Tag Archives: red

The Steampunk Ball 6-lacquer mini-set from Butter London — full review

Woot.  A new Ulta store just opened where I live and you better believe I was there the day it opened.  I was looking for the new 6-piece polish set of minis from Butter London called Steampunk Ball ’cause I had to see it in person.  The whole new collection is called Steampunk Ball, as is this one set.  There are other sets such as Gilded Gears and Clockwork Couture, but they either have colors I don’t want or ones I already have.  The release is confusing; know what you’re buying.

I attempted to briefly explain the concept of steampunk here a little over a week ago.

BL Steampunk

I couldn’t tell enough from the stock photos on either BL’s site or the Nordstrom’s site, especially about Barkers and Brass Goggles….

BL Steampunk Ball

BL Steampunk set

…. but when I saw them in person I wanted them.

Steampunk set

The colors, left to right, top row and then bottom row:

Barkers – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey with magenta-green shimmer

Pinkies Up – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, pink shimmer

Baroness – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, burgundy metallic

Full coverage, flaring shimmers in saffron red gel-like base

Full Steam Ahead – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey creme

Brass Goggles – Set Exclusive!
Semi-sheer, black and gold foil glitter

These are all new except for Bric-a-Brac, which was part of the fall Brick Lane set, but it’s a shade I’ve been craving so I’m cool with it being included.

Let’s jump right in!  I used two coats of each polish except for Bric-a-Brac which needed three, and Brass Goggles which is a top coat and needed but one coat.

Barkers is a very odd color, in a fascinating way.  It’s just like the official description, opaque gray with dark pink & green shimmer.  Kind of looks like a sheen of oil, if oil had sparkles.  The overall effect is purplish but it’s way more complex than just a shimmery purple.  Under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash:

Steampunk Barkers

Steampunk Barkers flash

Doesn’t it look absolutely wild in the bottle in the second picture?  Like some weird elixir.

Pinkies Up, on the other hand, is a demure peachy-pink shimmer.  Might look like it doesn’t belong in the set but I actually like it.

Steampunk Pinkies

Steampunk Pinkies flash

Let’s jazz it up.  The polish called Brass Goggles in this set is a glitter top coat, a clear base with gold and black glitter of various shapes and sizes, even some tiny black bar glitter and gold shards.  Here it is over Pinkies Up.

Steampunk P and BG


Baroness is a beautiful dusty burgundy shimmer and while I love the color, visible brushstrokes were a bit of a problem.

Steampunk Baroness

Steampunk Baroness flash

However, with the top coat of Brass Goggles, brushstrokes disappear, and it looks pretty cool.

Steampunk B with BG

Full Steam Ahead is the color I thought I’d like least, but for “only” a gray creme, I love it.  So smooth, and the bluish gunmetal shade strikes me as “just right” and very glossy.  Really glad I found this one since I have a hard time wearing medium to dark grays.

Steampunk Full Steam

I tried Brass Goggles over Full Steam Ahead but wasn’t crazy about it.

Steampunk FS with BG

Finally, Bric-a-Brac.  Love, love, love this “ruby slippers” polish.  The base is a pinkish-red and the heavy red and gold metallic is so beautiful.  A holiday polish for sure.

Steampunk BricaBrac

I didn’t try Brass Goggles over Bric-a-Brac because there was already so much glittery goodness going on.

So that’s the Steampunk Ball set.  The bottles are minis, 0.2 oz/6 ml, and the set is $39 SRP.  It does seem expensive for minis, but Butter London is more expensive than Zoya, OPI, and drugstore brands.

The polishes are not available individually or in full sizes except for Bric-a-Brac, and Full Steam Ahead is available as a full size in the Art of Alchemy set ($65) but that set also contains five older colors.

Overall I love this Steampunk Ball set and I’m OK with the bottles being minis.  I never use up full-size bottles anyway!  My favorite shades by themselves are Bric-a-Brac, Barkers, and Full Steam Ahead, and I also love Brass Goggles over Baroness.  Barkers is the most unusual shade in this set, and photos don’t do it justice.


Coming Monday, big news.  Have a great weekend!

Teak Rose vs. Toast of New York

Not long ago I reviewed the lipstick Toast of New York from Revlon’s Super Lustrous line.  It was fun to read comments from women who said it was their shade back in the ’90s.  I didn’t wear it then but am loving it now.

Also I was reminded that it’s similar — or might be — to another Revlon shade called Teak Rose.  Since I’ve been on a lip product buying spree lately and have found some great sales, why not pick it up for comparison?

