Category Archives: jelly

What can you do with sheer top coats?

Yesterday I posted about a new set of four sheer top coats from OPI called Sheer Tints.  They come in violet, yellow, pink, and blue.

Some may think, “So what?,” and I was reminded that I already have some tinted top coats which I rarely use.  So I thought I’d trot them out today and show you what they look like.  You can put these over bare nails or any kind of polish.

Remember one of the new Magical PixieDusts from Zoya called Cosmo?  I reviewed the MPDs last month and really liked Cosmo.  Here’s what it looks like with no top coat.

Cosmo
Now let’s bring out three jellies from Zoya that were released as the Gloss Collection in 2012.

Zoya_Nail_Polish_Fall_NYFW_2012_Gloss_Tease

Here’s how they look over Cosmo.  Left to right on my nails:  Paloma, Frida, Katherine.

Cosmo w 3 sheer top coats

My middle finger nail (left-most) is not in very good shape, and I needed two coats of Katherine and just one of Paloma and Frida, but you get the idea.  I especially like Frida, the teal.  Katherine is muddier looking than I would prefer for a purple, which is why I want the new violet from OPI, and I’d also like a bright blue.  Don’t need another pink and don’t think I’d use a yellow.

Maybe you’d wear a manicure of one polish plain for a few days and then want a new look without doing a full mani.  Brush a tinted top coat on and voilà!

Strung Out

Strung Out is both the great polish I’ll be showing you and also how I’m feeling the last few days.  It’s holiday crunch time, company is arriving tomorrow, and my house isn’t clean yet and the gifts aren’t wrapped.  I’ll be taking about a week or so off from blogging to spend time hanging, remora-like, on my son whom I haven’t seen in months and months.

But first, Strung Out!  It’s the third polish I got from KBShimmer.  I’ve shown you Candy Cane Crush and Snow Flaking Way.

Strung Out is a sheer black jelly base with lots of large and medium circle glitter in silver, gold, red, blue, and green.  As I’ve mentioned before, KBShimmer’s bottles are full-sized or 0.5 oz/15 ml, and have a nice sturdy feel.  Handle and brush are average-good.  I used two coats of Strung Out over a black opaque polish on my little finger and over a red opaque polish on my ring finger.  Both are topped with a clear shiny top coat.  This photo is under indirect dull outdoor light.

Strung Out

All circle glitter, no hex glitter — love it!  It really does look like little lights on your fingertips.  My photo is not that good, though, and I’d recommend looking more closely at the pictures of Strung Out on KBShimmer’s site that I linked to above.

I think it looks much better over black polish.  Since the base of Strung Out is sheer black it tends to muddy any other colors underneath it.  I think I’d get more use out of a polish that had the same mix of glitter but in a clear base .  KBShimmer has a polish called Kringle All the Way that seems to have red, green, and silver circle glitter in a clear base.

Merry Christmas to you all and may you have fun and find nail goodies in your stockings!

Snow Flaking Way!

I played with one of my holiday polishes from indie maker KBShimmer a few weeks ago and loved Candy Cane Crush.  Now I want to show you Snow Flaking Way.

Snow Flaking Way is a sheer blue-toned purple jelly with lots of different glitter.  There’s large circle, medium hex, small hex, micro, and small bar glitter, plus even tiny snowflakes, all mostly silver with some blue.

The KBShimmer bottles are full-sized, sturdy, and stable.  Handle and brush are average-good.  Let me show you Snow Flaking Way first and then discuss it.  This photo is under indirect bright outdoor light.  I have one coat of it on my little finger to show you how sheer it is, three coats of it on my ring finger, and two coats of it over a purple-blue opaque creme on my middle (left-most) finger.  I put a clear shiny top coat on my ring and middle fingers.

Snow Flaking Way

It’s a fun, different polish for sure.  I found I had to fish for the snowflakes (KBShimmer is very up-front about this on their web site) and somewhat had to fish for the large circle glitter.  Three coats of Snow Flaking Way seemed a bit lumpy and I prefer the look of it over the opaque creme.

If and when I wear this as a full manicure, I’d apply it more carefully and wouldn’t place any snowflakes until my last coat before the clear top coat.  The snowflake on my ring fingernail was in the first coat, and its look is slightly obscured by subsequent coats.

