30 September 2010

Kitty Cat Post

It's been a while since the furry owners of this blog have popped up, so here they are!

swatchcat C sits so pretty, waiting for a morsel from Mr. swatchcat.

"Thank you for the tasty morsel!"

swatchcat D (regularly) wants us to think he's dying of hunger (he so looks it, doesn't he?).  This is his, "I can't go any further" pathetic pose.  Admittedly, sometimes we toss him a kibble or two.  Gotta reward him for the performance.

29 September 2010

Charcoal and Plum Shimmer Comparisons

With the Chanel Soho polishes being a limited release, and therefore, a little difficult to come by, many are wondering whether there are any dupes out there, especially at more reasonable prices.  I have good news and I have bad news.  I was able to find a dupe for Chanel Steel, but with a discontinued OPI.  I found no duplicates in my stash for Chanel Strong.

Thumb to Pinkie:  OPI Black Satin, OPI Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous, Chanel Steel, China Glaze Jitterbug, Zoya Freja

As you can see, Both OPI LLM and CG Jitterbug are far too silvery and have those large, flaky shimmer particles, and each are adequate substitutes for the other (i.e. unless you're a polish fiend, you don't need both).  Zoya Freja is a little deeper, but still far too light.  OPI Black Satin is right on the money.

Thumb, pointer and ring finger, OPI Black Satin; Third and pinkie, Chanel Steel.  As you can see, Black Satin is just a teeny bit lighter than Chanel Steel.  In the bottle, they're nearly the exact same color (look above the Chanel label, as it places a blue cast on the polish).  So, if you're lucky enough to own Black Satin (or run across it at a reasonable price) it is a suitable dupe for Chanel Steel.  If not, the crazy evilBay prices for OPI Black Satin place it nearly at the same price as Chanel Steel, and given that the Chanel is opaque in two coats, while it takes the OPI at least three, the Chanel winds up being the better buy.  Who'd've thunk it?!

As I stated, I didn't find anything that would serve as an actual dupe for Chanel Strong.  There is one that is close, but as the saying goes, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades".  Well, at least if your a nail polish fanatic like I am.  If not, close might be good enough for you.

Thumb to Pinkie:  OPI Lincoln Park at Midnight, OPI Eiffel for this Color, Chanel Strong, China Glaze Bogie, Zoya Mikka

As you can see, OPI LPaM is much too purple, as is China Glaze Bogie (as well as being too light).  Zoya Mikka is too plummy and also too light.  OPI EftC is the one that is closest.  It has that blackened base, but not quite as many shimmers as Chanel Strong.  Also, the shimmers are more of a deep fuchsia and red-violet rather than red.  Still, if you're looking to save cash and aren't too fussy about having the exact color, OPI Eiffel for this Color is a good substitute.  Plus, it is still available for retail price (or cheaper at transdesign.com).

28 September 2010

Barielle Nail Polishes - Part 2

Here is the second half of my Barielle polish order.  I really love all the colors I picked out, and with the exception of one, the online color representations are fairly accurate.

Misbehaving Mistress is a deep, metallic tapue or dirty, metallic charcoal.  In some lights it is more silvery-charcoal, and in others, the taupe base shows through.  Either way, it's a really interesting color.  It's in line with the taupe trend, but the metallic finish makes it stand out.  Plus, I really like that it applies non-streaky.

Hidden Hideaway is a metallic raisin color.  This one was the interloper...see how pretty?!  It's not as metallic as Misbehaving Mistress, but it still falls in that category.  Indoors, it is nearly black.  Outdoors, the slightly brown base is more evident, and in the sunlight the fuchsia shimmer really glows, giving it a lit-from-within look.

Blackened Bleu really lives up to it's name, as it is a sheer, black base chockful of sapphire blue glitter flakies.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I'm not a blue fanatic, but this one is drop-dead gorgeous.  Indoor, it's a pretty navy sparkle, but out in the sunlight, that blue shimmer just glows!  I'm shocked how much I love this color.

Glammed-Out Garnet has a sheer red base and is loaded with iridescent magenta flakies.  This polish is basically the red sister to Blackened Bleu, except the sparkles are iridescent.  You can see the lilac flash in the bottle and on the nails, too.  You might also detect a gold flash, but that kinda disappears.  It's the magenta and lilac flash that are most evident.  This is a really pretty polish, and a nice alternative the the plain ol' red.  It would make for a great holiday mani, too.  This, and the one above were four coaters.

Pin Up pretty much describes itself.  A creamy tomato red with pink shimmer that just screams 40's screen star.  You can see there are gold flakies, but they just disappear.  A bit of a shame, as I think the gold flakies would add just another pretty dimension to this polish.

