Farewell… but see you again

After a brief intense love affair with nail polishes, my time with all these lovely liquids has to come to an end. I still paint my nails but I have lost interest in swatching them or buying the newest latest product from OPI. I’m sad to let this blog go but I have nothing more to say on this topic.

However, I have not left the blogosphere. I have a new home at this address below:

http://paleorina.com

where I blog about lifestyle, health and fitness. These are topics that have always interest me and I will be able to talk about a wider range of subjects there. If you have similar interests, please follow me at this other home.

Farewell all ye gentle readers, if I don’t see you again!

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Are you a “superchromat”?

Sometimes I read nail polish blogs and I think to myself, how is it possible that companies are able to come up with colour after colour every season? Surely there are finite colours and after all, a red is a red is a red. Maybe that explains the recent deluge of special texture nail polishes. When the colours run out, start selling crackles, denim textures and caviar polishes.

This question was answered recently when I read a fantasy novel by Brent Weeks called The Black Prism. It was Book 1 of the Lightbringer Series and featured a very interesting magic system, in which the mages of the books were able to transform light and expel it as a physical substance, say a ball of fire. Different people can draft different colours. Some can only draw blue. Others can draw red or yellow or purple, or even colours not visible to human eyes, such as ultraviolet. 

Amongst them were special people called superchromats (a made up word by the author) who can see the minute changes in shades between what most people would assume are the same colour. Now in this book, most superchromats were women, which is a parallel to how it works in the real world as well – women are indeed more sensitive to colour than men!

In fact, some scientists believe that there are humans with superhuman vision who can see hues of colour on the spectrum that others cannot – they are known as tetrachromats. According to this article, “Researchers suspect, though, that some people see even more. Living among us are people with four cones, who might experience a range of colors invisible to the rest. It’s possible these so-called tetrachromats see a hundred million colors, with each familiar hue fracturing into a hundred more subtle shades for which there are no names, no paint swatches.”

That is incredible, don’t you think? Can you imagine these people working in nail polish companies and arguing that this shade of pink is different is different from that shade of pink, and the marketing manager going, “We can’t sell that! They look the same to me!”

To see if I have the colour vision to work for OPI or China Glaze, I took this test: How well do you see colour?

ImageThe idea is to arrange the colours in order from lightest to darkest. At the end you get a score between 0 and 99. The closer to 0 you are, the higher your colour acuity.

Image Here’s what I did.

ImageScore of 4! Well, I bloody better be getting low scores considering I blog about colours!

What is your score? And have you read the amazing Brent Week books?

OPI Mrs O’Leary’s BBQ

 

OPI Mrs O'Leary's BBQTwo coats, sunlight

This vampy creme is a classic from OPI, which was released as part of the Chicago collection. It’s a plummy-brown red creme. The balance between brown and purple and red is just perfect. When I saw this colour on my colleague for the very first time, I gasped. “What colour is this? I have to have it!” I first thought it looked like a beautiful brown-red on her but later when I had a chance to buy it, I noticed it looked more brown in certain light and more purple elsewhere.

OPI Mrs O'Leary's BBQ comparisonWith China Glaze Branding Iron

Sorry I know this is a terrible comparison but I don’t have another vampy red to compare with Mrs O’Leary’s. I don’t normally wear vampy colours so I was terribly pleased to find one that I loved. This is a lousy comparison with China Glaze Branding Iron, which is the closest to a “vampy” I could find in my cupboard. Apart from the obvious fact that Branding Iron has shimmer while Mrs O’Leary’s is a creme, I hope this photograph gives you some idea of the what it would like compared to a redder polish. Also, this is an instance when the polish looks more purple than brown when hit by direct sunlight.

Lumos top coat and bottom coat

In my last post, I raved about Dadi’ cuticle oil, which helped me very much with my dry skin. Today, I have two products by the same company, Famous Names, to review. These are the Lumos top and bottom coat polishes. They were sent to me by Bittersweet Pea’s blogshop.

Travel size bottles

According to instructions on the website, you must take extra care when applying the base and top coat. You must string the base coat over the free nail edge, then go over with the manicure colour over the free edge, leaving a space around the cuticle area, then follow up with the top coat also covering the free edge. This way, the manicure is supposed to be extra long-lasting.

Let’s start with the base coat.

Lumos base coat vs Daiso $2 base coat

One thing I really like about this base coat is that it dries very quickly. You can almost see it bonding to your nail. If you look closely at this picture, you can see that there is an almost matte sheen on my nails where I painted Lumos, whereas the other nails look glossy. This is great because it means that impatient people like me can paint colour on immediately rather than waiting for the base coat to dry a little. Anyway, the other base coat I’m using is this $2 clear polish from Daiso, which is a Japanese shop that sells really affordable things at pretty good quality. It’s probably not the best thing to use for my nails, I know, but these polishes can be expensive!