Both are cremes and I’d call both medium-to-dark and warm-toned.

Teak Rose1

Teak Rose2

In the tube I think they look more similar than they do when worn.  Here are both under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash:

Teak Rose3

Teak Rose4flash

No surprises here; Teak Rose is redder or rosier than Toast of New York.  If you’re afraid the latter is too brown for you yet want a good shade for fall that’s not too bright, Teak Rose might be a good choice.  I really like both and think they’re good choices for any age.

P.S.  If it seems to you that I’m talking more about makeup and less about nail polish than I used to do, you’re right.  I’m not giving up nail polish by any means but am in more of a makeup mood lately.

Come to the Steampunk Ball with Butter London

Steampunk.  It’s an interesting word and an interesting concept.  It’s been around for decades but never really a mainstream idea.

So what is steampunk?  It’s a type of science fiction that combines the look of the late Victorian era with bizarre machinery, usually steam-powered.  Think H.G. Wells, although the term “steampunk” had not been coined yet; that popped up in the late 1980s.  It’s both vintage and futuristic.

The look often contains elements of Victoriana such as lace, long skirts, and top hats, but also has helmets, goggles, tattoos, and lots of unusual jewelry.  Colors are lots of black plus metallics such as gold, silver, and brass, but other colors are used too.

So let’s look at the newest collection from Butter London for Holiday 2014, Steampunk Ball.

BL Steampunk

BL Steampunk2

Butter London has been unlocking an item a day for a week, and I would have posted about it sooner had it been anything completely new.  But most of what’s been announced in the past week has been re-promotes of old colors, and I’ve found the “unlocking” process to be extremely tedious, not exciting as the company probably hoped.

But finally, the new polish colors.

BL Steampunk Ball

This is a set of minis (this set is called Steampunk Ball too) and is currently selling for $39.00.  BL calls its mini-bottles (0.2 oz.) “Fashion Size” which can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the company’s labeling.  Fashion size, really?  That’s like candy companies calling mini candy bars “Fun Size.”  Mini is not fun size.  Fun size would be a big honkin’ 8-ounce candy bar, my friends.

At any rate, the colors are, left to right, top row and then bottom row:

Barkers – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey with magenta-green shimmer

Pinkies Up – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, pink shimmer

Baroness – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, burgundy metallic

Full coverage, flaring shimmers in saffron red gel-like base

Full Steam Ahead – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey creme

Brass Goggles – Set Exclusive!
Semi-sheer, black and gold foil glitter

These are all new except for Bric-a-Brac, which was part of the fall Brick Lane set.  I don’t have Bric-a-Brac yet and find it and the Steampunk colors really attractive.  But I need to see bigger, better photos and hopefully swatches before making a decision.  Haven’t found many, although Butter London has had some teaser pictures on their Facebook page and also a 30-second video on their home page.

BL Steampunk look

BL Steampunk look2

And finally, Nordstrom’s has a slightly bigger picture of the bottles on their web site.

BL Steampunk set

You can find swatches of Bric-a-Brac online, since it’s not a new color.  Here are some good ones from blogger The Polish Hideout.  Click on any of her photos for a large, sharp look at the polishes.  Yep, loving Bric-a-Brac!  The new Steampunk Ball polishes are calling me too.


EDIT:  10/9/14 and 10/11/14, just read this on Butter London’s Facebook page, that the Steampunk Ball colors “will only be available in the set and in Fashion Size [mini] bottles.”  That’s very odd for a BL Holiday set!  Also, they have announced a large gift set called the Gears & Gadgets Ultimate Lacquer Trunk, a $300 value for $150.  This contains 20 mini Fashion Size polishes plus some nail treatments and tools.  Most of the polish colors are older ones, but the set contains Baroness, Brass Goggles, and other Steampunk new ones called Earl Grey, Clockwork Heart, and Right as Rain.

Earl Grey and Clockwork Heart are also in yet another set called Gilded Gears.  Earl Grey is an opaque steel gray metallic and Clockwork Heart is a satin matte wine shade.  This set contains two old colors, West End Wonderland and Goss.

Finally, a set called Art of Alchemy has six full-sized polishes but only one new one, Full Steam Ahead.  (So their comment of “only Fashion Size” is not true in this one case.)

This new release has been beyond confusing.  You can’t buy JUST the new Steampunk colors, although the Steampunk Ball set of six described above is five-out-of-six new.  You can’t buy full-sized bottles of them.  You can’t buy them at all without buying at least one old color.  Not cool, Butter London.

