Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Zoya Zara & Black Shatter

I'm kinda short on time today, so here's a quick post featuring Zoya Zara and OPI's Black Shatter.

Zara was one of the free polishes I picked from Zoya during their recent promotion.  I had decided to pick up polishes that I liked, but wasn't sure I $7.00 liked them, know what I mean?  So I got Zara. Colbie, and Sloane.  I'll talk about those more soon.  Anyway, Zara was my favorite of the three and the first I wore.

As you can see, it's a light warm purple with heavy amounts of gold shimmer.  It's a great polish to make you feel a little flashy, but still "normal" enough looking that you don't get weird looks at work meetings - trust me, I tried it!  :)

Zara isn't the most opaque polish in the world, I think this was around 4 coats?  It applied very smoothly though and I didn't have trouble with dry time after I topcoated it.  It even held up pretty well, at least for a Zoya... I still haven't found the right combo to get them to last more than a couple of days.  I think I had this one on for at least 4 with only tip wear, no chips.

It was starting to look pretty rough though and I was going to a family function and didn't want to show up with so much tip wear, so I decided to try out Black Shatter.  I wasn't totally sold on the crackle idea, but I wanted Serena Williams' Simply Smashing and Black Shatter comes with it, so I have it.

I really liked it once it was on!  The shatter effect was perfect on my index and middle finger - I didn't get the coat thick enough on my ring finger and you can tell by the brushy-looking part on the left edge.  I loved how the shimmer from Zara just peeks through a bit to warm it up.  Application on Shatter wasn't as difficult as I had heard - a medium-to-thick coat gave the perfect look.  If you apply too thin, it will just look like you messed up something.  Apply too thick and it won't shatter.  It dried in about 2 seconds too.  That's what I think I love the most!

So I got Black Shatter thinking I probably wouldn't use it much, but after trying it out, I think I'll be using it on those manis that are past their prime, but I don't have the time to redo.  It will give them a totally fresh look without me spending any time!

I haven't totally jumped on the crackle bandwagon - I didn't (and don't plan on) buying any of the China Glaze ones, but I will continue to pick up the Serena Williams' sets, so I will get the White Shatter and Red Shatter for sure.  I also have seen that there is a Silver Shatter coming out with the Pirates of the Caribbean collection, so I'll be getting that one - who can resist Silver Shatter?!

Basecoat: Instant Artificials
Topcoat: Poshe
Number of coats: 4 of Zara, 1 of Black Shatter

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Revlon Top Speed - Electric, Ocean, Royal

Today I have the last of my Top Speed series for you - there are more out there, but these are the 12 I own.  I keep talking myself out of Emerald, Black Star, Hazy and Lily... so I might be back later to add another post to this series!

First off is Electric, a yellow with subtle shimmer.

Yeah... the shimmer is REALLY subtle... like, it disappears on the nail.  I was disappointed that it came out looking like just another yellow cream.  The formula wasn't *too* terrible for a yellow, but it definitely wasn't the best of this collection.  I believe this was 3 coats.

Ocean is a teal metallic that borderlines on TOO metallic... lots of brush strokes here!  I wasn't overly thrilled with it, even though the color is really saturated-looking.  This stayed on less than 24 hours before I had to remove it - I just didn't dig it.  The finish is a lot like Grape's, but Grape doesn't show anywhere near this many brush strokes.  Ocean had a MUCH better formula though... very smooth.

Finally, the one you've seen countless times, Royal.  I really do love this one.  It's a beautiful, rich jelly with a perfect formula.  I read others had a bit of trouble with this one, but I thought it was one of the best.  It's so shiny and squishy!!

My faves of the collection are Sugar Plum, Chili, Jelly, and Royal - 3 jellies (well, Jelly is actually a cream that looks like a jelly) and a non-brush-strokey metallic.  All of them were very easy to work with and had great pigmentation.  I love the Revlon brush and the Top Speeds really do dry fast, even without topcoat.  The jellies are so shiny and squishy looking that you probably could go without!

Overall, I'm quite fond of the Top Speeds and I recommend picking up any colors that tickle your fancy!  :)

Basecoat: none
Topcoat: none
Number of coats: 2-3

Monday, February 21, 2011

Revlon Top Speeds - Chili, Espresso, Stormy

So... moving right along here...

This is Chili, an orangey-red jelly that I just adore!  It's so shiny and squishy!  *squee!*  Formula on this one was great, perfect in 2 coats!

Espresso is a deep dark chocolatey brown with a gorgeous, almost hidden shimmer.  It's there, but not super noticeable.  Formula was great here as well, 2 coats.

And here is Stormy, a greige neutral tauple cream.  I showed this in comparison to Below Deck here - it's a little less purple than many similar polishes.  Formula wasn't quite as great on this one, kinda reminded me of Vintage in the previous post - thick and unable to self-level.  I didn't use topcoat in the swatch, but it really would have helped!

Of these, I prefer Chili - I'm suddenly starting to love all these bright colors on me, though I have shied away from things so bold in the past!  I can't wait to wear this one in the summer months.  Espresso is actually one of my favorite browns, the shimmer in it makes it not quite so severe.  I love the color of Stormy - I think it is my favorite of all the greige colors, but the formula is lacking - I'll try to thin it out and see if it improves.

