Friday, 30 May 2014

All Hail the Queen - by Butter London

Hello Ladies!  Today is another adventure in nuddy loveliness, and also a brand new brand to me: Butter London.  This is their nude holo "All Hail The Queen".

All Hail the Queen - by Butter London
All Hail the Queen - by Butter London
I'd been somewhat reluctant to try Butter London polish.  For one thing there's the price tag (£12 for 11ml) and for another, there's the whole 'Cool Britannia' vibe.  Since I actually live in the UK the faux-cockney names just don't amuse me like I'm guessing they do the US market.  According to their website "We believe in Rock & Roll. Great Britain. And Fashion. We’re obsessed with colour, unbridled creativity & self-expression.".  What a pretentious load of twaddle. 

BUT when I saw this polish in my local TK Maxx for £5, I just couldn't resist.  This was actually the first nude that I ever bought.  I usually hate nudes.  So I guess the point I'm getting at with all this drivel is that this polish must be pretty special to make me buy a nude, and a nude from a poncy brand at that.

All Hail the Queen - by Butter London - artificial light
Poncy but Pukka
All Hail the Queen is a soft gold brown beige with ultra fine particle holo glitter finish.  Pictured here is two coats sandwiched between NE base and HK girl topcoat.  This shade is just stunning, its like cashmere for your nails.  Sophisticated, elegant, and very flattering.  The application was smooth and even, formula excellent, and it was opaque in a single coat.  My only complaint is that they have gone down the same route as Chanel and have one of those fiddly skinny handled brushes that appear when you pull off the massive cap.  The brush head is quite skinny too.  But that's my only complaint

All Hail the Queen - by Butter London - natural light
All Hail the Queen - by Butter London - natural light
Wear time on this was insane, I wore it for a full week with only minimal tipwear.  All in all I was very impressed with my first experience of this brand, and the colour is just lovely.  This was Chanel level quality, for OPI level RRP.  Can't say fairer than that!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

"Dusky Mauve" by Barry M (Chanel Paradoxal dupe)

Hello ladies!  Today's mani is a lovely little nude - "Dusky Mauve" by Barry M.  I have only very recently started venturing into nuddy territory.  I mean, in a world where you can make your nails purple, why the hell would you choose to make them beige?  But recently I have seen the error of my ways and started branching out.  I feel like a proper grown up now.  Dusky Mauve is a lovely warm grey-toned wet clay sort of colour...I'm afraid I don't have any good adjectives for 'sort of grey brown with a dash of purple'.  I'll have to work on that.  But whatever colour this is it's jolly nice.

Barry M "Dusky Mauve" - artificial light
Barry M "Dusky Mauve" - artificial light
I'm wearing two coats sandwiched betwixt NE base and HK Girl topcoat.  Application was fine, about what you'd expect, but the silly skinny brush you get on the BM polishes is a pain to use.  Quality wise I'm afraid you get what you pay for with this polish.  I had tip wear almost by the time I'd finished painting my nails, so long lasting it ain't.  But for <£3 its still a helluva deal.  I'm a big fan of Barry M, and this is going to be one of my favourites I think.

Look at that amazeballs lilac shimmer in the bottle...isn't it lovely?  The sad thing is that it stays in the bottle.  There is the barest hint of purple-ness on the nail, but not shimmery, and only if you squint at it very carefully in just the right light and really believe that it's there.  Yes it's one of those.

I bought this polish having seen my friend wearing Chanel Paradoxal.  I'm not Rockafella, so I went looking online for a dupe and found this Barry M.  Now online swatches do seem to suggest that this BM and the Chanel are exact dupes, I'm not so sure.  I thought the Paradoxal in person had more of an evident purple shimmer, but other bloggers seem to suggest it's the other way round

Well, regardless, I think that this is a gorgeous and sophisticated colour and you'd have to be mental to spend £18 instead of £3.  I mean, think of how many polishes you could buy with your £15 change.  The change would get you a Deborah Lippmann polish...(or 3 if you go to TK Maxx!).  So it's not contest.  I'm sure the Chanel would last a lot longer, but I tend to change my polish almost as often as my socks so wear time really isn't a problem. 