One week after Zoya manicure

Another thing I really like about this base coat is that it seems to prevent staining. The second picture shows you what my nails look like after removing one week’s worth of green nail polish. You can see slight staining but this is a lot better than what I’m used to. Usually my staining is so bad I have to wait one whole week before I can put on my next colour. Also, you can tell that I followed instructions because the first photo showed that I left the cuticle edge unpolished!

On the other hand, I’m in two minds about the Lumos top coat. I love so many things about it. It is the fastest drying top coat I’ve used; it’s smooth and glossy; it doesn’t drag the manicure colour; and it won’t thicken in the bottle like Seche Vite. However, it is not the longest-lasting polish I’ve used.

To test this polish out, I engaged the nails of my friends in a lunchtime painting session. One of my greatest pleasures in life!

Painting Amanda’s nails; yes, the mini brush is tiny

Serena’s nails with Lumos base and top coat, iPhone photo

Barbara’s nails with Lumos base and top coat, iPhone photo

The base and top coat, together, helped their manicures dry within 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes!!! This is really incredible and is the fastest-drying polish I’ve used. Usually you have to wait for half an hour before you can pick up a tissue. And even then, the layers within are not really dry until one whole hour later. It’s great that we can pretty ourselves within our tight lunch hour and go back to work and type on keyboards without destroying our nails. Yay! The top coat is glossy and has a thinner consistency than Seche Vite. I can’t comment about the brush, however, because I was given the travel mini set and all mini set brushes are tiny and hard to work with compared to the full sized bottles.

Manicure after three days, with Lumos on two nails

My manicure started chipping after three days and the first one to go was the one with the Lumos top coat, not my regular top coat, which is painted on the midde and pinkie fingers. It’s the same case on the right hand. There are some great reviews online about the Lumos top coat so I’m not sure why mine would chip like that. But there may be two reasons:

1) I didn’t put enough top coat because the brush was too small

2) I didn’t string the free edge as well as I thought I did

If I find a way to work it better I will update this post. Nonetheless, this is a very decent top coat and there are many things to like about it. I feel like it’s a good complementary top coat to my current one as this is the one I will whip out when I am in a rush for time or when I want to paint my nails just before bed.

As with the Dadi’ Oil, you can purchase the Lumos top and base coats from Bittersweet Pea.

Famous Names Dadi’ Oil

Recently, I was sent some products from a local blogshop (more information after this). They were the Lumos base and top coats, as well as a cuticle oil, all of which were from a brand called Famous Names. I have here today a review of the cuticle oil. My only bottle of cuticle oil before this was the CND Solar Oil that I bought on my last trip to the US. I have always been vaguely satisfied with it because it was my first oil and I didn’t know what to expect. But after trying this Dadi’ Oil from Famous Names, I must say that it really is so much better than the CND oil.

Before you go on though, I must warn you that you will see some gross pictures of my toes. I have very dry toes and I don’t really go for pedicures or do anything about it so it’s quite horrible. But brave souls please wander ahead:

I know! Eww! These are my toes nails in their regular state. Not only can you see lots of dead skin at my cuticles, you can also see that the side of my little toe is very dry. Sometimes it would get so dry that I would start to worry at the dead skin and try to peel it off, which is probably not the best thing to do.

Here is my first application of Dadi’ Oil. Instant hydration as you can see! The oil is 95% organic, which is a plus point with me, as I like to be as hippie as possible. The three main oils are avocado, olive and jojoba oils. There is also Vitamin E. The oil is thicker than the CND Solar Oil but it absorbs quickly and doesn’t feel greasy. And it smells amazing, quite like the smell that hits you when you first enter a luxurious spa!!!

These are my toesies after one week of application of the Dadi’ Oil. As you can see, my skin has become a lot softer and you don’t see horrible streaks of dead skin anymore. I think they look pretty clean and okay despite my continued lack of pedicures. This is a vast improvement for me and clearly, not all oils were created equally!

Oh, I just read something very interesting. Apparently, both the Solar Oil and the Dadi Oil were created by the same person, Jim Nordstrom. He used to be the chairman of CND until it was sold to Revlon and now he has his own company Famous Names. Well, Dadi Oil is a huge improvement over his original creation, the Solar Oil, so good on him!

If you would like to give this oil a try, you can check out Bittersweet Pea’s blogshop or go down to Kenju nails. The oil’s retail price is $38.90 for 0.5 oz but right now it’s being sold at a launch price of $25.80. All these prices are in Singapore dollars.

Bourjois 15

Two coats, sunlight

Oh Bourjois, why have I only discovered you now? This is my very first polish from Bourjois and it was bought on a whim. I’m very glad I did because I love this hot pink! It’s quite a Barbie doll fuschia-pink colour, don’t you think? At first glance, it looks like a simple creme but there is subtle shimmer going on, which you can’t really see in the photo, but trust me it’s there.