Snow Flaking Way isn’t only a holiday polish — you could wear it for a winter look later, or even year-round if you wanted to leave off any of the snowflakes.  Would be pretty as one coat over blue or black, too.  If you’d like something snowy-looking yet lighter in color, take a gander at Snow Much Fun.  work/play/polish has gorgeous swatches here.  Now I’m kinda sorry I didn’t buy Snow Much Fun too!

Each polish is $8.75 for a full-sized 0.5 oz/15 ml bottle, and shipping is free on orders $50 and over.  KBShimmer only ships within the U.S. but refers international buyers to Harlow & Co.

Dotty

Something new on my nails today!  It’s Dotty from Maybelline’s Color Show Polka Dots line.

Dotty is a sheer-to-milky orange jelly-like base with small and medium black and white hex glitter.  Unlike some polishes where the glitter is so sparse you have to fish it out with the brush, Dotty had plenty of glitter, so much so that in spots it bunched up and I had to tease it into place.  I used three coats, and with any chunky glitter I think a clear top coat is a must to smooth things out.

It cost $2.97 at Walmart but you only get 0.23 oz/7 ml, or about half as much as a regular bottle of polish.  For a glitter that I won’t wear all that much though, that’s plenty.

Under indirect bright sunshine and then with the flash:

Dotty outd

Dotty flash

I rarely wear orange polish but think this is a fun one for summer or fall.  The glitter’s so thick, however, that I think I might have liked it better as a top coat over, say, an orange or white creme polish.

There are four other polishes in the line — pink, clear, jade green, and blue — all with black & white glitter, so I might try one of them as a top coat and see how that looks.

Lets compare: PixieDusts plus others, Part II

Disclosure:  Some products in this post were sent by Zoya for review.

So glad that many of you found my comparisons yesterday helpful!  More today.  LOTS more.

First of all, here are three polishes that I’ve swatched in the past but will not be comparison swatching today because they aren’t even remotely similar like I thought at first:

3 gold bottles

(l to r) Solange, Ziv, and Piaf, all from Zoya.  Solange is a yellow-gold matte textured PixieDust, Ziv is a metallic true gold foil, and Piaf is a very light yellow shimmer.

Let’s look at dark oranges:

4 dark orange bottles

(l to r) Zoya Milla, Zoya Myrta, JulieG/Jesse’s Girl Sugar Rush, and Zoya Destiny.

Milla is a coral-pink-orange jelly with some gold flakes, Myrta is a medium-dark orange foil from last year’s fabulous Surf Collection, and Sugar Rush and Destiny are matte textured polishes.

All photos are under indirect outdoor light, and again, I’m holding a bottle of Zoya’s Raven for contrast.

4 dark oranges

I’d consider Sugar Rush and Destiny duplicates.  Their formula (excellent), color, and finish are all so close I don’t think I could tell them apart.  Myrta is a great foil and Milla is a pretty polish that doesn’t get near the love I think it deserves.  You could do a jelly sandwich manicure with it.

Now, silvery lavenders:

5 purple bottles

(l to r) Zoya Julie, Milani Hi-Res, JulieG Crushed Candy, and Zoya Stevie.  OPI Can’t Let Go is hovering in the upper right corner only because it’s another purple matte textured polish, but as you can see, it’s much darker and more blue-toned than the others and I won’t be swatching it today.  You can see my swatches of it here, and I like it a lot, but it is quite dark.

Julie is a light shimmer, Hi-Res is a very glossy holographic glitter (unfortunately discontinued but I see it for sale online occasionally), and Crushed Candy and Stevie are matte textures.

4 lavenders

No dupes.  Crushed Candy is more pink and has larger glitter than Stevie.  Julie and Hi-Res have completely different finishes.

Since we’re looking at these, let’s bring back Miranda from yesterday.  I turned these bottles — Miranda, Crushed Candy, and Stevie — sideways so you could see more of the polish.

3 pink-purple bottles

Crushed Candy seems to be a color in between the pink of Miranda and the lavender of Stevie.  I LOVE all three.

Miranda CC Stevie

Let’s move from pink to red:

3 pink-red bottles

(l to r) Zoya Miranda, JulieG Hot Cinnamon, and Zoya Chyna.

