Archive - Nails

The New Essie Spring 2014 Fashion Playground Collection: This Fashion Playground Looks Good Outside, Like It Was Inspired by Mother Nature

Published in: Collections, Essie, Nails

Essie Spring 2014

The new six-piece Essie Spring 2014 Fashion Playground collection

A Fashion Playground?

Nay, I say it’s an equinox-icating spring feast for the eyes! Like spring distilled into nail polish bottles, except without the — AHCHOO! — allergies.

Pass the Zyrtec and Kleenex, please, because I do not want to sneeze all over these beautiful bottles.

Like butterflies, the six-piece Essie Spring 2014 Fashion Playground collection flitted onto counters earlier this month, and I treated my paws to ‘em this morning (SKITTLES MANI!) before going for a walk…

It’s crazy just how springy these six shades seem, like the bright blue sky and the two blue shades, or the mint green and the budding leaves on the oak trees outside. There’s also a big cherry tree down the street, and the blossoms are spitting images of the peach and pink pastels. And then there’s the fire bougainvillea bush, which could have been painted by the bright red.

These colors totally say, “Hey, y’all, spring is in full effect!” to me. :)

Officially, fashion runways were supposed to have inspired this release, like vintage denim and oversized prints — that kind of thing — but my crazy makeup mind sees more Mother Nature’s influence than Michael Kors’. Like Team Essie sat down with Mother Nature and brainstormed over a few cups of really strong Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee in a caffeine-fueled frenzy, then BOOM! — someone in the art department mixed some acrylics at the table to come up with azure Hide & Go Chic, light denim Truth or Flare, pistachio Fashion Playground, peachy nude Spin the Bottle, crimson Style Hunter and pale tea rose Romper Room.

What to watch

Essie is well-known for their delicate nudes and pastels, and chances are good that if you walk into any nail salon that carries the brand, you’ll see pale pinks, peaches and beiges FOR DAYS.

OK, those are fairly great, but I always look forward to their blues and greens (see: Mojito Madness, Pretty Edgy, Naughty Nautical and Under the Twilight).

Over the past few years, Essie’s released quite a few jazzy blue and green shades I can remember, which is kind of funny considering that for years I thought of the line as specializing in dainty bridal nails — primarily pinks and nudes.

This time around, I think the blues and greens are again the colors to watch out for (at least for me).

Hide & Go Chic

Essie Hide & Go Chic

Hide & Go Chic (two coats)

If you get a chance, let your paws play with Hide & Go Chic, the dark creamy blue.

I mean, look at it! It’s so rich… So deep… And a single layer works just fine (even though I went with two to be consistent with the other shades).

I also think this is the one that’ll sing on the widest range of skin tones. It’s the people’s blue!

Truth or Flare

Essie Truth or Flare

Truth or Flare (two coats)

True or Flare, the lighter, vintage denim blue, definitely benefits from a second coat. On my NC42 skin, I feel like the color doesn’t reach out and grab you by the eyeballs as readily as Hide & Go Chic. I like it, but I have a feeling it’ll like lighter lasses best.

Fashion Playground

Essie Fashion Playground

Fashion Playground (two coats)

And then there’s the green… Fashion Playground. Described as a pistachio shimmer, it certainly sounds delicious to me. :) But I get more of a straight-up mint cream, as the tiny flecks of silver glitter swimming in the formula are very hard to see.

At first glance, it resembles Essie’s Candy Apple, but upon closer inspection I think it’s sightly deeper and darker.

One may have to play with Fashion Playground a bit (Ha! Sorry, bad pun). Two thick coats deliver fully opaque coverage, but they have to be thick… With thinner coats, it can look a little streaky and require 3-4 layers.

The remaining colors — the bright red and two creamy pale shades — strike me as rather typical of Essie (I feel like I’ve seen shades like them before), which is neither good nor bad, but they don’t really light my fire like the blues and greens.

Style Hunter

Essie Style Hunter

Style Hunter (two coats)

Crimson Style Hunter leans, ever so slightly, toward magenta. This one should be a blast on toes, methinks. :) One coat or two works well.

Romper Room

Essie Romper Room

Romper Room (two coats)

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Unsung Makeup Heroes: Tom Ford Beauty African Violet Nail Lacquer

Published in: Nails, Tom Ford Beauty, Unsung Heroes

Tom Ford African Violet Nail Lacquer

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in African Violet ($32)

African violetPurple eyeshadows; purple liners; purple lipsticks; flowers; candy; sweaters; one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eaters! PURPLE EVERYTHING!

And purple paw polish, too. :)

Of the millions (well, hundreds) of promising purple paw polishes in the universe, the one that electrifies me like a Tesla coil from the tips of my ears down to the tips of my toes has to be Tom Ford’s bright creamy Nail Lacquer in African Violet.

Tom Ford African Violet Nail Lacquer

Purse by Reed Krakoff; bracelet by Na Hoku

It borrows its name from one of Mother Nature’s most perfect purple creations, in my opinion, the Saintpaulia ionantha plant, or African violet, which, coincidentally, happens to be cat-friendly, according to the good folks over at VCA Animal Hospitals.