I got my bottle of Dusky Mauve for £2.90 from Nail Polish Direct (link in suppliers page).  For some reason it seems this one is rarely in store, perhaps its and older polish, but it is easily available online.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Picture Polish Illusionist

Hello Ladies!  Well it's a little late, but here's the final instalment from the Picture Polish LE multi-chrome set - the fabulous "Illusionist". (previous posts on its collection mates: Aurora, Borealis, Gravity, Altered State, Solar Flare).  To think I almost didn't buy this one! I thought it would be too similar to Aurora but for me, its different enough to justify having them both.  I've put some comparisons in this post, in a similar vein to the ones I did for Borealis and Altered State.  But first, here's some pure swatch porn...

Picture Polish "Illusionist" - artificial light
Picture Polish "Illusionist" - artificial light
Illusionist is a Teal Green-Purple-Magneta multi-chrome polish with silver scatterchrome particles.  This is a similar colour shift range to Aurora (see below), the dominant colour is a lovely teal green and under shallow angles this shifts to purple, and magenta at large angles.  The scatterchrome particles give this a gorgeous silvery shimmer, and 'dusty' look.

Picture Polish "Illusionist" - artificial light
Picture Polish "Illusionist" - artificial light
Pictured here I'm wearing a couple of coats on top of a single coat of black 'undies' with NE base coat and HK girl topcoat to sandwich it all together.  As with the other polishes in this collection, the formula is as smooth as melted butter. Its very sheer, so you definitely need undies with this, but you don't need to use black....I had a major lemming for this beauty ever since I saw these swatches from Emma at Imagination in Colour where she layered this over paler colours to great effect.  I'll definitely be trying this next.

Picture Polish "Illusionist" - artificial light
Picture Polish "Illusionist" - artificial light
Here is a comparison to you can see the colour range is identical, its the finish that is different.  Aurora has a densely glittered finish and is packed with multichrome glitter particles.  This intensifies the colour shift (see below, upper right).  The silvery finish of Illusionist, from the scatterchrome particles, is a more subtle muted effect but really sophisticated.  Its basically identical to the relationship between Borealis and Altered State(comparison on Borealis page).

Picture Polish "Illusionist"vs. "Aurora" - artificial light
Picture Polish "Illusionist" vs. "Aurora" - artificial light
I picked up my bottle of Illusionist from the lovely Sally at Sally Magpies (link in the suppliers page) for £13.50.  I highly recommend it, especially if you missed out on Aurora

I did notice that the new Dance Legend Galaxy series look a lot like the PP Limited Edition series! So there might be an option out there if you missed out on these.  The link above is to a blog that's in Russian, heaven knows what it says, but I'm guessing its something along the lines of 'bloody hell look at these stonkingly awesome polishes'....if anyone has any of these I'd love to hear what you think of them!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Pretty Serious "Bloody Bride" and review of OPI Glitter OFF! base coat

Hello ladies!  Today I have a dual purpose review for you - "Bloody Bride" a gorgeous glitter polish from Pretty Serious, and a first test of the new OPI "Glitter OFF!" base coat.

I have only worn Bloody Bride once before this, and removal was so unbelievably god-awful that I vowed never to wear it again.  I used the foil method, I used pure acetone, I buffed, scrubbed and basically destroyed my nails to remove this stuff the first time round.  I have never had another glitter polish this bad for removal.  So when I got my mitts on a bottle of Glitter OFF this seemed like the ideal test case.  If it could make this polish wearable it would be worth it.  I'll start with a review of Bloody Bride and then the cover the base coat separately...OK on with the show!

Pretty Serious "Bloody Bride" - artificial lighting
Pretty Serious "Bloody Bride" - artificial lighting
Bloody Bride was a special project for Kaz - the woman in charge of the Australian brand 'Pretty Serious'.  This was the polish she created to wear on her own wedding day, at her horror themed wedding.  It was one of two polishes in the "Till Death Do Us Party" collection (Gruesome Groom was the zombie green partner to this).  It's a densely packed glitter polish, with holo particles aplenty, suspended in a suitably bloody jelly base.  Pictured here I'm wearing two coats atop the GlitterOFF base and beneath a thick coat of HK Girl topcoat.