Miranda HC Chyna

No duplicates.  All are pretty; Chyna has more of a ruby tone.

Even though I showed blue ones yesterday, I want to revisit Zoya Liberty and compare it to JulieG Blueberry Fizz and Zoya Nyx:

3 blue bottles

Liberty BF Nyx

Gee, why did I even show Liberty again?  Not even close.  Blueberry Fizz and Nyx are similar but not dupes — Blueberry Fizz is more of a sky blue and has larger silver glitter, and Nyx is thinner and more steel blue.

Finally, just because I can, here are JulieG Rock Candy and Zoya Vespa compared to each other:

2 green bottles

Rock Candy and Vespa

Not close.  Rock Candy is thicker, more of a teal green, and has larger silver glitter, while Vespa is thinner and a light gray-green.

Whew!  Hope I haven’t overwhelmed you with samples and comparisons.  Of all the polishes today the only true duplicates in my opinion are JulieG’s Sugar Rush and Zoya’s Destiny.  Both are excellent polishes from great companies.  The JulieG polish is less expensive but the bottles are smaller as well.

Disclosure:  Some products in this post were sent by Zoya for review.

Electra’s complex

Before I get into swatches of Zoya’s Electra, a bar glitter from their newest collection called Ornate, I want to point out that this polish is already no longer available on Zoya’s web site.  !!!!!   Someone asked about it on their Facebook page and got this official response:  “… unfortunately Electra is no longer available and we are unaware as to if or when it will become available again.”

So it might be discontinued, but no reason was given.  Ornate was not specified as being limited edition, so if they just decided not to make any more Electra once their stock sold out, then it’s gone.

You may still find it in retail stores such as Ulta or from Amazon or your choice of online shop.  If you want Electra and don’t have it, better get it before someone starts asking $30 a bottle for it on eBay.

Electra is a clear base with super-dense fine bar glitter both silver and holographic.  I’ve never worn much bar glitter; sometimes it strikes me as kind of a “hairy” look for my nails.  But I’ve seen lots of jelly sandwiches (glitter between two or more layers of jelly polish) done with Electra and wanted to try it.  Many of the manicures I’ve seen use one of Zoya’s jellies such as Paloma (pink) or Frida (teal), and they’re gorgeous.

Wanted to show you something different, though, so here’s Electra between the dark red or wine jelly Skirting the Issue from Essie.  I used one coat of the jelly, then one coat of Electra, topped with one more coat of jelly.  Be sure to let each coat dry completely before applying the next.

Here it is before the last coat so you can really see the glitter:

Electra 2 coats

See how dense one coat is?  You have to be careful not to let the glitter stick up in the air or extend beyond the end of your nails (I see I missed a few of those spots).

After putting on the last coat of dark red jelly polish, this is how it looks in reflected outdoor light, then with the flash, then outdoors in direct but cloudy sunlight:

Electra outd light

Electra flash

Electra cloudy

If you want a less expensive bar glitter, Sally Hansen has one called In the Spotlight in their Xtreme Wear series.  However, the glitter in In the Spotlight is much less dense and the individual pieces are bigger.

Electra and In the Spotlight

Overall I think Electra is pretty and that the jelly sandwich look is interesting.  I’m still not sure, though, that bar glitter is “me.”

By the way, since I love a good pun, I took my post’s title from the psychoanalytical term “the Electra Complex.”  I forget, does it mean I hate my mother and love my father?  It’s sort of the female version of the Oedipus Complex.  The term “Electra Complex” comes from the 5th-century BC mythological character Electra who, along with her brother Orestes, plotted to kill their mother Clytemnestra and stepfather Aegisthus, in revenge for the murder of the siblings’ father, Agamemnon.  You can read all the dirt in the Greek tragedy Electra, by Sophocles.  And if you can pronounce all those names correctly, you’re a better woman than I!  ;-)

Miss Conduct

I have a wonderful holiday color from Orly to show you today, but before I forget, I want to alert all Zoya-philes to keep an eye on the company’s Facebook page.  They posted, “The Holiday Season is upon us, and you know what that means at Zoya Nail Polish!  Holiday fun with great offers and Flash Promos – all exactly when you’d expect them to be…”

OK, I’ll bite — when do we expect them to be?  I’m guessing Black Friday, but if you’re interested I would keep a close eye on Zoya’s FB and Twitter accounts.  I’m not on Twitter yet — don’t want another giant time-sucking social media tool in my life at this point — but know it’s very useful in some situations…. like this one!

