Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Damson Dream by No. 7

Hello ladies!  Before the Boots No.7 voucher scheme ends this Sunday I have one more No. 7 polish to share with you...This beauty is 'Damson Dream'

Damson Dream by No. 7 - artificial lighting
Damson Dream by No. 7 - artificial lighting
This is my usual two coats with NE base and SV topcoat.  I absolutely LOVE this shade, it's lush.  It's a plummy red metallic shade with a lot of oomph! I'm a sucker for a good shimmer polish and this one has that 'lit from within' effect going in spades.

Quality wise I really can't fault No. 7 polishes (apart from the awful Betty Blues which stained like crazy).  The formula is smooth and consistent, weartime is excellent, and the brushes are good too (always an important consideration for me!).  Top marks all round for this one No. 7!

These polishes are on offer until the 2nd of February (details below).  To help you choose you can check out my reviews of Galaxy (Chanel Taboo dupe!!!), In The Stars and Betty Blues.  I haven't got swatch pics for it yet but I also highly recommend Salsa - it has the same finish as Damson Dream but it's a fabulous shade of red.

The Offer: These polishes RRP for just £6 for the 'Stay Perfect' regular range, and £7 for the Gel-look Shine polishes.  Until this Sunday any Boots purchase will get you a £3 off voucher to spend on No. 7 make-up, plus No. 7 are also doing 'buy one get 2nd half price' deal.  You can combine both offers to bag yourself two half price polishes. Sweet! 

Muir Muir by OPI

Hello ladies :) Today's mani post is 'Muir Muir' by OPI from their San Francisco Fall 2013 collection.  This is another polish that made it onto a lot of bloggers 'Best Of 2013' lists so I was eager to try it.  I don't actually own this one, my mum does, so I painted my nails at her house and grabbed a pic on my camera phone so apologies for the crappy quality...

Pictured here are two coats with NE base and SV topper.  Photographed in natural indirect lighting - which is important because I think most people's swatches are in artificial lighting which as we all know can make a polish look fancier than it will look on nail 90% of the time.

Muir Muir by OPI - natural indirect lighting
Muir Muir by OPI - natural indirect lighting
This polish was an overwhelming 'meh' for me.  As this swatch shows, most of the time this just looked brown - and although brown can be fabulous (hello 'Germanicure') this one is just a dusty forgettable brown for me.  In some lighting you can see the evidence of that warm burgundy undertone that made me think of the likes of Germanicure/Every Month is Oktoberfest when I first saw the swatches, but I can say that this polish is nowhere near as exciting as either of those.

All in all I'm glad I didn't splash out on this one.  In fact I don't own any of the SF collection yet, a lot of them looked like a case of the same ol' same ol' from OPI.  Perhaps they used up all their Fall mojo on the incredible 2012 Germany collection?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Bargain Chanel Taboo Dupe - No.7 Galaxy

Hello Ladies! I have some very exciting news to share with you today....I have tested both and found that the new No.7 Gel-Finish polish "Galaxy" is, in my opinion, a 100% identical dupe for Limited Edition Chanel Taboo (Taboo review).

With the current Boots No.7 voucher scheme, that means you can pick up this shade for £4, compared with the spendy Chanel pricetag of £18.  Sounds too good to be true?  Well here's the pics so you can see for yourself...Click the pics to embiggen....

Chanel Taboo dupe test with No.7 Galaxy - artificial light
Chanel Taboo dupe test with No.7 Galaxy - artificial light
In this swatch I'm wearing two coats of each polish, over NE basecoat.  There is NO topcoat in these pics, so you can see the glossy finish of the 'Gel-look shine' on the No.7 and the natural high shine of the Chanel.  Can you see a difference? I couldn't!  I turned my hands every which way, and looked at the polish in a range of lighting and I honestly couldn't tell these apart.

Chanel Taboo dupe test with No.7 Galaxy - artificial light
Chanel Taboo dupe test with No.7 Galaxy - artificial light
Both polishes are a deep eggplant/aubergine base with blue and magenta shimmer particles peeking through.  In most lighting conditions this comes across as a dark blackened aubergine, the shimmer only pops in direct sunlight or under halogen lighting (why do all my polishes look so much prettier in my kitchen? I'm going with the halogen bulbs as the reason).

Chanel Taboo dupe test with No.7 Galaxy - artificial light
left: "Galaxy" by No.7, right: "Taboo" by Chanel
If you read my review of Taboo you'll know that this polish was one of the biggest disappointments to me in 2013.  I just didn't feel that for the £18 price tag it packed a lot of punch.  I also found the formula quite gloopy and difficult to work with and the wear-time dissapointing.  The No.7 dupe on the other hand is a fraction of the price (£7 full price, current voucher offer gives you £3 off) and the formula was really nice.  The gloss of the gel finish was surprisingly good too.  For this price point the No.7 is a fantastic bargain!