Speaking of cats (’cause we alway circle back to the kittehs around here), this particular African Violet has never elicited any complaints from my favorite fashionable feline.

Tom Ford African Violet Nail Lacquer

Ring by Wings Hawaii; bracelet and earrings from Nordstrom

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Cleanse, Prime and Shine Your Claws With Sephora’s Formula X “The System”

Published in: Nails, Product Reviews, Sephora

Sephora Formula X The System

Sephora Formula X The System

I usually lack the wherewithal for multi-step manis involving a base and top coat when I’m painting my paws (read: I’m too lazy, yo), even though my rational mind fully recognizes the prudence of taking the extra time to extend the life of my polish.

But ever since I started using Sephora’s Formula X “The System” $32 nail kit, I don’t mind going the extra mile at all.

Sephora Formula X the System Nail Cleanser

Nail Cleanser

This is partly due to thinking that the bottles in the kit look kind of sci-fi and cool, like they belong in an Apple store beside the latest iMacs, and also because they just plain work.

Sephora Formula X The System Base Coat

Base Coat

The kit gets high marks from reviewers on sephora.com, and I can see why. I used the Nail Cleanser (a brush-on liquid that helps remove residue from your nails so the products you layer on top bind better), Base Coat and Top Coat with Tom Ford’s Viper Nail Lacquer this week, and my nails have definitely handled the hell I regularly put them through better.

Sephora Formula X The System Top Coat

Top Coat

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Unsung Makeup Heroes: Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Viper

Published in: Nails, Tom Ford Beauty, Unsung Heroes

Tom Ford Viper Nail Lacquer

Two coatsssss of Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Viper ($32), writhing and hissing now at Tom Ford counters and online

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in ViperNot even seasoned snake charmers could tame Tom Ford’s Nail Lacquer in Viper ($32).

OK, so I’ve been on a personal quest, Indiana Jones-style, to find the Tom Ford Nail Lacquer that shouts the loudest to my soul. Before I started, I estimated that this would take approximately forever, or roughly three months, whichever came first, but then I got bit by Viper, which may have ended my personal beauty mission forthright…

Tom Ford Viper Nail Lacquer

Halp! I’ve been bitten by Viper!

Why?

Well, this creamy blackened purplish berry stalks Tom’s permanent line like a cobra stalks a mouse in a field… It’s dangerous! — and if you drop your guard for a second, you’ll be hypnotized.

Equally at home on a bad@ss gal’s nails in a bar fight (a gal who artfully escapes the melee on her Harley without anyone noticing), or a lady in box seats at the opera, or a girl wearing pleather leggings and black Chucks. It’s elegant, tough and edgy — and surprisingly approachable — all at the same time.

The long-running Unsung Heroes series features some of my favorite permanent collection products from a variety of bodacious beauty brands.

It’s also dynamic. When I tilt my fingers juuust right, I see a shiny, vibrant purple, like wet grapes on a vine. A second later, it’s deeper, like a bowl of ripe blackberries about to be devoured by greedy, hungry mouths…

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Magical Pixies Promise Sparkling Nails This Spring Thanks to the Zoya Magical Pixie Collection

Published in: Nails, Zoya

Zoya Magical Pixie Spring 2014 collection

The new three-piece Zoya Magical Pixie Spring 2014 collection

The new PixieDust polishes in Zoya’s Magical Pixie collection sparkle like Ryan Gosling’s pearly whites on the red carpet, *zing!*

Hexagonal flecks of iridescent goodness combine with finer flecks of shimmer to create a dazzling effect more powerful than the gravitational pull of J. Lo’s butt.

You have no choice but to stare…

Ain’t no party like a glitter party, so of course I had to go there. :) And this glitter does not mess around.

I think Zoya’s regular PixieDust formula is pretty flashy on its own, but the addition of extra hex pieces here takes it to the next level. Totally worthy of a bacchanalian bachelorette par-taaaaay in Vegas, or perhaps a cat fight on Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Rosy Lux, silver Cosmo and blue Vega are all full coverage, and Zoya recommends 2-3 coats on clean nails (no base coat needed), although, I bet if you could get away with a single layer if you were in a hurry.

For each of these swatches below, I used two… Force of habit, ya know?

Zoya Vega

Vega, a cool-toned shimmery textured blue (two coats)

I love the way cool-toned blue Vega, my favorite of the bunch, shimmers… It takes me back to when El Hub and I had just started dating.

We’d visit his family in Hawaii over the holidays, and I’d wake up early in the mornings to sneak in a pre-dawn surf session. Vega glimmers just like those teal blue waters sparkled as the sun came up.

Zoya Lux

Lux, a cool-toned textured glittery pink (two coats)

Can you see the purple pieces of glitter in cool-toned pink Lux (my second favorite one)? I think they give it a dainty, feminine touch.

Zoya Cosmo

Cosmo, a glittery textured silver (two coats)

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