A “Pink Diamond” Barbie Doll

The application was lovely and this polish came with a special slanted brush. At first, it was a bit confusing, especially when it came to painting the left hand, as I was used to the wide OPI brushes, but it was easy to get used to. The polish claims to be chip-free for 10 days. I’m not sure how true that is as I haven’t worn it for 10 days yet. But I have worn it for a couple of days now and it seems quite sturdy. A strange thing about this polish is that it doesn’t have a name. So I think it’s called “15″ because there is a number at the back of the bottle.

With China Glaze Sugar High, two coats, sunlight

China Glaze Sugar High is the closest to a hot pink that I own, which as you can tell, isn’t very similar at all. Sugar High is paler and has a softness to it that the bold Bourjois polish doesn’t have.

iPhone photo, sunlight

Here is the manicure I’m spotting right now. It is a combination of three pinks. The one that is more purple looking is Zoya Moxie, another of my favourite polishes. This is not very striking apparently. Nobody has commented on this look!

On a side note, I’m clutching a homemade green smoothie that I bring to work every morning. I bought a blender recently because reading raw food blogs inspired me to eat more raw greens.

China Glaze Zombie Zest

Three coats, sunlight

So… it appears I’m about two years late with this nail polish. Never mind! Halloween is just round the corner again and here we visit an old polish from China Glaze’s 2010 Halloween collection. Zombie Zest (don’t you just love the name.. Rawr Rawr) is a green/olive jelly filled with mainly yellow shimmer. I love this shade of green. It’s quite a murky Swamp Thing colour. What’s the Swamp Thing I hear? Behold:

I’m not sure if anyone remembers the Swamp Thing but I remember watching this on television about this plant/human character. I’m not even what his superpowers are anymore but surely he has some since he’s part of the DC Comics universe.

2 coats, sunlight

But back to the polish. As you can see, three coats are needed because you can still see my nail after two coats. I guess all jellies seem to require more than two coats for opacity.

With NARS Zulu, sunlight

Here I paired Zombie Zest with another jelly, the cult favourite NARS Zulu. Like Zombie Zest, Zulu is a jelly and I painted three coats for this look. I really liked this pairing and wore it for one whole week. This also received compliments from people who thought the combination was interesting.

MAC Delicate

3 coats, sunlight

MAC Delicate is from the Summer 2012 collection. It is a sheer milky pink that is too translucent to be opaque even with three coats. I believe this is limited edition. I’m not sure why I bought it as I have something very similar. Behold:

2 coats each of MAC Delicate and Essie Hi Maintenance

As you can see, it’s very similar to this Essie colour. Delicate has a more milky tinge that is lacking from Hi Maintenance but it’s hard to tell them apart with a casual glance. Also, Hi Maintenance applies a lot better and you can see from the photo that it is streak free whereas Delicate is uneven in some places.

With Zoya Luna and OPI Rainbow Connection

I usually reserve sheers for French or glitter tips. In this case, I have MAC Delicate with two glitters, a silver one and a multicoloured one. I just received Rainbow Connection in the mail from eBay (gulp) and I just had to try it.

China Glaze Papaya Punch

2 coats, sunlight

China Glaze Papaya Punch is a bright yellow-based orange creme from the Island Escape 2011 collection. This was a present from my bestie Anna, who bought this pretty polish for me just before she zoomed off to Germany. It’s always good to have other people buy polish for you because for some reason, I have very few orange ones in my collection. However, the application was slightly thick and could use with some thinner.

With China Glaze Peachy Keen

In fact, a search through my collection revealed that I have almost no orange polishes. So here I have a comparison against another creme, albeit a peachy one. This was the most orange polish I could find.

With white nail striper pen

I saw this design in a magazine and decided to try to replicate it with a white nail striper pen. I quite like this look. It looks bold and simple at the same time. The orange looks incredible paired with white.

OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees

Alicia’s nails, 2 coats, sunlight

Where are the Pyrenees? They are a chain of mountains in southwest Europe that borders France and Spain. This is very apt, considering that the polish is part of OPI’s Fall 2009 Spain collection. As you can see, two coats are inadequate. There are bald spots and the colour is less dense than ideal.

With three coats, you can see this polish is its full jelly grey glory. I decided to compare it with NARS Midnight Express because I thought they had similar consistencies. Both had a jelly texture, albeit Midnight Express more so than Suzi, while Suzi had a very subtle shimmer. I really like this polish. It somehow manages to be soft and dark at the same time.

With China Glaze Millenium and silver striper pen

I wore this look for a week, which is a long time for Poppynails-land.

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