Pretty Serious "Bloody Bride" - artificial lighting
Bloody Bride
In some ways I find this quite a disappointing polish.  Application is terrible, it really lives up to its bloody name as it applies like clotted blood.  The dense glitter makes it very clumpy, streaky as hell, and suffers from the classic 'clump and drag' effect.  Applying two thick coats and waiting for the first to dry completely allowed for a smooth finish, but took patience.  I really like the colour of this when it's on, but it's one of those polishes that looks nothing like it does in the bottle.  Look at the shot below - see all those lovely rainbow holo sparkly bits in the bottle? See them on the nail? Nope!  The thick jelly base covers the sparkly nature of the particles that are contained within, which is a real shame.
Pretty Serious "Bloody Bride" - artificial lighting
Disappointingly the holo particles in the bottle don't translate onto the nail
On the nail this polish has some similarity to Toggle to the Top by Essie, which you would not expect from a bottle comparison (pic of this comparison is on the, link above).  The difference is that the particles in the Bloody Bride are a lot larger, so the effect is less subtle than in the Essie, but the base colours and overall effect are quite similar.  I'd recommend getting the Essie instead - it's cheaper (£7.99 vs £9.50), more easily found (in Boots, Bloody Bride is often out of stock in the UK), and most importantly its easy to remove!

So, on the topic of removal, let's move on to the OPI base coat review...

OPI GlitterOFF is almost certainly just watered down PVA glue.  There really is no mistaking that smell as soon as you open the bottle.  The blogosphere has long talked of mixing your own, which requires an empty bottle that I've never had (really who finishes their polish? Who could be bothered to clean out a bottle?) so I'm happy to go with the commercial product but I'd put money on them being the same thing.

The first thing I noticed on applying this is that it immediately shrank significantly from the edges of the nail.  In other reviews I've heard people complain that when peeling off their polish they found it firmly stuck down at the end of the nail and I wonder if this could be the cause.  The bottle says to use a single thin coat, I used two coats in a effort to get more edge coverage (and on the theory that the coat would adhere better to itself than to my nail plate).  This did help, but as you can see in this photo there is still some tip shrink.

The other thing that I noticed about this base is that my usual clean up method (of a small brush dipped in pure acetone and run round the edges of the nail) didn't dissolve the base coat.  This left me with the unsightly edge effect you see in the picture above.  I was reluctant to try peeling this bit off in case it took the polish with it.

As for wear time and durability, I was happy to discover it was the same as I'd expect from a regular base coat.  Since this is a peel-off product I thought it would push away from the tips quite easily but I was pleased to find this wasn't true.  When it came to removal I used a wooden orange cuticle stick, and pushed from the middle at the cuticle end upwards.  I had to apply a reasonable amount of force to push the polish off, which might have been due to using two coats. On most nails the polish split into fragments that were pushed off separately.  I didn't have any issues getting it off the end of the nail, so I think my double coat method really helped for this.

Below (top) is a picture of my nails straight after the orange stick removal.  You can see that there is a lot of residue on my nails, and quite a yellowy effect.  I was really worried that this flaky stuff was my nails and not the base coat.  I spent some time with nail polish remover, rubbing at the residue, and then gently buffed my nails.  The picture in the middle shows how my nails looked after this - most of the residue was gone, and most of the yellowing went too.  HOWEVER I'm not convinced that my nail plate wasn't damaged.  I think a small amount of this peeling was actually from the surface of my nail (from the way that it took off a thin strip when I peeled it off.  Had it been PVA it should have just been the PVA that came off).

If you've reached the end of this mahoosive entry - well done!  To sum up, here's what I learned: Bloody Bride is a good looking polish, but I don't feel its worth the hassle (or the pricetag), if you like the effect then get Essie "Toggle to the Top" instead.  The OPI base coat certainly makes removal a lot easier, but I'm not convinced you're not doing a small amount of damage to your nails when you use it.  I will use the OPI base again, but I don't think I'll use glitter polishes much more often for owning it.

I bought my bottle of Bloody Bride from the lovely Sally Magpies (link in supplier page), currently the only UK based dealer for Pretty Serious.  I got my bottle of OPI basecoat gratis, thanks to my lovely mum who gave me it.  Thanks mum!