Out-grey-geous is a sheer, grey shimmer with gold flakies that flash multi-color in the sunlight.  This is the one that I think is misrepresented on Barielle's site.  It is described as a silver shimmer, but in my mind, silver is much lighter and more metallic.  I initially passed on it when I did my online order, but this polish caught my eye in Ulta, so I picked it up.  This base is nearly a jelly, and took four coats to reach opacity, but I really love it.  So many of the grey polishes have a blue cast to it, but this one doesn't.  It is a true grey shimmer and the gold flakies (which are visible!) give it just a bit of a warm cast.  As far as edgy, grey polishes go, this one is very wearable, thanks in part to the fine shimmer and gold flakies.  (Please ignore the nail dents...I did the final coat before I went to bed.  Yes, I should know better.)

Find Barielle online (buy two, get one going on right now!) and a small selection available in-store at Ulta.

27 September 2010

Barielle Nail Polishes - Part 1

First of all, I want to say Barielle has a great customer service department.  I ordered a bunch of polishes with the buy two, get one free deal (still going on, btw) and when my order arrived, there was a polish in there I didn't order in place of one I did.  I called Barielle, explained my problem, and they sent out my polish ASAP...and I got to keep the interloper.  Extra bonus, it's a color I would actually wear!  Score!

On to the polishes, they are 3-Free with a fairly decent formula.  It is a little runny (like many 3-Frees are), but most colors I was able to achieve opacity in two coats (a couple took three, and a couple more took four).  The brush is standard sized (not the prowide kind), and maybe just a tad bigger than the Chanel brush.  I like the size since I have small and narrow nails.

As I mentioned, I purchased mine directly from Barielle, but great news, Ulta is carrying a selection from the brand in-store!  I don't mind purchasing online, but I know some people like to see for themselves before handing over a wad of cash.

Now for the first batch of swatches.

Aura Angora is a brownish-yellow cream, and is part of the fall 2010 collection, Style in Argyle.  I had a hard time figuring out how I would describe this color...until I picked up a jar of peanut butter.  An exact match.  Peanut butter nails.  Me likey!

Cashmere or Loose Me is a rosy brown cream with fine copper and gold shimmers, and is also part of Style in Argyle.  Even though the shimmer is nearly invisible unless you're in the light, it does lend a certain glowy-ness to the color.  I'm not sure how close this is to Chanel Khaki Rose, but offhand, I'd say they're at least cousins.

Cowl of the Wild is a deep taupe cream from the Style in Argyle collection.  Original?  No, but I love these types of colors, so I really don't care.  Again, this one is faintly reminiscent of a Chanel Khaki color, Khaki Brun, but it doesn't have that green tinge to it that Khaki Brun does.  I will post comparisons with the Chanels (hopefully by the end of the week), and maybe save someone a few bucks.

Tight Knit is a plush, plummy cream with a touch of brown to it (from Style in Argyle).  The plum tones in this one definitely come through, as compared with the brown-based colors from the collection.  This one is a little more unique, as it is a plummy violet, rather than a greyed mauve.  Plus, the stronger red-based purple makes it a little less edgy and wearable than a greyed mauve.

Belly Dance is a gorgeous nude with just the slightest hints of mauve, pink and taupe, and shot through with silver shimmer.  I really, really love this color.  It's one of those that transforms on your nails and brings out different hues on different skintones.  The beautiful silver shimmer keeps the color from looking pasty and dead.  Truly a favorite of mine.

Get Mauv-ing is a pretty mauve cream.  Very much a color we've been seeing a lot, lately.  This one does fall on the warmer side of the spectrum, but still not really unique.  A pretty color nonetheless, and with the warm undertones, quite wearable.

These polishes are available on Barielle's website or at Ulta.  As I mentioned above, Barielle is still doing the buy two, get one free promotion, and has free shipping for purchases over $50.

24 September 2010

China Glaze Vintage Vixen Collection - Fall 2010

Well, it's taken me forever, but I've finally gotten around to getting the China Glaze Vintage Vixen Collection swatched.  No excuses, really.  But, a few of the colors, I wanted the opportunity to enjoy wearing before I wiped the polish off and swatched another color (I'd like to have worn all of them for a few days, but then I'd never get anything posted in a timely manner).  There are twelve colors in the collection, seven of which I purchased.

Classic Camel is a fairly apt description.  It's a creamy, well camel, yellow, reminiscent of dijon mustard with gold microglitter.  As I was applying it I couldn't help thinking, "Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory with the Lead Pipe," and wondering why there hasn't been a "Clue" inspired nail polish collection.  Can't you just see it?  A divinely plush Professor Plum, a sensual, sassy Miss Scarlet.  You could even throw in a creamy nude (maybe with a glint of golden shimmer) for Mr. Boddy.  Let's make this happen...who do I call?