Galaxy by No.7 - artificial lighting
"Galaxy" by No.7
Here is the No.7 polish on its own, two coats, this time with SV on top too.  I really enjoyed this polish to wear, and I'm impressed with the level of quality from No.7 on this one - I got better wear out of this polish too in comparison to the Chanel.  For a bargain 'drugstore' brand this is a solid offering.  For the £4 I paid for this polish I'm very happy.  I feel I was duped by the Chanel in more ways than one.  It is still a mystery to me why so many bloggers listed Taboo as one of their favourites of 2013, unless their point was to boast that they'd bought a big spendy LE polish. 

So there you have it ladies - one more reason to get down to your local Boots and take advantage of the £3 off voucher/Buy one get one 1/2 price offer while it lasts - it finishes a the start of February!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Tongue & Chic - China Glaze Autumn Nights collection

Hello ladies! Today I have my final polish from the China Glaze Autumn Nights Fall 2013 Collection - 'Tongue and Chic.  I was already very impressed with its collection-mate 'Don't Make Me Wine' and 'Red-Y and Willing', and this teal beauty is just as gorgeous as those.  Like DMMW and R&W this is a metallic shimmer with great depth of colour and shine.

Tongue and Chic by China Glaze - artificial light
Tongue and Chic by China Glaze - artificial light
This is a couple of coats, with NE base and SV to top it off.   This isn't a colour I have much of in my stash and this polish makes me think I should remedy that.  Formula and wear time were both great, it's a big win all round. 

The Autumn Nights collection was one of my favourite collections of 2013.  It might not be the most original range of colours but the finish on the metallic is lush.  I'd highly recommend them.  I picked mine up from Radiant-Babe's Amazon store for a bargainous £4.99 (store links are on the Suppliers page).

Hellhound by Crowstoes

Hello ladies! Today's mani is from the "Better Late than Never" collection by Crowstoes (so named because it was a Fall collection that came out closer to winter!).  It seems quite apt since that's also my approach to blogging my manis....Check out my review of its collection-mate Indian Summer here.

This is the gorgeous 'Hellhound' which is described by its indie brand maker as 'Berry to Orange to Gold glass fleck colour shift in a burgundy base'.  That description is accurate, but doesn't really translate the magical effect of this polish when you see it in person.  It's a multichrome glass fleck polish with a finish like a foil, I don't think I've seen that trick from any other polish brand.  It certainly makes this a very unique looking polish.  I have no idea what its relation to hellhounds is - are hellhounds berry and orange and gold coloured? They sound cute!

Hellhound by Crowstoes - artificial light
Hellhound by Crowstoes - artificial light
I'm wearing two coats with NE base and SV topper, although that opacity of this polish is ridiculous so that second coat was only to fix my mistakes, you could do it in one if you have a steadier hand than me.  The polish on its own dries to quite a matte finish, so it takes a nice layer of topcoat to really bring all that sparkle to life.

Hellhound by Crowstoes - artificial light
Hellhound by Crowstoes - artificial light - bottle shots
I'm a big fan of this shade, it's really pretty.  The colour shift on-nail isn't quite as dramatic as in the bottle, most of the time it appears a pretty berry-purple shade, but there's those flashes of gold that come through when the light hits it just right that makes this a  really interesting shade.

Hellhound by Crowstoes - artificial light
Hellhound by Crowstoes - so pretty!
I picked up my bottle from the lovely Rainbow Connection UK for £10.25 (see store link in Suppliers page). The shop has been closed for a wee while, but is reopening tonight with a sale! My aim for a January no-buy is not looking good....

Monday, 20 January 2014

No.7 Betty Blues & Bargain News

Hello ladies :) Laqueristas in the UK are probably well aware of the Boots No.7 voucher scheme but for anyone that's not....Boots periodically hand out £3 off No.7 makeup vouchers with every purchase, usually for a few weeks.  Perhaps to encourage spending No.7 then usually run a 'buy one get 2nd half price' offer.  So the upshot is, you can get two polishes for £3-£3.50 each (depending on which ones you pick).  Bargain!

The offer is on right NOW!

What's even worse for a polish addict like me is that they keep giving me the flipping vouchers! So when you use your voucher to buy polish they give you a new voucher....which you have to spend because it's cheap polish...arg! The addiction cycle continues....

So for any of you about to dash out and get spendy here's an 'anti-recommendation' that might help from my last voucher-induced stash stockup:

No.7 Betty Blues - Natural light
No.7 Betty Blues - Natural light
This is 'Betty Blues' and it certainly gave me the blues....it's terrible!  In the bottle this looks like it has a deep sapphire shimmer, which you can just about see in the bottle in this picture.  On the nails there's absolutely nothing...it just looks black, not even navy blue.  It was also one of the worst staining polishes I've ever used...my cuticles were navy blue for a week.  Ick! My advice is to avoid this like the plague.  With my navy cuticles it didn't just ruin this mani for me, but the next two! That's a special kind of awful.

If you are looking for positive recommendations - In the Stars (microflakie topper, link is to my comparison post), Salsa and Damson Dream are all amazeballs!  Swatches will appear here eventually!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

OPI 'Germanicure' with Girly Bits 'Shift Happens'

Following my recent dupe test of Girly Bits Shift Happens and Max Factor Fantasy Fire (spoiler: I think they are dupes) I promised to show you the mani I did that used the Girly Bits polish....