And just what might we expect?  One FB commenter wrote, “Last year they would post promo codes… they were for anything from BOGO deals, free polishes, free qtica products, and sometimes even a whole free set of polishes. There would be a limited number and whoever used it first got it. Some of them were completely free, no need to pay for anything and others were nice discounts.”

Wow!

But now, shifting gears, let me show you the latest love of my life (sorry, Mr. Silver Nail), Miss Conduct from Orly.  I first saw this months ago at French blogger PShiiit’s site and fell hard for it.  It seemed the polish gods were determined to keep me and Miss Conduct apart, though.  When I finally found Orly’s Naughty or Nice holiday collection online, Miss Conduct would be the one color that was sold out.  When I found the mini-set at my local Sally Beauty Supply, it included all the holiday colors except that one.

I bought the mini-set anyway and waited for Sally to stock the full-sized bottles from the Naughty or Nice set.  When I went back another day, they had ONE bottle of Miss Conduct.  You better believe I pounced on that like a duck on a Junebug.

I’ve liked the Orly polishes I’ve tried so far — besides having a wonderful formula and look, the bottle is a generous 0.6 oz./18 ml and the handle is rubberized and slightly concave for an easy grip.  Miss Conduct is a sheer but heavily tinted jelly-like hot pink with lots of multicolored microglitter — I think I see pink, red, and silver.  I used three coats with no top coat, and it looked and felt perfectly smooth.  In indirect outdoor light:

Love this color SO MUCH!  With a full camera flash:

Outdoors in direct but weak sunlight it really sparkles:

And indoors under artificial light with a fill flash:

It’s a great holiday color, especially if you’re overdosed on reds, but honestly, this is one color I’d wear all year long since I love pink yet it’s different, like pink on steroids.  Sparkly steroids.

Two other colors with similar formulas are the new Blaze and Aurora from Zoya’s Ornate Collection.  But Blaze is more red and Aurora is more purple.  The PolishAholic did a fantastic, comprehensive post comparing these and many other holiday polishes here.  Check it out it you’re trying to decide!

Bride of Frankenpolish

For someone who says she doesn’t wear black polish, I sure have been swatching it and talking about it a lot lately!

I’ve been wanting The Black Knight from Butter London because it just looks so freakin’ awesome, and was going to order it this past weekend in the great 30% sale that Butter London is having, but I got to thinking about Christmas shopping and some other obligations and realized I needed to rein back my polish purchases for a while.  I don’t mean I’m dressed in rags and selling matches on a snowy corner, just that I need to watch my budget for a while.

Fear not, I have plenty of polishes left to swatch!  And I wanted to try my hand at making a dupe of The Black Knight, just to see if I could.  Homemade polish blends are often called frankenpolishes or just frankens, and I first tried it months ago with a so-so result.

For a Black Knight dupe I got some online tips, added an idea of my own, and used these polishes which I already had on hand:

For a base, I used my go-to thrifty basic black, Black Crème from Wet n Wild.  It’s only 99 cents (on sale this week at Walgreens for 69 cents!) and is a patent-leather-shiny black that covers well and doesn’t stain.  I also used the pink, blue, red, and silver microglitter from Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear called Rockstar Pink, plus Fairy Dust from China Glaze, which is a micro silver and holo glitter in a clear base that I keep around as a good top coat.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear polishes have an SRP of $2.99 but are on sale this week at CVS Pharmacy for $2.00 each, and China Glaze is usually $4-$5 at various beauty supply stores.

First I poured out about half of the black.  Always dispose of polish safely — I pour it onto paper towels or old newspaper and let it air dry, then throw it away.  Then I added enough Rockstar Pink glitter to make the bottle a little over 3/4 full.  Then added just a little Fairy Dust.  Be sure to leave enough room/air in the bottle to put the brush back in and shake it up.