Ingrid is a warm taupe cream with gold microglitter.  The base of this color is one we've been seeing a lot lately.  The gold microglitter really warms up the usual cool taupe base and leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling.  Taupe polish + glitter?  Love.

Swing Baby is a metallic champagne-y, taupe-y color.  Kinda hard to nail down exactly what to call this color.  Up close, you can see the metallic champagne and copper flakes, and those meld together to create a beautiful, metallic neutral.  It's definitely different than OPI's Glitzerland, which is more gold-toned.  And like Glitzerland, it's one of those colors you can't stop staring at.  Word of advice, don't stare at it in direct sunlight.  You'll blind yourself.

More after the jump!

20 September 2010

Lots of swatch posts coming up!

So y'all don't think I'm a bad blogger, I wanted to let you know what I have planned for my next few posts.  I'm on a little trip, and brought my camera with to upload and edit swatch photos, and to take pictures if I purchased anything of interest, as well.  Wouldn't you know it...I left the computer cable at home.  Doh!!

So instead, I'll get you guys excited for what is coming up.  I have a slew of polishes from Barielle, including a few of the fall ones.  I also did comparison swatches for the Chanel Soho Polishes Steel and Strong.  Plus, I finally swatched the China Glaze fall 2010 collection.  That's just a little tidbit of what will be appearing soon.  Thank you for staying with me!

16 September 2010

Chanel Les Khakis Le Vernis - Swatches

As promised!  Not that any of you need any more nudging, but these are beautiful, subdued creams.

Khaki Rose is a browned rose.  Perfect for anyone who's not into straight-up pink.  It's still pink, but very subdued and muted.  The strong brown undertones really keep this polish from veering into "grandma pink" territory.

Khaki Vert is a minted army green.  Army-lite, if you will.  Very unique color, and for a green, surprisingly wearable.  Yes, it's green, but the grey undertones keep it from screaming, "GREEEEEN NAILSSSS".

Khaki Brun is a olive-tinged brown.  You can definitely see the olive green undertones in this polish.  I really like that it's not straight-up brown.  I will caution, this is one of those colors that not all people will be able to wear because of the olive green undertones.  If you know certain colors are unwearable because of your skintone, you may want to test this one out before you buy.

Are these polishes must haves?  No, not really.  They are beautiful creams, with the superior Chanel formula.  If I had to choose just one, I'd pick Khaki Vert.  Those of you wanting an all-around wearable color might want to stick with Khaki Rose.  These are currently available online for $25 each, and are rumored to be released to luxury department stores later this fall.

15 September 2010

Chanel Les Khakis Le Vernis

Oh my!  They're so much prettier in person!

Expect swatches tomorrow!

14 September 2010

Kitty-themed Cosmetics

Anyone who has spent more than five minutes near me knows I love cats.  So, you can't at all be surprised that I have cosmetics that are kitty-themed.  I'm not just talking named after cats, I'm talking visible felines.  Fortunately, there are cosmetic purveyors who feel the same way about furry felines as I do.  Am I crazy?  Maybe a bit, but it's not like I have these enshrined somewhere for viewing purposes only.  These are products that I will use...eventually.

Paul & Joe creator Sophie Albou shares my affinity for kitties, and she infuses kitty designs into the line's cosmetics.  The Spring collection brought us this eye shadow with cute kitty packaging, and this Fall, she upped the ante with kitty-shaped lipsticks!

Chantecaille created a palette to raise awareness for tiger poaching.  The company is donating five percent of all proceeds from the sale of the palette to TRAFFIC, which monitors the trade of wildlife.  A palette with cute tigers etched in the shadows plus it's for a good cause?  Count me in!

Paul & Joe is available at Beautyhabit and Urban Outfitters, and Chantecaille is available through most major luxury department stores (I purchased mine through Neiman Marcus) or on its website.

13 September 2010

Chanel Soho Collection - Star Glossimer

Here's another pretty from Chanel's Soho Collection, Star Glossimer.  Star is a sheer pink loaded with silver microglitter.  I know, I know...glitter doesn't exactly say, "Grown-up", but the glitter in this gloss is ultra-fine and really acts more as a shine enhancer.  Unless someone is standing an inch from your lips, they're not going to notice the glitter.  Given the sheerness of the color, it's great for those who just want to add shine to the lips, or for adding shine to any lipstick.