For this mani I used my usual two coats of OPI Germanicure, and a single coat of Shift Happens on top (with the usual NE base and SV topcoat).  Germanicure is a stunning polish to start with, and like its collection-mate 'Every Month is Oktoberfest' it looks amazing layered (FYI you can find my comparison post of Germanicure, EMIO and Chanel Malice here which also includes pics of EMIO layered with Max Factor Fantasy Fire).

OPI Germanicure and Girly Bits Shift Happens - artificial light
OPI Germanicure and Girly Bits Shift Happens - artificial light
For me the 'Germany' Fall 2012 collection from OPI was the best OPI effort since the now legendary Russian collection of 2007.  Germanicure and EMIO were the stars of the show for me, and I think these pictures show why.  This combination with the Girly Bits topper polish is like autumn in a bottle.  The natural glowing brown-toned shimmer of the Germanicure is given that added va-va-voom by the GB topper which adds russet, gold and green elements to the shimmer.  Like falling autumn leaves on your finger tips.

OPI Germanicure and Girly Bits Shift Happens - artificial light
OPI Germanicure and Girly Bits Shift Happens - artificial light - lovely peeks of green shimmer!
The colour shift of the topper is just gorgeous, and I've tried to capture a wee bit of the range here, from bronzed russet to peeks of green.  Really this is one that has to be seen to be believed, and for me its one of those manis that I just couldn't stop staring at.

OPI Germanicure and Girly Bits Shift Happens - artificial light
OPI Germanicure and Girly Bits Shift Happens - artificial light - warm cinnamon-y russet tones
I'll definitely be rocking this combo again! It's so pretty I won't even wait till autumn to do it either...

I picked up my bottle of Shift Happens from Rainbow Connection UK, and Germanicure from my local John Lewis (although I recommend the marvellously cheap OPI supplier Nail Polish Direct).  See my suppliers page for the links.

Friday, 3 January 2014

China Glaze Monsters Ball - Bat My Eyes & Howl You Doin'

Hello ladies, in line with my new year's blogging resolution to catch up with my swatch posts I've got a couple of polishes from the China Glaze Halloween collection to show you (Halloween at New Years? Really?...).  The 2013 collection was 'Monsters Ball', the collection was mostly glitter polishes, with a texture polish and a glow in the dark polish thrown in for good measure.  So it hit a lot of key 2013 trends.

The polishes that I picked are 'Bat My Eyes' which is a gold/bronze glitter, and 'Howl You Doin' a pink/purple/blue glitter.  Pictured here are two coats with Nail Envy base and Seche topcoat.  In both cases you can see tipwear in my swatches - I was pretty disappointed with the wear of both manis, this tip wear is < 24 hours from application and it chipped within 1-2 days.  I hesitate to blame this on the CG though, it's possible that this was due to my Seche which was getting elderly by this stage. Glitter polishes are notorious for early chipping, so perhaps that's why.
China Glaze Bat My Eyes - Natural Light
China Glaze Bat My Eyes - Natural Light
Bat My Eyes was a gorgeous polish, and a big surprise.  I've seen this described as a black jelly base, but to me it looked more brown.  That warmth in the base jelly really compliments the warm toned glitter pieces which are bronze and gold, in a range of sizes (hex and round).  There is also a very small amount of orange bar glitters in here, but at such a low number it almost makes you think that they got into the polish by accident in the factory rather than being part of the mix.  I really liked this polish, I don't see what's 'Halloween' about it, I think it's a lovely part polish for any time of year.  The colour mix made me think of art deco and 'great gatsby' type styling, for a glitter polish this has real class.  My only disappointment was the wear issues I had.

China Glaze Bat My Eyes - Artificial Light
China Glaze Bat My Eyes - Artificial Light
Howl You Doin is an intriguing polish.  From the swatches I'd seen I wasn't sure what colour it would really be 'on nail', and I'm still not sure having worn it!  It's a deep purple crelly/jelly base with glitter particles in blue/indigo and pink glitter pieces and shards.  The combined effect is really rather pretty, and varies according to the lighting conditions.  I didn't find it to be very sparkly for a glitter, it didn't have the 'wow' factor for me that Bat My Eyes does. Up close you can see all the sparkles that online swatches show, but just glancing at your hands it's a dark purpleish polish, which is nice but not incredible.
China Glaze Howl You Doin - Artificial Light
China Glaze Howl You Doin - Artificial Light
Of these I'd recommend Bat My Eyes, it's a really unusual polish and perfect for party manis.  Whether the wear issues I had were due to my seche or these polishes I'm not sure, but since party mani's only have to last a short time who cares?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year lovely ladies! Can you believe its 2014 already?

I've been on holiday with the folks for the last few weeks (sans broadband....how do these people survive without internets?!) so I couldn't blog.  I hope to be making up for it in the next wee while.  I'm delighted to see that my pageviews have gone past the 1000 mark while I was away! It's encouraging to know I'm not the only one reading this ha ha.

If I have one New Years blogging resolution it's to get through the huge backlog of swatch pictures I have stored up.  So expect lots of posts, where my nails will apparently miraculously grow and shorten at non-human rates, since they were taken at all different times....

In the meantime happy holidays!