One more post to go in this series!  :)

Basecoat: none
Topcoat: none
Number of coats: 2

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Revlon Top Speed - Cherry, Vintage, Jelly

Again, I'm late with a post... I can safely blame this one on photo-editing laziness.  I'll try to finish up the Top Speeds this week - everything has been edited, so it shouldn't be *too* difficult!

First up is Cherry, a medium red creme.

Ugh, I took this pic after a day of swatching and you can really tell - sorry for the dryness!  As you can see, Cherry is a medium blue-based red creme - not dark, but not very bright either.  I didn't think it looked too bad on me even though I normally hate blue-based reds on my skin.  This stained the heck out of my cuticles though!

Vintage is a dark berry, though not quite as dark as this pic makes it look.  I like the color quite a bit, but the formula was definitely lacking on this one.  It's thick and doesn't self-level well at all.  Even with topcoat, it isn't perfectly smooth.  It took two tries to get this one even enough to post.  :P

Last for today is Jelly, an orangey pink jelly-ish creme.  Haha, I know, that's not a great description, but it is the truth!  I don't normally think bright pinks flatter me too much, but this wasn't too bad - I think it's the orangey-ness.  The first coat makes you think it is a jelly, but it's actually a cream with some of the squishy-ness of a jelly.

Of these 3, Jelly had the best formula, followed by Cherry and way behind is Vintage.  It might be the most difficult one of all the Top Speeds... though Grape was really patchy.

I don't think I used a topcoat on Cherry or Jelly, but I did on Vintage to try to even it out.  These are pretty shiny on their own!

Basecoat: none
Topcoat: Beauty Secrets Fast Finish on Vintage
Number of coats: 3

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Revlon Top Speed - Violet, Sugar Plum, Grape

Ugh, sorry again for the lack of posts... crazy-stressful work + horrid winter weather = no Normal Girl!  Fortunately we didn't get it quite as bad downstate as Chicago did, but it still was not good!  Nothing was open here - even the University of Illinois closed and apparently they have only closed like 3 times in their 144 year history!  The stupid bank decided to open a few facilities at noon, but only the drive thrus, so, being the manager, I had to go in.  It was too dangerous for ALL employees to come in, but it was ok for the tellers - WTF?!  *grumbles*  My street had not been plowed of the 12+ inches of snow we got (not to mention the freezing rain we had the two days prior), so it took my husband doing a lot of shoveling and creative maneuvers with the car for us to make it in.  >:P

Anyway... you aren't here to listen to me complain. Since I have been so short on time lately, I think I'm going to do a couple of series of different lines of polish.  I'm going to start off with the Revlon Top Speeds that have come out in the last couple of months.  I don't have the entire collection, but I do have quite a few.  Walgreens was giving $5 Jingle Cash with every purchase of one of these, basically making them $1.99 each, so I acquired some that way, then Meijer put out a smaller display with $1.00 off coupons on it, making them $2.99 each... so I've ended up a bunch of them.  I'm sure by now you've seen a million pics of Royal, but have you seen the others?  I couldn't find swatches of most of them, so hopefully this series will be helpful to you.  Today we're going to look at a few of the purples.

First off is Violet.  Let me tell you, this beauty is very shy and doesn't like her picture being taken!

This was as close as I could get to true-to-life color.  It's actually warmer than this, but still violet, not pink-leaning at all.  Something about the color is kinda mesmerizing - there is some serious depth to what appears to be just another violet shimmer. 

This is Sugar Plum... and to be honest, I don't know how to describe this one.  It's purplish, but more burgundy than purple... is there a name for this exact shade?  Whatever it is, it's amazing.  I looked at this one numerous times before I gave in and finally bought it.  I was afraid it would be a little frosty and brush-strokey, but it isn't either of those - it is one amazing shimmer.  It's got little bits of pink and green shimmer in there.  I wore this one for about 5 days and could not stop looking at it.  I think this is my favorite of the entire collection.

And last today is Grape.  It's a deep purple shimmer, kind of a lighter/warmer version of China Glaze's Let's Groove.  The blue and red shimmer are there as well, but they aren't as obvious as Let's Groove.  My camera did not like this color and every picture came out slightly blurry, but you get the idea.  This one didn't wow me as much as the other two.  I wore it for just a couple of days before I was over it.

Application-wise, these are pretty danged nice.  I have to tell you - I LOVE the Revlon brush.  Not sure why - it seems pretty standard - but it is my favorite out of every brand I've tried.  The formula varies by color and finish - Sugar Plum was amazing and practically applied itself, while Grape was patchy and I struggled to get it even.  Violet fell in between - not great, but not horrid.  These are a fast dry formula and they actually do dry pretty fast - better with a fast dry top coat.  Some of these, like Sugar Plum, you can get away with one coat if you are careful, others will need at least two, if not three.

Do you have any Top Speeds?  What are your favorites?  I think retail on these is $6.99, but you can find them cheaper at discount stores like Meijer ($3.99) & Target ($4.99) - they haven't shown up at my Wal-Mart yet, but maybe they will soon and even cheaper than Meijer's?  Also look out for $1.00 off coupons on some of the displays!

Basecoat: none
Topcoat: Beauty Secrets Fast Finish
Number of coats: varies by shade, 2-3