Once I got a good look at Star, it reminded me of Futile (from the Spring 2010 Collection), so I pulled it out for comparison.  Turns out, Futile is more of a champagne pink with gold microglitter in much less quantities than in Star.  However, given that both have that super sheer base, if you have Futile, you can easily skip Star, which is sold out in the U.S. online, anyway.

Now, I'm not posting this to torture anyone who missed out on Futile, and therefore, might want Star.  Soho was released in Canada and at selected locations around the world.  Furthermore, there are rumors on various discussion boards that the Soho Collection will filter down to the luxury department stores (Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman) in the October/November timeframe.  Fingers crossed, because there are a couple of items that, after seeing the swatches, I now want.

OK, enough chit-chat, there are more pretty pictures after the jump!

09 September 2010

Target Exclusive Nicole Polishes

Nicole has a line of polishes available exclusively at Target.  I believe there are 12 available, and I picked up three that caught my eye, and they're glitters!  I'm lumping in one of the Gossip Girl polishes I picked up a while ago and never posted.  I think that collections was also a Target exclusive, and they're on clearance now.

Nicole...Spotted! is from the Gossip Girl collection.  This is a gorgeous aqua jelly with gold micro-glitter and iridescent hex glitter.  This polish is really better suited for layering as it is pretty sheer.  Two coats had my nails looking like I needed oxygen.  Pictured above is five coats, which actually ends up a pretty sea green, rather than the aqua in the bottle.  If you really want to bring out the aqua base, I'd suggest layering over a milky white french polish.  The sea green pictured above would be best achieved using a milky natural french polish as a base.

The rest of the polishes after the jump!

08 September 2010

Chanel Soho Collection - Steel & Strong Le Vernis

They're here!!  I jumped on these two hot polishes the minute they hit the site, and they're finally here!  I won't say much else other than these two polishes are GORGEOUS!  Steel is a deep, metallic anthracite with silvery-aqua shimmer that appears to have a multi-color sparkle in the sunlight, and gives the polish an almost navy appearance in some light.  Strong is a deep, blackened maroon with subtle fuchsia shimmer.  A great vampy, fall color.  Coverage on both Steel and Strong is great, two coats for each, and the formula for both is pretty consistent and standard Chanel.  I did find Strong to be just a bit thicker than Steel, though.  I really do love Chanel polishes.  They really do nail polish very well.  Now, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

See more pictures of Steel and Strong after the jump!

03 September 2010

A Beautiful Life S'Stains Lip Shine and Natural Nail Lacquer: Reviews and Swatches

I'm always interested in trying new brands, and while perusing Urban Outfitter's beauty section, A Beautiful Life piqued my interest.  A Beautiful Life products are all natural and petrochemical-free.  Being the nail and lip junkie that I am, I selected one of the S'Stains Lip Shines and two of the Natural Nail Lacquers to try out.

S'Stains Long-Lasting Satin Lip Shines (from ABL):  S'stains are 100% natural, paraben-and petrochemical-FREE satin-y lip glosses. Each color is packed with natural lip conditioners, like shea butter, vitamin E and the near-miraculous ARGAN OIL! It also packs a pleasantly plumping trio of essential oils (cassia, peppermint, and ginger) - JUST ENOUGH to smooth fine lines and give you the perfect pout without stinging (ouchies!).

I selected 80's Pink, which is a sheer, bright bubblegum pink with white and violet shimmers.  The Lip Shine comes in a squeeze tube with a slant-tip applicator.  Satin Lip Shine is quite an accurate descriptor.  It's not a gloss, but there's more shine than a balm...the finish is satin.  It gives the lips a nice, natural sheen.  S'Stains are not sticky or tacky.  The texture is reminscent of Burt's Bees Lip Shines, if you've ever tried those.

The plumping action, well, honestly it's hard to tell on me.  I will say, no stinging, and just an ever-so-slight slight tingling, that didn't bother me at all.  Usually, just the tingling sensation that is in most plumpers is enough to keep me away, but I'm totally fine with this.  The scent is really pleasing and not overwhelming.  I first thought, "Mmm, cinnamon!"  But, after reading the description, I totally pick up the peppermint and ginger.

Wearability, well, I wouldn't necessarily say it's long-wearing.  The sheen fades within an hour or so, and the color lasted about three hours (and yes, I ate and drank).  Afterward, my lips did feel nice and soft, and with the shea butter, vitamin E, and Argan Oil, I can only imagine they'll feel even better with regular use of this lip shine.

Overall, I really like the Lip Shine, and I plan on getting a couple more.  They're available through A Beautiful Life and are $14 each for 10mL (oddly enough, I can't find them on UO's website anymore).  I give the S'Stains Lip Shine 4 paws up!
Keep reading for my review and swatches of the Natural Nail Lacquer.