Zoya Matte Velvet review — Part 1

Disclosure:  Identical polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

News popped up recently that Zoya is re-releasing its six Matte Velvet polishes.



Last year Zoya re-introduced Dovima, Posh, Savita, and Veruschka for a limited time and I bought them, so in advance of this latest re-release, let me swatch those for you to help you make a decision about which ones to get this time around.  Today I’ll show you red Posh and black Dovima; tomorrow I’ll swatch purple Savita and green Veruschka.

First of all, the bottles are different from Zoya’s usual clear glass.  These are frosted glass so you can tell at a glance in your stash which are the matte polishes.

The formula of the polishes is excellent and two coats covered well, although the first one was streaky.  Remember to use thin coats so they will dry more quickly and evenly.  One big plus is that the Matte Velvets have almost no smell, unlike most matte polishes and matte top coats I’ve used, which can stink to high heaven.

All photos are under indirect outdoor light with no flash.  Posh and then Dovima:



Posh is a slightly berry-toned red and Dovima is a true black.  They dry matte but not so “dead matte” that you can’t see any detail.

As with any polish, you can top them if you want with a clear shiny top coat but that will obviously negate the matte look.  But gorgeous?  Oh yeah!

Posh w tc

Dovima w tc

The addition of this shiny top coat makes Posh look more true red and Dovima look even darker.  Although I don’t wear black polish often, I’m absolutely fascinated with the subtle sparkle of Dovima.  A closeup:

Dovima w tc closeup

One thing that you could do is wear a Matte Velvet for a couple of days for one look and then add a shiny top coat both to prolong your manicure and to give a totally different look.

I thought I’d like Posh much more than Dovima but I love both!


Today there’s more good news from Zoya!


Be sure to read ALL the details and fine print on Zoya’s page.  With any purchase of $30 or more now through 10/12/14 you get a full-sized bottle of Posh plus a matte velvet red lipstick (while supplies last, exclusions apply).  So if you were going to get several of the Matte Velvets anyway, this would be a great way to pick up Posh for free.  Plus matte lipstick is quite the fad lately, although I don’t care for it on myself.  Gimme gloss.  But even if the polish and/or the lipstick isn’t something you’d wear yourself it would make a great gift.

Disclosure:  Identical polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

Get Back in Matte — re-release of Zoya Matte Velvet polishes

It’s back and it’s matte!


Yes, Zoya is re-releasing ALL SIX Matte Velvet shades of polish from 2009.  Official press release:

All of the color, none of the shine! Meet your perfect matte with MATTEVELVET* **, Zoya’s exclusive shine-free formula. Choose from six best-selling matte nail polish shades with a luxurious crushed velvet finish and subtle shimmer.

Right on trend, these exclusive shades are being reintroduced for a limited time only!

  • ZP499 – DOVIMA: Shimmering Black MatteVelvet*.
  • ZP500 – POSH: Shimmering Crimson MatteVelvet*.
  • ZP505 – HARLOW: Shimmering Wine MatteVelvet*.
  • ZP504 – SAVITA: Shimmering Plum MatteVelvet*.
  • ZP506 – VERUSCHKA: Shimmering Evergreen MatteVelvet*.
  • ZP498 – LOREDANA: Shimmering Gunmetal Gray MatteVelvet*.

*MATTEVELVET nail color by Zoya is not intended to be worn with a base coat, top coat or speed dryer of any kind. Due to the unique matte formulation, color is not as long-wearing as traditional nail color. A completely clean, dry nail surface yields the best results for matte nail color wear.


$9 (US)

Zoya MATTEVELVET* colors are available exclusively on Zoya.com and in ULTA beauty stores (ask for them).

**BIG5FREE: Formula contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or camphor.



Last fall Zoya re-introduced Dovima, Posh, Savita, and Veruschka for a very limited time and they sold out fast.  So these four are coming back PLUS Harlow and Loredana.  I will admit to lusting after Harlow for years.  Finally, it will be mine!  You can see great swatches of all the colors in these old blog posts from Scrangie, here and here.

New polishes to be available 10/15/14, subject to change.

I’m the Toast of New York!

Well, not really.  I’m not even the toast of Smalltown, Montana.  But I do have a lipstick from Revlon called Toast of New York that I recently bought and find myself reaching for over and over this fall.

