from the truth, either. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Essie Playa del Platinum: A Mystery for the Ages

Shoot, girl. I tried. I really did. I tried to get this color to show up accurately, but my camera wasn't having any of that. 

Emi: 0 Universe: 57

Essie's Playa del Platinum from the Spring 2010 Resort Collection is this gorgeous taupe-y grey mystery color, I don't even really know what to call it. 

Is it an old lady color? Is it work appropriate? Is it dull? Is it grey? Is it taupe? Is it edgy? Is it trendy? Is it neutral? SO MANY QUESTIONS!!!! I feel like it's this huge philosophical mystery, on par with questions like: Does gravity really exist? How does the internet work? Why do I like to eat rice? 

The world may never know. Figure it out for yourselves, kiddies. 

Please, while pondering, gasp in horror at my eczema ravaged cuticles. Also, I swear this is darker and taupier. For reals. 

In these photos it looks like a concrete grey, but it's not. For shiz and giggles, here it is next to a true dove/concrete grey, Rescue Beauty Lounge Concrete Jungle 

Playa del Platinum: A mystery for the ages. I don't even know how to say it. Playa as in player or playa as in plier? Whatevs. Don't even care anymore, because guess what? I'm going to go have a snack. Take that, Essie!!!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Across the Universe: OMGGZ


Yes, friends, it's Deborah Lippmann's Across the Universe, the Nordstrom Exclusive. My Nordstrom only had 3, I basically peed my pants when I bought it. I got it yesterday and it was sort of a back door deal since the sale didn't officially start until today, but somehow my good karma paid off, and BOY IS IT SWEET.

I've never used Lippmann Collection polishes before, the $18 price tag isn't exactly poor-college-student friendly. The formula was fab, however, and the brush easy to work with. Despite being a chunky glitter the base is a jelly, allowing the hexagonal glitter on your first coat to shine through, in this neat effect that would seem only possible in the wizarding world. Like I imagine Hermione Granger wears this polish, except in the wizarding world the glitter moves on its own. (NERD).

What kills me about this polish though, besides the glittergasm of small glitter particles mixed with larger hexagonal particles, is the fact that some of the hexagon glitter is GREEN. Uh, yeah, you heard me right. Multi-color and multi-size glitter? SHUT. UP.

Basically, I died. I died like a thousand happy deaths and I'm still excited about it. I have a few swatches, but you'll have to excuse my dreadful cuticles, with eczema it's hard to have moisturized hands let alone cuticles. One day, cuticles, you shall be mine!

three coats, topped with one coat of seche

I'm still dying over this polish. However because of its limited availability and exorbitant price tag, I'd skip it. There are plenty of other beautiful blue sparkly glittergasm-inducing polishes. 

ALSO: This is my very first post, I hope to update regularly but we shall see. Also, thanks to all my A Phi's and housemates, who constantly have to put up with my nail blabber.