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More Zoya comparisons

Disclosure:  All polishes except Julieanne were previously supplied by Zoya for review.

Happy Halloween!  Nothing ultra-Halloween today, although I am swatching/comparing some black and purple polishes.  These comparisons are by request — thanks!

First up, Thea from the new Wishes Collection vs. Carter from 2013 Fall PixieDust Collection.

Thea Carter bot

Thea Carter flash

Very similar in color and tone, but Thea has multiple sizes of glitter, plus holo glitter, and Carter has a more even sparkle.  In my opinion Thea is suitable as a top coat over other polishes and Carter wouldn’t be, as it would obscure another underlying polish.

Now Imogen from the new Wishes Collection vs. Dahlia from the first PixieDust set.

Imogen Dahlia bot

Imogen Dahlia flash

Like Thea and Carter, Imogen and Dahlia are very close in color but Imogen has the holo/multisized glitter and could be used as a one-coat top coat.  It’s hard to tell in the photo because of the flash, but Dahlia dries more matte to almost an “asphalt” look.

Finally, Julieanne from the 2010 Wicked Collection vs. Sansa from this fall’s Ignite Collection.

Julieanne Sansa bot

You can’t tell from the photos, but Julieanne’s base is dark blue, with purple, blue, and perhaps dark pink sparkle.  Sansa is a dark plum with gold sparkle.  Under the flash with the bottle of Sansa:

Julieanne Sansa flash

And under indirect outdoor light with the bottle of Julieanne:

Julieanne Sansa outd

Hope those quick swatches help when making decisions.  Have a great weekend and don’t eat all the Halloween candy!

Disclosure:  All polishes except Julieanne were previously supplied by Zoya for review.

Wishes from Zoya — complete review plus comparisons

Disclosure:  The Wishes Collection was supplied by Zoya for review.  Some of the comparison polishes were previously supplied by Zoya for review.

Sparkly, dreamy jewels — that’s Zoya’s new Winter/Holiday Collection called Wishes.

Zoya Wishes banner

Announced a little over a week ago and available for preorder now, Wishes is a set of six polishes:  one creme, two metallics, and three Magical (i.e., contain holographic glitter) PixieDusts.

Zoya Wishes sampler

What, no reds in a holiday set?  That’s OK, Zoya recently released a small 3-polish set of Ultra PixieDusts that were all red or red-toned, and I think it’s refreshing to go with bright blues and purples plus black.

Unless otherwise stated, all swatches are done with two coats.  All the Wishes polishes had good formulas and coverage.

Prim is a cool-toned periwinkle blue with a very strong silver metallic shimmer.

Wishes Prim outd

Haven is a violet-purple shimmer.  Shown under indirect outdoor light and then with the flash.

Wishes Haven outd

Wishes Haven flash

Willa is an opaque onyx black creme, no shimmer at all, unlike Zoya’s own Raven.  Willa is a renamed re-release of the limited edition color called Black Swan, which was part of a Zang Toi trio in September of 2013.  Solid black polishes like this make good “undies” for various top coats although of course can be worn solo.

Wishes Willa

On to the new PixieDusts.  I show each color with one coat on my pinkie fingernail on the right and two coats on my ring finger, so you can judge the opacity in case you’d want to use one coat as a top coat over something else.

Nori is a sapphire blue matte textured polish with heavy glitter and sparkle, both holographic and non-holo.

Wishes Nori

Thea is an amethyst purple.  I needed three coats of this one for good opacity.

Wishes Thea

Imogen is black with a lot of glitter and sparkle.  The holo glitter really makes it colorful.

Wishes Imogen

So how could you combine these?  Your imagination is the only limit, but here are two looks I tried that I love, one coat of Thea over Willa on my ring finger (left) and one coat of Nori over Willa on the right.  Without and then with a flash.

Wishes Thea and Nori over Willa

Wishes Thea and Nori over Willa flash

Complex and mysterious, just like me.  (OK, OK, I kid.)

I thought of some quick comparisons.  One of my favorite Zoya polishes for years has been Jo.  Prim is similar to Jo, but Prim has slightly more of a dusty purple tone and shows brushstrokes more.  Jo is more blue plus has blue shimmer in addition to silver.

Wishes Prim and Jo bottles

Wishes Prim and Jo flash

Nori reminded me of Muse from this summer’s Bubbly Collection.  Muse is more of a blue-green and the two have slightly different sizes of glitter.  Nori dries matte textured, but not completely matte.

Wishes Nori and Muse bottles

Wishes Nori and Muse

On the nail, Nori and Muse look very close.

Hope is an older polish that’s very similar to Haven.

Wishes Haven and Hope bottles

Wishes Haven and Hope outd

Haven is more plum; Hope is more violet.  While the colors are close, the formulas aren’t — my bottle of Hope is very thin and the polish needed at least three coats for good coverage.  Haven covered very well with two.