For many years I’ve been wearing cool-toned lip products (or, when lazy, none at all) but it’s been fun to have Toast of New York (ToNY) which reminds me of a reddish-brown lipstick from Estée Lauder whose name I can’t recall that I wore all the time back in the late ’70s.

ToNY is an older shade in Revlon’s Super Lustrous line — a classic.  Vintage.  It was apparently a big deal in the ’90s because of supermodel Cindy Crawford, but I don’t remember the buzz.

Cindy Crawford Toast of New York

Revlon has produced great lip products for decades.  I’m not much of a fan of their eye products, especially the last eye shadows of theirs I tried, but they do lipstick right.  It’s hard not to be familiar with classics like Cherries in the Snow and Love That Pink.

ToNY is a warm reddish-brown that’s bright enough not to look muddy yet isn’t a screaming orange either.   It feels very creamy and applies well with good staying power.

Toast of New York base

How the lipstick itself looks with the camera flash:

Toast of New York

And how a swatch looks on the skin of my inner arm under indirect cloudy outdoor light:

Toast of New York swatch

I really like that it’s brownISH without being brown.  If you love Revlon lipstick or other lip products, it’s worth mentioning that Ulta is having a great sale this week — 40% off all Revlon.  Also 40% off Nyx, Physicians Formula, and Almay.

New Ultra PixieDust from Zoya — the review

Disclosure:  These polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.

More PixieDusts from Zoya, this three-polish set called Ultra, not Magical like the last two sets, which I reviewed here and here.

So why “Ultra” and not “Magical”?  These three new polishes do not contain holographic (holo) glitter like the Magical PixieDusts.  But they do contain hex and micro glitter, which makes them different from plain PixieDusts such as the ones reviewed here.

Got the difference?  Exxxxxxcellent.

zoya ultra pd banner

zoya ultra pd spills

The Ultra PDs are Oswin, Arianna, and Noir.

Ultra PD bottles

Zoya describes Oswin as true red, Arianna as wine red, and Noir as deep plum.

I applied two coats of each polish and took the photos under indirect outdoor light.  First all the pictures then my impressions.


Ultra PD Oswin


Ultra PD Arianna


Ultra PD Noir

I found that none of them, especially Arianna, dried to a true matte finish.  Part of that reason is that I think glitter and matte are sort of contradictory.  I think the colors are pretty but found Arianna to be more of a pinkish-red than what I’d call a wine red.

Then I tried each color with two different top coats.  I put a clear shiny one on my little finger and a matte one on my ring finger.  Same lighting, same order of colors:

Ultra PD Oswin w top coats

Ultra PD Arianna w top coats

Ultra PD Noir top coats

So here’s what I think.  All three colors are pretty and glamorous yet I’m surprised they’re all so similar, especially Oswin and Arianna.  I think a dark green or a dark blue would have spiced up the set, but hey, it’s not my company.  Despite following Zoya’s tips for applying PDs (see below), the polishes on their own never dried completely matte and had something of an “unfinished” look to them, like they’d be sticky, although they weren’t.

My favorite look by far was with the clear shiny top coat.  Ooh, aah.  ULTRA glamour!  I liked them with the matte top coat too.  Color-wise, I like Oswin and Noir best.  Arianna is very close to Oswin so I don’t know why it doesn’t appeal to me more.

This set actually reminded me of two of the three polishes in an old discontinued glitter set from Zoya called the Mini-Glam Trio.

Zoya Glitters trio

I reviewed them here and they were just meh except that I did like Nova, the darkest one.  However, these three new Ultra PixieDusts are much better polishes — better formula, better coverage, better sparkle.


Tips from Zoya:

Please view the following Zoya Video on how to correctly apply Ultra PixieDust by Zoya. Following the steps outlined in the video will provide optimal results for your new Zoya Ultra PixieDust color. Polish should have a matte finish with sparkle.

For best results: Prep nail with Zoya Remove Nail Polish Remover and Prep. Apply 1-3 (for full coverage) thin coats of Zoya PixieDust polish. Allow product to dry completely between each coat for full effect. Do not use a base coat or top coat.

If polish base does not dry down to a matte finish this may be due to not enough wait time between coats or because the color was not applied to a perfectly clean surface that is free of base coat (note: some basecoats may prevent the color from drying properly).

If the embed doesn’t work, here’s the link:  http://youtu.be/Sm5ZTEtYZmI

Each polish is $10 (US) at Zoya.com and as always, Zoya polishes are 5-free — free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and camphor.

Disclosure:  These polishes were supplied by Zoya for review.


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