I love it!  Two coats of my mix gave good coverage and I think it sparkles just enough but still looks edgy.  I also think it would look fine without the China Glaze Fairy Dust.  Here’s my mix with no top coat under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash

I thought the glitter made it feel a little gritty, so I added a top coat.  Actually, I tried two different top coats.  I put a clear one on my little and ring fingers and put the sheer magenta jelly called Paloma from Zoya on my middle finger.  Both made the polish look smoother and shinier.  Paloma did give it a slightly pinker look.  With the flash:

And a closeup with the clear top coat:

If you got Black Crème and Rockstar Pink on sale, you could have a close dupe for under $3.  I’m happy with my results but I think if I was going to do it over, I’d use even less black and more glitter.  A top coat is IMHO a must to make it shiny and smooth, and clear is fine, although I do like how Paloma looks.

I’m not saying go out and buy four or five polishes to recreate this look — you might as well just buy the original Black Knight if that’s the case.  Experiment with what you have on hand!  I think it’d also be gorgeous with a dark blue or purple base instead of the black.

Plum Startled

Thought I’d take a break from whining about Zoya not releasing their Gilty Pleasures trio and show you another beautiful polish.  By the way, Zoya just posted on their Facebook page, after days of questions, “We apologize for the delay – We are waiting for an update and will post once we have further information.”  Which doesn’t really tell us anything, but I’ll take the A word, apologize.

Let’s look at some fall colors, though!  Finger Paints, which is a Sally Beauty Supply exclusive, has a 6-piece fall collection called Fall of Surprises, and it came out last month.  Here’s a picture from Sally’s blog:

What a variety!  The colors and names are, left to right:

Fall Of Surprises! (copper large hex and micro glitter)
Fall-ing For You (teal/blue metallic)
Plum Startled (purple glass fleck)
Gourd Or Bad? (bar multi glitter)
Be-leaf It Or Not! (silvery sage metallic)
Take It Or Leaf It (bronze-taupe metallic)

I splurged and got three of them.  The first one I’ll show you today is Plum Startled.  It looks very dark in the bottle and you have to hold it at an angle or up to the light to see the purple and fuchsia glass flecks.  It was $4.49 with my Sally member card, and you get a full 0.5 oz. or 15 ml.  The handle is tall and narrow, slightly concave, and easy to grip.

Plum Startled is sheer but buildable.  The first coat looked pinkish but the next coats really were purple.  The formula was a bit thick and it dragged a little, which led to some thin spots near my cuticles that I didn’t see until I looked at my photos.  Here are three coats, no top coat, in indirect outdoor light:

The thin spots are especially noticeable on my ring and little fingers.  Sorry ’bout that!  Here’s how it looks with the flash, and then outdoors in direct sunlight:

If I was going to wear this as a full manicure, I’d use a shiny top coat.  Plum Startled isn’t super-glossy on its own.  Here’s a closeup of the glass flecks under the flash:

The fleck effect is rather subtle.  Overall, I think this is a good dark vampy shade, and the price was good.  Plum Startled would also work as a sheer top coat or jelly over another color.

Summer’s not over yet

Sure, the days are getting shorter, and you can’t turn around without hitting a bazillion back-to-school ads, but there’s still plenty of summer left.  Which means there’s lots of time to wear bright summery colors and to show off your toes if you like pedicures.

Thought I’d show you a bright Sinful Colors polish I got in the Walgreen’s 99-cent sale a few weeks ago.  Sinful Colors are always inexpensive — $1.99 for a full 0.5 oz./15 ml bottle — but when you can find a half-price sale it’s that much sweeter.

This is Forget Now, a juicy fuchsia jelly with ultrafine flakes in pink and blue-purple.   In the bottle, it looks almost red but it’s definitely a dark or hot pink.  It went on very smoothly and was super glossy; my only beef with it is that it’s extremely sheer.  I used four coats and could still see my nail line but oh well.  For 99 cents I’m not going to complain too much.  Maybe using one or two layers as a top coat over a white, pink, red, or purple creme would be better if you want full coverage.

Here it is in reflected outdoor light, with the flash, and then outdoors in very bright sunlight:

And here’s a closeup to get a better look at the sparkly microflakes:

Some people say this is a dupe of Disco Biscuit from Butter London ($14 for 0.4 oz./11 ml).  I don’t have that one, or any Butter Londons, but here’s a bottle picture and it does look close.

I love Forget Now (although I’m not sure what if anything the name refers to) and am started to get addicted to buying jellies for layering.  Soooo many ways to use them.

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