Wishes is such a beautiful collection, so much more than just a Christmas set.  You could wear these colors all winter; heck, you could wear them all year.

My favorites are Prim, Haven, and Thea, while my favorite combo look is either Nori or Thea over Willa.  Imogen would be fun to try over various cremes — dark green, red, gray.

Some caveats:  If you have the Zoya limited edition called Black Swan, be aware that Willa is exactly the same and only the name is new.  Willa is beautiful for a solid black creme and I think every polishaholic needs one in her stash, but if you already have a black creme I doubt I’d rush to buy this.  If you don’t have one though, the smooth formula and coverage make it a winner.

Prim and Jo are close but are not dupes.  Love both!  Haven and Hope are even closer.  If I already had Hope I probably wouldn’t get Haven, but if you don’t have Hope then I highly recommend Haven and its formula is much better than Hope’s.

As always, Zoya polishes are “Big 5 Free”: Formula contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or camphor.

Disclosure:  The Wishes Collection was supplied by Zoya for review.  Some of the comparison polishes were previously supplied by Zoya for review.

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.

Zoya Matte Velvet review — Part 3

Disclosure:  These polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

Today I have the last two polishes from Zoya’s re-release of their Matte Velvet Collection.  Check Part 1 for swatches of Posh and Dovima and Part 2 for swatches of Veruschka and Savita.



I was really excited to try Harlow; it’s been a “lemming” — a badly-wanted, hard-to-find polish — of mine for years.  And Loredana looked pretty too.

The formula of Harlow was excellent with two coats giving very good coverage, but Loredana seemed the thinnest of the six Matte Velvets to me.  I used three coats of it.

All photos are under indirect outdoor light with no flash.  Harlow and then Loredana:



Harlow is a plum pink and Loredana is a dark gunmetal gray.  Both have sparkles that are much more evident with a clear shiny top coat:

Harlow w tc

Loredana w tc

Both look very chic matte and are beautiful with the top coat as well.  As I’ve mentioned, one way to wear the Matte Velvets is to apply them as-is and then in a few days add a clear top coat to prolong your manicure and give them a different look.

Of all six Matte Velvets, my favorites are Harlow and Dovima worn matte, and I love all of them with the shiny top coat.


And now, FUN STUFF, a giveaway!  I’m just going to be posting this here on the blog, not as a Rafflecopter giveaway on my Facebook page.

Since Zoya generously gave me all six Matte Velvets but I already owned four, I’m giving away the brand new, unopened, full-sized bottles of Posh (red), Dovima (black), Veruschka (green), and Savita (purple).  I’ll have two prizes of two bottles each. You can win either a “Halloween set” of black and purple or a “Christmas set” of red and green, how’s that?

Here are the rules:

  • Add a comment to this page saying you would like to enter the giveaway.
  • You must be a registered follower of this blog.  New followers welcome.
  • One entry per person.
  • State which set you’d like if you win, either black/purple or red/green.  Do not enter twice for both, please.
  • Shipping address within the continental United States only due to postal regulations.
  • All other giveaway rules apply.

I’ll randomly pick two names early next week.  Good luck!

Disclosure:  These polishes were provided by Zoya for review.


UPDATE:  Contest is closed and I have emailed the two winners chosen by a random number generator.  Congratulations  to C.O. and L. F. and thanks to all for entering!

Zoya Matte Velvet review — Part 2

Disclosure:  Identical polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

Hope you enjoyed Part 1 yesterday with swatches of Posh and Dovima.   Please see that post for the background info on the re-release of Zoya’s Matte Velvet Collection.



Today I have the green Veruschka and the purple Savita Matte Velvets to show you.

Again, the formula of the polishes was excellent with two coats giving very good coverage.  It seemed to me that Veruschka was a little thicker than the other three polishes.  Thin coats that dry more quickly definitely work better with mattes.

All photos are under indirect outdoor light with no flash.  Veruschka and then Savita:


Savita - Copy

Veruschka is a dark emerald or hunter green, and Savita is a blue-toned purple with the slightest hink of pink sparkle.  Both colors, unfortunately, seemed to make my skin look redder than usual.

With a  clear shiny top coat:

Veruschka w tc

Savita w tc - Copy

I don’t feel the clear top coat changes the colors at all.  I like both these polishes but am not crazy about them on my skin tone.  My favorite of the looks shown today is Veruschka with the shiny top coat.

Thanks to the generosity of Zoya, I will be receiving media samples of all six Matte Velvet polishes.  Since I already own four of them, I will be holding a giveaway for the new bottles of those colors, perhaps two prizes of two bottles each.  Stay tuned next week for that!


Don’t forget the current promotion 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, promotions and codes cannot be combined).

Disclosure:  Identical polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

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.


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